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Every year Merrell jackets get better and better. This year my Merrell jacket of choice was the Merrell Nanook Hoodie. Merrell did send me the Nanook to review.
Merrell Nanook Hoodie Features
- 600 fill power premium goose down
- Micro-denier downproof fabric
- Durable Water-Resistant finish sheds moisture from snow and rain
- Internal zip secure chest pocket
- Internal mesh pocket lets you carry your water bottle inside
- Dual zip-secure hand pockets
- Attached hood
- Drawcord adjustable hem
- Price: $199.00
Merrell Nanook Hoodie ReviewHands down the Merrell Nanook Hoodie is one good looking jacket. The style is striking and doesn't look like your standard down jacket. At least on the blue jacket the two tone body and shoulders gives great style. The shoulders are a slightly more durable fabric than the body, which is good if you wear a pack a lot. The orange accents of the zippers and chest rivets add nice variation. The 600 fill down is a versatile down. Sure it's not going to keep you toasty in arctic temperatures but that's not the purpose of the jacket. It's a good all around cold-weather jacket. It has kept me warm down to the low 20s yet I've been able to wear it up into 40s and have been comfortable. I am skeptical of two of the tech specs. The first is the "downproof" fabric. For the first while I was pulling out single feathers that poked through. It wasn't a lot, maybe a dozen or so, but far more than I've had come out of any other down jacket. The second is the water-resistant finish. In snowstorms it didn't take much for the fabric to show wet spots. As the snowflakes would melt the water wouldn't bead, it would soak into the fabric. Not sure if it made it to the down but it's worth noting. There are plenty of pockets all around. Two zippered hand pockets keep your hands warm and valuables secure. They both also double as inner pockets the way they are sewn into the jacket. They aren't fully enclosed on the bottom so only use them for bulky items. The zippered chest pocket is ultra handy. One thing that would really set the hand pockets apart would have been making them fleece-lined. The hood is awesome. 600 fill around your head keeps your head nice and warm. It does have an elastic hem which helps hold it in place a little bit. A drawcord would have been money though. Heading into a wind will blow the hood off. The waist does feature a drawcord which should be a standard feature on all jackets. The Good
- Good Style
- 600 fill is warm and versatile
- Price is nice for a down jacket
- Down pokes through more than I think it should
- Doesn't seem to water-resistant like it says
Bottom Line:Looking for a versatile down jacket with great style? Go with the Merrell Nanook Hoodie Buy Now: Pick up the Merrell Nanook Hoodie [gallery] ... Read more...
All it takes is one look to know that Osprey poured a ton of thought and development into the the Osprey Variant 37 Backpack. My experiences with the Variant 37 this summer were great and I'm looking forward to a full winter of using it. Oh yeah, Osprey sent it to me to test and review a some Oregon summer ski mountaineering trips.
Osprey Variant 37 Backpack Features
- Material: Matrix (420D nylon), Cordura (315D)
- Support/Suspension: HDPE frame sheet
- Removeable waist belt
- Hydration Compatible
- Ski Carry
- Climbing Gear Loops: 2
- Ice Axe Loops: 2
- Adjustable tool bungees
- Crampon compression pocket
- Glove friendly buckles
- Three-point haul system
- Underlid Pocket
- Wand Pocket
- Weight: (small) 3 lb 4 oz, (medium) 3 lb 6 oz, (large) 3 lb 9 oz
- Volume: (small) 2075 cu in, (medium) 2258 cu in, (large) 2441 cu in
- Price: $178.95
Osprey Variant 37 Backpack ReviewOut of the box I was stoked when I put the Osprey Variant 37 Backpack on for the first time and it fit me perfectly. I'm not that tall but I've had problems in the past with finding packs that fit. The Variant is jam packed with the features you want and a none of stuff you don't care about. The main compartment is big and open. The hydration sleeve is easy to access when empty and an easily fit a 100 oz resevoir. The top compression strap doubles as a rope strap. The extendable lid moves as your loads expands or shrinks. A spindrift collar rolls up under the lid but can unrolled to keep snow out. The lid also features top and under pockets. The crampon compression sleeve is large enought to fit crampons and an avie shovel blade. Side compression straps help keep contents in the sleeve and a small mesh patch at the bottom lets water drain. The "adjustable tool bungee y-clps" were a little funky to figure out but once I did I was a fan. When cinched down they are extremely secure. Definitely one of the better designs I've seen. The ice tool holsters are secure and have a beefier fabric behind them to protect from sharp edges and points. The tool holsters are versatile enough to hold an avie shovel handle. Each side features a wand pocket that doubles as a bottle holder if your so inclined. The ski carry loops were wide enough to easily fit my 115mm tails and carry in the a-frame style. The waist belt is removeable/stowable and features two gear loops for your alpine rack. It is about 3 inches wide and comfortable over a ski jacket and pants or over just a shirt and pants. Shoulder straps were comfy as well and shaped to stay out of the way. Performance was strong both on the uphills and on the down. The profile is slim enough that I didn't bump my elbows when skinning or hiking. On my Mt Hood trip I carried a fair amount of gear and the heavy load was stable and carried well. On ski descents I was able to cinch everything down tight enough to keep it from swaying around. The combination of all the compression straps, shoulder straps, and waist belt kept it secure on my torso. I was able to ski variable snow in variable terrain without worrying about the load. The layout of everything on the pack made the process of "load skis, unload skis, get the ice axe and crampons, stow it all, etc" a relatively painless task. One thing I did think was missing was some sort of side access. It always seems no matter how you pack you always need to fish something out of the bottom of the pack. On the side of the mountain, in the snow, it would have been nice to be able to get to the bottom of the pack without having to unload. The Good
- Great feature set
- Climbed and skied well
- No side access
Bottom Line:The Variant 37 is awesome. It's a strong performer for ski mountaineering. Buy Now: Pick up the Osprey Variant 37 Backpack ... Read more...
What exactly is a "Compounder"? Adhesive substances? Nope. Fractions? Nope. An awesome jacket meant for whatever you can throw at it? Yep. Columbia continues to step up their game. The Columbia Compounder Jacket is great all-around jacket for those who like to get out doing a lot of different things. Columbia sent me the Compounder to review this spring and summer.
Columbia Compounder Jacket Features
- Fabric: 100% 2.5 layer polyester plain weave
- Omni-Dry ultra breathable waterproof fully seam sealed
- Omni-Wick EVAP® advanced evaporation
- Attached, adjustable, helmet compatible storm hood
- Drawcord adjustable hem
- Waterproof zippers
- Drop tail
- 5 pockets
- Internal key clip
- Abrasion resistant chin guard
- Center back length: 30 in
- Price: $300
Columbia Compounder Jacket ReviewThe Columbia Compounder Jacket would fit well in the "all-around" jacket category. It is a strong performer in a lot of different conditions. The combination of the 2.5 layer Omni-Dry construction was more than enough to keep the weather out. From rain storms, to blizzards, to 40 mph winds, the Compounder kept the weather at bay. I had full confidence when I wore it. The thing that sets it apart from other jackets is the Omni-Wick Evap technology. This is supposed to make the Compounder ultra breathable by using "a special compound that disperses sweat quickly across a broad surface area for accelerated evaporation.". I'm a sweat machine so I was very excited about this. I came away from testing with mixed feelings. Overall it does a decent job. In cold conditions it did well moving moisture. When temps were warmer I was sweating more than the jacket could move. It's definitely not an "active" jacket for running but it does well for hiking, backcountry skiing, resort skiing, or other activities that don't have high levels of output. To be completely fair, other shells have a hard time keeping up with moisture management. With that in mind, though, the Compounder is one of the better performing jackets when it comes to moisture management. It does come with full pit zips which help with additional ventilation. The hand pockets are mesh lined so if things get bad you can open them up as well. The downfall to the mesh pockets is when you get sweaty whatever is in your pockets will get soaked. The two hand warmer, two inside pouch, and one chest pocket allow you to carry way more than you need in your pockets. The fleece lined chin area keeps your face from getting rubbed raw. The drawcord hem will help keep the weather out. The Compounder is relatively lightweight and packs down pretty small. I've kept it stashed away in my pack for when I need it. Once again it's a good all-around jacket so it won't get as small or as lightweight as some shells out there. The hood is big and adjustable. It will fit over many helmets and can snug down tight. It handled 40 mph crosswinds on Mt Hood without shaking or flapping loose. I was able to adjust it small enough to give good coverage of my face. The length is long enough to give good coverage for when your skiing but not so long that you look like a dork when you wear it around town. The Good
- Great all-around jacket
- Lightweight and pack able
- Relatively breathable
- Mesh pockets allow contents to get sweaty
Bottom Line:The Columbia Compounder is a strong contender. It's a good all-around jacket. Buy Now: Pick up the Columbia Compounder Jacket[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...
The snow has stopping falling, resorts have closed and the days of charging steep and deep powder is just a figment of our imagination. Why wait until Fall or the snow to start falling again to get in shape for the ski season. Golden Coast Productions the producers of Surf Stronger -The Surfer's Workout just released their third workout DVD Ski Stronger - The Skier's Workout. Certified trainer, Scott Adams takes you step-by-step through a ski specific training program to help develop the leg strength, core stability, and total body conditioning to make you a better athlete and a better skier. Workout all summer and make your friends jealous when opening day rolls around. About: Golden Coast Productions is the proud maker of Ski Stronger--The Skier’s Workout and the popular Surf Stronger video series. Drawing on research-based principles of exercise science and extensive skiing and surfing experience, these sport-specific workout programs are challenging and effective. It is our belief that the better your fitness for your sport, the better you'll perform and enjoy your sport. Ski Stronger Review Feel the burn. The first time I did the Ski Stronger workout I was so sore. Sore in a good way. Living in Tahoe I thought I was in ski shape, but I guess that wasn't the case. Although I wasn't too sure after the first workout feeling sore I decided to continue. After 3 days a week for a few weeks I started to feel a difference all around. I would like to say my skiing improved, but I'm a boarder. With that said I did start to feel stronger and with my core stability improved powder days became even more enjoyable. Even though the season has now ended I've continued using the Ski Stronger video 2 days a week mixing it up with Surf Stronger, gym workouts, yoga, hiking and my summer favorite mountain biking. What do you do to stay in shape during the summer? MSRP: $34.95 (video), $14.99 (ipod download) 60-Minute Workout Breakdown: 5 Minutes: Pre-ski warm up routine. Focused on building dynamic flexibility. 35 Minutes: The skier’s workout. Building core stability, leg strength, balance and endurance specific to skiing while using movements related to skiing. You might feel like you are skiing in your living room 8 Minutes: The skier’s flexibility routine. A series of stretches and yoga movements geared to enhance and build mobility for your hips, legs and back. 12 Minutes: Express core workout. Focused on back, hip and abdominal muscles for added strength, stability and endurance in your core making you feel stronger on powder days! Pro's:
- Simple, easy to follow
- At home workout
- Feeling Stronger after a few days
- Take it anywhere on your ipod
- Additional purchases may apply: Pair of Dumbbells, Fitness Ball, Yoga Mat (optional)
- Personal motivation to keep going (working out with a partner might be helpful)
When you live in a ski town it's hard waiting for the next powder day. As anticipation builds you might dream about face shots and pillow drops or do a little snow dance and call on Ullr. Either way when you hear “powder day” you're giddy like a kid on Christmas morning! Of course on those mornings after a good snowfall you wake up anyone and everyone in the house throw on your gear slam back coffee some H2o and any food you can quickly throw together, all while heading out the door. Did I miss anything? Maybe a little shoveling, but that can always wait until you've gotten your powder fix in. Here are a few of my top powder stashes at Heavenly located in South Lake Tahoe CA. 3. Western Perimeter (aka WP) Accessed via Olympic Chair (Nevada Side) WP offers some of the most hidden stashes, steeps, pillow drops and natural features for your shredding pleasure. Head into The Pines (skier’s left) and follow the boundary line as long as you can. If you’re lucky you’ll make the high road reaching the top of the burn where typically a nice cornice drop can be found. From there drop in and have fun. Jump on the Northbowl chair to head back up the mountain. 2. Milkyway Bowl To guarantee fresh POW turns this should be your first run of the day. Milkyway is well worth the traverse or short hike. Plus you can hit Mott Cayon right after, given the gates are open. Access Milkyway Bowl via Dipper Chair on the Nevada side or Skyline Trail coming from Cali Side. If you didn’t know, now you know - Heavenly spans over California and Nevada. 1. Firebreak You’re not a local if Firebreak isn’t on your list of favorite Heavenly spots on a powder day. Technically this “run” is out of bounds. Marked with a skull and crossbones “You May Die” Firebreak can be accessed through the back country gate skier’s left via Olympic Chair (Nevada Side). It will not disappoint from steep trees to scenic views not to mention epic powder turns in every direction. Nothing is off limits. Once you’re down, if that wasn’t enough you can always head back up the gondola for more. Tip: Don’t go alone and if you’re a firebreak virgin take an alumni or you might end up hiking out.If you haven’t caught on powder days equal tree riding to this girl and Heavenly hands down has the best in the basin. Check out Tahoe Stash for other spots any local may or may not share. What are some of your favorite spots on a powder day? Pray for Snow, Tiara... Read more...
With good tunes and lots of big lines in deep pow, "The Way I See It" is the ski movie you've been craving. Looking for a good ski movie that is low on the jibbers and bad rap, and high on sick lines and good tunes? Look no further than the recently released Matchstick Productions film "The Way I See It." The film strikes a good balance between the teenagers in jackets that look like dresses and big mountain skiing. Clearly, I'm biased. I don't ski to ski down stair rails, to wear bright green/pink/orange/blue ski jackets that come down to my knees, or to wear my pants at my ankles while jumping over boxes and onto concrete steps. Personally, I feel like that "scene" has dominated the ski movie industry as of late (save Powderwhore), which isn't something I'm stoked about. I ski to ski powder. And I like my ski movies to be full of it. So, keep that bias in mind as I provide you with my impression of "The Way I See It."
The Way I See "The Way I See It"As the first big ski movie of the season shown at Alyeska Ski Resort, everyone was pumped to head to the opening of "The Way I See It." You know that vibe, when everyone is chomping at the bit to get back on skis, and wants to drool over some powder to get stoked for the season (especially when you know your home mountain has some serious screen time in the movie). As the film began, and scenes of epic mountains, a helicopter and some big lines filled the screen, I knew it was going to be a good movie. Then, as the sound got cranked up and the familiar guitar riff of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" played so loud that it resonated inside my chest, I (and the rest of the crowd) went wild. A ski movie that opens with big mountains and Queen!? I'm in. As the rest of the film unfolded, it did not disappoint. With skiers like Bobby Brown, Ingrid Backstrom, Arne Backstrom, Sean Pettit and countless others, plus a soundtrack featuring Queen, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Postal Service and Weezer, the boys at Matchstick Productions hit the nail on the head. A perfect mix of park and pow, I've never enjoyed a ski movie so thoroughly. Shot in locations from Alaska to Tahoe to Switzerland to Colorado to Japan, "The Way I See It" takes you on a worldwide journey, truly showing you how these athletes see skiing and the world around them.
Check It OutView the teaser yourself. But be prepared, much like a good first date, it'll leave you wanting more.
HoliGEARLooking for a a gift for the skier or snowboarder on your list? Matchstick Productions "The Way I See It" is sure to bring Christmas cheer, disguised as powder skiing and Queen. Buy Now! Matchstick Productions' "The Way I See It" Ski Movie... Read more...
I've been using the POC Skull Light XP helmet (comes with optional visor) while skiing this winter and I have been very impressed. It isn't perfect (low ventilation, limited adjustable sizing, and some issues with the visor) but it is by far the most comfortable ski helmet I've ever worn. For those of you unfamiliar with POC, it is a higher-end producer of helmets, goggles, and protective gear for skiing and biking. They make exceptional armor for ski racing, and the style for all their products is quite clean and unique. I have enjoyed this helmet when skiing big mountain on my rocker skis or when bombing the groomed on my Nordica Fire Arrow 80s. The Skull Light XP helmet is not a full-face helmet, and it has soft ear covers instead of hardshell ear protection. Some prefer the burliness of the latter, but I much prefer a helmet that is easy on / easy off. Also, on warmer days it's easy to take out the soft ear covers and let your ears feel some wind to cool down. It works for the desert fox, why not for humans too? The Skull Light XP appeared to be a perfectly cylindrical fit, whereas most people's heads are not exactly shaped that way. I was worried that it would pinch my forehead (my head is longer fore/aft than it is wide). The first moment I put it on it seemed a touch tighter than I was used to for the size. But within an hour of wearing it I felt it had shaped very well to my head. Reality is that I'm always quite worried about purchasing a helmet that is too tight --- but usually they pack out very quickly to be too big. The POC fit was snug at first, and it quickly compressed to be just right. The helmet has a lightweight feel, without much slop. No room for a beanie under it -- and I think that would be too warm anyway. The Skull Light doesn't have much in the way of ventilation, but with the removable earpieces I'm not worried about that. I tried the helmet with both a pair of Smith Phenom goggles and a pair of POC Iris Bug goggles (the Iris Bug are shown in the pictures at right). Both fit very well into the shape of the helmet face. One interesting element of the helmet is the visor. I like it because it makes me look more like I'm wearing a baseball cap than a helmet -- kind of like when wearing the Smith Variant Brim helmet. However, the visor is quite long. It is a welcome shade to your eyes on sunny days when glare can be annoying. And like a baseball cap, it blocks a bit of your vision upward. I haven't yet tried a backflip while wearing this helmet yet, but I can imagine that could be a little unnerving to have your upward vision cut short by just a bit. The visor on the helmet is easily removable with one flat-head screw on each side. The worry I had with the visor was that it would block me from resting my goggles on the forehead of the helmet when standing in line or when bootpacking, skinning, or otherwise working up a sweat that could threaten a fog-job on my goggles. The great thing about the 2-screw style of the visor is that you can lift it up and place your goggles on the rim of the helmet if you wish (see picture at right). However, this also means that if you lift your chin much while skiing at speed (like when riding up the wall of a halfpipe) then the visor catches the wind like a sail and flips up. That can get real annoying in those situations -- I wish they had some smaller versions of the visor available to purchase for the helmet. I would really like to try the POC Synapse XP helmet which appears to have a shorter visor. But I wish POC would make a visor similar to the Variant Brim from Smith. FYI -- the helmet does not have a clip for the goggle strap. This worried me at first, but then I realized that I didn't miss it much. Some prefer to put their goggles into their helmet strap, then pull their goggle frame forward over the top of the helmet and then down onto their face. Without a goggle clip, you will instead place the goggle frame on your face first and then pull the strap back over the top of your head to put it in place. If you have some goggles with a clip, this is even easier. But if you've put on a goggle strap extender, then your strap's clip is non-existent anyway -- so it's the same either way. The Good
- Very snug but comfortable fit
- Lightweight feel
- Smooth profile
- Attractive style (in this author's opinion)
- Chin strap is comfortable, easy to adjust
- Soft earpieces are warm but easy to remove
- Visor shields glare, and makes your head look less like a torpedo
- Visor lifts to allow you to rest your goggles on the helmet rim (see picture)
- No goggle strap clip
- Visor can catch the wind like a sail
- Minimal ventilation, except for removable earpieces
- Limited adjustability for different-sized heads - does not have circumference adjusters like many helmets (bike and ski) do nowadays
Bottom Line: POC Skull Light XP helmetWhile this POC helmet lacks some adjustability, and the visor takes a little getting used to, it is an exceptionally comfortable fit with a slim profile and lightweight feel. Buy Now: POC Skull Light XP helmet... Read more...
With the Atlas Run snowshoes, I've been able to extend trail running deeper into Winter's grasp. It's been fun adding snowshoe running to my myriad of Winter-time exercise options. While I prefer running on hardpacked trails with trail running shoes, the Atlas Run snowshoes allow you to run efficiently on softer trails. Admittedly, I'm no snowshoeing expert, so this is really a review from a newbie just getting the hang of snowshoe running. The Run snowshoes are very light-feeling with an effective binding system. Without any fuss, I was able to slip my Montrail Mountain Masochist GTX trail runners into the bindings. The Z-shaped forefoot strap was easy to cinch with a single pull of the strap. Excess strap tucked neatly into the provided O-ring loop on the bottom strap. Pulling the rubber heel attachment snugly in place is also super-easy. The result of the running-specific binding is a secure and natural-feeling stride for running. My feet always felt secure and comfortable throughout my runs. I felt the Atlas Run snowshoes provided just the right size for running with a slightly shorter stride than usual. When I stretched out my stride to a more typical running stride, the back of the snowshoe would whack my ankles--quickly reminding me to shorten up. Once I found the ideal stride, I felt supported and comfortable on hardpacked and semi-packed trails. When venturing into the untracked trails (10-12" new snow), these shoes met their match as the surface area just isn't enough to keep you on top. At a walking stride, trudging through untracked snow wasn't so bad, but if that's your intention for these shoes, I'd look elsewhere as these are made for running on mostly-packed trails. Once you find the right type of snowpack, you can really get a killer running workout with these snowshoes. I ran on mostly-packed trails with a few inches of new snow and they performed just dandy. Should you be breaking trail, you won't be doing much running in these. The Good
- Extremely-light and efficient
- Binding system is optimized for running
- Bindings are comfortable and easy-to-cinch
- One of the few running-specific snowshoes on the market
- Running-specific design makes them a less ideal for hiking
- Need to find the right trail conditions to actually run in these
- A lot of snow will fly around behind as you run, so zip all pockets, etc.
Bottom Line: Atlas Run SnowshoesRunning-specific snowshoes are a rare breed, but the Atlas Run snowshoes are fun and efficient if you can find the right type of trail conditions in your area. Buy Now: Search for Atlas Snowshoes... Read more...
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 12) - Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) added some more oomph to his trophy collection Friday as he clinched the second Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom title of his career with third in the season's final event. The victory places Ligety, a Head Skis athlete, in some pretty illustrious company as he joins Phil Mahre to become the only American men to earn two World Cup giant slalom titles.
"Having two globes is awesome," Ligety said. "It's cool to have those and to be the best in giant slalom over the last couple of years is nice."Ligety's GS title is his second in three years, having won in 2008. Phil Mahre is the only other American man to win two, taking back-to-back titles in 1982 and '83. Bode Miller won the GS crown in 2004. The GS was won by Carlo Janka of Switzerland, who locked the men's overall World Cup title with the win, followed by Davide Simoncelli of Italy in second. Ligety had a solid first run and, after falling slightly behind at the third interval, he picked up the pace in the second run to tie for third in the giant slalom race with Austrian Philipp Schoerghofer.
"It's always better to tie someone than be one hundredth behind, so I was happy to be on the podium," Ligety mused.With a somewhat narrow 43 point lead on the giant slalom standings going into Friday's race, Ligety said things fell into place on game day for him to beat his toughest challengers for the title.
"I knew I had to have a good first run and I was pretty lucky in the sense that [Massimiliano] Blardone had a big screw up and then Marcel [Hirscher] got disqualified," Ligety said. "That opened it up for me and I skied decently in the second run."While those advantages locked Ligety in the title run before his second run, the 2006 Olympic champ had no idea he had already won the globe when the time came for him to race.
"I didn't actually know that I had won the title no matter what at that point," Ligety said. "I would have gone harder had I known that, but I had a safe second run and was still pretty excited to get on the podium."With the title Ligety added the 2010 discipline title to the first he won in 2008. He also capped the year with three consecutive World Cup podiums in GS to bookend a season that began with second in Soelden, Austria last October. Despite his success in GS, Ligety was looking for more with his slalom, but has one more chance in slalom Saturday to end on a high note.
"I don't feel like the year has been great otherwise, so it's definitely nice to walk away with the globe," Ligety said. "It's cool to be able to ski at this level for multiple years."Wrapping up the race Ligety noted the future he hopes to have on the hill when 2011 World Championships are held here.
"The hill is actually pretty good. It's difficult on the top and then the bottom has a super long flat," he said. "It's a confidence booster to do well on the hill that you know you're going to have World Championships here."Ligety and teammate Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) close out individual competition Saturday during World Cup Finals in Germany during the slalom event. Watch: Visit UniversalSports.com... Read more...
There is always a lot of talk about puffy jackets and fleecy mid-layers that look cool on the outside, but the layer against your skin is probably some of the most under-appreciated gear you have. I've seen many guys wearing t-shirts or other cotton material under really expensive jackets -- definitely a newbie mistake. Once you get sweaty and that cotton soaks it up, then it doesn't matter how many insulating layers you have if you are wearing an icy layer of cooled-off cotton right against your skin. The moisture-wicking Polarmax 4-way Stretch Zip Turtleneck could be your answer. I have been a fan of zip turtlenecks for a long time, since I was barely 10 years old, because they are so useful for regulating core body temperature. Overheating? Just unzip the neck a bit and you get a blast of cool air right down your chest. Too chilly? Zip it up full and retain that heat. Polarmax takes that value and extends it further by building a 4-way stretch material (Acclimate dry polyester) into their Mountain Skins line, whereas most competitive zip turtlenecks are only 2-way stretch. This makes for a noticeably more comfortable range of motion for highly athletic activities. Also the Polarmax zip-turtleneck is a much thicker wicking material than many others, so it is what I pull out on the coldest days. I've used it backcountry skiing as well as nordic skiing. It was too warm for nordic skiing, so I had to go most of the time showing off my hairy chest with it fully unzipped. But the 4-way stretch was very welcome for such an aerobic activity. If I were to use it for cycling it would have to be longer in the waist and not so thick. Good Polarmax: The 4-way stretch is really comfortable for the really active adventures you do. The thick material is 90% Acclimate dry polyester, 10% Spandex, and is very welcome for backcountry skiing. Even more welcome riding the lift on blizzard days. It is cut very square in the torso, which was the perfect cut for me (while I'm fit, I don't really have the lats of a swimmer). But I had others with a v-shaped torso try it and they felt it was too much material in the body. To each their own. Overall, the medium fit me well (I am 5'11" and 170lbs). Bad Polarmax: The zip-turtleneck is great for regulating body temperature, but was very uncomfortable on my Adam's apple so I had to use it a little unzipped most of the time (see pic at right, with me wearing my avalanche beacon over the shirt). We have had side-zip collars on ski jackets for a while now (see the Oakley Alps Jacket and the Arc Teryx Sidewinder) but why isn't anyone making side-zip turtlenecks? Maybe someone is, and I just haven't seen them yet. Seems like a no-brainer. My last gripe is the wrist cuffs. They are quite tight, which I suppose is good for blocking out snow and wind from making its way up your sleeve. But I very much prefer a wrist cuff that actually hangs a bit below the wrist and is looser, possibly with thumb loops. The tight wrist cuffs are uncomfortable when you reach above your head (to clip your goggles to your helmet, for example) because the cuffs get stuck halfway up your forearm. Then you have to fish your fingers inside your jacket cuff to try to pull them down. But again -- it's personal preference on the wrist cuff style. BUY NOW: Search for Polarmax products....Read more...
Seems that little in the news is gaining attention these days if it isn't about health care reform, the ins and outs of Washington politics or the world crisis's. Switching gears to skiing the highlights are things like the X-Games, avalanches and the big mountain skiers. But in case you've forgotten amidst the news and chatter of online forums, just a few days off there's this little event that happens every four years called the Winter Olympics and it's about to be center stage for the whole world, especially if sliding on snow is your thing. A new documentary film by Brett Morgan called "Truth in Motion" highlights the road of the U.S. skiers have taken to get to the Winter Olympics. I had the chance of a sneak peak of the film and it's given me some additional insights about ski racers. I was already going to watch the Olympics but I'm even more amped to see how the skiers in the film do, feeling now that I "know" them much better.
Ski Racers - a rare breedSki racers are a rare breed. Not because the limelight these days seems to be on how much air you get out of the pipe or how steep and gnar the peak is that you ski down. No, ski racers are a rare breed because of how meticulous they are and how intensely focused they become when it comes to sliding on snow...albeit at 60-70 mph. Bottom line is that ski racing, like anything worth the reward, takes a tremendous amount of work and desire, the kind that few have. I say a ski racers are a rare bread because the determination and focus they have is not often seen these days. What this film does so well is draw you into their experiences, good and bad, and shows you that despite that focus, there is also a hint of fear and sometimes discouragement. Yes, ski racers are human too.
The FilmThe film starts out by setting the scene with the now infamous fall by Scott McCartney at the Hannenkamm in Kitzbuhl, a fall that nearly cost Scott his life. It dives into Scott's desire to come back and his challenges along that path: The cinematography is exceptional and I found myself being really drawn into the shots, feeling like I'm there skiing it, feeling the cool air of the passing skiers. Honestly, having not come from a racing background, I haven't had feelings, longings to ski race like this since High School when I chose the path of ski instructor over ski racer. This coming from a guy that spends 90% of his time on skis in the backcountry. As the documentary flows it highlights a number of skiers and their various struggles and obstacles that they must overcome to make the U.S. Ski Team and to be one of the best in the world. One highlight is that of racer Sarah Schleper, a three-time Olympian who at age 30 is making a comeback from motherhood and is pushing to be back on the podium this season. Ted Ligety's second in the GS at Solden earlier this season is a highlight seen through different eyes and it's hard not to want Jake Zamansky's comback to the team to culminate with him making the Olympic Ski Team as you see the type of work he puts in not only on the hill but off. Of the film Ted Ligety says,
"It's not every day that the American public gets to see what we do as ski racers. It's cool because I think it's the first time that any major production crew has followed ski racing and what we do on a day to day basis...and what we do as our passion to appreciate what we're doing."
When will the film show?The film debuts tonight, January 30 on NBC at 8:00 pm EST. It will re-aire on the following dates and channels: USA: Saturday, Feb 6, 5-6pm Universal Sports: Sunday Jan 31, 10-11pm Monday Feb 8, 8-9pm Thursday Feb 11, 9-10pm
The Teaser... Read more...
The Jackson Hole Air Force is legendary in skiing circles. These guys were pushing the limits of the terrain and the patience of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The film is airing across the country now in ski towns nationwide, or is available on DVD for small-screen viewing. From Swift. Silent. Deep.
Swift Silent Deep is a documentary ski film about a revolutionary underground band of rebel skiers who called themselves the Jackson Hole Air Force. Swift Silent Deep opens the book on a notorious group of hardcore ski bums who checked authority as they explored the out-of-bounds terrain of Jackson Hole and unwittingly became the fathers of the extreme skiing movement. This great ski movie features incredible archival ski footage and a great cast of characters, including Benny Wilson, Howard Henderson, Scot Schmidt, the founders of Teton Gravity Research, Warren Miller, and the late Doug Coombs. Swift Silent Deep is a must for any ski film collection.
View the Swift. Silent. Deep. TrailerMore Info: Visit SwiftSilentDeep.com... Read more...
Well this came out of no where. Who would have thought Columbia would jump on the 80's bandwagon of colors to ring in the 2009-2010 ski season? I mean we are talking some crazy colors that will soon be flaunted downtown and on the slopes. My first ski jacket was actually a Columbia. I would post a link to the model but it was before Al Gore invented the Internet. Let's just say it was bright yellow, had this fluffy insert, and was as waterproof as a sponge. I've had the chance to look at a handful of Columbia jackets out this year and overall I think the style is right on. I mean. It's all about the colors anyway, who cares how they perform? Sorry, its Tuesday and my sarcasm is over flowing. Columbia boasts the Omni-Tech and Titanium construction to be waterproof and breathable. Even if Arcteryx and eVent are screaming the same claims I have to get outside and use this stuff before I can say they can actually walk the walk. Some of the jackets I've been able to use in the moisture but not all of them. Rodeo Magic II Shell - $200 First on the docket is the el Magic Shell. The inner lining has the micro fleece which is nice for throwing on real quick to go shovel the walk way. The arms are quite bulky which for me a treehugger telemark skier isn't cool. If telemarkers had it their way, we would all be back in those tight spandex and snug racer jackets. The pockets on the Magic are fleece lined which, if your not lining your pockets with fleece then designers need to wake up to the cries of ladies who complain about cold hands. Haven't been able to test in the snow but from the feel of it I think it will do fine. You knuckle-draggers might need something a bit more waterproof in the bum area since your sitting quite a bit. The Ice Ice Jacket - $120 I can't help it! I have to make a Vanilla Ice joke! "too cold, too cold...Kick it one time, BOOOY!!" Ok I'm good now. Has a more slimmed feel with also more water proofing, being seam sealed and all. I took this camping and luckily it rained. Popped up the hood and cooked my soup for about 40 min. and it kept me dry. To me, if a jacket can perform in the rain then your set. Also has fleece body paneling which I first saw from Mountain Hardwear using their Pimp Chimp fleece. The collar comes up a little high if you ask me, how am I suppose to breath with jacket in my face? You know us telemarkers, huffing and puffing to keep up with our uber cool alpine friends. Git Down Puffy Jacket - $170 If your considering shoplifting during the winter the Git Down is a stellar choice. Careful running after you snag a Blu-Ray player though because you'll overheat in this puffy really quick, just like any down filled piece. For an around the town jacket this would make sense. I wouldn't take it winter hiking or skiing, way to bulky and low water-resistance. Not sure how much 'Git'n Down' your going to get with the Git Down, but hey the colors are crazy. I see mostly casual use for this jackets future. Mahagony Ridge Parka - $200 For those 'save the Earth' types, the Ridge offers 57% recycled polyester along with a completely seam-sealed shell. I don't care for the removable hood. I mean, honestly anytime something comes completely detached; its gone. I like when companies tuck the hood in the collar a lot more. The zip in liner cranks up the price a bit more than the other models. The fit is quite baggy, only snowboarders need apply. Fleece-lined pockets are a plus and should be standard in all jackets in my opinion. The Ice Ice jacket is by far my favorite jacket. It fits the best and I can tell it will resist moisture really well. It really is nice to see Columbia up the ante with cool styles. Hopefully the quality performs well this season. But hey, for the price, you get into a solid jacket that meshes well with the 80's scene. Check out the Columbia line to stay warm and in style this winter. ...Read more...
Wanting to test your legs against other nordic skiers before the trails open this year? Every year The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) throws a bit of a fitness test for everyone prior to the ski season. The TUNA Mountain Challenge 2009 will be held this weekend, Sunday October 11, at world-famous cross-country ski resort Soldier Hollow in beautiful Midway, Utah. Or as I like to call it, New Switzerland. Every nordic nut wants to test whether his body is ready for the x-country skiing season, and this is the perfect venue. The Mountain Challenge is an off-road duathlon (bike and run). It consists of a 5k run and a 10k bike portion. See TUNA's announcement below for more details:
Join us at Soldier Hollow on Sunday, Oct. 11, for the annual TUNA Mountain Challenge, our traditional early-season fitness check. The race is an off-road duathlon, a 5k trail run followed by 10k on the bike. You can race as a two-person team or do the race solo. Don't have a team? We'll set you up on race morning. No one will be turned away, even if you only want to do the run or the ride. This is a low-key, fun event, and all are welcome. Registration is day-of only, from 9a to 9.45a. Race starts at 10a. There will be a shorter loop option for those under 14. For Tuna members, entry fees are $10 for those over 14 and $5 for those 14 and under. Add $5 for non-Tuna members. Entry fee is the same whether you are doing the race solo or as part of a team. Every dollar of the entry fees will go to help TUNA Mountain Dell groomer Jesse Stewart, who is facing some serious medical issues. The bike portion is not technical, and is cyclocross friendly. A road bike will not work. Helmets are mandatory. Our white elephant prize table is one of the race highlights. Each racer is expected to bring an item for the prize table. The most common items are leftovers from the sporto closet, clean and in good shape. Past items have included roller skis, jackets, wax, gloves, fresh-baked pies and breads, concert tickets .... NO t-shirts or water bottles, please. A few volunteers are needed to make this race happen. If you can help (or bring a friend as a volunteer), please contact Chris Magerl. Questions? Call Chris, 801.595.8293.SEARCH FOR: nordic gear... Read more...
I grew up poring over magazines filled with photos of Trevor Petersen's skiing, and reading articles about the ski mountaineering exploits of him and his best bud Eric Pehota. Tragically, several years ago Trevor was killed in a coulior in the Alps of Chamonix, France. The entire ski community mourned, not unlike with Shane McConkey's death earlier this year. But a few years ago skiing icon Glen Plake helped young Kye come to Chamonix and see the coulior where his dad died. When skiing conditions happened to be good, it became apparent that if young Kye ever wanted to ski the coulior then now would be a good time. So he did, with all of his dad's old skiing friends. The documentary film 'The Edge of Never' follows Kye and his dad's friends on this journey. I was very pleased to see Rossignol and Dynastar step up as proud sponsors of 'The Edge of Never.' See the press release below from these companies about their support of the film.
Park City, October 6, 2009: The Edge of Never is a documentary feature film set in the world of big mountain skiing. It is a real-life coming of age saga about the tribe of skiers who challenge the biggest, most dangerous mountains in the world. In 1996 extreme-skiing legend Trevor Petersen, a long time Rossignol athlete, was killed in Chamonix, France. Nine years later, skiing icon Glen Plake decides it’s time for Trevor’s 15-year-old son, Kye, one of Rossignol’s top athletes, to ski the route that killed his father and join the tribe of big-mountain skiers. In this thrilling film, three generations of skiers mentor Kye as he attempts to finish his father’s final run. One of the mentors is long time Chamonix Guide and Dynastar athlete, Stephen ‘FanFan’ Dan. FanFan plays an integral role in Kye’s journey and sets off on a terrifying journey of his own. A ripping adventure tale of a young man coming of age, The Edge of Never is also a rich and subtle portrait of men and women who live big in the face of their greatest fears. This film is rich with Rossignol and Dynastar heritage and we are proud to support this inspiring documentary, “The Edge of Never captures and communicates the best of skiing in so many ways – travel, terrain, family, challenge and conquest – that we, at Rossignol and Dynastar are honored to be a part of it. I strongly urge anyone who’s ever shared the inspiration of the mountains with family, or anyone who’s ever been curious about the most challenging mountains in the world, to go see The Edge of Never,” says Tait Wardlaw, VP of Brands, Marketing and Communications for The Rossignol Group. THE EDGE OF NEVER begins where ski films leave off, or never dared to go. While these movies rely on action and loud music to provide a momentary rush that quickly melts away, THE EDGE OF NEVER combines those elements with mythic storytelling to produce a film experience that’s fun, but also meaningful and memorable.SEARCH FOR: Rossignol gear SEARCH FOR: Dynastar gear ... Read more...
Seattle just keeps churning out creative geniuses. Its latest fortunate son? Erik Seo, the skiing world's hottest photographer. Originally from Seattle, he is now based in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. If you want evidence of his craft just take a look at his latest magazine cover, the October 2009 issue of none other than Powder Magazine -- for decades widely recognized as the world's finest skiing publication. World's hottest ski photographer and world's finest ski mag...match made in heaven. I hope Powder makes Seo covers a regular habit. See his commentary about how the shot happened. While he has captured cover shots across the globe and enjoys an international reputation, this was his first cover shot on a major US-based magazine. Reading his comments below you realize how far today's photographers are pushing it to capture the ultimate shot. And the results are clearly ground-breaking.
It feels very good to get my first U.S. cover, especially since it’s the cover of Powder. I grew up reading Powder. Every time it came, I read it cover to cover. They’re all still sitting around in boxes. I think I have as old as ’89. I look back through occasionally this time of the year to see if there’s something that inspires me. Some of those photos are timeless. Some things aren’t gonna change; there’s still gonna be that ridiculously deep pow shot with 7 a.m. light. As for the shoot, it was the most elaborate setup for lights that I’ve seen go into a photo shoot. The PoorBoyz crew brought in these five lights that were the size of high school stadium lighting. As far as my lighting goes, I brought everything I had plus another lighting kit from a friend of mine. The plan was to spend the late afternoon getting set up, but it was a lot more work than we expected. It was really cold. It got below zero overnight while we were there. By the time we actually got going it was about 10 p.m. The pipe didn’t even get cut till 8 p.m. Tanner was chilling out for a while, then, I don’t know where he went. We were all in our own little world getting set up. Hopefully he went to warm up. I had my two big lights on each side of the pipe. To get the green effect you put gels in front of the lights. The gels are colored plastic sheets and they require a lot more power. I was shooting with my Nikon D3. I switched over to Nikon about a year ago, so I was pretty new with the camera.... Read more...
I logged onto facebook tonight and there was shocked by ski photographer Erik Seo's heart-breaking status post: "RIP Shane McConkey". After a flurry of calls, it was confirmed. Shane McConkey died today in Italy attempting a ski-BASE jump --- a sport he has been a leader in for years. Ski-BASE is when a skier jumps off an enormous cliff, then pulls a parachute. While all facts cannot be confirmed yet, it appears that one of his skis did not release when expected and may have gotten caught in his chute. For those of you unfamiliar with Shane (and if you are really into skiing -- from extreme skiing to park skiing to ski racing -- he has had an impact on you), he was one of the world's most accomplished skiers. 'Extreme skier' the mainstream media would call him, but he refused to be bounded by labels. He was a professional mogul skier in the mid-90s, and he even rode park and halfpipe competitively back in 1999, 2000, and 2001. But then he returned to his favorite focus which was big mountain skiing (usually via helicopter in Alaska, with his cohort JT Holmes, and with Matchstick Productions camera crews documenting his every move). He revolutionized big mountain skiing, ski-BASE, and was the first person I know of to do a switch front flip in the terrain park on twintip skis. Regarding ski-BASE, he truly was one of a kind. I have added a video clip here from one of his movie segments, and you can see just how revolutionary. The Shane McConkey death is definitely a hard blow for the industry to take. Shane was also extremely funny, self-effacing, and a tremendously bright and smiling personality in the industry. Though I didn't know him closely, my encounters with him at various industry events and at competitions where we were fellow competitors will always be cherished memories. So with a very sad heart, I echo Seo: RIP Shane McConkey....Read more...
Fresh from a sweep of two races on the Audi FIS World Cup in Germany, the U.S. Ski Team's Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) charged to her first World Championship title, winning the super G at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Val d'Isere. The Minnesota native won by .34 seconds over French skier Marie Marchand-Arvier.
"I feel like I've worked my whole life for this moment. I've always dreamed of being a World Champion," Vonn said. " Coming through the finish today I just couldn't believe it. I'm so thrilled and so excited. There was so much emotion. You work so hard and to finally have something that you worked hard for, words can't describe it. It's an incredible feeling and I'm just so thankful."Vonn, who took the silver in super G during the 2007 World Championships, became the first U.S. woman to earn a gold in the discipline as well as the first woman to win a World Championship gold since Hilary Lindh, who won downhill in 1997. According to the medalist, though, she wasn't sure she'd make the podium Tuesday.
"Today it was really tough conditions and I didn't know if I was even going to be able to be on the podium, but I skied with my heart. I gave it everything I could and I'm just so thankful and so happy that I was able to come away with a gold medal," Vonn said. "It takes a lot of hard work, not only for myself, but for my coaches, for my husband, for my serviceman, for everyone to make today happen and I'm so thankful that everything fit together perfectly and I was able to win the gold medal."Having the win under her belt from the start, Vonn says a little weight has been lifted off her shoulders for the rest of the reces in Val d'Isere.
"Now that I have a gold medal, that was essentially my goal for the entire World Championships, so I this is going to allow me to ski a little bit more relaxed and take a little bit of the pressure off," Vonn said. "I think it's a great thing and hopefully I am able to keep going with this momentum."But, even with a more relaxed tone, Vonn still has a few goals she wants to accomplish before the World Championships come to a close.
"I really hope that I am able to win a medal in the downhill. That, it think, is my biggest goal because it's my favorite discipline. I love it so much and it just would mean a lot to me if I could be able to succeed in that discipline," Vonn said. "I also have the super combined and the slalom, so I have a few more events left that are medal possibilities.According to Vonn, the World Championships also offer her some preparation time for a larger competition that lies one year over the horizon - the Olympics.
"I have thought about Vancouver and the 2010 Olympics quite a bit. I feel like these World Championships are going to be good preparation for me to get used to the press and expectations and pressure," Vonn said. "I feel like things have changed a lot since the last Olympics and I think people expect me to do well now. For me I'm going to remember the feeling I had today. I'm going to remember mentally how I was in the start and hopefully I will be able to do the same thing in 2010."For now, though, Vonn remains focused on the task at hand.
"I'm just going to keep fighting, keep working hard and hopefully carry this momentum throughout the World Championships," Vonn said.The World Championships continue in Val d'Isere Wednesday with men's super G. Catch the action live on UniversalSports.com at 5:00 a.m. ET. Author: Lindsey Sine Photo Credit: Doug Haney/USSA... Read more...
Have you ever gotten lost? Have you ever admitted it? If you are banging your head on the keyboard because you own a GPS and got lost with it on your dashboard you might want to check Lowrance GPS navigators. Out of the box these puppies pride themselves in ease of use and come with all the extras your looking for in a GPS unit. The Endura series is keeping up with the Apple iPhone and Blackberry Storm craze with having a touchscreen interface to buzz trails or find that POI everyone on the blog is raving about. Pre-loaded maps and SD expansions slots to cram your MP3's and pics are just a few of the treats you get with the Lowrance Endura series.Ben's Chili Bowl. The Sierra accepts many GPX and online community-based content. Geocaching.com to go leave baseball cards in lunch boxes tucked under abandoned railroad carts. Full color and touchscreen makes this easy to use and gives you all the POI's you need for a jam packed road trip. The contours aren't as detailed as the other models but will get you where you need to be. Don't forget Fishing Hot Spots and Lakemaster charts already uploaded to catch the big one. All units are 5.1-inch high x 2.3-inch wide x 1.1-inch deep and weigh you down 5.8oz. Sleek and easy to use, theres no reason not to pack one along and on top of that; not get lost. Check out Lowrance to find the Endura GPS unit that will make your next trip epic. ... Read more...
Getting the best of both worlds only comes once in a long while. You know how you love your merino top and all its benefits? How about your old fleece that you can't throw away? Stop cutting and trying to sew your clothing together, the Backcountry.com Agnello top takes care of it for you. I love my Mountain Hardwear Powerstretch Zip but it can get a bit hot in the chest. The Agnello has merino where it needs to be and then does a powerstretch fleece in the arms. I've taken this skiing a couple times already and it works. Keeping your arms warm is key and after working hard your chest is most likely over heating. Thumb holes. I share Claire's excitement about thumb holes which the Agnello also provides. Cold morning and your typing away at work? Slip on those thumb holes and enjoy. And of course the other 364 days a year your going to need those thumb holes for skiing and running around in the outdoors. I have dubbed this a solid winter piece but I am not ruling it out for backpacking. Sizing is true to size. I am 165lbs. and 5"7' and the medium works great, which is what I normally wear in everything else. Another cool feature is there is powerstretch fleece up the sides of the back placed to keep you plenty warm all around. For camping I used this shirt as a pillow and it worked very nicely, multi-featured, I like it! From what I have seen with Backcountry.com logo wear, I would buy 2-3 of these because you never know if they're going to come back or not. This piece is definitely worth getting a couple of, you never know what tragedy can befall your gear. BUY NOW: The Backcountry.com Prime Agnello Top at Backcountry.com. ...Read more...
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal had a heroic finish, winning the Audi Birds of Prey downhill one year after he had an incredible crash during a training run at Beaver Creek. Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) took the lead for U.S. racers Friday as he finished seventh in the downhill after Bode Miller crashed hard coming into the Screech Owl jump. The men's downhill will air on NBC, the Olympic network, Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
"It's special. This whole week has been special. I knew it was going to be mentally challenging to get back here and be able to get after it because it's for sure in the back of my head what happened here," Svindal said. "I've put energy into not thinking about the wrong things and thinking about the right things like how to ski. I don't think about not crashing because that's going to get you nowhere."Svindal was joined on the podium by Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein, who was second, and third-place finisher Erik Guay of Canada. Nyman, who in addition to placing third in 2006 was second in 2008 at Beaver Creek, said despite his history of success at the Birds of Prey he is happy with his results today.
"You've got to charge to win and I was going for it and I had a little mistake and got dragged pretty wide. It didn't allow me to carry my speed where I wanted to, but I carried my speed everywhere else," Nyman said. "I'm seventh, which is a good rebound from Lake Louise, so I'm stoked."Nyman also gave Beaver Creek credit for pulling off what he feels is a great event that took over 300 volunteers and large amounts of machinery to make it happen after 18 inches of snowfall that forced the cancellation of the super combined Thursday.
"It's incredible what these guys do here. I'm really proud for the way Beaver Creek handled this whole deal," Nyman said. "Every year it seems to just dump here and they prep this hill tremendously. It's awesome and I'm really excited with the way it always comes out."TJ Lanning (Park City, UT), who had a career best ninth-place finish one week prior in a downhill at Lake Louise, followed Nyman for the U.S. in 13th.
"I was a little bummed out that the run got canceled yesterday because I was going to use the downhill portion to practice since I crashed in the training run," Lanning said. "It was a pretty good run. There were a few places that I didn't ski the other day where I lost some speed, but overall I went out and skied and it went pretty good."
Crashes Hinder U.S. ResultsThe Birds of Prey downhill was riddled with DNFs for the U.S., the most notable of which was Miller, who clipped a gate just before Screech Owl and flew across the course smacking head on into fencing. Fortunately, Miller was able to get up on his own. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) also lost control on course, but only skied out.
"I made a really nice turn coming out of the pitch and was carrying good heat, I just got too early on my left foot and got pinched off by the gate, which sent me low," Sullivan explained. "Headed into the next turn, I put pressure right on top of a little roll and it just high-sided me and I shot out toward the fence."Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) who had an incredible 10th place finish in the 2008 Birds of Prey downhill race, also crashed on course, but said he would be back for the super G on Saturday.
"I was going all out and I just hit a rut wrong and got shot over a roller and that was it. All I remember is seeing the fence upside down," Weibrecht said. "I'm doing OK, though. Everything is working right and I'm going to try to get my courage up and get back on it for tomorrow."
Mac Makes StridesScott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA) made significant strides toward his desire to be back on the World Cup podium, finishing 21st one week after his first race back from injury where he finished 59th in a downhill in Lake Louise
"I was pretty happy with how I skied. I needed to get a little more aggressive on the top," Macartney said. "It's coming along and it was another step up from how I was in training and overall I was pretty happy. It's another good step for me."
The Perfect DayA massive crowd at the Birds of Prey downhill was on hand to celebrate a successful race day after the cancellation of the super combined due to poor weather conditions. International racers were busy handing out compliments to the Vail Valley for a great show. Buechel praised course workers for all they did to prepare an excellent race course, while Svindal heaped his praise on the treatment he had a year at the Vail Valley Medical Center. Before the competition began, the audience took a moment to celebrate a noticeably absent presence - the late Paul Robbins. The mountain arena was filled with the ringing of bells and cheering for Robbins, a journalist and historian for the U.S. Ski Team for over 30 years. The Birds of Prey excitement continues Saturday with a super G and wraps up Sunday with a giant slalom. Fans can watch live coverage on UniversalSports.com.... Read more...
A love for the mountains, passion for the sport, and a need for technical, yet stylish outerwear set three guys on a mission to create the ultimate outerwear collection for the true rider. The true rider being the person who loves first tracks, knows the meaning of earning their turns, and has fun “gettin’ ‘er done” on and off the mountain. Tripp Frey, John and Chris Pew are proud to announce the creation of TREW and its inaugural TREW Tour.
TREW Technical Outerwear to LaunchTREW’s premier men’s collection consists of three jackets and two pants, each available in three colorways. The collection re-invents classic pieces with updated colors, technologies and fits. TREW will also be offering hoodies, tees and beanies in addition to its core outerwear. The price points will range from $30.00 to $479.00 and will be available at independent retail shops throughout the country. Tripp, John and Chris are Hood River transplants by way of Michigan and North Carolina and will be touring the U.S. and Canada to formally launch TREW, share the brand’s philosophy and have some fun. A customized TREW RV, complete with solar panels, will be traveling throughout the U.S. starting in December and ending whenever the snow melts. The three of them intend to visit snow destinations in British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Each stop will be unique to its own; however, each stop will include product previews, giveaways, barbeques, beverages, visits to the local pubs, and of course riding. TREW will also be meeting with local retailers to present the collection throughout their journey. Information and updates about the TREW Tour will be posted continuously on TREW’s website www.TrewGear.com. Be sure to keep an eye out for the TREW RV in your town; if you see it, stop by and say hi. To learn more about TREW or the TREW Tour please check out: www.TREWGear.com. About TREW The TREW customer is first on the tram and knows what it means to earn their turns in the backcountry. He is friends with the locals wherever he goes and knows that being TREW means being who you are and doing what you love; and above all having fun. Trends come and go, but the fun of being on the mountain with friends remains a TREW constant. TREW provides men’s outerwear that combines the technicality and comfort needed to stay on the mountain from sun-up to sun-down while adding style to take you into the night. Founded in 2008 by Tripp Frey and Chris and John Pew, TREW price points range from $30.00 to $479.00 and will be sold though a network of independent retail shops through out the country. More Info: Visit TREWgear.com... Read more...
Many of you may not have heard of KJUS Skiwear (pronounced 'shoos'; visit gear.com/kjus for more info about the company and its products). And if you don't follow World Cup ski racing you may not know of KJUS's founder: Norwegian ski racing phenom, Lasse Kjus. His ski racing achievements are amazing (including several Olympic medals), and many young racers have grown up idolizing him right along with Bode Miller. But, not unlike Willy Bogner, Lasse may ultimately end up more well known for his skiwear than for the undeniable stamp he has left on the ski racing world. Founded in 2000, KJUS Skiwear takes its designs seriously --- with a clean, sleek aesthetic. And then lays supreme technology over the top, because no one takes their gear quite as seriously as racers and KJUS Skiwear is no different. KJUS Skiwear has gained much-deserved praise, and is now available in dozens of countries worldwide. They were even approached by --- you guessed it --- Bode Miller to strike up a partnership, and several of this year's KJUS items carry the Bode badge. And Bode is working with KJUS on the Bode line, which will be available in the near future as well. Attached to this post are several men's and women's items from the 2008-2009 KJUS Skiwear collection, but to get the most complete view of the KJUS brand and products (including video clips and product details) visit the brand page that we have built and dedicated to KJUS Skiwear: gear.com/kjus ...Read more...
Are you in a softshell yet? Take the dive, you won't need much push and shove after feasting your eyes on the Apex Bionic by The North Face. First off, go to your closet and pull out that old duct taped jacket. Now stick it into a picture frame and proceed to hang it on the wall. Use that extra space for your new softshell. Results may vary. My favorite part about this jacket is putting it on over a t-shirt and feeling the nice soft micro-fleece lining for a cold night on the town. Mixed with an athletic fit and a DWR treated outer softshell, this thing will replace quite a few of your old fleeces and shells alike. I also like wearing my softshell with a down vest underneath for skiing, does wonders for blocking wind. This jacket repels snow super well and even kept me dry while walking through the rain. I also like how the Apex looks on the ladies compared to a fleece, makes them look thin and sporty. Do you and your closet a favor; go with the softshell this season. BUY NOW: The North Face Apex Bionic at Moosejaw....Read more...
The skiwear company that Norwegian ski racer Lasse Kjus founded, KJUS, is a premium performance brand. It has its roots in Norway, and is made by racers for those types of skiers who take their gear seriously, and who like a sleek design. KJUS also creates movies and magazines around their brand, and here for you we are publishing the 2007 KJUS Movie. Enjoy! For more info, see: gear.com/kjus ...Read more...
In September of 2007 it was announced that downhill ski racing champion Bode Miller would partner with the KJUS Skiwear company, founded by famous Norwegian ski racer Lasse Kjus. Below are some of the details, as reported by First Tracks Online (http://www.firsttracksonline.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2887): "World ski racing champion Bode Miller has chosen KJUS Systems skiwear as his official uniform supplier for his new independent race team through at least the 2010 Olympic Winter games in Vancouver, Canada. The news was announced Wednesday by LK International, producer of the Swiss skiwear KJUS Systems. American Bode Miller, now an independent World Cup ski racer, has signed a multi-year agreement with KJUS Systems skiwear. (photo: KJUS Systems) “Bode is an impressive personality,” said Didi Serena, the CEO of KJUS. “He is an absolute individualist and a guy who loves to win, which suits us perfectly.” As an independent racer, now racing and training separately from the U.S. Ski Team, Miller for the first time had the opportunity to select his own skiwear partner. He will wear KJUS skiwear beyond the boundaries of the FIS infield and during training. Miller, who is poised to eclipse Phil Mahre’s record for most World Cup wins by a U.S. skier this season if his winning ways continue, created his independent race team consisting of his own team of staff and trainers to support his World Cup campaign. He created the team following his split from the U.S. Ski Team earlier this year. “I'm pleased that now, at last, I can work with a partner who takes on problems and challenges and overcomes them. That gives more than 100 percent. Because what really matters is the functionality,” said Miller. In support of the partnership, KJUS skiwear is planning a Bode Miller line for future seasons. Miller will provide his expertise and input in the design of his signature line as well as for the development of the entire KJUS collection. At the age of almost 30, Miller has recorded 25 World Cup victories in all five alpine skiing disciplines, an accomplishment shared by only a very few athletes. Highlights of Miller’s accomplishments include World Championship gold in four different disciplines, two Olympic silver medals, a World Cup overall championship, and three additional World Cup crystal globes in two different disciplines."...Read more...
If you've got a ski vacation planned this winter, are you wondering how much extra it will cost you to bring along all your gear? Man, I sure am. Though these fees may likely increase business at local ski rental shops, since it may make even more sense to rent, it will definitely increase the frustration level for ski travelers. I remember the good ol' days when you could bring two checked bags, a ski bag and a boot bag for free. Then, they cut things down recently to just one bag plus skis. Now, I have no idea what the costs are going to be should I choose to travel to Whistler or home to Seattle for a ski trip. I just saw this news report out of Vail that they are offering an extra bag fee refund by staying at their resorts. Sounds like a great short-term fix that's worth looking into. Here are the details:
Broomfield, Colo., Oct. 6, 2008—To help offset added airline fees, Vail Resorts is offering a “Baggage Bailout” for skiers and snowboarders staying at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly this winter. Guests will receive a $50 credit when they book a stay of least four days and nights by Dec. 1 through Vail Resorts reservations system. Children may also receive a $25 baggage credit, if at least four days of children’s lift tickets are purchased. “We have decided to help carry the load for our guests by addressing airline baggage fees,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer. It is not necessary for travelers to actually carry their own bags to earn the credit: the offer applies even to fliers who are not checking bags or who are traveling on an airline that does not charge baggage fees (such as Southwest Airlines).Looks like a great little gimmick that just might work. The trick would be to fly Southwest and pocket the extra cash. More Info: Visit the Baggage Bailout Program from Vail Resorts... Read more...
Some people are just a natural at anything they pick up, and it's just a matter of time before one of their interests makes the world stand up and take notice. Matt Griff is one of those guys. I first met Matt when I was running with the Haggis rugby team in Salt Lake (now called the Park City Haggis team). I was a little runt, who happened to be slow -- not a good combination for a rugby player. If you aren't big, you better darn well be quick. Griff would give me tips & run drills with me -- a couple of times a week we would meet at the Highland High School track at 5:30am with some of the other guys and run ladders or stairs in the stadium. It was extremely helpful, and by the end of the season I was my fastest ever. I can even boast of having chased down and caught the star winger of the team a couple of times - Jason Pye (Jason now plays for the US rugby team). And while I'm sure those happened to be moments when Jason just wasn't trying too hard, it never could have come close to happening without the encouragement of someone like Griff. But Matt's athleticism doesn't end with rugby, where he is a high scorer in every game he plays. He also plays on the Utah Jazz demonstration basketball team -- you know, the guys who do flipping dunks off of a trampoline at half time? Crazy! He is a guy with a natural body awareness that he has honed over years and years of eager practice. You can tell there's nothing he loves more than to analyze a movement until it is dialed-in perfectly. This body awareness and analytical approach to motion is what has now landed him stuntman roles in several recent and upcoming films, including Eleventh Hour and this fall's big Hollywood release about the Highland High School rugby team: Forever Strong starring the next Tom Cruise -- Sean Faris. It also stars Gary Cole ('Office Space'), Neal McDonough ('Flags of our Fathers'), and Sean Astin ('Lord of the Rings'). Click here to watch the movie clips for Forever Strong. All those stunts you see where a guy is getting hit and doing a flip? That's Griff. You'd think that would be enough to tire a guy out. But not Matt. He is also shooting for Olympic glory at the Winter Olympics in the Skeleton event ---- which is like luge, but face-first. And he is making people stand up and take notice at the times he's throwing down in skeleton: placing 2nd in the US Western Regional Championships, and 2nd in the Utah Winter Games. So keep your eye peeled for Matt Griff -- he has talent that is undeniable. And the next time you're wondering why you are such a talentless clutz, it's just because God gave Griff a little extra....Read more...