Ben Givens

Ben Givens

Salt Lake City, Wasatch, Snowbird

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Ben's Passions

Backpacking
Hiking
Alpine Skiing

Ben's Bio

I grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and somehow got addicted to skiing on those bunny hills in the process. After experiencing the greatest snow on earth, I decided to move out West for some real mountains after high school.
I studied biology and chemistry in college, but have been utilizing some of my lesser academic skills since graduating, enjoying the freedom to ski and get outside even more now. Skiing holds top priority in the winter, but when the snow stops falling you can find me trying to get the adrenaline pumping some other way. We only have one chance to see this incredible world and experience all it has to offer, so get out there and explore it for yourself!

Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on March 27, 2013

5 5

No sure how someone could say this ski "sucks and could not handle speed." I couldn't disagree more. These things are happy at 70 mph and still feel incredibly stable at that speed (thanks alpine replay). With the Armada JJ, another amazing ski, you have camber only underfoot and a rockered tip AND tail. This makes the JJ super playful and easy to ride switch, but also means you won't be able to get quite the edge hold on hard pack as a full cambered ski. Solution?....along comes the Norwalk.....Almost the same ski as the JJ from the waste to tip, but instead of Rocker in the tail, you have camber almost all the way back and less side cut. I found this to greatly improve the skis stability at high speeds driving turns compared to the JJ. The rocker in the tip lets you plow through crud and maneuver through trees with the ease and steez, and the wide platform and elf shoe tip absolutely destroy powder.
I'm 5'10 165 lbs. and I ski on the 189 with Rossi FKS 180's, and feel like this length is perfect. I debated the 179 briefly, but if you've ever skied a rocker profile, you know they ski quite a bit shorter than a traditional cambered ski. I mounted mine only 2.5 cm back from center (recommendation is 5 i think) so they would be easier to ride switch. At first, initiating turns switch took a bit of getting used to, once you get a feel for it they are very forgiving and easy to ride and land switch.

Bottom line: this is a hard charging ski that will handle anything you throw at it. Crud, trees, corn, groomers, and most importantly powda! You will need to drive these skis and they aren't as forgiving as the JJ, but damn.... these things rip.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on February 14, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I can't speak to the ultimate durability of this bag because I've only used it a few times, but my initial impressions are good. The bag seems well constructed and is pretty much completely waterproof other than the tiny openings at the end of the zipper openings once they are zipped shut. Other than that the material itself is completely waterproof. The large is pretty big. It can fit all my ski gear, helmet, extra clothes, skins, and even boots. For a carry on bag, I'd go with medium so you're not charged a bag fee.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on February 14, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

I got these for my mom for Christmas and she absolutely loves them. She knows about Backcountry.com's return policy so if she didn't love them she would've told me knowing she could return them for a better pair. She said these were by far the most comfortable slippers she has owned and they have held up very well so far.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on February 14, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

If you haven't been acquainted with the magical material known as merino wool, you need to get your sh*t together. For those who aren't familiar, it has an incredible warmth to weight ratio, dries quickly, is naturally antimicrobial, and you can wear it for days, sweating like a sumo wrestler, and the stuff miraculously doesn't smell. All my base layers are pure merino wool, and I will never change materials. As far as this balaclava, it lives up to it's merino reputation. Thin enough that your head doesnt sweat, but still perfectly warm. And also thin enough that when the mask is in front of your mouth, you can breathe naturally through it without your breath being forced up into your goggles and fogging them up (my pet peeve for face masks). So if you're looking for a solid mask made of the best layering material on planet earth.... look no further.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've inspected every inch of the bag and the construction is bomb proof. I love how it has separate pockets for dirty clothes or other things you don't want to mix with the main compartment. Took this thing all around Europe for about a month. Rolled it down super rough cobble stone streets, over sand and dirt, and pretty much everything in between. This thing held up great. Wheels are the first thing on a roller bag that will break generally, but with this bag i don't thing that will be the case. This thing is crazy good quality. And as with all Osprey products, they have the best warranty in the industry. For any reason, at any time, without a receipt, Osprey will repair or replace it.... even in 30 years

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

bought this for my sister for christmas and she loves it. said its super warm and soft. wind resistant but not windproof of course. And i know she wasnt lying cus she knows she could have returned it regardless of the fact she'd been wearing it the last few days if it wasn't warm enough or anything else because Backcountry is awesome

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Black diamond pretty much owns the skin market for skis. G3 also makes quality skins but I've heard from people who've had both that the Black diamond ones are a bit more durable (haven't tested this personally though) The adhesive works even if it gets a wet and the grip even on steep slopes is impressive. If you're going to do any steep climbing, go with the ascension over the mohair because it grips better on steeper slopes. I recommend getting a skin that is at about as wide as the ski is underfoot. Obviously the tip and tail of the ski will be wider and the skin won't cover it completely, but if it's at least as wide as the center of the ski it should be able to climb with minimum slippage.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Ok so let's be honest, $650 is a ton of money for a jacket no matter how nice it is. But if you're gonna drop anywhere close to that kind of cash, it better be the top of the line in every way. Peak Performance made sure they made a jacket that lived up to their name and price tag. Every last detail is top notch. Gore-tex 3 layer softshell is by far my favorite material for skiing in every condition. I ski Snowbird 50-100 days a year and literally wore this jacket with nothing but a Stoic merino base layer underneath and the temperature regulation was amazing. 35 and sunny? 5 degrees with sideways wind and heavy snow? That set up handled everything. As my friends bundled up with base layers, down jackets and other insulation, I never changed my system and wore simply a high quality 150 weight merino base layer underneath and never got cold even in the worst conditions. The lift ride up occasionally got a bit chilly when it was extremely cold, but once I started skiing it was the perfect temperature and I never over heated while my friends had to take car runs to drop layers. Powder skirt is removable and very high quality as well. Fit is perfect for me. I like my ski jackets a little baggy but not overly so. I'm 5'10 160 lbs and the medium is perfect. I ordered the large as well because I was worried the medium would be too fitted but I was drowning in the large and kept the medium instead. If you can snag this on sale or have some money to play with... don't hesitate, this is a bad ass jacket.

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

this cotton poly blend T is super comfortable and has a great fit. Im 5'10 160 and sometimes buy large but mostly medium. Bought this in a medium and it fits great even after drying (although I wouldn't recommend drying if it fits well out of the box). And as always, those pockets come in handy in all types of situations when your jeans pocket just won't cut it :)

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got these boots for Christmas when I was in 9th grade. I am now 24 years old and still wear the hell outta these boots! Although the sole is very warn (to be expected after 8+ years of use) the leather is still in great condition and the sole still provides reasonable support! I've had 2 other pair of $200 range backpacking boots that have fallen apart in much less time. Most comfortable boots I've warn and like other reviews say.... GIVE THEM TIME to break in! Any full leather high end boot is going to be stiff straight outta the box. Break them in and you'll have yourself an incredible boot for years to come. (One disclaimer.... I bought these when they were made in Italy, and I'm pretty sure they are now made in China. So if they fail to hold up to the abuse I described.... Blame China!)

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Ben Givens

Ben Givens wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had a lot of sunglasses. Most have been polarized. These are hands down the most comfortable, best fitting sunglasses I've ever had. Rubberized nose piece adds comfort and grip and the frames stay put on your face extremely well. The lens is unmatched for clarity and weight. Hinges are well built and frames seem very durable. No one wants to pay $240 for sunglasses that are going to fall off doing anything active...especially something like deep water fishing and have them slip off your face into the water. These can be worn running, hiking, biking and even kayaking or rafting (although I'd get some chums!). If you have the cash, and are good at keeping track of your sunglasses, pull the trigger.... you wont regret it. * MADE IN ITALY

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