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Archive for the ‘Gear Reviews’ Category

Salomon Park Hydro Handset Review

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Formerly a collegiate miler and cross-country runner, Danny Jenkins has lived in Truckee for the past seven years, racing distances from half-marathons to 100-mile ultras. He has been a fundraiser for youth services, including Girls on the Run-Sierras and is also a former community addictions counselor. His passion is simply running free in the Sierra every chance he gets. Danny can be found on Instagram at @midnightspirit10.

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Ph: Danny Jenkins

Swag is good. Swag that works is better. My girlfriend walked away with a free Salomon Park Hydro Handset at the Truckee Running Festival in June. Catching some shade under the Salomon tent paid off. “The rep said you’d love it!” Her enthusiasm overrides mine by a clear mile every time, but she’s usually right.

I stashed it on the shelf next to my front door, along with handhelds I’ve collected and used from half a dozen other manufacturers. A week later I grabbed it for a test spin and a week after that, I grabbed a second Park Hydro from Adam at TMS. One black, one red – toe nail colors for runners. I tested both over a six week period on runs ranging from 6 to 15 miles, with workouts at my usual haunts like the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), TRT (Tahoe Rim Trail), Donner Rim Trail, Sawtooth Trail Loop, Squaw Valley & other local “backyard” trails in Truckee and Tahoe Donner.

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Ph: Danny Jenkins

It’s difficult to find something “new” in the world of nomadic hydration. Handhelds are pretty basic; slip your hand in, pull the tension and go. But, the Park Hydro is a little different and shows some unique thought and results from Salomon. First, the Park Hydro is designed to be bottom mounted, and sitting in-line with the under-side of your forearm. Two finger holes near the top lead the way. I wasn’t fully comfortable with this, so I just started playing with different angles and fits. The wrap-around velcro strap (that goes around your wrist and secures on the other side) allows for versatility and I found a better angle (around 130 degree set) without using the finger holes, with virtually no slippage and no need to actually grip the handset if I didn’t want to. It stayed put – no soreness, no fatigue. The ability to find your own “comfort zone” is a huge plus.

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Ph: Danny Jenkins

The outer shell is made of 100% polyester; hassle free, comfortable and durable. They got wet. They got muddy. They got hail. I threw them on rocks, in the dirt, sat on ’em & kicked ’em, and yes….wiped my nose with them (an often overlooked quality in handhelds). They never tore and always retained their shape. Good stuff. The Hydrapak softflask (reservoir) holds 17oz and comes with a bite valve for controlled drinking. Sealed properly, it never leaked on me and was super easy to use in any situation, especially on the run and even on fast downhills. The side zipper pouch runs the length of the outer shell and inner softflask. At max capacity, it would hold my car keys, a couple of gels and a nutrition bar. If you really need to, an iPhone barely fits.

I didn’t find many negatives to this new and unique form of portable hydration from Salomon. The wrap around velcro strap, while adaptable to most any size arm, could use more velcro reaching the length of the top-side strap itself. I have thin wrists, so once secured, there is some excess length; nothing that can’t be tucked in, but more velcro is a clear improvement Salomon could look at. The 17oz. softflask seems ideal but I would also like to see how a 20oz. version would handle.

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Ph: Danny Jenkins

The Salomon Park Hydro Handset was perfect hydration for runs between 6-10 miles and I simply carried two if I was going up to 15 miles or had chances at re-fueling (maybe Heed in one, water in the other?). I try and prevent putting anything on my back if I can help it (I like to run light), so the Park Hydro fit into my summer hydration inventory nicely. It has a uniquely secure, comfortable fit and feel (think water-bed for your hand & fingers) and didn’t leak after several beatings and approximately 300 miles of trail & mountain running over six-weeks. Revolutionized handheld hydration – Salomon nailed it here.

Brooks PureGrit 3 Trail Running Shoes Review

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

TMS Ambassador Mike Tebbutt is an avid adventure runner and member of the Donner Party Mountain Runners. Follow Mike on Instagram at @irontebby. Mike really puts his gear to the test with his outdoor exploits and the following is a great, inside look at the Brooks PureGrit 3 Trail Running Shoes…

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Trail Running Shoes Reviewed: Brooks PureGrit 3 
Color: Electric Blue / Greenery / Junebug
Size Reviewed: Men’s Size 10.5

Since this is the first version of this shoe that I have run in, I did a little research on it, to find out that the PureGrit 3 is the result of a major redesign of the PureGrit 2. The changes include a much more aggressive outsole that handles the gnarliest terrain you can find, an added rock plate and toe guard, and they changed the tongue from being semi-gusseted tongue to un-gusseted. They have a 4mm drop and weigh in at 9.9oz.

Outsole
The hexagonal shaped lugs that blanket the sole provide superior traction in all conditions and really excel in the technical and steep terrain. The lugs are also impressively durable; as you can see I have still have plenty of tread left on them after about 310 miles on them. I have worn them for up to a 15 hour day of of steep and technical running and off-trail navigating that would have left other shoes falling off my feet and the PureGrit 3s came back only slightly worse for the wear. The rock plate and toe guard are great additions that provide extra protection.

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Over 300 Miles and Still Plenty of Tread (Ph: Mike Tebbutt)

The Upper
There is a slightly off-centered lace pattern that distributes the pressure comfortably over the top of the foot. The un-gusseted tongue stay in place well, is comfortable and does not pinch at all. The Nav Band is a strap that wraps around the entire upper and provides a snug fit throughout the midfoot and gives the shoe a very responsive and fast feel.

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The PureGrit 3 Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking! (Ph: Mike Tebbutt)

The Midsole
Brooks beefed up the cushioning a little bit with their eco-friendly BioMoGo midsole that helps soften the ride while still allowing you that comfort of being able to feel the trail beneath your feet. BioMoGo is made from a material that will apparently bio-degrade in just 20 years as opposed to the 1000 plus years it takes for many plastic based midsoles.

 

Overall Impressions
While I am fortunate to have a foot that fits most shoes well and enjoy many different brands and models, I especially like the Brooks PureGrit 3 and plan to stockpile a few pairs as I have heard the new model will again have several major changes. They provide adequate cushioning while still allowing you to feel the trail, great traction with enough rubber on the lugs to last longer than most shoes and great overall comfort and performance. Something that I didn’t notice at first, yet certainly appreciate now, is the lack of rocks and debris that make it into the shoe. And very surprisingly, as they have been through some extremely rocky and scrappy terrain, the uppers on my shoes have only a couple small tears that do not go through to the inside of the shoe. I expect to get 200 more miles out of this shoe before I retire them.

As much as I like this shoe, I ran into to a friend at a race the other day who could not stop singing praises for them and plans to stock up on some extra pairs also before they become unavailable. I suggest you give this shoe a try and do the same!

Coral Loves the Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

This post comes from TMS Ambassador – Coral Taylor, an avid mountain biker, yogi, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast living in Truckee, CA. Follow @c_ros on Instagram for rad photos of her adventures around Lake Tahoe and beyond. In addition to getting after it on the snow, Coral is also a Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team Ambassador!

Hiking Shoes Reviewed: Merrell Capra Sport Hiking Shoes – Women’s
Color: Royal Lilac/Adventurine
Size Reviewed: Women’s Size 7

First thing out of the box, I noticed the awesome color of these shoes. I know, I know – don’t judge a book by its cover and all that; however, I can’t help it. I want my gear to have function AND form. Form – check.

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(Photo: Coral Taylor)

Onto assessing function. I like my hiking and running shoes to typically be a little larger than my normal shoe size, to account for swollen feet on the trail and thicker socks, but the Capra runs true to size and my standard size 7 works for the size 7 in these shoes. It seems like Merrell knows what they are doing and made accommodations accordingly.

The light weight of these shoes was noticeable as soon as I put them on. They are heavier than my trail runners, but MUCH lighter than any hiking shoe or boot I have ever worn. Walking with these shoes around the house to get a feel for their lacing and to start breaking them in, the stiff sole was noticeable, although there is a point mid-sole where the shoe gets more flexible.

I decided to take these hot new kicks for a trial hike/run after work one day. I hiked up the lovely Donner Canyon, which is mostly fire road, with some rocks, loose gravel and dirt, and a little mud in the lower sections. These shoes performed well and maintained traction even in a few parts where the trail was eroded with spring runoff from the recent rains.

I detoured off the trail, onto one of the granite boulders offering a stunning view of Donner Lake, and the Capras continued their grippy action, allowing me to walk up the side of the boulders as easily as if I were walking on the street.

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(Photo: Coral Taylor)

I enjoyed the view then took a short, much needed meditation break, with the sound of the forest and the scent of the pines. Afterwards, a quick glance at my phone revealed that dinner would be ready in a few minutes, so it was go time – trail run back to the car! The Capras were heavier and bulkier than my trail running shoes (naturally), and I stumbled a few times, as I was adjusting to the larger shape of my foot in these shoes. However, compared to my few pathetic attempts at jogging in any other hiking boots, the Capras far out-performed them in their flexibility, lightness, and nimbleness. Towards the end of the trail, my clumsiness subsided as my proprioception increased, and the Capras felt more comfortable.

For my second, longer hike in the Capras, I went to the Redwood Forest of Mendocino. The Capras were comfortable on steep uphill and downhill sections, and were excellent at avoiding banana slugs and poison oak (yikes!). They maintained traction in the loose loam of the upper trail area, as well as the sandy beach and slippery log that I had to precariously balance on in order to cross the flowing Russian Gulch Creek. The second time wearing these shoes made a big difference – they already seemed more broken in and fit my feet better.

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Watch out for Banana Slugs! (Photo: Coral Taylor)

I wore them again the following day for an outrigger canoe paddling trip up Big River, where they performed well by keeping my feet dry and warm (much needed due to my sloppy paddling skills) and they gave me ample traction on the sandy beach to get a good running start for the rope swing over the river.

All in all, I think these are an excellent all-around hiking shoe! I look forward to wearing the Capras on longer hikes this summer and on a few backpacking trips, including meeting up with my youngest sister who is currently somewhere on the PCT.

Pros:
– Lightweight
– Supportive, but flexible
– High traction sole

Cons:
– Lack of ankle support
– Need to be broken in (like any other hiking boot)
– Spend time wearing the shoe to get to know its width

I Found Snow and it Tried to Get Me Lost: Day Hiking From Tahoe to Truckee

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Who: Rachel, Adam
What: Hiking
Where: From Tahoe City to Truckee, along the Tahoe Rim Trail and the 06 Forest Road
When: April 2015

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Photo: Rachel McCullough

“Did you do an idiot check?” I asked Adam as we left our rest spot. [The idiot check is the last glance back to make sure that you actually packed everything that you came with, so you don’t feel like an idiot later when you realize you left your water bottle sitting on a log.] Never having heard that phrase, he asked if I was checking for him since he was an idiot for coming along on one of my crazy hikes! Unfortunately, I am not sure he is the first to have that thought cross his mind while hiking with me. While we had hiked together many times since we met in college, I have pushed myself towards what some would call the extreme, while he has been enjoying hiking like most people, five to ten miles at a time. But, he can out ride me any day, so I figured what’s a few extra miles?

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Merrell Capra Speed Hiker Shoe Review

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
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Guest Blogger: Shaun Nauman

This post comes from Shaun Nauman, a blogger (snowboardmountaineer.com) and Boulder, CO resident. When Shaun isn’t studying snow hydrology and forecasting avalanches, the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Instructor is finding new adventures in the backcountry on his splitboard. Watch for more gear reviews and fun reading from Shaun and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Hiking Shoes Reviewed: Merrell Capra Gore-Tex Sport
Color: Black / Lime Green
Size: Men’s Size 10

The Merrell Capra was designed for speed hiking mixed terrain and, so far I am impressed. The Capra has a generally rigid feel and stable platform. The shoe is a bit stiff out of the box, but break-in fairly easy. Allow yourself a bit more break-in the first few times wearing them out before a long ascent. On a mixed trail-run and hike they were extremely sturdy on uneven, loose, and rocky terrain. Yet this shoe is so light, it feels more like a running shoe. This lends itself for fast, same-day approaches on virtually any terrain.

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Photo: Shaun Nauman

 

I typically do a combination of trail running, hiking on steeps, and scrambling. These shoes really cover every activity on the trail. Coming down on steep loose talus and gravel I had no problems. This is partly due to the tapering forefoot.

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Photo: Shaun Nauman

Merrell has incorporated some amazing technology in to this shoe. The Capra is designed with inspiration from the Capra mountain goat whose cloven hoof lends itself incredibly well to gripping support and stability. Using a split sole design in the outsole toe tread, this mimics the climbing capability of a Capra. As far as the sole goes, a 3.5mm Vibram lug depth provides incredible traction. Typically the deeper lugs are not found on a shoe this lightweight intended for speed hiking. The combination of deep lugs, and a traction sole built thicker at the heel, and narrow at the toe is a profound advancement in trail shoes.

The Capra also has an exoskeleton design along the outside of the shoe that is neatly linked to the lace-up points which provide excellent toe-box support. This provides a well-grounded stiffener and extra stability over rough terrain. Merrell refers to this technology as the Stratafuse™ exoskeleton which fuses the foot cage to mesh and keep the shoe incredibly lightweight.

Even though these are rigid shoes, there is a defined heal break in the unified midsole, which offers flexibility. Merrell refers to this as UniFly™. They feel much harder at the foot and softer at the ground, which is a noticeable improvement over many trail shoes I have had. The Gore-tex material on the outer breathes and keeps the feet dry running through water crossings and standing water, even fully submerged.

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Photo: Shaun Nauman

Pros

– I am truly impressed with the Merrell Capra. They can be used in a wide range of trail activities, and through varied conditions.

– Lightweight speed hiking shoe.

– Vibrom sole, with deep traction lugs.

Cons

– Traction grips on the edge of the outsole are a little wide for my comfort, which tend to catch. However, since everyone has a different instep, this may not be a problem for others.

The Capras offer exceptional comfort, especially for a stiffer lightweight shoe. The Vibram patterning makes this a great all-around trail shoe or an approach shoe. They spare every ounce, focus on traction, connection, and cushioning where you need it. In all a fantastic speed hiking shoe.

Enter to win one of two FREE pairs of Merrell Capra Speed Hiker Shoes HERE!

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Redemption Song: Old Man, Take Two

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Chris Cloyd is a TMS ambassador athlete based out of Truckee, CA. He and Steven Benesi, a distance runner and mountain athlete from Truckee, are attempting to run and climb all of the peak on the Western States Climbers’ OGUL List by the end of 2016. Their successes and shortcomings will be recounted in this space – subscribe to the TMS blog RSS feed to follow their story!

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Old Man Mountain, as seen from Interstate 80 Eastbound. Photo: Chris Cloyd

After a failed attempt earlier this year, Steven and I decided to celebrate his birthday with another attempt at Old Man Mountain. It seemed a fitting tribute, celebrating getting older with a summit bearing such a name. Learning from our previous mistakes, we chose attempt a new route to Old Man this time – instead of starting from Lake Spaulding, we would start from Cisco Grove and try and gain the summit via the Fordyce Summit ridgeline. This route put us a bit closer, to start, and seemed to remove much of the cross country travel that slowed us down last time.

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No Snow Doesn’t Mean No Fun!

Monday, March 16th, 2015

This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Who: Rachel and Garrett McCullough, and lots of family and friends
What: Skiing and hiking
Where: Park City, Utah
When: March 2015

This is the fourth year of drought in Truckee/Tahoe. We could all sit around and complain, and many of us do, as do some of our visitors. There’s no snow, no powder, it’s too warm, it’s too muddy, etc. Please pinch yourselves! Somehow it is easy to forget that we are at Lake Tahoe – one of the most gorgeous lakes in the Sierra, surrounded by incredible and yes, still snow-capped mountains.

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The recent inversions mean lots of fog in the Martis Valley, taken at Northstar California. Photo: Rachel McCullough

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Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL Women’s Backpack – Review

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

This post comes from Colorado native Tiffany Hansen, a guest blogger (snowboardmountaineer.com) and Boulder, CO resident who recently relocated back from Southern California to be closer to the mountains, the snow and the great Colorado outdoors. When Tiffany isn’t working on behalf of her clients, she is finding new adventures in the backcountry and fine-tuning her collection of backcountry gear.

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Tiffany Hansen

*What: Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL- Women’s Backpack

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Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL Women’s Backpack

*Where: Since I purchased this pack in October 2014, if I am in the mountains and need to have my avalanche safety gear with me, or need to be able to boot-pack with my skis, my Dueter pack is with me. I can literally say that my pack and I are attached at the hip! This pack has accompanied me on 25 plus trips to the backcountry and has seen every single drainage in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as multiple trails across the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Summit County and the San Juans…anywhere accessible snow or shine.

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Five Skis Tested for 2015-16

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

The #TMS Crew headed to Mt. Rose Ski Area for the WWSRA (Western Winter Sports Rep Association) Demo Days. FIVE AWESOME SKIS FROM THE FUTURE WERE TESTED. 

READ MORE IF YOU LIKE COOL SKIS…

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AB and KS at Mt. Rose

Nik Somers, Kevin Snow and I got out and tested new skis on what was the first major storm cycle to hit the Tahoe area since the first part of the season. Mt. Rose received around 40″ of new snow and 15-25″ at its base. Then, the wind came in and made things interesting. We skied every conceivable type of snow condition (powder, blown powder, ice pellets, crust and groomed runs).

Five skis were reviewed and tested.

One ski will likely make a return to the wall, while four others might make a grand entrance next fall…

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Blizzard Zero G 108 and Zero G 98 Skis

SKI TEST #1: Blizzard Zero G 108

Test Size and Weight: Length – 185cm, Weight 1,750 grams (per ski)
Binding: Marker Kingpin
Boot: Dynafit Mercury
Beta: Lengths: 171, 178, 185 cm | Sidecut: 136-108-122mm | Radius: [185 cm] 27.0m  | Construction: Sandwich Compound | Sidewall; Carbon Drive Technology.

From the Blizzard Skis 2015-2016 Catalog…ZeroG-108Diagram

Carbon Drive is the integration of a 3D unidirectional carbon fiber frame with an ultra-lightweight palowina woodcore construction. The carbon frame’s 3D geometry guarantees optimal flex and torsional rigidity. The end result is industry leading lightweight products that deliver a level of downhill performance that is unprecedented in the world of alpine touring and backcountry skiing.

REVIEW: The major buzz words in ski technology have included carbon. While carbon offers great rigidity and stiffness, it often doesn’t give with each turn as much, which translates into a ski that needs to really be driven (read: BUCKLE UP). The new Blizzard Zero G is a good mix of both playfulness and a hard-charger. A super nimble and lightweight option for the backcountry enthusiast, this ski is a true testament to the advanced technology and construction found in many ski options today.With a mixed bag of conditions to ski in on the demo day at Mt. Rose, the Blizzard Zero G really shined. The one con in the ski I tested was that you really need to stay on it. Just like most of Blizzard’s great line-up of skis, this new beauty needs attention. Drive it and stay on the gas and you’ll have a great day.

Final word: A solid winner and “go to” ski for any conditions. Look for them on the TMS ski wall in 2016.

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Salomon Q-BC Lab Skis (2015 Top-Sheet Graphic)

SKI TEST #2: Salomon Q-BC Lab

Test Size and Weight: Length – 184cm, Weight 1,800 grams (per ski)
Binding: Dynafit TLT Radical ST 2 AT Ski Binding
Boot: Dynafit Mercury
Beta: Lengths: 176, 184 cm | Sidecut: 140-114-128mm | Radius: [176cm] 21m, [184cm] 24m | Construction: Sandwich ABS, SidewallAn exception balance of touring efficiency and downhill performance, the Salomon Q BC Lab Skis are a full wood core with ultra-light CFX Superfiber reinforcement for the ultimate ski experience. The perfect balance of downhill performance and touring efficiency.  Salomon’s revolutionary, ultra light CFX Superfiber reinforcement and a full woodcore combine for stability, control and response not found on other lightweight touring skis.

*Editor’s note: This ski is not changing for the 2015-16 ski season (just the top-sheet). If you’d like to seize the day and grab a pair of your own, click HERE to purchase a pair!

REVIEW: This ski is the epitome of Salomon’s commitment to being a pure mountain company. A great soft snow (and powder) ski, the Q-BC Lab shines when used in variable to ideal conditions. Although it has a 114mm waist, this ski is surprisingly nimble. The full-length wood laminates combined with the inherent backcountry ski features such as “free hook taper” (diminishing hooking up in powder) and the built in skin tail clips make this ski a machine to not only easily climb mountains, but have the confidence to ski like you want to on the ride down.

Final word: A great backcountry option, the Salomon Q-BC Lab is a great decision for those in need of a lightweight 4×4 ski.

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K2 Pinnacle 105 Skis

SKI TEST #3: K2 Pinnacle 105

Test Size and Weight: Length – 184cm, Weight N/A
Binding: Marker Griffon
Boot: K2 Pinnacle 130
Beta: Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm | Sidecut: 137-105-121mm | Radius: [184cm]19 m | Construction: Triaxial Braid, Hyrbitech Sidewall, Metal Laminate

The Pinnacle 105 is positioned in the middle of the new Freeride series as the do-anything, go-anywhere, ski everything, quiver of one. Even the most confident skiers will benefit from the lightweight Nanolite core. Helping navigate through trees or floating in power, as much as the solid and supportive wood cores with metal laminate over the edges when charging firmer, variable snow.

REVIEW: The many technologies that K2 has seamlessly blended into this new ski are evident in that you never really need to think about it when arcing turns, bashing bumps or smearing soft snow! The diminished swing weight and torsional stiffness allow this ski to effortlessly turn, glide and rule the entire mountain. I would recommend this ski for anyone that loves to ski the whole mountain with confidence.

Final Word: The Pinnacle 105 is your quiver killer for 2015-16!

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SKI TEST #4: K2 Pinnacle 95

Test Size and Weight: Length – 184cm, Weight N/A
Binding: Marker Griffon
Boot: K2 Spyne
Beta: Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm | Sidecut: 132-95-115mm | Radius: [184cm]17 m | Construction: Triaxial Braid, Hyrbitech Sidewall, Metal Laminate

Attack the resort in any snow condition. The Pinnacle 95 incorporates the new K2 Konic Technology with a high performance, lightweight Nanolite center core for added ease and control, while the wood core and metal laminate along the perimeter of the ski engages all the power, strength and stability needed for all mountain dominance.

REVIEW: The K2 Pinnacle 95 is nearly the same as the larger 105, but much more nimble. Grab a pair of these if you prefer a Ginsu knife over a machete. 

Final word: Rinse. Lather. Repeat. This ski does it all!

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SKI TEST #5: Volkl 100 Eight

Test Size and Weight: Length – 184cm, Weight N/A
Binding: Marker Griffon
Boot: K2 Spyne 130
Beta: Lengths: 173, 181, 189 cm | Sidecut: 141-108-124mm | Radius: [173cm] 19.7m, [181cm] 22m, [189cm] 24.5m | Construction: 3D Ridge, Tough Box | Core: Multi Layer Wood

An all time favorite ski, the Volkl Gotama is being replaced this upcoming winter season (2015-16) with a similar yet very new ski, the 100 Eight. This ski features a new construction from Volkl called the 3D Ridge. This layup offers a lightweight, lively ski feel – 141-108-124mm shape, flat tail design, Full Rocker, Smart Early Taper and an open (20 to 22m) radius combine for a smooth, playful ride for a variety of conditions, from deep powder to groomers.

REVIEW: Although I am sad to see the heralded Volkl Gotama become extinct, the future is always brighter in regards to new technology in ski construction, shape, camber profile and rocker. The 100 Eight is no exception to progression. Out with the old, in with the NEW. This ski does EVERYTHING (well,  maybe not ski moguls that well). I can’t wait to rip up the in-bounds terrain, drop cliffs, ski powder and even take this versatile ski into the backcountry. 

Final word: A lightweight, 4×4 machine, the Volkl 100 Eight is yet another great option to slim your ski quiver to ONE.

 

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis – Review

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

This post comes from Colorado native Tiffany Hansen, a guest blogger (snowboardmountaineer.com) and Boulder, CO resident who recently relocated back from Southern California to be closer to the mountains, the snow and the great Colorado outdoors. When Tiffany isn’t working on behalf of her clients, she is finding new adventures in the backcountry and fine-tuning her collection of backcountry gear. Watch for more gear reviews and fun reading from Tiffany and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.

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Tiffany Hansen

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis

*What: Solomon Rocker2 100, 170cm

*Where: I have owned these skis since September 2014 and have put them to test on multiple varieties of Intermountain Colorado snow both on and off-piste ranging from the early season crust of Andrew’s Glacier, Dragontail and the Apron in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to the fresh-dry powder of Terrain Park (RMNP Lake Haiyaha area), the packed and fresh powder of Breckenridge, and fresh powder on top of hard pack at the East Portal trail up to Forest Lakes. These skis have traversed the Colorado Front Range and have given me the confidence to take them into the backcountry of the San Juans for some serious spring backcountry adventures.

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*Pros: The Rocker2 is a lightweight ride and an ideal all-mountain ski, having proven itself worthy of handling the gravely diverse snow conditions found throughout any given day in the Colorado backcountry. I love groomers and packed powder and prefer a ski that can effortlessly carve the hard snow. The Full Woodcore offers optimum stability and rebound, while maximizing ski to snow contact while filtering vibrations. The twin rocker tips and the loose camber underfoot glide through turns and don’t get grabby and allowed me to maintain control at higher speeds, even though technically this ski is built for lower speeds. The hook-free taper of the big rocker tip moves the skis widest point to the middle and performs well in dry powder, allowing me to keep the ski flat to easily float through pleasure turns. Conversely, I gain maximum control if I roll and apply power and engage a hard edge for sharper handling. The ski is immediately responsive delivering impressive terrain adaptation making it a blast to ride in the conditions I prefer the most.

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Product Features:
Twin Rocker shape, full wood core and full sandwich construction, the Rocker 2 100 is equally at home in the park & pipe as it is off piste in powder. One-stop-shopping for both freeriders and the less acrobatic on and off piste adventures looking for an energetic, all-mountain ski that does it all.

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Technologies include: 

– Full Woodcore: full-length wood laminates, from tip to tail, giving optimum stability and rebound, while maximizing ski to snow contact and filtering vibrations

– Full Sandwich Walls: laminate construction with fll length ABS sidewalls give extraordinary smooth ski/snow contact and a great terrain adaptation. Laminated construction enables us to combine optimum materials layers for targeted performance

– Pulse Pad: a layer of rubber all along the edges and in critical zones of the ski for smoother ride & improved ski-snow contact

– Hook Free Taper: the widest point in the sidecut tapers in toward the tip earlier for less drag and hooking in powder. Swing weight is also reduced making the ski even more maneuverable in difficult snow

– Wide Edges: thicker edges for increased durability and improved shock resistance

– Total Edge Reinforcement: fiber reinforcement directly on top of edges improves durability, edge grip, and shock resistance

– Twin Rocker: long, medium height rocker profile at the tip and tail enables easy pivoting with maximum flotation and maneuverability in powder. The ski retains a long contact zone on edge with camber in the middle of the ski for stability and edge grip

– Carve Zone: the traditionally cambered section of twin rocker skis where the sidecut is focused on more power, energy and edge grip

– Glossy

ProductSpecs

*Cons: These skis have proven to be more difficult in both resort and backcountry “mashed-potato” or soft powder due to the narrow waist. These conditions are more easily skiable with a fat ski. However, given all the other technology packed in to the Rocker 2 100 this is a minor grievance.

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*Suggestions: It’s hard to say what modifications would improve this ski. Increasing the width to accommodate soft powder would have a negative influence on carving performance. Unless you’ve got quite the quiver, for an all-mountain ski that covers many conditions, I feel this ski has hit the target and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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*Summary: Solomon Rocker 2 100 are worthy of their mid-range price tag. The twin rocker/camber combo delivers an impressive all-mountain performance on most every terrain that is difficult to come by in a single pair of skis, especially in this price point. The next offering in this profile is the K2 Annex 98 Freeride at a slightly higher price point. However, you don’t get the twin rocker which is attractive to the new-style skier. If you do not want to have to pack multiple pairs of skis, this is definitely your best bet for the money!

Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis
Salomon Rocker 2 100 Skis
Sale Price: $479.95
Arva Neo Avalanche Beacon
Arva Neo Avalanche Beacon
Sale Price: $287.96
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