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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes

SF Bay Area, Yosemite and Sierra Wilderness, Lake Tahoe.

Ben Mathes's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Skiing

Ben Mathes's Bio

I love spending all day pushing myself (and consequently my gear). I cover 20+ miles in a day amongst the rocks and meadows of the High Sierra. I ski non-stop from the first chair of the day until the lifts close.

The backcountry is the only place I feel truly free.

Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on August 16, 2011

4 5

The only issue I have is that this is a stretchy material, but for the men's cuts (at least in large) it doesn't taper in below the chest, giving someone with an athletic build a bad silhouette. E.g. look at how it hangs loose below the shoulder blades in this photo:

http://www.backcountry.com/images/items/detail_large/SIC/SIC0115/MD_D4.jpg


That being said, this shirt is:
1) super comfortable.
2) has long enough sleeves for those of us with lanky builds
3) keeps you warm when it's cold, keeps you cool when it's warm.
4) Is quite durable.

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on August 16, 2011

4 5

The only issue I have is that this is a stretchy material, but for the men's cuts (at least in large) it doesn't taper in below the chest, giving someone with an athletic build a bad silhouette. E.g. look at how it hangs loose below the shoulder blades in this photo:

http://www.backcountry.com/images/items/detail_large/SIC/SIC0115/MD_D4.jpg


That being said, this shirt is:
1) super comfortable.
2) has long enough sleeves for those of us with lanky builds
3) keeps you warm when it's cold, keeps you cool when it's warm.
4) Is quite durable.

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on April 6, 2011

4 5

I've used these all season, and on the days you need to crank up DIN's up into 13+ it makes the minor extra weight completely worth it.

Bear in mind that I'm at 6'2" and 200+ pounds and ski pretty aggressively (minor cliff drops, lots of speed). If that's who you are and how you ski, a burlier binding like this might be right for you.

And to be perfectly frank, the bright yellow binding looks pretty sweet.

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on November 5, 2010

3 5

Doesn't fit the 4frnt Deadbolt 18 binding, even though they're Tyrolia-based. Possibly my fault for not doing enough research, but I wish it was easier to find some wider brakes for powder skis. In case anyone else is looking for wider brakes for 4frnt bindings, I think you'll have to head over here: http://www.4frnt.com/xcart/home.php?cat=104

I couldn't find any on backcountry.com

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on June 19, 2010

3 5

Understand that slapping them onto an alpine setup will NOT be the same as a proper touring binding, even if you disregard the increased weight. Since the toe section of the Alpine Trekkers is just a metal ring to go over your boot, skinning cross-fall-line can be a little sketchy since the ski will tend to tilt with the hill instead of staying parallel to the bottom of your boot. When that happens, you might find your boot has a tendency to rotate out of the Trekkers, or rotate the trekkers out of your base bindings.

HOWEVER: what these are fantastic for is sidecountry and ascents that aren't too difficult. If you like to take a lift and then skin along a ridge out of bounds before making your descent for some fresh snow, these might be just what you need.

One might wonder why you wouldn't get just a beefier touring binding like the Black Diamond Fritschi Freeride Pro's or the Marker Dukes. They're generally a little more expensive than a your typical alpine binding, but around the same price as an alpine binding plus alpine trekkers.Final Note: You probably shouldn't use this if you have a large boot. These are adjustable length, sure, but if you extend it out a long ways (I have 330mm boots - 6'2") then you can tweak the central support (those screws). Sitting on the summit after two ascents I noticed that one of my screws had popped out!

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on May 24, 2010

4 5

I've been using this for about a month now. The fit is great, but does come up in the armpits a little when you're hunched over. It's not as stretchy as you'd probably come to expect from a softshell, but this is an M1 (marmot's name for their most weather-resistant material). What that means is that you sacrifice a little of the flex for what is essentially a rain-proof softshell.

The material will get a tiny bit stretchier and less stiff with wear, which is what you want; It comes out of the factory a little stiff.

Overall a great jacket.

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Ben Mathes

Ben Mathes wrote a review of on April 27, 2010

4 5

Was great on groomed terrain, park, and bumps, but had to do an awful lot of work to get these around through crud and wet powder. The VCT and VCT Turbo are good alternatives that do everything the MSP does, but also handle off-piste stuff really well.

I ski around Tahoe, though. These might be great for an east-coast advanced skier.

Another disclaimer is that I'm 6'2" and 205 lbs with strong legs so maneuvering heavier skis (like the VCT) is a non-issue for me.

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