BergMann

BergMann

South Lake Tahoe

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Matthew M's Passions

Alpine Touring
Camping
Mountain Biking
Trail Running
Road Cycling
Snowshoeing
Alpine Skiing

Matthew M's Bio

30 years in the game, still got love for the steeps...

BergMann

BergMann wrote an answer about on April 10, 2014

Sorry Don, but you're wrong on all accounts: all Royal Family Series Markers work perfectly when adjusted for AFD clearance on the Vulcan. I've had Dynafit Vulcans, Mercurys, and Titans in both my Barron & Griffin bindings.
Release & retention is perfect & 100% consistent with alpine boots.
ALL royal family bindings have IDENTICAL toe-height adjustment mechanisms which allow me to dial in Marker's specified amount of AFD clearance.
This Lord binding evidently has an extra 5mm of clearance for hypothetical, ultra-rockered boots, but your Dynafits are not among them.
While we're at it, the size 28.5 Vulcans I didn't buy (hated the lack of progressive flex) were 7.6 lbs. My stock Solomon Falcons are 10.6lbs. AT boots are great, but they're not magically exempt from the laws of physics: you need mass to drive a ski.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on April 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With the removable handle, this shovel packs more compactly than any other extendable shovel on the market. Weight is also amongst the lightest at 21oz.
Blade size is perfect for stowing inside packs in the 20-35 liter range. Anything bigger, and you'll need a bigger pack, or risk snagging / loss by external attachment.
I used this shovel at my Level 1 Avalanche certification and was consistently among the 3 fastest in my class of 30 participants to deploy & finish digging in Tahoe's heavy, costal snowpack. In fact, I observed several participants struggling with larger blades attached to shorter handles. Bottom line: be aware of the conditions you are most likely to face: those in continental conditions in deep, light snow may benefit from a bigger blade. In subsequent use up and down the Sierra Nevadas, I've found the dimensions of this tool perfect for western snow conditions.
Overall I'd rate this shovel 4.5 out of 5 due to one minor quibble:
I would have liked to see extra holes equidistant from the ends of both sections of shovel handle for use in building an emergency sled w/ my skis.
BCA would do well to follow K2's lead & add this "big picture" functionality to their shovels as a stock feature. I am going to drill holes where I need them, but why should I have to resort to a DIY fix that voids my warranty when other manufacturers incorporate it into their base design?
Are you listening BCA? Just 4 holes short of perfection!

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on March 6, 2014

1 5

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

Against the backdrop of how much I liked the original S7 and S3, Rossi's huge hype campaign on how the new 7-series improved on the old design in every way made demoing the Soul 7 the biggest disappointment I've had in 30years+ of testing gear.
I spent an entire variable-condidtion pow day on the Soul 7 & found it a mediocre intermediate ski that did *nothing* well other than be light. Even under my 160lbs, float in light & medium density snow was lacking. Yes the ski is 10mm narrower than the old S7, but unfortunately what you give up in the pow is not paid back on piste. The vaunted, new, flatter, & squarer tail shape on the Soul 7 provided no discernible advantage on hard snow, however it made the ski much less maneuverable in tight & deep conditions than its wider predecessor.
Hard snow performance was truly abysmal: the tips flattered like rag-dolls at speeds over 25mph on tracked up, glazed rides back to the lift. The tips & tails are so soft that it feels like there is no camber to this ski. Quick, edge-to-edge short radius turns were utterly lacking in energy or edge bite. GS turns w/ the Soul 7s skied way out away from body engaged the edges, but were harrowing on a ski this spineless.
In contrast, on the old S7s or Armada JJs, I had no problem making snappy, carved short turns in the fall line with enough camber to "pop" me into the next turn. W/ a centered, modern stance "fun shapes" like the old S7s, JJs, & Patrons will also carve decent GS turns up till about 40mph, when they start to chatter on icier slopes, but every decent ski in this category is still more stable at 40mph than the Soul 7 was at 20mph.

Who is this ski for? No idea.
Low intermediates looking for a ski with more float should opt for more tail rocker for easier turning. Everyone else will be left wishing this ski had more substance.
Perhaps the wider Super 7 or Squad 7 offer this, but I need a tourable width that will side-hill, so I'm looking elsewhere.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on March 6, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Skier: 6'1", 160lbs. Technically proficient on any terrain.
Setup: 185cm, Marker Baron binder.
Daily use: trees, pillows, chutes, & tight technical terrain of S. Lake Tahoe.
Of the dozen or so "fun shaped," rockered skis I've tried in the 115mm-ish waist category the JJ is by far the most balanced design: it excels in soft snow & is still tons of fun in mixed conditions typically found at resorts. Float is awesome, pivoting & smearing effortless, and the cambered section offers fantastic edge grip on hard snow for a ski this wide and light (9.8lbs in 185cm).
My daily skiing is in tight, technical trees, chutes, spines and pillowlines typical of the resorts & backcountry of South Lake Tahoe. While I don't ski switch outside of the park, I do find the rockered tails useful for tail drags in tight spots where you want to keep it on the snow and for wheelies to help get the tips up and over larger obstacles.
For skiers of similar weight & w/ the technique to lay down good, carved turns on hard snow, I'd rate the "speed limit" around 40mph. The ski will go faster, but like most other tapered, tip & tail rockered skis of this width, you'll begin to feel the tips & tails flatter at high speeds when slopes get icy.
Caveat: bigger skiers (~180lbs+) looking to ski wide open spaces flat out & blast through heavy crud should look elsewhere. Blizzard and Volkl make flatter-tailed, stiffer, big-mountain skis better suited to your needs.
Punchline: Do you want to go deep, tight, & technical? This is your ski.
Note: *For the 3-star reviewer who complained of tail "hookiness" the problem was definitely his tune: skis with tapered tails & shovels need to have the edges detuned fore & aft of the widest contact points.
I'm a former shop tech who tunes his own skis. Get the right length (go head-height+, they ski short), tune these skis properly & keep the edges sharp, and you will be impressed with the edging capabilities of this powder ski.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote an answer about on February 26, 2014

Thanks for the intel Craig. So they've expanded the range of adjustability by 5mm?
I can't speak for other boot manufacturers, but the regular "Royal Family" bindings work fine with any of Dynafit's current boots you would actually want to use with a downhill oriented binding: I've had Vulcans & Mercuries in my Barrons, no problem as well.
Seems like Marker is chasing a tiny piece of the pie in a strange way: why create a whole new binding model when you can just revise the toe on the existing Griffon & Jester?

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a question about on February 16, 2014

Uhm, am I missing something, or is the Lord hyping functionality that is already in all of the "royal family" bindings?
I have both the Griffons & the Barons, and the adjustable-height AFD allows me to adjust them both to funtion properly with my rubber-soled Dynafit Titan UL AT boots.
Griffons & Barons adjust to: 1) the width of my toe lugs, 2) proper AFD clearance, 3) forward pressure at heel.
What could a binding do to be more "AT compatible" than that?

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on December 13, 2013

Too short
2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

These are NOT a size L in length, much less an XL.
I've attached a picture of these Giordana leg warmers up against size L Voler & Hincapie models: the Giordanas are a full 2" shorter, and since the elastic bunching at the back of the knee dictates how you position the warmers on your legs, they do not cover my shins properly.
Nice concept, but Giordana needs to produce a full size run: the stretch weave conforms nicely, but can't make up for lack of length. I tried to stretch them out lengthwise before spinning a couple of minutes on the trainer, and they slipped right back up my leg.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on June 21, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This jersey is an amazing value. I own over 20 different cycling jersies (inclucing the Gore Xenon 2.0 Jersey which costs twice as much), and this one is my hands-down favorite for warm-weather riding.
Why? AWESOME ventilation. Mesh panels are perfectly placed - this jersey stays dry and airy even when temps soar above 100 degrees here in the Sierra Foothills. I am a high-sweat-rate rider, and in over 30 years of competitive riding, I have never had anything that transports moisture so well.
Other benefits of note:
Pockets are well placed, and there are no silly, unserviceable zippered compartments that require two hands to open while on the bike or to harbor mold on the washline.
I LOVE the collar that tapers down to the neck zipper. Pros tend to wear high-collared jersies, but that is because that collar is billboard space for sponsors. I own several high-collared jersies for cold-weather use, but unless you ride around with the jersey zipped all the way up in the summer, that extra collar is going to just flap around in the wind and chafe or annoy.

Only caveat: this jersey breathes so well , that when climbing in hot & dry conditions with little wind, you may find yourself pouring water down your back for additional cooling. This is a tradeoff I'm willing to take for a jersey that never leaves you with a clammy belly on long descents.

Fit: I am 6'1", 155lbs , 40" chest, with an athletic build and muscular arms. The Medium gives me a perfect, race-ready fit with zero puckering or material to flap in the wind. If you are a bigger build you'll want to size up to the Large.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on June 21, 2013

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I returned this jacket because it reminded me of old, low-tech, 2-layer fleece / nylon jackets I owned in the 80s, and not in a good way.
It is basically just a nylon shell with a free-floating brushed poly zip-t that hangs inside. I expected a modern, two-layer laminated fabric, but found what is in fact two garments stitched together only at the wrists, hem, and neck.
It felt and looked lumpy, the nylon was noisy in motion, and it had no stretch. The wrists and hood elastic had no adjustability.
Frankly, I'd rather just wear a poly base layer and single-layer nylon windbreaker and have the option to remove each layer independently.
I had intended the jacket as a wind-resistent yet breathable layer for backcountry skiing & hiking.
Instead I got the Mountain Hardwear Onata Softshell.
It doesn't have a hood and weighs 4 ounces more, but the breathability, DWR, adjustable cuffs, fit, feel, & stretch of the Onata are just what I was looking for.
Fit notes: I'm 6'1", 160lbs with 35" long arms, and the XL I ordered was way too baggy. According to the Marmot size chart, I was between a Medium and Large size, but those sizes were out of stock at that time.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote an answer about on April 7, 2013

Sorry, but Hayden has his facts 100% backa**wards! All versions of Marker's Baron/Duke bindings feature an adjustable toe height on the front binding, meaning they can be adjusted both in height, and in length (from the rear binding) to fit ANY ski boot. I know, because I regularly alternate between Dynafit Titan UL AT boots and Salomon Falcon Alpine boots on my Barons. What is more, Salomon's binding HAS ZERO TOE HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT, meaning there is only one AT boot you can be 100% sure of fitting their binding: Salomon. (Funny how that works). There is only one caveat to the "Marker fits all boots" rule: Marker makes their binding in a Small and Large size. Dynafit, and most other AT boots will tend to have shorter sole lengths than an alpine boot of the same Mondo size. If your alpine boots are at the small end of the fit spectrum for your size Large Barons/Dukes, your new AT bootsoles could potentially be too short, and the binding might not be able to adjust far enough forward to maintain adequate forward pressure at the heel piece. The punchline: if you're worried about this, check your current Alpine bootsole length and the Marker bootsole-length charts PRIOR to purchasing any new AT boot. Happy shopping!

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on December 20, 2012

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I loaded up this pack side by side with the Kode 30, and made a disappointing discovery:
My medium Smith Variant helmet wouldn't fit in the "helmet" compartment in the lid of the Kode 38 pack, but the Kode 30's external helmet-carrier holds it with ease.
Sad thing is that even the Kode 30 wouldn't hold my helmet and allow me to A-frame carry my 185cm skis at the same time - the helmet prevents you from strapping your ski tips together to limit movement that can lead to your ski edges cutting the pack fabric.
I like the overall fit & function of these packs, but Osprey needs to rethink their helmet carry designs.
Tip for Osprey: providing a second set of tether points for the helmet carry flap towards the bottom of the Kode 30 pack would allow carrying a helmet on the back of the pack while A-framing skis.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

1 5

Avoid. Windstopper doesn't breathe worth spit for active sports like skiing, hiking or jogging.
I own this hat, M.H.'s Micro Dome, and an uninsulated OR Windstopper skullcap, and never wear them, because I own two vastly superior "Windpro Hardface" hats (one by Outdoor Research and one by REI).
Wind Pro Hardface sheds water better than any fleece, and ounce-for-ounce my OR & REI Windpro hats offer all of the warmth, most of the windproofness, and breathability several orders of magnitude better than any Windstopper fabric.
Don't believe the Gore hype machine.
A hat like this may be fine for standing around, or for casual wear by folks who simply don't sweat, but once you've tried a *real* breathable fabric like Wind Pro Hardface you'll never go back.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

1 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Avoid. Windstopper doesn't breathe worth spit for active sports like skiing, hiking or jogging.
I own this & M.Hardwear's Dome Perignon, and never wear them, because I own two vastly superior "Windpro Hardface" hats (one by Outdoor Research and one by REI).
Windpro hardface sheds water better than any fleece, and ounce-for-ounce my OR & REI hats offer all of the warmth, most of the windproofness, and breathability several orders of magnitude better than any Windstopper fabric.
Don't believe the Gore hype machine.
A hat like this may be fine for standing around, or for casual wear by folks who simply don't sweat, but once you've tried a *real* breathable fabric like Windpro you'll never go back.

(1)

 

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on January 30, 2009

5 5

While the review of Dec 19 is helpful in that indicates the widths of Zipp bars are measured Outside-Outside (BackCo take note: specs like this simply MUST be included in the item listing itself), the rest of the listing is incorrect.

The de-facto industry standard for handlebar widths is Center-to-Center in centimeters. While some manufacturers such as Zipp measure Outside-to-Outside, there is NO SUCH THING as nominal handlebar widths measured Inside-to-Inside.

Why does this matter? Because an Easton bar with a nominal 42cm C-C width will be the same width as a Zipp bar with a nominal width of 44.5cm O-O.

While nominal widths are a good starting point, the only surefire way to make sure you are getting the width you need is with actual measurements.

As for the Nov 20 review by a 220 lb "clydesdale" who rides an Orbea Orca and is concerned with stiffness: keep this fact in mind: the ORCA is one of the flexiest carbon frames ever made, especially at the head tube junction.
I've ridden the bike, and the type of bar is almost irrelevant: so much flex comes from the frame and fork steerer, steering will never be precise, especially for a larger rider.
A rider this heavy shouldn't be on a frameset that soft, and probably shouldn't be on a 185g carbon bar either, for that matter.
Cum grano salis, indeed.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on December 3, 2008

5 5

Apples to apples: compare this Marmot piece to other powerstretch tops on the market (e.g. Mtn Hardware's best-in-class Powerstretch Zip T), and you'll notice right away that this is NOT A PERFORMANCE FIT item.
Granted fit will vary based on your build & sizing choice:
I am 6'1", 165 lbs, with a 35" sleeve length, and I had to go with the L to get the wrist coverage I needed.
Even with the Medium I tried, however, the torso cut was roomy & the hem length is unusually long: Marmot has taken a traditional base-layer fabric and given it a mid-layer jacket design with full-length zip and hand pockets, and the end result is a very Cloudveil-like, roomy, new-school fit.
Don't expect too much of this piece as a stand-alone jacket: powerstretch isn't designed for abrasion resistance, offers little wind-resistance, and pills much more quickly, say than Polartec's beefier Windpro hardface fleece.
Where I do agree with the previous reviewer: this piece is amazingly comfortable. It excels over a t-shirt as a breathable spring/fall travel layer, or over your base layer and under a shell for colder days where the base layer alone just isn't quite warm enough.

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BergMann

BergMann wrote a review of on January 27, 2005

5 5

Finally a Zip-T-Neck that doesn't look like underwear, and doesn't bind under fleece and softshells!

I have two of these, and often wear them casually on their own. The cut is roomy enough, from the neck to the sleeves, to wear even an expedition-weight T-neck underneath.

Garments' only weakness: why not add a tongue beneath the zipper in the neck area? No one likes a cold zipper on bare skin!

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