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After what can only be deemed as an abysmal start to the ski season, with months of high pressure and facets, we're finally seeing some precipitation up here in AK, and I've finally had a chance to get out and ski in my Outdoor Research Vanguard Pants.
Outdoor Research Vanguard PantsThe Vanguard Pants, new for winter 2012/2013 are a highly waterproof, highly breathable softshell ski pant with lots of sidecountry features such as a Recco reflector and a beacon pocket. Available in both Men’s and Women’s designs, the Vanguard looks to be the pant that will stand up to all sorts of weather, no matter who’s wearing it! Overall, I'm enjoying the pants. So far, they're as waterproof as OR says they should be, offer great mobility for touring and appear to be fairly burly. Errant Alders are no match for the material on the Vanguards...
- Most waterproof softshells I've ever worn- After 3 hours of resort laps in Alyeska's infamous "Mixed Precip" (read: rain), my legs were still dry. The pants were soaked, but my legs were still dry. I then wore them for a 4-day Level 2 Avalanche course, and spent all my time sitting in pits I dug. I came home dry each day.
- Beacon pocket- I love this thing. The pocket is actually mesh pocket inside a pocket with a clip to keep your beacon attached to you.
- Dual sided thigh vents with double zippers. Dump heat fast, but don't worry about fumbling around with a one way zipper to get them zipped back up.
- The Vanguards are HUGE. Definitely try them on, or order a size smaller than you normally would. Consistently a size small in Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear and other Outdoor Research Products, I chose a size small in the Vanguards. Even in my ski boots, the pants drag on the ground, and I've maxed out the elastic waistband adjustment to keep them from sagging down to my knees. The size guide indicates that a Small should have a 29 inch inseam. I'd put mine at about 34 inches.
- The pockets may be overkill. I love the beacon pocket, but don't have a ton of use for the 2 mid thigh pockets in addition to the 2 front and 2 back pockets. On the plus side, I guess I'll never run out of space for CLIF shots...
Check 'Em OutOutdoor Research Women's Vanguard Pants or Outdoor Research Men's Vanguard Pants... Read more...
As temps drop and we start seeing snow on our higher peaks in Alaska, winter is officially on the brain. Early fall is one of my favorite times of the year- not because of the changing leaves or cool, crisp mornings, but rather because early fall means new gear! Time to play with all the new toys coming out for the 2012/2013 winter! So far, here's what I'm getting stoked about for ski season:
A Pair of 163 Praxis MVP Custom Ordered SkisSay who? Praxis? If you aren't familiar with Keith O'Meara's custom shaped skis out of Tahoe, get familiar, and fast. Praxis has been around for years, cranking out some of the most innovative ski technology with incredibly high quality. As world class caliber skiers such as Drew Tabke and Kevin O'Meara begin to ski Praxis skis and bring notoriety to the name, more and more people have been drawn to the brand. Keith, the man behind the curtain, has directed his focus towards making smaller batch, custom skis designed to fit a variety of riders. For my season-long pleasure, I will be skiing a pair of 163 Most Valuable Praxis, or MVP skis, in the "soft" flex with the graphic of my choosing. All of Keith's skis are available for immediate purchase as his original designed model, or available to be custom ordered for flex (choices of soft, medium, medium/stiff and stiff), layup (triaxial fiberglass or a carbon/triaxial fiberglass blend), length, and graphic. Choose from Praxis's badass graphic library or upload your own! Best part? All this customization comes at little to no extra price. Pick your own flex and graphic for free. If you'd like to add the carbon there is a nominal materials fee increase, and if you'd like to upload your own graphic, there's a small fee for that as well. Look to hear more about Praxis and my new MVPs later in the season. Men's and Women's designs, the Vanguard looks to be the pant that will stand up to all sorts of weather, no matter who's wearing it! I'm excited to test out the GoreTex softshell material up here in AK, and see how it holds up to our heavy wet snow. Men's version, which features a lobster-claw style 3 finger glove design. Read more...
Whether you’re on groomers, knees deep in powder tree skiing/riding or skinning up a peak for a little backcountry -- here are my Top 3 snowboard pants for 2011/12 and beyond. 3. The North Face Women's Skinster Pants When The North Face came out with their Cryptic line I was a bit skeptical, but since most of my fleece and hiking apparel is North Face I thought why not give it a try. The rest is history. The Skinster pants are a new low-rise boot cut fit, which is nice for us snowboarders! The pants are equipped with waterproofing, good breathability and are fully seam sealed to keep you dry. Only bummer -- available in just one color. MSRP: $199 Features:
- Fabricshell: Hyvent® 2l Stretch Twill / Lining: Stretch Taffeta
- Waterproof, Breathable, Fully Seam Sealed
- Recco® Avalanche Rescue Reflector
- Adjustable Waist Tabs
- Handwarmer Zip Pockets
- Inner Thigh Vents With Mesh Gussets
- Stretchvent™ Gaiter With Gripper Elastic
- Reinforced Cuffs
- Chimney Venting™ System
- Pant-A-Lock Compatible
- Buddy Lift Clip
- 10,000/8,000mm Waterproof/Breathable Rating
- Strata Hd Ii™ With DWR - remains waterproof and breathable, even after numerous washings.
- Fully Taped Seams
- 15,000mm Waterproof
- 10,000gm Breathable
- Fully taped seams
- Fleece smarty liner pant with capri length adjustment
- Thigh cargo pocket with flip-up pass pocket
- Zippered side pocket
Recognize this scenario? Time to load the car for the family trip. Ah crap, we over packed! Get the extra cargo capacity you need with the Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11 Cargo Box.
Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11 Cargo Box Features
- Capacity: 11 cu ft (311 liters)
- Ski load Capacity: 5
- Snowboard Load Capacity: 5
- Dual-Side Opening
- Push Button Opening
- SKS Lock Core Included (with key)
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 89 in x 24 in x 15 in
- Weight: 38 lbs
- Price: $349.00
Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11 Cargo Box ReviewThe Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11 Cargo Box is the mid-size choice in the Rocketbox line and it's the most economical. Technically it has the smallest capacity, however, it is longer than the Rocketbox 12. The "Pro" in the name refers to the upgrades to the line from previous models. It comes with features like for dual-side opening, a push button latch, and an upgraded bar connection system. The exterior is also more sleek in appearance. The Rocketbox Pro 11 is good sized box. It's long enough to hold skis and has enough capacity to haul a bunch of gear. I've been able to fit three pairs of skis, poles, and a snowboard in it at the same time with room to spare. If you purchase it through the mail you will have to assemble the box yourself. Have no fear it's a straight forward process. Yakima does provide easy-to-follow, detailed instructions and there is a short video available on Yakima's website as well. One thing to note: the keys are taped to the box, not inside with the other parts. Took me a few to find them. The roof mounting system has been changed up from the previous Rocketbox line. The old style was a combo knob and camming lever to secure the clamp. The new style is just a red knob. Adjust the clamps forward or back and then tighten. This simplifies the system. I will say though, if you take your cargo box on and off frequently the new system won't be quite as efficient. One big benefit is the Pro 11 is dual-side opening. Gone are the days of only mounting the box on the passenger side of the car or having to walk around to load/unload. It also comes with a push button to make opening easier. It features a more narrow profile so you can actually fit other attachments on your roof rack with the box on. It will also fit round, square, and factory crossbars. To facilitate the dual-side Yakima has employed pivoting hinges on the inside. They are made of plastic and it seems this could be a potential point of failure. Chances are unlikely but it's worth noting. You'd either have to really yard on the lid or use it excessively. All in all the Rocketbox Pro 11 is money. I've been using it all winter and it's been a trip saver. Well worth the investment. The Good
- Dual-side opening
- Can fit a ton of gear
- Great Price
- Some assembly required (only a negative if you don't like putting stuff together)
Bottom Line:Great box, good versatility, most economical choice in the line. It's been a trip saver for me. Buy Now: Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11 Cargo Box [gallery]... Read more...
Make your baselayers work a little bit harder. The Columbia Midweight Baselayers work harder for you with the addition of their Omni-Heat lining.
Columbia Midweight Baselayer Top Features
- Fabric: 86% polyester/14% elastane
- Omni-Heat thermal reflective
- Omni-Wick advanced evaporation
- Form fit
- 4-way comfort stretch
- Ergonomic seaming
- Thumb holes
- Price: $59.95
Columbia Midweight Baselayer Bottom Features
- Fabric: 86% polyester/14% elastane
- Omni-Heat thermal reflective
- Omni-Wick advanced evaporation
- Form fit
- 4-way comfort stretch
- Ergonomic seaming
- Gusset detail
- Price: $54.95
Columbia Midweight Baselayers ReviewThe Columbia Midweight Baselayers are a good all around baselayer for multi-season activities. In the fall and spring they work as stand alone layering pieces for cool weather exploits. I've found the top to be sufficient by itself for trail runs down into the 30s. In the winter they pair well as part of a layering system. The Omni-Heat reflective lining helps keep in additional warmth. As Columbia says "keeping you up to 20% warmer". When I first looked at the lining as I pulled the pieces out of the package I was skeptical. I thought it was going to feel like tin foil rubbing on my skin. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Omni-Heat lining is smooth and soft on the skin. I didn't notice it at all and it's surprisingly comfortable. The 4-way comfort stretch fabric helps with mobility and keeps you from feeling restricted when you're moving. The antimicrobial properties work wonders and you can even get away with wearing the pieces multiple times between washings. You know how typically with synthetic layers as you pull on your shirt for the second time you get repulsed by the stench? This isn't the case with the Columbia Midweight baselayer. The antimicrobial properties keep the smell at bay. The fit is definitely athletic. I'm 6 feet tall and 180 lbs and the large top and bottom fit me perfectly. One thing I will say on the fit is the arms are cut a little high so fits tight through the armpits. On the bottoms, do yourselves a favor gents and get the pair with the fly. I don't get why they'd make them without. The Good
- Warm & versatile
- Top fit a little tight through the armpits
- No fly on certain bottom models
Bottom Line:Looking for a solid baselayer to span multiple seasons? Get the Columbia Midweight Baselayers. Buy Now: Columbia Midweight Baselayers [gallery]... Read more...
I used to only think of Julbo as the glacier sunglasses company. That's not the case anymore. Julbo gave me the chance to test and review the Julbo Orbiter Goggles and here's what I thought.
Julbo Orbiter Goggles Features
- Material: Lightweight nylon frame is flexible and accommodates large faces
- Breathable dual density foam membrane
- Silicone-accented strap and easy clip secure to fit all helmet sizes
- Camel Photochromic lens (cat 2-4) new high end polarized lens
- NXT technology
- Front venting
- Anti-reflective coating
- Anti-fog coating
- Price: $200
Julbo Orbiter Goggles ReviewFirst off, out of the box the Julbo Orbiter Goggles look great! Let's face it, if you're going to shell out more than $30 for goggles, you want a pair that look good. The Orbiter has good styles and the frame designs are clean. The Orbiter is made to fit bigger faces, so ladies you'll want to check out something like the Julbo Eclipse Goggles. I found the Orbiter extremely comfortable and can thank the breathable foam for that. After all day wear, I didn't get any goggle fatigue. The Orbiter is also comfortable with a helmet. The strap "wings" (as I call them) position the strap to go with the curve of the helmet instead of making the strap stretch straight from the frame. This was huge in terms of on-helmet comfort. The Orbiter also comes with a strap extender so you don't end up with foam imprints after wearing the goggles for awhile. The strongest and most notable feature is the Camel lens. The Orbiter comes with a couple of lens options but just move past the rest and go straight for the Camel. The Camel lens is a polarized photochromatic lens. For the uninitiated, photochromatic is essentially a "transition" lens that changes from light to dark based on the amount of sunlight. The Camel lens is rated as a "2-4" on the scale which means it does well in relatively low-light conditions to bright conditions. The product photo shows the lens at the lightest and my photo shows it at it's darkest. Throw in the polarized coating and you have a lens that is hard to beat. All that combined makes the Orbiter an awesome goggle. I already have a favorite goggle but now I am having to reconsider my choice. The Good
- Camel Lens (polarized, photochromatic)
- Good Style
- Price - it could be hard to shell out $200 for goggles but they are worth it
Bottom Line:The Julbo Orbiter Goggles is a great goggle and worth every penny. Buy Now: Pick up the Julbo Orbiter Goggles[gallery]... Read more...
With the Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Gloves gone are the days of frozen hands and fingers. Columbia gave me a pair of gloves to test this winter and here's what I thought.
Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Gloves Features
- Fabric: 100% goatskin leather
- Omni-Heat electric, thermal reflective, and insulated
- Techlite battery compartment
- Outdry waterproof
- Split cowhide palm patch
- Long gauntlet
- One-hand shock cord hem adjustment
- Nose wipe
- Precision fit grip
- Price: $399.99
Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Gloves ReviewWhen I first heard about the Columbia Electric products I was highly skeptical. Adding electric heat to products has been tried in the past, rather unsuccesfully. This time around though, I think Columbia is on to something. The Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Gloves are an all around good glove. First let's look at the heat. Operation is easy, just press the Columbia logo on the back of each glove. The heat comes in three modes: high, medium, and low. The button alternates colors when on: red for high, yellow for medium, green for low. On a full battery charge you'll get 2.5 hours on high, 3 hours on medium, 4 hours on low. The heat that is produced is more of a slow, radiating heat as opposed to a burst of heat. I've found the best heat performance comes from preheating the gloves before my hands were cold. The gloves will heat your hands back up after they are cold, but with the slow, radiating heat it does take some time. It won't be quick like a typical hand warmer. The gloves charge via micro-USB and take about 3 hours to charge. What I like about the cords is they are a micro-USB to USB combo which gives you a few different options for charging using the single cord and any available USB port. The gloves do come with everything necesary to charge, including 2 USB cables, 1 USB wall adapter, plus international adapter plugs. The gloves are lined with Omni-Heat reflective fabric which is supposed to reflect the heat that would ordinarily dissipate out of the glove back into the glove. I did find that the thumbs aren't heated. A little research shows a heating wire may cross the thumb but my thumbs still got cold. Without the heat, the Bugaglove is still a great winter glove. I found it preferrable for skiing. The goatskin leather is durable and very weather resistent. It's pliable, even in cold conditions. The gauntlets are long which is great when skiing or anytime you have to dig around in the snow. The gloves are bulky so dexterity is compromised similar to what you see for most winter gloves. The Outdry fabric is awesome and it definitely keeps your hands dry. My biggest gripe with the glove is there isn't a soft nose wipe. The specs say it's there but it's not. Any amount of time spend outside, especially skiing, and your nose is going to run. Goatskin leather isn't very good at wiping or absorbing. Sizing is good. I normally wear a size XL glove because I have long fingers. The XL in the Bugaglove fits me perfectly. Overall I've had a good experience with the Bugaglove. Are they worth $399? I'd be hard-pressed to say yes. It's a cool concept but I don't think it's worth it, yet. If you have the money to burn, go for it. Columbia is definitely on to something and I'm looking forward to future iterations of Electric. The Good
- Electic Heat
- Materials are high quality
- Good performing ski glove
- No nose wipe
Bottom Line:Warm glove, good glove, cool concept. If you have the money, spend it. Buy Now: Pick up the Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Gloves[gallery orderby="title"]... Read more...
When you wake up to the sound of artillery shells shaking your house and a report of 23 inches of fresh snowy goodness, you know you're getting out of bed and moving quickly. When you look outside and see bluebird skies, you kick it into the next gear, and dress yourself while running for the chairlift, hoping you get those pants buttoned before you run into your buddies in the lift line. As you're grabbing your ski gear essentials, be sure to grab a pair of the Icebreaker GT 260 Express Leggings to keep your legs toasty while you're shreddin. The Icebreaker GT line of baselayers takes wool long underwear to the next level. The GT line adds 3% lycra to the high quality merino wool that Icebreaker is known for, which means you've got some stretch and give in your undies. The added Lycra also makes sure that your long underwear will retain its shape, and you won't have to deal with saggy bottoms by the end of the day. The GT line also boasts reflective graphics, so if you want to wear the layers separately for an early morning run, you know people will see you as you flash by.
Icebreaker GT 260 Express Leggings: The Specs
- Athletic fit baselayer
- 97% New Zealand Merino Wool, 3% Lycra
- GT Express Leggings are available in a 200 weight (lightweight) and a 260 weight (midweight)
- 260 (Midweight) Leggings are ideal as a baselayer for snowsports and cooler temps
- MSRP $100
- Baa Code: Every piece of Icebreaker product comes with a code, which allows it to be traced from sheep to production. Icebreaker prides itself on it sustainable ethics and transparency of production, which is awesome.
Icebreaker GT Express Leggings: The ReviewHave you made the switch from synthetic to wool baselayers yet? In case you're not quite on board, here's the low down: Wool doesn't retain stink, like synthetic fabrics do. We've all got those gnarly synthetic baselayers that no matter how many times you wash them, they will forever smell like you spent 3 years living in the same shirt and not showering... Ok, so, 1 point for wool. The synthetic advocates come back saying yes, we may be stinky, but wool is itchy! Not so with Icebreaker's merino wool blend. Their wool is soft and just as comfortable as any synthetic out there. Score now? Wool 2, Synthetics 0. Here's the kicker though- the fibers in the wool actually work with your body. As you heat up, it wicks more heat and moisture away from your body. When you're cool, it warms your body up. The merino wool's got smarts. Checkin' in with that scoreboard again, I believe we've got Icebreaker Wool at 3, and Synthetics at 0. To give a bit of credit to our plastic amigos, synthetics are certainly less expensive. So, let's call that Wool 3, Synthetics 1. But at the rate you're replacing those smelly synthetics, the initial investment is worth it for the quality, in my opinion. Icebreaker has taken an already phenomenal product with their wool baselayers, and made it even better in the GT line, with the addition of the Lycra. My only complaint with the 1st generation of Icebreaker Baselayers was that they didn't retain their shape as well as the synthetic long underwear I had (yes, yes, I was once a synthetic wearer). With the Lycra spandex, the GT express leggings are a skiers dream for a baselayer. They've got some give, keep you warm, and retain their shape over multiple wears. While I won't have an opportunity to wear the GT Express Leggings as an individual piece for a while (winter's in full swing up here in AK), I look forward to running in them when the temps warm up a bit and the trails thaw. The flatlock stitching and ergonomically designed seaming will come in handy when I'm cranking out the miles. So, this morning, when the artillery shells were shaking my house and I had feet of fresh snow in my front yard, I did reach for my Icebreaker GT 260 Express Leggings. And yes, I did manage to get my ski pants buttoned before I met up with friends in the lift line. Buy Now! Icebreaker GT 260 Express Legging! Also, be sure to check out Gear.com's selection of Icebreaker gear and the full Icebreaker GT Line!... Read more...
In for review- The Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket, just in the nick of time! Winter has commenced here in Alaska, and every day brings a new mix of precipitation. Rain then snow, snow then rain, sleet, sun, then on to a rain/snow mixture, with temperatures changing hourly. Needless to say, a perfect place to give the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm a run for it's money! The Falconry Tri-Therm is a 3-in-1 jacket, sporting a down insulative later that can be worn individually, a waterproof breathable shell that can also be worn individually, and the M-Connect System that allows you to wear these both as one lightweight, warm and waterproof jacket when conditions dictate! Look for a full review coming soon, but in the mean time, be sure to check out the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm or other Merrell Jackets on Gear.com...Read more...
It's been quite some time since I've skied, ran or walked in standard insoles. I can't honestly remember the last time I slipped my feet into any stock footwear. Not only do I have flat feet, but I'm aware of the benefits provided by specialized insoles, like the Superfeet Red Hot Winter insoles. Superfeet insoles are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and purposes. The Red Hot (Mens) and Hot Pink (Ladies) are winter-specific insoles made to help cradle your feet in ski boots, snowboard boots or insulated Winter boots. I exclusively used them in my ski boots (Dynafit Titan TF-X) this season and had extremely-positive results. For years I've been swearing by Surefoot's custom footbeds. And, don't get me wrong, they are still absolutely outstanding, but they do cost a pretty penny ($199). The Superfeet Red Hot footbeds provide nearly the same support and comfort for a fraction of the price (MSRP: $50). To fit these inside your ski boots, you'll need to trim them down to the same size and shape as the factory footbeds. I just held the factory insoles against the Red Hots, traced them and trimmed away. Once fitted, I then took my Dynafit boots to a bootfitter to have them heat-molded to my feet. The result was the most comfortable ski boots I've ever owned. I've been very impressed with the all-day comfort in my ski touring boots and the solid feel of these footbeds. I have instant power transfer from my foot to the boot which translates into more confident and comfortable skiing and walking. While it's hard to say if the Outlast and reflective materials did improve the warmth of my boots, I can say that only once did I experience cold and numb toes. The Good
- Excellent value compared to custom footbeds
- Very comfortable walking and skiing
- Instant power transfer to the boots and skis
- Easy to trim and fit
- Could mis-trim them and render them useless
Bottom LineFor the money, the Superfeet Red Hot Winter insoles are a great option to improve ski boot fit and all-day comfort while increasing performance. Buy Now: Buy Superfeet Red Hot Winter Insoles... Read more...
The day before Thanksgiving back in 1996, my brothers and I were on our way to Purgatory for a day of skiing. My brother was driving 55 MPH on hard pack snow and flipped the Jeep Cherokee we were driving. We did one full rotation and landed on our tires. After the car stopped rolling we were in shock. The only thing I remember from that day is the smelly dude who towed our car home and the Yakima rack imprinted in the snow after it popped off the top; completely held together. Yeah, Yakima is tough. If you have had a similar experience or just tired of your crusty old ski rack, the Yakima FatCat 6 ski rack. For the record, we kept the rack and used it for ten more years. With Yakima rack systems being completely universal you have no excuse not to splurge on a new plank carrier.
CapacityThe FatCat totes six pairs of skis. And were not talking grandpa's old Hart 360 210cm skis, were talking the big fatty fats all of us our riding on these days. Do you ever get snowboarders remorse? Ya know, when the knuckle-dragger in the crew slaps his board on top of the car with the huge bulky bindings. When I put my wife's board on top for the first time I found quickly the FatCat is lifted, creating room to put the board bindings down. The gate closes easily too. Its one thing to say a rack can carry an amount of skis but you still need to close the stupid thing. The latch near the lock looks like it was extended this past year as to compensate for the ski width and doesn't rely on the cushion compressing to make room to lock it down. However I think they could take the gate closing a little more aggressive for next year.
InstallationWe are talking easy. I'm betting Jeff Foxworthy will have contestants install one of these puppies on that 5th grader show because a kid could seriously do this. Screwing this on my Subaru factory bars was so easy I felt like I was cheating. After 5 minutes, I thought I wasn't done. "No way should it be this easy!" And with the universal mount you don't have to scramble over to a bike shop and figure out the difference between Q24 and Q26 parts and than come to find the shop doesn't have the part you need. Yeah they can order it but c'mon, we all know setting up the rack is what you do RIGHT before the trip! The rack folds forward and backward to tighten it down on your bars making it so your not losing pieces. And if you do lose the bolts, they would be very easy to replace at a hardware store. The rack is completely threaded which has been a huge improvement from past years.
Low ProfileThe rack is shaped to be as aerodynamic as possible. I remember the old school racks how they were flat against the wind as your driving. This horizontal design can't be blamed for your crappy MPG that your Hummer is getting. One thing you will also love is how easy this rack is to store when not in use. All the pieces stay together and can fit in a tucked away spot in the garage. If you want to lift the rack on it's side, the part is inside the rack opening. You open the gate, and prop up the stand. Boom. The Good
- You won't even know its there.
- $209 gets you the rack and the security locks. Fair price without having to run around the internet finding every piece.
- You can have the kids install it.
- Great capacity. What you see is what you get, even with the big planks.
- ahem...uh Gear of the Year anyone?
- Completely universal. Your buddies Amanti breaks down, switch the rack over to the Outback. No worries.
- Making the gate easier to close should be a focus for next year.
- Each rack should be wider. Really making it a good solid ride for the planks.
Bottom Line: Yakima FatCat 6 Ski RackThe main theme with this gear piece is integration. I'm sure Yakima was tired of getting those phone calls about the little plastic piece Aunt Joan threw away thus making the whole rack unusable. Which in turn really makes this rack an economic booster because for those Thule people wanting to cross over to the other side can because Yakima racks are all universal. BUY NOW: The Yakima FatCat 6 Ski Rack w/ Locks.... Read more...
Golden, BC, Canada (December 13, 2009) – Last weekend Great Canadian Heli-Skiing was proud to host the 2009 FIS North American Freestyle Judge Clinic which included individuals who will be officiating at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to the 16 attendees was International Judge Educator Marcello Centurione, the only North American chosen to be one of 5 scoring judges for the freestyle halfpipe snowboard event during the upcoming Winter Olympics. Marcello, who judged at the last Winter Games in Torino and is North America’s most experienced snowboard judge with over 50 world class events under his belt, specifically selected Great Canadian Heli-Skiing as the venue of choice as it is the perfect location to discuss the latest trends in judging while at the same time feeding the judges’ passion for snowboarding. He gave both the course and the heli-boarding “Perfect 10’s”!
“The terrain, the snow, the guides, the small groups of 4 and the possibility of run after run of unlimited vertical re-emphasised to us that Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is THE place to go heli-skiing!” exclaimed a passionate Marcello.The goal of the clinic was to discuss and update participants on how best to judge freestyle snowboarding competitions. In judged sports other than snowboarding, competitors must announce which manoeuvres they are going to perform, or have a degree of difficulty assigned to them: not so in snowboarding! This freedom given to the riders to express makes it complicated for judges to score a run when a rider ‘throws down’ a trick that may have never been seen before. To this end, ‘progression’ was the main topic of discussion at the clinic. Progression is 1 of 8 criteria that a judge takes into account when scoring a rider along with Amplitude, Execution, Variety, Difficulty, Risk, Combos and Pipe Use. If snowboarding superstars such as Shaun White and Canada’s own, Jeff Batchelor, unleash tricks never seen before, Marcello and his fellow Olympic judges will be ready for them, despite maybe never seeing the trick before in live competition. In the clinic they discussed the various potential ways riders can grab, cork, invert and spin themselves and their boards and how they would thus score them. So no matter what new trick a rider pulls out, the judging team will be prepared to score them fairly. This allows snowboarding to retain its “free”style image and reward progression while incorporating some structure.
Marcello said “the great thing about snowboarding is that it’s all about ‘freedom of expression’”. So why hold a judging clinic at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing? Since the structure of snowboarding freestyle competitions is centered on the freedom of expression, it is essential for a judge to personally stay connected with this ideal. What better way to stay connected than to go free-riding in the mountains? Judge/Coach Mike Stastook exclaimed, “That was the best riding of my life! And I must admit, I have had some great days out there. I've toured Rogers Pass a lot, sledded all over Revelstoke and Golden, been catboarding before...but nothing compared to the experience that I had with you guys this weekend. The run selections were amazing, the pilot was unreal, my guide Allison was the best we could have asked for and our group was very tightly bound by our friendships. I will never forget this”.The 2010 Olympic Halfpipe events will be held at Cypress Mountain on February 17th and 18th. More Info: Visit CanadianHeli-Skiing.com ++ Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, the most accessible Canadian heli-skiing operation from an international airport, is located between Golden and Revelstoke BC in the heart of the world’s heli-skiing powder belt where it snows +14 metres (46 feet) annually. The company offers helicopter assisted guided skiing in the snow-choked mountains of the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. In 1988 Great Canadian Heli-Skiing pioneered skiing in small groups of 4 and was the first to incorporate Unlimited Vertical (i.e. no extra charges for ski more than the guaranteed amount) in all packages.... Read more...
After much anticipation, Burton unveils today the US Snowboard Team Uniforms for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics. This February, as the US Snowboard Team steps onto the World’s stage in Vancouver, they will look and feel unmatched with designs that speak to both individuality and heritage, key hallmarks of the Burton brand and the snowboard culture. Building on their long-standing relationship with Gore, Burton has enhanced their own unique designs with the Gore-Tex® brand. The Olympic uniforms feature a fresh and progressive style while also managing to pay tribute to more classic Americana fashion staples. The pants seamlessly integrate the look of real, worn, vintage denim, and the jackets feature preppy plaids adorned with leather patches and chenille crests with both pieces incorporating the performance benefits of Gore-Tex fabric. All product development at Burton is rider driven and this Olympic outerwear is no exception. Burton held a roundtable discussion with top pro-snowboarders and Olympic hopefuls Elena Hight, Mason Aguirre, Danny Davis, Kevin Pearce, Jack Mitrani, Luke Mitrani, Steve Fisher, Scotty Lago, and Louie Vito to review design concepts for the outerwear before arriving at the final creation.
“Since its inception, Burton has been a rider driven company,” said Jake Burton, Founder and Chairman of Burton Snowboards. “For the creation of the US Snowboard Team uniform, we listened carefully to the riders’ needs and used their input to ensure that the final fit, fabrics and overall design would maximize their performances and take these riders to the podium. It was also absolutely critical to ensure these Olympic uniforms were worthy of bearing the Burton name.”The partnership with the Gore-Tex brand, the official fabric of the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Team’s Olympic outerwear, further enhances the technical designs, enabling riders to compete in a variety of cold weather conditions. Gore-Tex fabrics combat the snow, ice, water and wind, while maintaining breathability, keeping riders drier and more comfortable.
“The Olympic team is made up of the best riders in the world and they demand the best in functionality and performance,” says Brad Hill, NA Snowsports Marketing Leader.” As the leader in technical fabrics, our number one priority at Gore is to make sure our products are best in class. By blending Burton’s unique style with the unbeatable comfort and protection found in Gore-Tex fabric we’re confident the uniforms will enable riders to stay focused on the challenges of the event itself, and not on the distractions bad weather can bring.”... Read more...
In their quest to expose talented artists on a global level, Revolution Snowboard Factory will host The Revolution Art Contest and display the winning art in their showroom and on their website.
“We wanted to create a program where we could find new talented artists, expose their artwork to the world, and give them an opportunity to make some money,” said Brady Fox, General Manager of Revolution MFG. “All types of original artwork, from digital media to high resolution pictures, can be submitted for your chance to win.”The winners of the contest will win a free snowboard with their original artwork, and have their artwork uploaded onto Revolution’s website, buildaboard.com. Whenever the artwork is selected for print on a custom snowboard, the artist will be paid a commission and their artwork will be exposed.
“This is a great opportunity for the up-and-coming artists to the established artist,” said Jared Norby, Art Director of Revolution MFG. “It’s kind of like March Madness, everyone has a shot.”Revolution will also host a gallery in their showroom where the winning artwork will be displayed on custom snowboards. The gallery will take place on April 24, 2009, and is located at 1185 North 1200 West, Orem UT. All artists who wish to enter the contest must complete the registration form at www.theboardzone.com, and submit their artwork by April 3, 2009. More Info: Visit www.theboardzone.com.... Read more...
A relatively new brand in the sunglass and goggle market, Haber Vision is backed by two former Bolle executives who have jumped back into the industry with products they believe the market needs. Haber Vision is an online-only retailer with high-quality products at excellent prices. I've had the new Highline snow-specific goggles on-hand for testing over the past month. When I got them, I was impressed with the overall quality and the clarity of the optics. Slipping them on, the Gun Flash spherical and polarized lens offers just the right color for most light conditions. On the hill, the Highline goggles offer fog-free, no-fuss performance and fit well. I've enjoyed fog-free performance in the backcountry and inbounds on cold/cloudy and mixed sun days. The frame itself fits my medium-sized face and nose well. With a helmet, the nose does pinch my nasal passages just a tad, but not any worse than 90% of the goggles on the market. It must be the helmet/goggle combo on my face that causes me issues in this way--oh well, I'm used to it. The hinged strap attachments keep the goggles sitting flat on your face whether you use a lid or a beanie. I missed having a strap clip, but it's not that big of a deal once you get the goggles on. The Good
- Excellent optical quality
- Lenses are scratch-free so far
- Fog-free performance
- Excellent fit with or without a helmet
- Good quality for the price - $75 (polarized, spherical lenses are usually much more)
- No strap clip
- Not available in local stores
- Relatively-unknown brand
Goggles can be our best friend or our worst enemy. I mean don't we just want to see clearly? Is that too much to ask? Ask and ye shall receive with the Electric EG1 goggle, straight forward specs to help you dodge groms, tree stumps, and yard sales. I have been trying these goggles the past couple of ski days and I love the simple design. The anti-fog coating has been great and I haven't had to put cat crap on. The elastic band fits a helmet perfect and it doesn't have a ton of extra material that bunches up or anything. For the price I really feel like I am getting a ton of bang for my buck. I can see perfectly through the Gold Chrome lens they come with. The lens increases contrast and I don't feel like I am skiing in some toon land with crazy colors. I feel like the medium fit is perfect for my face. They don't have a ton of extra lens or frame that I am lugging around. You even get a free lens from Electric which is always sweet. I got the rose lens because they work for me while I go night skiing. Compared to the Spy and Oakley goggles I have used in the past, these Electrics bring it for sure. Not to mention the high steeze factor. BUY NOW: The Electric EG1 Goggle at Backcountry.com....Read more...
I don't snowboard. The only thing I know about Shaun White is that his nickname is "the flying tomato" or something like that. This year I am thinking of leaving my uber hardcore Arcteryx collection in the closet this season and switching over to the Burton Shaun White Cosmic Delight, gotta get my tomato flyin'. I feel like I am getting left in the dust when it comes to steeze. I chatted with a snowboarder friend of mine and asked him about the Burton jacket quality. Just so happens its not all about 80's colors and an overload of pockets. The Shell Ladies and gentlemen I give you Durashell. This fabric is all about maximizing the waterproof power mixed with breathability through laminating three layers together. Feeling the outer fabric in the store this is going to not only blocking moisture but gnary durable. Boarders tear up their gear and from the looks of things the Cosmic is delivering. The Insulation Low-bulk Thermacore insulation focused on increasing mobility without letting go of warmth. My Primaloft does that...sounds good to me. Whether your a flying tomato or dodging tomatoes on the way down, this jacket will keep you bustin' moves. Ok where do I sign? Finally some style with hardcore materials. Personally I really like the Bright White Faded Stripe, so if you see me dropping a knee at Alta don't boo me off the mountain please. Reality Check! Am I crazy? Should I not worry about looking good on the hill? I really think a re-vamp in style will be more effective then lifting weights and lunges at night. Correct me if I am wrong. Buy Now: Search for the Burton Shaun White Collection Jackets and Gear...Read more...
Maybe it's just me, but I think the 2009 Burton Custom X snowboard looks pretty sick. Especially the wide version, if you live & snowboard in the West (the Rockies, the Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas.....). Cheap snowboard gear it isn't, but your ride is often worth the coin. But you can also buy cheap snowboard gear too -- cheap snowboard gear definitely has its place, especially if you do lots of rail slides and rock jibs and go through a couple of different snowboards in a single season. But if you plan on snowboarding in bottomless powder or hitting huge gap jumps in Grizzly Gulch, the Burton Custom X wide may just be your snowboard of choice. While other companies like Lib Tech are radicalizing snowboard design with banana boards like their Skate Banana snowboards (reverse camber and magna traction sidecut? sweeeeet...) Burton just keeps rocking what's working. The Burton Custom X snowboard takes what has been working for years with the hallowed Burton Custom snowboard and gives it a bit more width for those deeper days. Of course, if you ride park then you'll want the traditional Custom X. But in the pow, there's no better way to make the whole mountain a pow-filled terrain park than to get a bit more width under you. This year Burton gave the Burton Custom X wide an ICS binding mounting system which will give you more options for your stance setup. And you can trust Burton, of course, to be making the board with their Dragonfly wood core and Vaporskin construction. Other highlights of the Burton '08-'09 lineup collection (some of the sickest Burton gear out there --- many of these are shown in the pics at right): - Burton Apres Jacket - Burton Hustla Pant - Burton Entourage Jacket - Burton Vent Pant - Burton Cartel snowboard bindings - Burton Freestyle snowboard bindings - Burton Bullet snowboard - wide - Burton Shaun White Cosmic Delight jacket - Burton Shaun White Noble Gentleman's jacket - Burton Shaun White Bad Moon Rising jacket Click here to check out the Burton Custom X Wide and the rest of the '08-'09 lineup. Click here to check out more killer snowboard gear for cheap....Read more...