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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall

Little Cottonwood >> UT >> WY >> Revelstoke

Lexi Dowdall 's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Yoga
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Lexi Dowdall 's Bio

Position at Backcountry: Community Manager -----

....which basically means I get to heckle all you GREAT folks on a professional level about leaving product reviews and feedback on backcountry.com! So let's start over...

Position at Backcountry: PROFESSIONAL HECKLER -----

I grew up in the shadows of the Wasatch range in Salt Lake City, Utah. I left for a spell and realized the great mountains of Utah are nothing short of spellbinding.
I LIVE for skiing and try to log as many days as I can.

I'm slowly improving at mountain biking, but I only just started a few summers back because someone told me it would improve my skiing. I hated summers for the longest time, but mountain biking is helping, as does my new found love for paddleboarding.

In my free time, I also write reviews for Blister Gear Review (www.blistergearreview.com) because I think reviews are crucial to making gear purchases. (ditto) It's so important to know what to expect when spending $$ on gear. I try to be as fair and unbiased in my reviews as possible and I avoid buying crappy gear at ALL costs.

My hobbies include terrariums and other crafty pursuits because I don't own a television.

Check out my ramblings on Instagram!

Instagram handle: @kaPOWder

Lots of people think Utah is an effin' weird place, and I'm here to tell you different! Check out my daily photo blog and prepare to shatter the curtain of Zion :


http://daysndaysout.blogspot.com/

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 19, 2015

Shove it!
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great little shovel.
I upgraded from a BD shovel because I wanted
1). A bigger blade
2). A longer shaft
Hey, I'm a girl! What can I say!??!?

Ortovox Pro Alu III was the ticket. The blade is sturdy, sizable and sharp, it really chops through ice or harder snow because the blade is so sharp along the edge. (ON that note, be careful with stuff in your pack - my shovel has scratched stuff before).

Shovel is super straightforward and easy to use.
I like the shape of the handle and the width of the handle is good too. One reason I didn't like my old shovel was because the handle did feel too small, it was difficult to grip with gloves or mittens on, and this wide T-style grip is much more user-friendly.

Like the length on this model. I've never had issues with the telescope feature failing or freezing up. This shovel also fits nicely in my Ortovox pack.

I've used this for 2 winters now with no complaints.
Added bonus, you can flip the shaft around to convert your shovel to 'HO' mode, which is really handy for digging pits and chopping action.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 19, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I actually had the pleasure of visiting the Soul Pole Factory in Park City, Utah to build my own pair. Though the grips, baskets and straps are differing colors, they are functionally identical as the product you see listed here.

Soul Poles are something really special, and it's their story and beautiful aesthetics that make me proud to wield them when I ski.
All the bamboo used in manufacturing is sourced from a single family farm in China. The bamboo species grown on this farm (Tonkin Bamboo) is perfect in terms of strength to weight ratio, diameter, and durability for ski poles.

The boo is sorted at the farm and shipped to Park City, where the crew at the factory assembles and builds poles by hand. The Quality Control is unreal because there are so many steps where actual hands (not robots) are touching the poles, checking for the best quality.

I use my poles both inbounds and backcountry touring. They have a great swing weight to them and are very comfortable to use. The baskets are excellent in powder and don't seem to catch on snow (I've had problems with that in the past). They are fun to use! A larger pair of baskets is included if you ski a ton of pow or plan to use these for backcountry touring.

My one complaint (and this will not apply to 90% of users) is that the grip was a little bit too large for my hand. Full disclosure: I have the hands of a 12 year old child. I found there was just a little too much bulk on the grip for me to comfortably grasp the poles with my mittens - gloves were better. Soul Pole is actually coming out with a kid/female friendly grip soon, so as soon as that becomes available, I'm going to visit the shop and switch them out. These will then be the ULTIMATE pole, so I can't wait!

Really enjoyed meeting the crew at Soul Poles and can say with complete confidence these are real humans that are 100% passionate about what they do and the product they make. I'm super stoked to support them!

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 16, 2015

5 5

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

I feel like a broken record over here pontificating about the amazing fit and fabric produced by the amazing people over at Lole.
I see so many women, different shapes, heights, sizes around our office, all sporting Lole, and it is truly remarkable how their dresses flatter such a wide variety of body types.

This one I purchased x2 because I loved the thin, soft, cozy fabric and the huge cowly shawly collar. It's so big, I can even wrap it around my head and look like a becloaked Frodo - I love it.
Why wouldn't you want that feature in a dress?!

Dark Chocolate (Brown) & North Sea (Dark Blue) are true to color as pictured here. They are comfortable, flattering, and irresistible.
Which is why I bought two. I would even buy 3 because I also happen to adore the magenta color, but that would just be madness...

I am 5'3" and 120 lbs, the size small is perfect (as is 90% the case with all my Lole products). This. You won't regret.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 16, 2015

Free Yourself in the Backcountry!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'd long been curious about the bamboo-only setups Liberty has been using for quite some time now. As a smaller, petite skier the idea of a lightweight, poppy ski that didn't sacrifice durability or stiffness was very much something that I wanted to experience for myself. I was pretty unhappy with my Atomic Millennium ski, which I set up for touring with Dynafit bindings because it felt so lifeless - like a 2x4 in powder. I thought a Liberty Ski would be a fun, new option to explore with a more playful feel.

After checking out the lineup Liberty offers, I went with the Helix because I thought the 105mm underfoot would be a good compromise between the weight of hauling skis uphill and a bodacious ride on the way down. Backcountry purists will tell you 105 is too fat, too much weight, but I want to ENJOY the run I've worked so hard for, so the Helix it would be.

My 167cm Helixes (Heli - is that plural?) weigh in at 3.75lbs (1700g) which is quite a bit less than my last touring setup, I was stoked to see if these weight savings would mean less fatigue on climbs.

I took these on a week-long trip in the Canadian backcountry. I was astounded by how massive the approaches were when compared to our humble Wasatch range. I can confidently say that the lightness of these skis when climbing absolutely helped me survive the entire week. They are a dream to climb with, and when paired with Dynafits, I was super happy with climbing performance.

I found these skis to be nimble, responsive and energetic - exactly what I was hoping for and the polar opposite from the joyless ride I'd been suffering through the last 2 winters on my Atomic skis. The bamboo was lively and playful, surfy in powder.

Drops were landed with ease on the stable platform of this ski, and I never felt that the bamboo lacked stiffness.
I found the camber profile to lend excellent support and stability in mankier snow or chopped up powder.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 15, 2015

Ride The Carpet
4 5

Grabbed these skins for a week-long trip to a backcountry ski lodge in the B.C. interior. After having used BD skins, and G3 skins, these get my 2nd place preference. (G3, BCA, and BD - is my final answer).

THE GOODS
* CUTTING: fairly easy to cut, though the directions weren't the best I've seen. G3 has a FAR superior cutting tool, so if you can get your sticky paws on one of those, certainly do it. The cutting tool included with these is identical to what you would find with BD. It works, it isn't amazing, it isn't truly awful. But when compared to the G3 cutting tool - well, this just takes quite a bit more time.

TIP & TAIL ATTACHMENT: Just fine, the tip is very secure and I never had any issues. The tail attachment is a little trickier, and I found it difficult to both attach and remove without taking my gloves off. All said and done, it's a MUCH better tail attachment than the BD skins, but I like the cam strap design on the G3 skins best of all.
That being said, this tip/tail arrangement works, I like it far better than BD's design and I never had any issues.

* GLIDE - excellent. Never had any issues with glide, these skins felt great.

* GRIP - Nothing amiss here either. I would say these perform a tiny bit better on really steep sections than my G3 skins, so the grippiness is among the best I've found for the snowpack I've encountered. (That's mostly drier, low-density, low-water content in both Utah and interior BC).

* PACKABILITY: Again, excellent. These pack down VERY small and take up far less space in my pack than my BD or G3 skins ever did. They did get fairly stiff and less packable when it was -4 out but that's pretty extreme temps - BRRRrrrrrrrrr. They were so packable I even put skins in my jacket for the first time - I could never do that with my BD or G3 skins because they were so bulky and I like a tighter fit on my touring kit.

* CON'T BELOW....

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 14, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was previously using a BD probe (older model) and I very much disliked the mechanism both to deploy and collapse the probe.
I found this Ortovox probe much friendlier to operate.
In mere seconds my probe is out and deployed, versus several extra seconds to fiddle and deploy the older BD probe.

See that friendly black and blue handle - yeah, you tug that, and boom, you're probing. To collapse, you simple push the little blue bulb and you're good. This is well-designed because you can do all of the above with gloves, even mittens on.
I definitely wouldn't keep the probe cover on in my pack (wastes time) but it's nice for storage during the summer months.

This thing is featherweight. For me I find that every weight savings is beneficial because I'm small and my shorter stride means it's double work to keep up with others in the backcountry. I've been slowly upgrading all my touring gear to lighter packages to help me speed up. This probe is a solid bet - I found no shortcomings.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 14, 2015

3 5

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

You think with a women's pro model glove, they would consider that perhaps females have more petite hands. But then again, perhaps this Leanne character has some wolf paws? Who knows!?

Admittedly I have small hands. But in the size SMALL mitt, I have an extra 1.5 inches of paw space, which seems a little excessive. This makes gripping objects and doing things that are functional all but impossible. Thus 3 stars for FIT alone.

Performance-wise, I'm really happy with these.
I took them on a week long hut trip in the Canadian wild.
It was -4 degrees F, ( -20C) BRRRRrrRRRRR for 2 of those days, and these mitts kept me warm. I never experienced wetting out, and I am and always have been a fan of the PrimaLoft insulation.

The leather portion on the palms does wet out, but that wetness never penetrated to my palms. The mittens when placed in a dry, warm spot were totally dry and ready to shred each morning. Performance wise, I really like these.
The narrow cuff is perfect for sneaking it underneath pesky, sleeve cuffs and I like how slim the wrist profile is.

Stitching details are cute without being over the top girl-barf.
Aside from the bogus sizing, these are awesome. If you have bigger paws, order your normal size, otherwise consider downsizing. Leanne - dial your sizing and you will forever be a princess in my heart.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are a great little pair of shred sticks.
I tried them out for a few months and had a real ball exploring the mountain and varying conditions.

I really liked the flex on these ladies, fairly floppy but not so flexy that the tips flap at speed. They are softer than my VJJs but stiffer than my Atomic Millenniums.

I found them predictable and dependable in ALL conditions except moguls.
These skis really didn't handle so well in moguls, but to be brutally honest, I am a crap moguls skier.

Really fun for just cruising around, I liked the ease of transfer between turns on groomers. They surf quite well due to the rocker shape and they handle just fine in chop and even crud. They felt a little loose when trying to navigate very solid, hot spring slush snow, which is where a ski with a stiffer flex will fare better.

I had lots of fun exploring trees and found these skis so easy to maneuver in tighter terrain.
I do wish 4Frnt would make longer versions though....that part kinda stinks, they are really limiting their audience by not producing a 175+ variety for women that are taller or stronger.
I was completely happy on the 172cm, but I know females who would steer clear of this ski because it isn't offered in longer lengths.

I'm really loving that sweet spot in the 96mm underfoot range. You get a much more versatile ski, that can still manage to float in the softer stuff. For someone who is only going to be investing in one pair of skis, this is a really solid bet. I imagine this would be a really good choice for intermediate skiers looking to improve their game and inspire confidence and more aggressive skiing.

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Lexi Dowdall

Lexi Dowdall wrote a review of on January 13, 2015

4 5

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

I had a Lofoten shell from 3 years ago, Norrona has changed the fit a bit.
The shape of this jacket is significantly more hourglass now. The jacket flares out quite dramatically beneath the breast. I personally did not love this cut (I prefer a straighter cut) but I know women who do appreciate this more tailored look.

I am 5'3" and 120 lbs and the small fits nicely with room to layer up underneath on cold days - even with a HUGE puffy. I hypothesize I could get away with the size XS, but I appreciate the extra wiggle room the size S affords.

Construction, in true Norrona style, is totally bombproof. My last shell lasted over 200 days on the hill and backcountry touring.

The ample pit zips provide huge opportunity for venting and are easy to reach and use - zipping action is very smooth.

The feature I like MOST about this jacket are the very wide, princess style cuffs.
They are fairly easy to wrestle over the gaiters of my mittens and I like that the cuff extends so far over the back of the palm. I do not like, however, that Norrona used two separate patches of velcro to secure the sleeve strap. I find that the EXACT place where I need to affix the velcro is the zone where Noronna did not put velcro. This doesn't make sense in my mind....not sure what they were going for there, maybe weight savings? It's a little silly if you ask me.

The wrist gaiters are a nice feature - I prefer not to use them as I dislike the texture. I love that the powder skirt is removable. The silicone grip on that thing is SUPER sticky. It really helps to keep the jacket in place - I don't need it because I use bibs, but this is a really well-designed powder skirt.

All in all a very durable, stormproof option for someone who logs tons of days on the mountain. Norrona is a brand I trust to get me through the nastiest storms.

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