April 30, 2014

The Vipec’s Viability

The Vipec's Viability

In the immortal words of Lee Lau, NEVER TRUST A FIRST GENERATION TOURING BINDING YOU MORONS. I found myself admiring the clarity of Lee’s admonition as I was pondering the spectrum of reviews on Fritchi’s Vipec tech binding—or should we call it a nouveau-tech binding? Either way, the Vipec is both a remarkable evolution and a vexing reminder that technological advances are rarely without their hiccups (more…)

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April 18, 2014

Kabookie vs. Bonafide

Kabookie vs. Bonafide

Short answer: I prefer the Kabookie. I’ve played around with both skis for over a year now, and for my body weight (about 145lbs), I’m just not seeing much benefit from the Bonafide’s full metal sheet. Kabookie and Bonafide are geometrically identical—same sidecut, same dimensions. The principle published difference is that metal sheet, which extends full length on the Bonafide, but only underfoot for the Kabookie (more…)

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April 10, 2014

Tecnica Mach1

Tecnica Mach1

New for the upcoming 2014-2015 season is Tecnica’s Mach1, which employs what Tecnica calls a paradigm shift in ski boot construction: designing “from the inside out.” By this, Tecnica means they’ve built the liner to fit the foot, and then built the shell to fit the liner, instead of the reverse. Don’t other boot makers already do this? Yes, to some extent—obviously they’re not oblivious (more…)

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March 14, 2014

GoPro Hero3+

GoPro Hero3+

GoPro’s Hero3+ is one of those vexingly-horizontal iterations that make it almost impossible to know whether it’s worth it to upgrade. Still, GoPro is making a number of claims of superiority regarding the 3+’s image quality, audio quality, and battery life. And then there’s the new SuperView mode. Plus a new included wireless remote. Existing Hero3 owners can be forgiven if, after hearing all the buzz (more…)

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February 28, 2014

SIA 2014: Accessories

SIA 2014: Accessories

BCA releases the Tracker 3 avalanche beacon, which promises to wed the original tracker’s real-time speed and simplicity with a smaller, lighter body. Expect the Tracker to once again dominate the beacon market. For those of you who need a wildly expensive helmet, POC offers the race-oriented Skull Orbic Comp H.I. MIPS (MSRP: $480), which employs an internal sensor to let you know when the helmet has (more…)

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February 26, 2014

SIA 2014: Bindings

SIA 2014: Bindings

I don’t normally expect to be dazzled by anything in the ski binding universe, but 2014-2015 looks to be a big year in the Touring space. First of all we have the Vipec—currently 20% off at Backcountry—and this pretty much falls into the gotta-have-it category. The only reason I’m not buying a pair of Vipecs right now is (1) I’m broke and (2) I want to see if any durability fixes come in during the off season (more…)

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February 22, 2014

SIA 2014: Boots

SIA 2014: Boots

Ski Mountaineering Racing advances are percolating their way into standard Touring lines, bringing us Scarpa’s handsome F1 EVO ($699) and La Sportiva’s 4-buckle Spectre ($599). Both boots come with a consumer-friendly retail price (unlike their $3K carbon racing cousins) paired with reduced weight: two pounds, seven ounces per boot for the F1, and a little over three pounds for the Spectre (more…)

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February 20, 2014

SIA 2014: The Skis

SIA 2014: The Skis

If you want a quick narrative for the trends in ski design for the upcoming 2014-2015 winter, let’s go with a combination of consolidation and chasing. With a few notable exceptions, makers aren’t offering big, audacious changes. Rather, many of the best skis return unchanged (or with minor tweaks), and many second-tier skis come back looking more like this year’s winners (more…)

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February 1, 2014

SIA Denver 2014

SIA Denver 2014

There is snow in Denver—and a reported two feet or more of fresh in many nearby Colorado resorts, making for a wonderfully snowy beginning to the 60th running of the Snowsports Industries Americas’ annual Snow Show. I’ve roamed and roamed about the convention center floor today, and I’ll be at Copper Mountain for the On-Snow demo days as well (more…)

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December 4, 2013

Lange XT 120

Lange XT 120

Lange’s XT 120 is a slightly-softer version of the XT 130. Both boots feature a walk mode switch which allows you to release the cuff for enhanced walking mobility. Like the 130, the XT 120 is best thought of as an Alpine boot with a walk mode, rather than a true Alpine Touring model, though thanks to its (again, slightly) softer liner, the 120 at least approaches touring-capable comfort and range of motion (more…)

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