Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker

Utah's Wasatch Mountains

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Cole's Passions

Backpacking
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Road Cycling

Cole's Bio

I'm lucky enough to have been born and raised in the foothills of Utah's Wasatch Mountains...and even luckier to now work for Backcountry.com. I was raised on skis and spent summers backpacking and fishing throughout the Uinta Mountains and Southern Utah. Still love doing the same, but now with my own kids in tow...even better!

Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on June 25, 2014

5 5

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

I openly admit that I'm not at the forefront of fashion i.e. I'm not a hipster. That said, I also am not stuck ten years behind. I wanted something that was a little slimmer but that didn't cut off my circulation or make me look like I only belonged in Portland. These did the trick. Slimmer and more current looking than an average pair you'd buy, but not overdone. Liked the first pair so much that I bought them in another color. They run true to size.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on January 27, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I bought this to replace the Spyder Guard that my son had grown out of. The jacket is great looking and very warm and functional. The chest pocket is perfect for his ski pass, wrist gaiters help keep his hands even warmer, and the ThermaWeb insulation really makes a difference. My only gripe is that I wish they didn't have a removable hood. It's fine, but aesthetically, I think it would look better as a permanent hood.

One thing to note, this jacket runs small. My son is almost six and we bought a size eight. It's a little big on him, but still fits nicely so be sure to size up if you buy this jacket.

Would highly recommend the jacket to anyone.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on January 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small

Love this piece. Have been looking for a good base layer for skiing and hiking and this takes the cake. Incredibly comfortable and very functional. The chest pocket is super convenient should you need to stash ID, a credit card, or a few bucks in it and, maybe my favorite part of the shirt, is the tapered bottom. I always had the problem of my base layer riding up my back but with the longer tail on this shirt, it never happens.

The shirt is a little tighter fitting that I had expected. I'm 5'11", 170 lbs and usually wear a Medium in Arc'teryx. Had to exchange for a Large here and it fits great. Huge fan and would highly recommend to others.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on January 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I love this jacket. The Gore-Tex performance shell is extremely soft (read: no loud crinkling sound of typical Gore-Tex pro shell) and the 100g PrimaLoft Sport insulation makes the jacket super warm. I'm 5'11", 170 lbs and the Medium fits great. I'm a big fan of the slightly trimmer European cut.

I bought this for cold days as I was sick of adding a ton of layers under my Arc'teryx Rush Jacket (which is also a great shell BTW). This jacket keeps me plenty warm on most days with just a lightweight merino base layer on underneath. On really cold days, I'll add a light fleece. While this jacket can definitely serve as your only winter jacket, just know that it can almost get TOO warm on above average temp days, which is why I like to have a true pro shell that I can wear on those warmer days.

I own a handful of Norrona products and am a big fan of the brand. If you're concerned because Norrona is lesser known here in the U.S., don't be. Their products are top of the line (which unfortunately is reflected in the price) and come with a five year warranty.

Give it a shot. You'll be happy you did.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on January 15, 2014

5 5

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

I bought these for my son once he grew out of his Sorels. He had often complained that the Sorels were too heavy, although warm. So far, these have been great. His feet have stayed warm and dry and they are really light. Additionally, the cinch tie is super convenient. Can't say how durable they are as this is his first season with them, but so far so good.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote an answer about on January 6, 2014

Dave, not familiar with the Sidestash so hard to give you a comparison. I'm 5'11", 170 lbs and ski the Cochise 185 and love it. I've got a buddy on the 193 Cochise and he's 6'1", 180 and also loves it. He definitely has more stability at speed, but obviously loses some responsiveness and agility. I'm sure you'd be fine with either. If you want something that's going to be more responsive and you're doing some tight tree skiing, I'd do the 185. If you spend a lot of time on the hard pack and going fast, I'd do the 193.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on January 6, 2014

Favorite Ski I Have Ever Skied
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm not sure a review will do this ski any justice. The Cochise does it all. I'm on my third season with the Cochise and it just keeps getting better. You don't hear about Blizzard as much as other brands (Rossi, Volkl, Armada, etc.), but don't let that scare you away from this ski. I've been skiing Blizzard for over 12 seasons now and have yet to be disappointed.

I'm 5'11", 170 lbs and ski the 185. I spend my time at Utah resorts. As mentioned above, the versatility of this ski is amazing. It's unbelievably stable at speed on hard pack (think 70+ mph on a groomer), is playful and responsive in tight space, floats plenty in powder, and excels in crud and variable snow. I've recommended the Cochise to a handful of friends and all now have the same affinity for the ski.

If you're looking at buying this ski, you're probably doing some homework and comparing different options. While I don't have a ton of data points for you, this one might be helpful. I skied a few runs on the new Rossignol Soul 7 recently, another very popular ski this year, and came away thinking the following: the Soul 7 is definitely a lighter ski and just a bit more responsive/playful than the Cochise. Was a really fun ski to ski. That said, it wasn't as stable as the Cochise and doesn't power through crud and variable conditions the way the Cochise does. Granted, my experience was only a run or two so take the opinion with a grain of salt, but might be helpful nonetheless.

Bottom line: I've been skiing for a long time and this is my favorite ski I've ever skied on. If you're looking for a one-trick pow pony, this isn't your ski. Likewise if you're looking for a true carving ski. However, if you want something that does it all, and does it all very well, this is the ski.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on November 8, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a super functional and versatile lamp. The flip down stand makes it great for table lighting, the hook setup on the top for hanging makes for easy hanging on a tree or in a tent. The dimming function is handy and the amount of light the lamp throws off is great. Highly recommend it.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on November 8, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

In case you thought fairings were just for looks, they aren't. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes. Put one on my old Acura TL and I've got no complaints. Mounted to round crossbars. I ran into trouble trying to figure out what size to get b/c when I went to Yakima's site to determine, they don't really tell you. So give Yakima's customer service a call, or chat with the good folks at Backcountry, to help you determine proper sizing.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on November 8, 2013

5 5

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

This is a great piece. The Polartec is super comfortable and the combination of that with a little more durable outer material makes this a perfect fleece. The fit is a little snug, particularly in the arms, which is what you'd expect from a mid-layer like this. The integrated neck gaiter/balaclava is a nice feature. Haven't really needed it yet, but can see how it will be useful and you don't notice it when not using it. Great look, feel, and functionality. Highly recommend it. Fits true to Arc'teryx sizing. I'm 5'11" and weigh 170lbs and the Medium is a perfect fit. Also, I purchased the Nighthawk color. On the site here it looks grey. However, it is definitely a navy blue color, NOT grey. Just a heads up if you go for the Nighthawk.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on November 8, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Love these socks. Bought them to give them a try and now own six pair. They are the most comfortable casual socks I own. They're a little thicker than my typical socks and that combined with the soft feel make them a great wear. Highly recommend them.

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Cole VandenAkker

Cole VandenAkker wrote a review of on November 8, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Love these socks. Bought them to give them a try and now own six pair. They are the most comfortable casual socks I own. They're a little thicker than my typical socks and that combined with the soft feel make them a great wear. Highly recommend them.

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