August 1, 2013

Between Me and Gu

Between Me and Gu

Sports drinks have been making various claims of superiority to plain water for a long time, and I’ve been generally skeptical of the whole lot of them. Still, if you’re chasing someone who’s got a pocketfull of Gu gels (and you don’t have any), you do tend to wonder how much of a benefit there is to the various energy-boosting and/or electrolyte-replacing products available today (more…)

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July 16, 2013

Airhead Na Pali

Airhead Na Pali

If you’ve ever driven up to a scenic mountain lake and found yourself wishing you had a paddleboard or a sea kayak, Airhead’s inflatable Na Pali is worth a look. When not in use, the Na Pali rolls up into a reasonably compact package—about three feet by one feet—certainly small enough to fit in your trunk. Inflate the Na Pali via the included high-pressure hand pump or better yet (more…)

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June 27, 2013

Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom

Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom

I’ve been twice burned by Steripen’s Adventurer hydrophoton water purification device, so forgive me if I’m a little less than glowing in my comments. No, the problem wasn’t that the light came on when it wasn’t supposed to—it was that it never came on at all. The Steripen, in its various incarnations, uses ultraviolet light to kill waterborne pathogens. When all goes well, there seems little doubt the Steripen (more…)

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June 3, 2013

OR Cirque Pant

OR Cirque Pant

At some point I realized my backcountry ensemble was starting to enter a Mao phase. To combat the trend, I’ve begun seeking cheerier gear and clothing choices. So I was drawn to Outdoor Research’s Cirque pant not so much because of my high regard for OR’s Igneo pant, but because of the Cirque’s ‘glacier’ blue option. How are the pants themselves? Who cares—the color is awesome! Seriously, I was looking (more…)

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May 27, 2013

The Bonafide Strikes Back

The Bonafide Strikes Back

While I had a fine time breaking in my new Soul 7’s two weeks ago, I ended that trip worried I’d just killed my Bonafides. How do the two skis compare, and can they coexist (peacefully) under one roof? There was only one way to answer that question—head back to Mammoth Mountain for some extended head-to-head testing (more…)

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May 13, 2013

More Thoughts On the Soul 7

More Thoughts On the Soul 7

Rather than update my Soul 7 review, I think I’m just going to add some additional thoughts here. As expected, I did go ahead and buy a pair, and I paid with my own money. First of all, there’s nothing I hate more than ski manufacturers making me bleed my own blood, but it does give me a liberating sense of freedom when it comes to making public comments about their gear (more…)

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April 24, 2013

GoPro Hero3 Black

GoPro Hero3 Black

GoPro’s Hero3 Black Edition is easily one of the most interesting video cameras of the year—and not only within the helmet-cam category. If you were hoping for big advances in video imaging, here they are, and they are impressive indeed: an advanced sensor capable of shooting 1080P footage at 60 frames per second, or 2.7K Cinema at 30 frames per second, or an incredible 4K picture (more…)

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April 17, 2013

Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti

Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti

Blizzard’s Magnum 8.0 Ti has been a darling of the ski media, consistently scoring near the top of the performance-carver class. The Magnum 8.0 Ti is somewhat oddly categorized as part of Blizzard’s ‘sport’ range, but it clearly delivers performance approaching that of an elite-level ski—especially with regard to GS-radius turns. At the same time, the Magnum is undeniably friendly and easy to ski (more…)

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April 11, 2013

Salomon X-Race

Salomon X-Race

Not one ski but several, Salomon’s X-Race varies its sidecut radius by length, allowing skiers to match the ski to their preferred turn shape. So for example if you pick the 155cm length, you’ll be banging out turns on an 11-meter radius ski (!), whereas if you choose a 180cm X-Race, you’ll be cruising on a far more expansive 19-meter turn radius. That’s an enormous difference—so much so it’s probably (more…)

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April 5, 2013

Volkl Code L

Volkl Code L

New for the 2013-2014 season, Volkl’s Code Speedwall L offers performance skiers a fun and lively alternative to both the RTM and RaceTiger lines. I’m not big on the RTM skis (see my most-hated video), and the RaceTigers are race specialists, so for me the Code L vaults to the top of Volkl’s frontside carver list—especially if you like a retro feel. Yes, the Code L is tip and tail rockered (more…)

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