February 12, 2013 Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro Gear

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 (more...)...

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February 9, 2013 SIA 2013: The New Skis Gear

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 (more...)...

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January 22, 2013 Lange XT 130 Gear

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 (more...)...

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January 9, 2013 Scarpa Maestrale RS Gear

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 (more...)...

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December 14, 2012 The Ghost Whisperer Gear

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 (more...)...

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November 24, 2012 Nikon D800 Gear

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 (more...)...

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November 19, 2012 The Cosmos Conundrum (Updated) Gear

The Cosmos Conundrum (Updated)

Okay, deep breath. First of all, kudos to Lou for breaking this story. Go read what he has to say, and then come back for my thoughts. Good? Good. And now, for my take: sh*t! I wasn’t able to run Lou’s test on the pre-production Cosmos that I skied last winter because I’d already returned (more...)...

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October 20, 2012 Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100 Gear

Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100

Once again I am updating my Sony RX100 review page. Here’s an amazing admission: I bought a Nikon D800 specifically to shoot video on my then-upcoming Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon. D800 video for natural landscapes is astonishingly good—probably you’ve got to spend car-sized sums to do better. So which camera did (more...)...

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October 13, 2012 Osprey Talon 11 Gear

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey’s Talon 11 gets three key daypack requirements exactly right. It’s light, it’s (relatively) cool against your back, and it’s structured enough to carry loads well. On that third point, I’d say the frameless Talon 11 is easily the best ultralight speed/endurance pack I’ve ever used. You don’t expect an 11-liter backpack to nail its (more...)...

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September 28, 2012 Blizzard Kabookie Gear

Blizzard Kabookie

Blizzard’s Kabookie ski was one of two new Alpine Touring standouts I found at the 2012 SIA show—the other being Garmont’s Cosmos boot. Like the Cosmos, the big news with the Kabookie is its ability to bring the performance and especially the ‘feel’ of your favorite Alpine rig into the backcountry. On my scale, the (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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