Sep 02 2014

Marker unveils the Kingpin


Marker's Kingpin. 2-pin toes, lateral release at the heel.

Marker’s Kingpin. 2-pin toes, lateral release at the heel.

The rumors of a new 2-pin tech binding from Marker have laid dormant until about two months ago when I caught wind of a junket in Chili to introduce the binding to the world. Very soon I realized threats to job security among people “in the know” must have been very strong as nobody who knew anything would say so much as boo.

Nontheless I did wrangle one detail out of an unsuspecting “insider” that the new binding would not latch in to the heel using the classic pair of spring bars on every other pintech binding, but hold down the heel like a regular alpine binding. This inevitably led to speculation that lateral release would come from the heel rotating ala a Tyrolia binding, which it does.
Keep earning your turns

Sep 01 2014

Review: Fischer’s Hannibal BC Ski

Dostie and I ran into each other walking dogs at dusk the other night. No, he’s not my alter ego, rather, my cousin, Jeff Dostie. We both happen to love backcountry skiing, work at ski shops, and purely by chance, live in the same neighborhood. We don’t agree on skin track strategies but we do agree that light weight skis are not as versatile as heavier skis. Of course, for the backcountry some compromise should be accepted. In our experience, when a ski drops to less than eight pounds per pair it’s difficult to maintain dampness and consequently, hold an edge on hard snow.

Fischer's Hannibal 2014 131-100-117 • 6½ pr

Fischer’s Hannibal 2014 — 131-100-117 x 180±10 cm • 6½ lbs./pr.

This season’s crop of lightweight fatties, however, is pushing that weight threshold closer to seven pounds and one of the better examples is Fischer’s Hannibal which clocks in at 3¼ pounds per ski (6½ lbs/pr). That’s light enough to suggest they can’t handle hard or heavy snow, but on groomers and velvety corn they’re awesome. Reality check; that isn’t versatile enough for serious consideration unless they can handle difficult snow too.
Keep earning your turns

Aug 25 2014

Review: Scott-Sport’s Synergy


Scott Sport's Synergy. Best new tele boot for 2014.  Only new duckbilled boot.

Scott Synergy. Best/only new tele boot for 2014.

The best new 75mm telemark boot to come out this season is Scott Sports’ Synergy. It is also the only new plastic telemark boot design to be created for the duckbilled Nordic Norm in the last five years.

Three years ago Garmont gave up on the ski market and sold their ski boot assets to Scott Sports. Sales had been dwindling steadily since 2006 when Garmont abandoned their traditional last shape and adopted a narrower last. Former customers who counted on the wide lasted boots were forced away and new customers did not replace them. There aren’t a lot of extra frills for this boot, but there aren’t many missing features either.
Keep earning your turns

Aug 23 2014

Some boots incompatible with Dynafit Beast


The Beast goes on a diet. DIN 14 and still with angular movement at the toe.

Dynafit’s Beast 14.

Dynafit sent out a notice recently announcing a few models of boots that are known to be incompatible with their Beast binding, both the 16 and 14 DIN models. The Beast features a rotating toe unit and the heel unit requires a special after market Power Insert that covers the top of the boot heel.

The potential for this new heel insert to not work with boot brands other than Dynafit was a source of early criticism by boot manufacturers. It is possible the number of boots that exhibit problems working correctly with the Beast is larger than this notice indicates, but these incompatiblities can serve as examples of things to look for with other boot models.
Keep earning your turns

Aug 21 2014

Powderwhore’s ‘Some Thing Else’

Ten years. That’s how long Noah Howell and the Powderwhore’s have been producing ski movies. The first few were fueled purely by enthusiasm. The latest few have added some editing and video skill to the mix.

Here’s a trailer for this year’s ski porn:

Keep earning your turns

Aug 19 2014

First Look: JetBoil MiniMo


Jet Boil's new MiniMo.

Jet Boil’s new MiniMo.

JetBoil has dominated the stove market lately, but their competitors have been able to poke holes in their dominance by simply pointing out a few of their shortcomings. To be sure, the convenience of the JetBoil system is hard to beat. Perhaps better still, their dominance is visible so there’s an unspoken but strong endorsement at a level that gives new customers assurance.

Still, when you actually use a JetBoil you notice the imperfections. For instance, even if you can set the flame to approximate a simmer setting, to do so requires constant adjusting as the pressure inside the can changes. Annoying but bearable. Then, when it’s time to pour the hot water, or start spooning the meal du jour, you realize that the cozy may insulate and keep the heat in, but it isn’t quite thick enough to insulate your hands from the same heat. Depending on ambient air temps, that may or may not be a good thing. Good on a ski tour not on a summer hike. And spooning from a deep pot, well, that’s possible but not optimal.

What’s a dirtbag to do? You could look more closely at a competitor, or you could check out the new Mini-Mo from JetBoil. Afterall, the original wasn’t bad, but it could be better. The MiniMo cures what ails the classic JetBoil package.
Keep earning your turns

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