February 17, 2013

DPS Wailer 99

DPS Wailer 99

A key task of an All-Mountain ski is dealing with challenging conditions. By that standard, DPS’s Wailer 99 is a big success, even a class leader. This is the ski you want to be riding on those days when the mountain seems committed to making you look bad. The Wailer is a tough snow specialist, employing experimental, non-traditional geometry (let’s call it “bent French Fry” tip and tail rocker) that makes the ski (more…)

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February 16, 2013

Dynastar Cham HM 97

Dynastar Cham HM 97

Dynastar’s oddly-shaped Cham 97 returns unchanged for the 2013-2014 season, in both standard (metal) and High Mountain (Paulownia) editions. The High Mountain versions of the Cham line were initially sold as touring-oriented skis. However, following their debut season, Dynastar realized skiers were finding the metal-free HM models to be outstanding (more…)

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February 14, 2013

K2 Bolt

K2 Bolt

K2 makes an unexpected but welcome return to the Thrill-Ride category with the Bolt, flagship of their 2013-2014 Precision/Piste ski series. The Bolt is in many ways similar to Nordica’s Fire Arrow EDT: both skis employ design elements stolen directly from their superhuman world cup race stock relatives, blended with cutting-edge technological advances plus of course modern ski geometry—ie, rocker (more…)

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February 13, 2013

Nordica Fire Arrow EDT

Nordica Fire Arrow EDT

The Fire Arrow tradition continues with Nordica’s flagship Fire Arrow 84 EDT EVO, an absolute screamer of a high-level carving ski. Compared to previous Fire Arrow models, the 2013-2014 EDT reduces sidecut, adds tip and arguably a bite of tail rocker, and delivers a ride that is unquestionably drawn directly from the race room. I think we have to consider the Fire Arrow EDT as basically a new species of ski (more…)

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February 12, 2013

Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro

Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro

Is the era of rockerless skis finally over? Dynastar’s tip-rockered 2013-2014 Chrome 78 Pro replaces one of the very last holdouts, the thrilling Speed Course Ti. Debuting for the 2013-2014 season, the Chrome Pro is part of a new all on-trail ski series designed to offer expert and even elite-level carving performance by updating Dynastar’s race-stock Speed-series skis with modern geometry (more…)

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February 9, 2013

SIA 2013: The New Skis

SIA 2013: The New Skis

As usual it was a fast and furious few days at this year’s SIA Snow Show in Denver. I did manage to get on an exhausting personal-best 19 pairs of skis during the Winter Park on-snow demo—reviews pending. And I also got a sense of where the ski makers are headed for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. But first, the big question: should you buy a new pair of skis? (more…)

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January 22, 2013

Lange XT 130

Lange XT 130

Lange officially enters the Alpine Touring market with the XT 130, a Freeride ski boot offering excellent downhill performance plus a first-ever Lange walk mode. Admittedly the XT 130 lies at the severe edge of the Touring category—it weights over nine pounds per pair, and its walk mode is limited—but there is still quite a thrill to be had putting your foot into an actual Lange ski boot and finding a walk mode switch (more…)

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January 9, 2013

Scarpa Maestrale RS

Scarpa Maestrale RS

Of the ski boots I’ve tried, Garmont’s Cosmos and Scarpa’s Maestrale RS are clearly the two ski mountaineering standouts for 2013. The Maestrale RS is an updated, Polyamide version of Scarpa’s original, orange (Pebax) Maestrale. That first-generation Maestrale remains notable for its excellent climbing and mountaineering performance, but to be honest its skiing performance was always limited (more…)

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December 14, 2012

The Ghost Whisperer

The Ghost Whisperer

Think of Mountain Hardwear’s 6.7-ounce Ghost Whisperer as a high-end heat infusion. If you want the best possible warmth-to-weight ratio in an ultralight top, this is it. The insulated Ghost Whisperer pairs 850-fill down with an incredible 7×10 denier nylon—a next-generation fabric developed as part of Mountain Hardwear’s Ueli Steck Project. The fabric’s super-tight weave is naturally down-proof, windproof, and (more…)

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November 24, 2012

Nikon D800

Nikon D800

Perhaps the best way to introduce Nikon’s full-frame D800 DSLR is to note that it is not at all the camera Nikon enthusiasts were expecting. In hindsight, there is a certain logic to the D800’s massive, 36-megapixel sensor—it delivers very nearly the same pixel density as Nikon’s DX-sensor D7000, only spread across a much larger FX sensor. Still: 36 megapixels! What on Earth are we supposed to do (more…)

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