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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargrave

Utah's Unparalleled Outdoors

Jared Hargrave's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Jared Hargrave's Bio

Backcountry skier, mountain biker, rock climber, hiker, backpacker and avid beer drinker (good beer mind you.) I grew up skiing in Colorado but soon found Utah's powder to be better, so I made the Wasatch my home.

Backcountry skiing is my true passion and I've explored mountains all over Utah on my skis. But my favorite skiing moment came when I got to ski tour in Patagonia, Argentina.

When I'm not inhaling cold smoke or tailgating in Alta's parking lot, I write about skiing and mountain biking on my website, UtahOutside.com, and for print like the Utah Adventure Journal, Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal, and Backcountry Magazine. I'm also a television producer for the KSL Outdoors show.



Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on May 25, 2015

Stretchy Waterproofiness
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 165 lbs

We have had a very wet spring so far in Utah, and I have had ample time to test the Stretch Ozonic in a downpour. So does it pass the waterproof/breathable test.

USES: Mountain Hardwear calls the Stretch Ozonic a wet-weather backpacking shell, but I mostly used it on mountain bike rides, trail runs, and walks around the park in the rain. April and May have been chilly and wet in the Wasatch, and I have been glad to have the Stretch Ozonic on hand.

WATERPROOFINESS: This shell is everything MH claims as far as keeping out the wet. At first glance, I thought there is no way this piece is waterproof, it is too flexible and light, almost like thin paper. Usually one relates waterproof shells to garbage bag, plastic feeling material. But my doubts were put to rest the first time I stepped out the door in a downpour. Water beads up on the shell and sluffs off. My under layers never saw even a hint of moisture. I was duly impressed.

BREATHABILITY: Top notch. To test that out I mountain biked and ran in the shell, but also boot packed up Suicide Chute in the Alta backcountry and skied down. It was a warm day, almost t-shirt weather. But the Stretch Ozonic breathed extremely well, especially after opening the pit zips for added air flow. So not only is this shell a good summer jacket to ward off the rain, it also doubles as a backcountry skiing layer as well.

OTHER DETAILS: What I also love about this shell is how light it is. It weighs almost nothing (9.7 oz) and packs down super small, ideal for throwing in a pack for just in case. I have been carrying it around in my mountain bike pack and on after-work hikes so I am never without an emergency waterproof layer. Plus, it looks good with a slim cut, minimal pockets and clutter, and colors that are not too crazy.

GRIPES: My only gripe is that there is not much in the way of wind protection. On that backcountry tour on Mount Superior, we were greeted with cold, ridgetop winds that cut right through the shell. After slipping on an insulated mid layer, I was fine, but know that the Stretch Ozonic will only keep the water out. Wind? Not so much. That being said, you should carry a warm mid-layer on alpine outings anyway, so brutal wind should not be a problem if you?re prepared. I consider this lack of wind-proofiness the cost of breathability.

FINAL WORD: Overall I'd say The Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket is pretty much the essential waterproof/breathable shell for spring, summer and fall alpine pursuits. It will keep you dry inside and out, will not overheat, and packs away small until you need it. Do not go backpacking without one.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on March 25, 2015

Perfect for Wasatch Tours
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

For reference, other boots I have toured in include the Garmont Endorphin, Black Diamond Quadrant, Salomon Quest 12, Salomon MTN LAB, Salomon Quest Max BC 120, and the Atomic Backland Carbon. From those, the Black Diamond Quadrant have been my favorite - true workhorses that lasted me for years. But I have spent the entire winter in the Scarpa Freedom SL, taking them everywhere from British Columbia, Idaho and right here in Utah. After a full season, I would say the Freedom SL are my new favorite.

ON THE UP: Paired with Dynafit Radical FT bindings, I was pleased at how smooth the boots felt on the up, which I assume is thanks to the Power Block which allows for frictionless movement between the upper and lower shells. The smaller ROM range is somewhat noticeable when the skintrack gets really steep, but mostly I found I never wanted for more as long as the upper cuff was totally unbuckled. Overall, these boots tour admirably, though the low ROM and heavier weight makes them less than ideal for very long tours. But here in the Wasatch where we have short approaches, they are perfect.

ON THE DOWN: These boots perform as well as any alpine-style boot I have worn. Lateral responsiveness? Check. Ample forward flex? Check. Stability? Check. But most importantly for me, is the cuff height. Many touring boots have a low cuff, which makes driving powder skis very difficult, if not downright exhausting. But the Freedom SL has a cuff height like an alpine boot, plus the liner tongue is nice and beefy, giving the whole setup a true downhill feel. I love these boots so much, that they've also been my go-to for skiing at Alta.

FIT: I found the 101mm last to be a bit wide so my foot has a bit of lateral movement when turning (98mm lasts are the ticket for my feet.) But I also have a very high instep, and these boots are among the few that do not feel like they are crushing down on the top of my foot. Out of the box, my toes felt cramped, but a liner-cooking session at Wasatch Touring made them fit perfect and I have had no problems with fit ever since.

FEATURES: The buckles, big power strap, and lugged soles are top notch and it is clear that the design team at Scarpa thought long and hard about the small details. I especially like the rubber barrier that goes under the overlap of the lower part of the boot. It keeps snow away from your toes when the boot is unbuckled while touring. Also, the Power Block walk/ski mode is a stout system of two metal pieces locking together on the outside of the boot. It is easy to switch with gloved hands and I never had an accidental mode switch while skiing. As for the liner, well, you cannot go wrong with Intuition. The tongue has a plastic panel for added stiffness, tongue and calf both have handles for easy in/out, and they are heat moldable for ultimate fit. Plus they are really warm.

DURABILITY: Questionable. The overlap flap on the lower boot cracked in half for no apparent reason. One day I was skiing at Alta, and after about 3 runs, bent over to unbuckle the boot. To my horror I noticed this massive crack that goes from the edge of the flap to underneath the buckle catch. This. Should. Not. Happen. As a result, the forefoot of the boot is much less responsive when skiing, and the rubber dam that keeps snow out from getting between the flaps is less effective. Hopefully Scarpa will warranty this when ski season is over.

Overall, I think the Scarpa Freedom SL is absolutely the happy medium of AT boots. With an adequate touring mode and totally bomber downhill performance both in-bounds and out, these boots are basically a quiver killer that can do it all... as long as their construction lasts.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on February 25, 2015

Throwback to Another Era.
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 150 lbs
Size Purchased: 42

Thank you to Backcountry.com and Filson for hand-selecting me to review the Mackinaw Vest for the benefit of the backcountry.com community.

A MAN. That is who gets to wear a vest like the Filson Mackinaw. A real MAN. This here garment is a total throwback to the 1890s or some such time when men were separated from MEN based on how many logs you can saw, horses you can break, and whiskey you can drink. Unfortunately these days there is not much log sawin or horse breakin going on, but you will fit right in with the hipsters at the whiskey bar wearing this vest, provided you have the requisite beard or handlebar mustache of course. As for me, I backcountry ski, so I tested this vest while skinning and skiing in the Wasatch.

CONSTRUCTION: Filson is known for the quality of their products, and the Mackinaw Vest is no exception. Construction is bomber, the virgin wool is thick and rough (just how I like it), and the stitching seems like it will last until the end of days. This is a vest you buy so you can hand it down to your firstborn son.

FEATURES: This vest is pretty simple really. Button-down front is not ideal for ski touring, but it looks nice for wearing out on the town. Hell you could probably pair it with a suit coat for those special occasions. There are two hand pockets and two front pockets. The left side pocket is actually three small, narrow slots that I suppose are good for storing your cigars or shotgun shells. The right pocket I found to be the perfect size to hold a whiskey flask.

PERFORMANCE: This is not a technical piece. But I took it skiing anyway. And you know what? It worked surprisingly well during aerobic activity in the cold. My core stayed warm but I never overheated. It breathes like a champ. It did not feel great under pack straps and the front buttons were pressure points under chest straps and my avalanche beacon. But hey, this is a vest meant for building barb-wire fences, not backcountry skiing, so I give it a pass.

SIZE: Sizing is difficult. Filson does not abide by the standard S, M, L - instead building garments to specifics, like a fine vest should. So I had my wife measure my admittedly sunken chest and I came out as a size 42. But when I got the vest, it was a bit too large, especially around the lower torso. So either sizing is off, or my wife was trying to make me feel good by lying about my chest size. Maybe I need to man up and drink more whiskey so my belly can grow into it.

FINAL WORD: The Filson Mackinaw Wool Vest will make you feel like you have stepped back in time... or onto the set of Portlandia. Fancy yourself up on a chilly date night, pair it with a bolo tie at a cowboy wedding, or even take it backcountry skiing. This vest will be up to the task and will look good doing it.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 20, 2015

Jack of All Trades, Master of None
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Thank you to Backcountry.com and Liberty Skis for hand-selecting me to review the Sequence skis for the benefit of the backcountry.com community.

POWDER: The first day I skied these was on a powder day at Alta. It was the day after a 20-inch storm where 4 inches of overnight fluff fell on very wet, wind affected snow. First impressions are that the skis are nice and surfy. They handle the powder well, but the dimensions and rocker profile leave a little bit to be desired when trying to get high-speed on open faces. They are very quick turners though, which is awesome for tree skiing. The turn radius feels very short. Turn initiation is quick and easy making the skis playful and forgiving. Despite being 95mm underfoot, and without a floppy mess of rocker, I was actually surprised at how well they did in the powder. It wasn't deep powder mind you, but just enough to get a sense of flotation ability.

HARD PACK AND ICE: The skis are very solid on hard pack and icy conditions. They hold an edge extremely well and are confidence-inspiring, even on boilerplate. They also crush moguls. Another day on Alta's High Rustler, there were hard, chalky moguls and the skis navigated the mogul field with ease.

GROOMERS: These skis rock on groomers. Not terribly lively, but very solid. They like to carve sweeping arcs, though are not very fast. I would not call them hard chargers; more like easy riders. Right now they are definitely my go-to ski at Alta when it hasn't snowed in a while.

SIZE: I'm 5' 10" and the 175 feel a little too short for me. Though I wonder if the 185 version would be too long as I have had problems with skis above 185 length in the past. Regardless, having the shorter version means that they are very quick turn to turn and I never had any issues trying to control them.

Overall, the Liberty Sequence are all-mountain skis to include in your quiver for those variable, post-storm days of hard pack, chop and powder.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargraveposted an image about on January 20, 2015

Playful Tails

A closer look at the full length of the Liberty Sequence, including the upturned tails. These tails make the skis playful and create real easy turn initiation both on the hardpack and in the powder, but not so much that they loose edge grip and wash out.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 19, 2015

Shovels and Hoes... Shovels and Hoes...
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Evac 7 is pretty basic and works much like other avalanche shovels on the market. The blade attaches and detaches from the handle using a spring-loaded push button. The same attachment system is also used to telescope the handle from short to long. The handle becomes twice as long in extended mode, which I found to be ample length for digging pits. When collapsed, the handle fits perfectly in my BCA Float 32 pack, but if you have a smaller pack and need the space, the telescoping handle gets even shorter with the option of collapsing it into the D-grip. This gives you about another inch of wiggle room.

The D-grip is ideal, especially when wearing mittens. It is very ergonomic and has a rubber grip to prevent slippage during rapid shoveling.

The shovel blade is nice and sharp. I found that it makes a much more even and straight cut when making snow columns for stability tests. The 45-degree angle between the blade and shaft also helps in this regard as it allows you to keep your hands away from the column wall when shaving it down to perfection.

The biggest feature that sets the Evac 7 apart from the crowd is the hoe mode. A hoe moves snow a lot faster than shoveling and is much less physically demanding than throwing snow over your shoulder. In a rescue situation where there are multiple people digging to a victim, the folks in the back moving snow away from the hole would be much better served with the hoe mode as it literally sweeps the snow away.

The only issue I have had with the Evac 7 is that I keep getting the shaft stuck inside the D-grip handle when I collapse it. Once in that position, it can be difficult to extract, especially on cold days when I do not want to take off my gloves for emergency shovel surgery.

The Black Diamond Evac 7 is a major step up from the average snow shovel. The Hoe mode alone makes it worth ditching your old shovel for an upgrade.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 19, 2015

It's Minalist, not minimalist
4 5

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

The Minalist Jacket is an enigma. Its name implies that this is a minimalist shell. But the Minalist is anything but minimalist. Although I was fooled by the name, my appreciation for the shell developed over time.

SIZE: For outer shells, I typically wear a size large to make room for an insulated mid-layer underneath. However, the Minalist size L is more like an XL. The first time I put it on, I felt like I was wearing a big blue tarp. A puffy layer underneath takes up some room, and the arm sleeve length seems reasonable, but the torso is extremely roomy.

FEATURES: The oversized hood is awesome for wearing over a helmet, which I utilized on a very windy storm day doing laps off the Wildcat lift at Alta. I also love the offset zipper that closes up a gigantic collar. Typically on nasty days, I wear a neck gaiter, but with the Minalist, I can hide inside that collar with the hood up and be totally protected, almost like cinching down the hood of a sleeping bag on a cold night.

Other details are nice, like the removable powder skirt. If I feel it is not needed, the skirt easily zips out and can be stowed, saving on bulkiness and weight. The sleeves have great coverage over the wrists and use velcro to cinch down for heat entrapment and powder repulsion.

TECH: My favorite feature is the Dry.Q Elite membrane. This sucker BREATHES! While this hard shell is like a bomb shelter when sitting on long lift rides in a blizzard, the breathability is still top notch.

Overall, I think this shell is ideal for lapping the resort on days when a puffy mid layer is needed. Otherwise size down! I am over the moon for the Dry.Q Elite membrane. It has become my favorite cold weather/storm jacket for shredding all day at Alta, but is too bulky for backcountry ski touring.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 19, 2014

Based on last year's model...
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been wearing last year's model with the more leather-looking exterior, which I personally think looks much better than the all black version out this season. I assume not much has changed other than they put the velcro wrist tab under the wrist as opposed to over.

I have been wearing the Compulsion gloves in bounds at Alta and in the backcountry. At first, they were stiff and uncomfortable which is pretty standard with new leather. But after about 5 ski days, they have softened up real good and are now molded to the shape of my hands. The fingers also have flex at the knuckles, which allows for really good dexterity out of the gate. I also really like the pull on web loop at the wrist for easy on, especially when I am trying to get the second glove on with a gloved hand.

On the inside, the gloves are very soft and fleecy. The first day out, they actually felt too small, even though the sample is a size medium, which I have always worn. But after a few uses, the inside liner has packed down and the gloves now fit perfect.

Of course warmth is the most important element when choosing a good ski glove. Initially, because of the stiff and tight quality of the leather, my fingers were cold, probably from poor blood circulation. But now that the gloves are broken in and the liner is packed out a bit, I can safely say the Compulsion are even warmer than my Kincos. I have skied in temperatures down to the teens and those finger tips have stayed warm and dry.

Since winter in Utah is pretty dry, I've not had a good opportunity to test the waterproof qualities of the glove. So I put them on and ran them under the bathtub faucet. Water never penetrated inside the glove, so I think it is safe to say they will perform valiantly during wet, spring days.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 17, 2014

Good daily drivers for Alta
5 5

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

I have skied the 182cm length at Alta in many different conditions from hard pack, to groomers, and even some shallow powder. I have not tested the Q-LAB on a really deep storm day yet, but I eagerly await the chance.

GROOMERS: From the first run, I knew I liked these skis. Turn initiation is immediate and the tails have a slarvy feeling from turn to turn without any hints of hookiness. On a warm-up run beneath the Collins chair, the Q-LAB were chomping at the bit to go go go. They are fast and directional, but even at speed, I could stop on a dime without much effort. In fact, I got yelled at by ski patrol above Corkscrew for going too fast. I could not help it… these skis are just monsters.

CHOP: On tracked up runs with chop and bumps, the Salomon Q-LAB gobbled up everything in their path. They are very, very stiff and bulldoze over all terrain features without any flap or fear of losing control. Actually, on most skis, terrain features are something to make turns around, but with the Q-Lab, terrain features became something to ski over. My perspective on line choice evolved after only one day on these babies.

POWDER: Although I have not skied these on a deep powder day, I did get to take them out with 4 inches of new snow over hard pack and sun crust. Flotation seems to be on par with other rockered skis at 104mm underfoot. What did impress me is how playful the Q-Lab get on soft snow. They have that fun shape but still remain burly. Skiing tight trees is no problemo as again, turn initiation is very quick – they like to make both wide, sweeping turns as much as tight, short turns.

FINAL WORD: Solomon has thrown down the gauntlet with these stiff, all-mountain skis. They shred in the groomers and absolutely kill it in the chop. The Salomon Q-LAB are confidence inspiring and actually turned me into a better skier. They are almost dangerous in that regard. I would trade any of my current skis for a pair of Salomon Q-LAB.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 14, 2014

The ultimate ABS-compatible pack
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After multiple uses in the Wasatch backcountry, I found the pack to have everything I could ask for like compartments for avalanche gear and other stuff like extra layers, food and crampons, goggle pockets, helmet carry, burly front panel for protection from ski edges.

CONSTRUCTION: The Kode 22 +10 is obviously built with quality in mind. I would expect nothing less from Osprey. They also clearly had small details in mind to make this bag function as a true backcountry pack. But my favorite thing is that the pack expands from a 22 liter to a 32 liter. If you are planning on a longer day and need extra space for more gear, you simply unzip the zipper that encircles the whole pack, and the back panel pushes out to create 10 liters more space.

COMFORT: The back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt are among the best designed and ergonomic I have experienced. With the pack fully loaded, weight distribution was very good and I never felt weight shift badly when skiing down. Adjustment systems are the bomb. I love the hipbelt where you can adjust the width by pulling on both sides, which makes it really easy with gloved hands.

FUNCTION: The main compartment is back panel access, so you can get into the pack to retrieve something without getting the back panel covered in snow. The helmet carry location is perfect and keeps your lid out of the way and secure. The avalanche safety compartment has organization slots for shovel, probe and snow saw. The goggle pocket is lined with scratch-free material. Zipper loops are large and easy to open and easy to operate with gloved fingers. Thick, adjustable straps on the top and bottom give the pack a huge amount of versatility for diagonal ski carry.

GRIPE: To fully open the back panel to get into the main compartment, you have to undo the load-lifter straps that connect to the shoulder straps at the top of the pack. This is annoying

This pack is the ultimate ABS compatible backcountry bag.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 2, 2014

Quest for the Holy Grayl
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Thank you Backcountry.com and Grayl for hand-selecting me to review this water filtration system for the benefit of the Backcountry.com community.

For world and outdoor explorers, clean water sources can be few and far between. From forest rivers (didn't know about that rotting moose upstream?) to foreign lands (hope you enjoyed your week inside a hotel bathroom!) it's vital to protect yourself from waterborne illness. The Grayl Quest is a unique water bottle/filter that allows for easy, on-the-go filtration.

What makes the Quest different from typical pump-style filters is that it works more like a French Press for coffee. You fill the outer cup with dirty water, then press the filter and inner bottle down. The water percolates through the filter into the inner bottle. Then... bottoms up!

DESIGN: Overall, I like the concept. It takes a while (as in a whole 7 seconds) to press-filter the water, but that still beats pumping. The lid is solid with a cool flip top that clicks into place, letting you know it's closed tight. The filter is easy to get on and off with a twist and click.

THE FILTER: I've only used the Tap filter so far, so to test, I sought out the worst tasting tap water I could find - from the '80s-era drinking fountain at work, to the rubber-tasting water that comes from a garden hose. The filter got rid of all nasty flavors like chlorine and the aforementioned rubber.

IN THE FIELD: I took the Quest on backcountry ski tours and low-elevation hikes. It travels well with no leaks (as long as it was upright in my pack. See below.)

ISSUES: At 16 ounces, it's a bit heavy for throwing in your pack on long hikes. Also, the silicone-lined lid can be difficult to twist closed. I've had an instance when it slowly leaked while lying sideways on the car seat.

FINAL WORD: If you don't mind the weight in exchange for peace of mind in drinking-water safety, the Grayl Quest has got you covered. Just make sure the lid is on tight.

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