July 16, 2013 Airhead Na Pali Gear

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 (more...)...

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June 27, 2013 Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom Gear

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 (more...)...

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June 3, 2013 OR Cirque Pant Gear

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 (more...)...

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May 27, 2013 The Bonafide Strikes Back Gear

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 (more...)...

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May 13, 2013 More Thoughts On the Soul 7 Gear

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 (more...)...

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April 24, 2013 GoPro Hero3 Black Gear

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 (more...)...

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April 17, 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti Gear

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, (more...)...

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April 11, 2013 Salomon X-Race Gear

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 (more...)...

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April 5, 2013 Volkl Code L Gear

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 (more...)...

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April 1, 2013 Tecnica Cochise Pro Light Gear

Tecnica Cochise Pro Light

Yes, those are indeed tech fittings you see at the heel and toe of Tecnica’s new Cochise Pro Light ski boot, and believe me, they’re not just for decoration. The Cochise Pro Light joins a host of new touring-oriented ski boots from Alpine makers who are now testing the A/T waters. Where their peers have (more...)...

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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