Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez

Wasatch, Uintahs, Southern Utah, Tetons

bethany's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Climbing

bethany's Bio

I grew up running amok in the Wasatch mountains, fed by a steady diet of trail running and Utah powder. I traveled the world during my college years, but always found myself coming back to my home mountains. After grad school, I finally found a way to combine my love of the outdoors with my fondness for words by writing about gear, adventures, and adventures with gear. (And adventures without enough gear--buy me a beer, and you'll hear a few of those stories too.)

Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote a review of on December 7, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I don't have great circulation and my hands (and toes) are always cold skiing, no matter what I do. I finally ordered these after reading so many positive reviews, and I wore them skiing in Jackson Hole when the temps were between -11 and 4. I added my own thin glove liners since this mitten doesn't come with any (which is fine). I'm happy to report the mittens worked wonderfully and I only got a tiny bit cold, which is amazing compared to normal. If you're going to go in temps even colder than the negative single digits, I'd recommend going with the Marmot Expedition Mitt, which is one step up on the heat scale. (But those things are super super bulky--they're meant for, like, antarctic expeditions.) All in all, I'm way pleased with this purchase and this will be my go-to ski mitten for very cold days at the resort and in the backcountry. I like keeping glove liners on underneath so I can easily slip the mittens off to fiddle with my boot buckles, phone, etc.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on March 3, 2011

The Keen Hoodoo High Lace Boot is well-constructed, waterproof, and lightly insulated, and it does boast good looks too. In the spectrum of Keen winter boots, though, this one falls slightly more on the “in-town” end. By all means, walk around on a snowy, wet day, or take this boot on a short winter hike or snowshoe jaunt. It’ll work very well for those things.

But in our opinion, if you’re thinking about a boot made specifically for serious snowshoeing or long winter hikes, it may be wise to go with something more insulated and burly. If you like the style and fit of Keen, check out the Alaska boot. The Alaska boot has a super-sturdy full-leather upper, waterproof KeenDry membrane, a heat-reflective footbed, and 400g synthetic insulation to fend off the chills. Women tend to appreciate extra warmth in winter boots—ice-cold toes just aren’t fun.

So ultimately, it comes down to what you need from your boot: something you’ll usually wear with jeans but could also take a short hike in, or something that’s mostly for winter hiking but also looks okay with jeans?

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on March 3, 2011

Yes, that is pretty much the case. The Stoic Breathe Composite and the Stoic Merino Composite ¼ Zip shirts have the same tailoring, the same outer face, and the same fabric at the neck. There are only two differences besides obvious ones like a zip neck vs. crew neck. The Merino top has a fuzzy merino inner face (good for odor-resistance and insulation when wet), whereas the Breathe top has a fuzzy polyester inner face that is slightly thicker-knit, giving it a tad more wind-resistance than the Merino version offers. Whether your personal preference is synthetic or wooly, both tops offer great expedition-grade insulation and wicking.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on March 3, 2011

Kelly, take it from someone who often buys a children’s size XL to save a few bucks: the savings feel good. But the fit is almost never quite right. You’re petite enough that the sleeve length will probably be just fine. But The North Face, like other clothing manufacturers, uses a boxy cut for its girls’ clothing (basically, the same cut as the boys’ versions but in girly colors). For women’s clothing, the company’s designers take the time to make flattering tailored fits with princess seams and room for your curves and bust.

So, ask yourself if it’s worth spending less money to get something you might not wear as often because the fit is awkward and slightly off. Spend a little more on the women’s version, and you might wear it every day because it’s both a practical fleece and a flattering one at the same time.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on March 3, 2011

Good question, because buying a backpack is a major purchase—perhaps the most important and expensive one you’ll make—as you get into backpacking. Firstly, I’ll say that yes, if you can afford it, an Arc’teryx backpack would be a fantastic choice. Arc’teryx makes top-quality backpacks that weigh very little, are comfortable, and are smartly designed; they’ll stand up to an incredible amount of wear and tear, so your investment will be a good one. That being said, you need to consider several questions as you decide which particular model is the right one for you.

The Bora 80-liter Backpack is truly ginormous; you could practically fit your pet pony inside it. This is something a large person could take on a lengthy, serious mountain expedition. If you’re just getting into backpacking, it’s very likely that you would do just fine with a smaller 50-liter or maybe 60-liter pack. That would allow ample space for overnighters or a 3-4 day jaunt in the woods. Look into the Arc’teryx Axios and Altra packs; both are available in this size range. And since any Arc’teryx pack can be fully tweaked and adjusted to fit your torso perfectly, chances are high that it will work well for you.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on February 7, 2011

Allison, I ski the Kikus myself in the 169cm length. The Kiku is great big handful of a ski (i.e., you’ll find it a more powerful, aggressive hard-charger than your other considerations, the GotBack and SideStash). Being a smaller-framed girl myself, I found the Kiku challenging at first; it felt like the ski was taking me for a ride rather than the other way around. But now that my skills have grown into it, I absolutely adore this ski and couldn’t picture myself on anything else. Even if you’re a petite shredder, if you’re already used to the 168 Gotama, I’d say you’re more than ready to step onto the Kiku. You’ll never look back.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on February 7, 2011

There are pros and cons to using this jacket around town. I bought it for around-town use and it is exceptionally warm for its ultralight weight. It packs down super-small in my purse while I’m indoors—no need to carry my jacket around or find a place to hang it at the bar. The quilting pattern is flattering, and multiple women have stopped me to ask what the jacket’s name is and where I got it, because it’s so sleek and non-bulky.
Those are the upsides to the jacket. The downside is that, when it comes right down to it, the material is a tad delicate. I made the idiotic mistake of carrying my skis on my shoulder while wearing this jacket, and I tore the shoulder fabric. So if you’re going to put the jacket in contact with any significant abrasion, then no, it may not stand up to it. It may be most practical to use it for MontBell’s intended purpose, which is layering beneath shell jackets during snowsports.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on January 3, 2011

Nobody likes a whiteout that exists within their own goggles. Smith goggles, including the Phenoms, do have a great venting system that lets hot air escape easily, which works especially well when you’re downhill skiing/riding, and your gogs are getting plenty of cool, refreshing airflow. But if you really want to amp up your ventilation during sweat-inducing aerobic activity, you should look into the Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggle. It has a tiny, quiet, battery-operated fan inside the goggle, and paired with Smith’s standard anti-fog lens, this fan keeps things super-fresh and clear even when you’re hot and sweaty. (You turn the fan on with a simple switch on the goggle’s elastic band.) You’re pretty much guaranteed to not have a fogging problem, and if you’re worried about the fan breaking down at all, remember that Smith (and Backcountry) will back it up with a lifetime warranty.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote a review of on December 3, 2010

5 5

I love how this jacket looks sleek and techy, but it also has a lot of insulation inside. I wore it on a cold, windy ski tour, and the insulation was a godsend. The outer shell fabric is soft, and the fabric colors are all pretty and bold. (I dig the contrasting zippers and seams.) But definitely, my favorite thing about the jacket is how warm it is, without being overly puffy. And since the insulation is synthetic, it works extremely well in wet and stormy conditions. Definitely a thumbs-up on this jacket.

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote a review of on December 3, 2010

5 5

I wore these pants for the first time on a cold, windy ski tour last week. I have to say, I was surprised by how comfortable and practical they are. The styling is great too--cute trouser fit, bold new-school coloring. I dig it. And when I first felt the fabric, it was so lightweight that I wondered if the pants would stand up to abuse or if they'd simply tear at their first run-in with a tree branch. Turns out, the fabric is plenty burly, and the thick reinforcement patches around the instep and cuffs protects it from your ski edges. Since the pant is so light (clearly a boon for hiking/touring/breathability), you'll want to layer extra-warm long johns underneath if it's a really cold day like I was out in. I think it works out well; the pant will be plenty light and breathable on spring tours, and then I can wear light long johns or capri-length ones underneath. Overall, great pant, cute fit... maybe size up because it ran a little small. (I usually wear a size S or XS, and the medium in this pant was a tad big, but only a little too big.)

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Beth Lopez

Beth Lopez wrote an answer about on November 20, 2010

How tall are you? I'm a very solid skier too, and I love my Kikus, but sometimes it feels like my 170-cm ones are a bit too much. They're so wide and burly that the shorter length would still provide ample float, and then I'd have better agility. I'm still glad to have my 170 Kikus, but that is the one thing I'd change. I'm 5'6" ... if you're way taller, that could change things. But that's my take.

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