Telluride, CO/Lander, WY/Delta Junction, AK
I've been riding this board for work for the last two years as a winter wildlife research technician, so it's gotten at least 200 days of between winters in Colorado and spring riding in the Alaska Range. I have to say, it rides like a dream. I had a Voile before and this is a world above it in terms of how it rides. Flat/reverse camber is kind of miserable when you are touring a lot, but it's a light board and it charges in the pow and can also handle the groomers at the resort too. The only time it sucks is on icy hardpack and it has the tendency to skip when putting in a hard turn and chatter at really high speeds. After two years and a dozen or more core shots, it's thrashed, kind of floppy and the base looks like I should have bought stock in a p-tex company. I destroy stuff splitboarding for work and I never expect anything to last more than two seasons, so this board owes me nothing.
I'm 5"10", 185 and bought a 162, which is the perfect size. No need to buy a massive splitboard, better to buy something slightly longer than your resort board, especially if riding a board that boasts that it feels like a resort board. If you are going out only on weekends, or are just getting into splitboarding buy it. It's decent for not a lot of money. And get Spark bindings.
My only real gripe is that I've had delaminating issues from the first month of use onward. My co-worker has an identical board and has no such issues. I also feel weird riding a snowboard made in China. Just seems wrong. I'll probably buy a Venture this year as a replacement.
I just got these skis a couple weeks ago for skiing in the Black Hills wherever I can't get with my Forest Service truck for my research. I've been using these skis coupled with the Voile 3-Pin Cable binding and an Alpina 1575 boot and it's working slick as crap so far. They give a pretty good kick and glide on the level stuff and are fun with the downhills throwing some modest tele turns. I've gouged them pretty good in the last few days on rocks and logs, but some P-Tex work will help. The only thing I could find to improve on is that the tips are shaped more like downhill skis and are lower, as opposed to classical X-C skis, so I end up eating it hard whenever there is a log or something that they can't glide over on the downhill when I'm not paying attention. It was between these and Karhu 10th Mountains, and I found these on sale, so that was the immediate selling point between them and a comparable ski from a different company. In some of the deeper stuff, they have similar surface area to a snowshoe, so I can just plod along and not sink too much. They do not climb well on steeper slopes (more than 30 degrees) or in powder that is more than knee deep. And on the downhill they absolutely suck on anything remotely icy. I also welcome the fact that they are 178cm instead of 200cm like my old wooden Skiloms, so they're a little more maneuverable when bushwhacking through dog-hair trees.
I've been using these bindings paired with Alpina Lite Terrain skis in the Black Hills and they're working pretty slick so far. Without the cables I've got the freedom for a decent kick and glide on the level stuff and with the cables they're stiff enough to throw some good tele turns into a run. Only complaint is that the cable stretched a little when I hit a concealed brush pile hard and I had to adjust on one side to fit my boot again. My ski took worse damage with a good gouge. These bindings would most likely would suck for real tele applications (and as Angus said, they're kind of ghetto), but for backcountry they're kicking ass. As for the putting on climbing wires after they are mounted (as some reviewers have complained about), using your head and some creativity, as the knife on my Leatherman provided, you can pop the caps off of the screws on the heel piece and put them on. My skis don't like climbing much without skins, but that's the skis, not the bindings.
I blew out the side and sole on my Montrail Torre GTX boots after only a year and bought these as a replacement a month and a half ago. I use them every day for my work and they're wicked comfortable after three weeks of breaking them in and a pile of mink oil. At first they weren't great, but I didn't get any blisters. I was going to find some wider boots, but I needed new and rugged boots quick. Without driving ten hours these (which were kind of narrow) were my best option and I'm really happy. They've got good support and have a higher arch than my Montrails, which my flat feet are liking now that they're used to it. In the first weeks my arches were sore every evening. Since I got them, the soles have chunked a little bit on the rocks that I have to scramble every day for work and I've had to re-glue the rubber right on the toe, but it's about what I expect with my use. They're really supportive and waterproof and are warmer than I thought they'd be. I know a lot of people who are Asolo loyalists and now I understand why. Only thing I would do differently in the future is find some wider ones for faster break-in. Oh yeah, and I ruined the laces that came with them in the first week, so I wasn't thrilled about that when I had to hike three miles back to the truck with a busted lace. But all in all, damn good boots so far.
I'm a recently graduated wildlife biologist tracking birds for the winter in the Black Hills and I seem to ruin gear, so I bought this shell looking for something a little more rugged. After destroying an EMS and a Helly Hansen rain shell in the last year and then my 3 in 1 TNF winter jacket too, I settled on this shell due to the good reviews and awesome price. I got it in an XL due to my awkward body (5-10, 190 and large shoulders) and it fits perfectly. In the last three months it's stood up to barbed wire, trees, rocks, wind, rain and snow without a hiccup. The pockets are pretty well placed and the little bit of fleece around the collar is an awesome touch on these raw windy days. Only problem is the color. It's a little on the bright side for my tastes and I don't mind it, but in the small rural community I live in I've turned into the "the guy with the blue coat". It's about the most visible thing in these Ponderosa Pine forests and makes blaze orange look dull. The up side is that no one will shoot me (accidentally, at least) during hunting season. I work most days in areas burned by wildfires and get covered in soot, but every time this sucker gets wet, it washes it all off. Occasionally, when I'm looking straight at the zipper without gloves it won't engage, but when I'm not paying attention or have my mittens on it zips right up. Go figure. Bottom line is that it's wicked waterproof, kills the wind and so far has put up with heavy abuse and I'm more than impressed.
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