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Mark Travers

Mark Travers

Park City

Mark Travers's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Mark Travers's Bio

Grew up outside of Boston, hiking and skiing in the White Mtns and sailing and kayaking on the Cape and the coast of Maine. Did a stint in central Virginia (where I picked up whitewater paddling) before moving to Utah in the spring of 2012. Moved for the skiing, but love getting out on my bike or backpacking in the mountains when it isn't so white and fluffy

Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on April 23, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I picked this up to have a spare harness for friends who come through town or don't have their own, and it's a great option for that. The adjustable leg loops and waist allow this harness to fit a bunch of different sizes and body types. All of the buckles auto-lock so it's pretty beginner friendly in that respect.

The gear loops and padding are ok - pretty minimal but plenty good if you're looking for an entry level harness. The two gear loops end up being pretty far back if you're pushing the upper end of the waist sizing, which makes this harness fine for cleaning a route but not the best option if you're looking to be doing much lead climbing.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on April 21, 2015

4 5

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

I picked up a new pair of AT boots this spring and had my choice narrowed down to these vs. the Scarpa Maestrale RS. I ended up going with the Maestrale since they were a much better fit for my feet. In general, I would say that the width across the toe box felt pretty similar between the two styles, but the Maestrales have a lower volume fit across the instep and back to the ankle than these boots do. I also had much better heel hold in the Maestrales than I did in these boots. It seems like the Freedom would be a good option if you've got high arches or otherwise need a little more volume across the middle of your foot.

Additionally, I was looking more for an AT boot than a crossover boot, so the Maestrale has a couple wins over the Freedom on this front (Maestrale has greater range of motion and is a bit lighter than the Freedom). Additionally, the sole on the Maestrale has more rocker so makes for a little easier walking than the Freedoms. If you're looking to have more of an AT/alpine crossover type of boot, the Freedom is a great choice since you can swap between AT and alpine (DIN compatible) sole blocks. Additionally, the Freedoms have a higher cuff so they will give you a little more lateral control than the Maestrales.

Just from trying them on, the Freedoms seem to be built very well and would be a great AT/alpine crossover boot, but at the end of the day I needed a lower volume fit and wanted a more of a dedicated AT boot, so the Maestrales won this round.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on April 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked these boots up on pretty short notice towards the end of this season and immediately fell head over heals in love with them. One of the biggest reasons is that they happen to fit my foot like a glove, so there is that. I came to these from a pair of Tecnica Cochise Pro Lights, which are a good AT/crossover boot in their own right. The Maestrales fit my foot much better since they have quite a bit less volume, especially over the instep and ankle. The large range of motion in walk mode makes these boots really comfy for skinning and hanging around in, and when it's time to ski they lock down very solidly with no noticeable slop or play in the walk mechanism


As others have mentioned, the tongue on these boots is a little funky. The tongue is hinged on the inside of each boot and rotates out to the side to help you get in and out. It takes a little getting used to, but I really like it. It makes getting in and out of cold boots really easy, especially if you put on the liners first, lace them up, and then shove your foot into a cold shell.


In terms of skiing performance, I've been really impressed by these boots. They're stiff enough for everything I've thrown at them and have a really nice progressive flex pattern as you start pushing them harder. I've skied these on just about every sort of snow condition: spring slush, refrozen spring boilerplate crap, firm groomers, chopped up storm snow, and deep untouched powder. I've been really happy with the responsiveness and control in all of these conditions. These have been stiff enough to drive both my touring setup (Dynastar Cham 107 HM 190s with Dynafits) and my powder skis (Atomic Bent Chetler 193s with Marker Lord bindings). At the same time, these boots are plenty light for hiking and skinning. I do a decent mix of touring vs. resort skiing and I don't have the patience for a quiver of boots for different days. I've been really happy with these as a "compromise" between AT and alpine without feeling like I'm sacrificing downhill performance by being in an AT boot, or skinning with bricks on my feet by being in an alpine/crossover boot.


For binding compatibility, these boots will NOT fit standard DIN bindings because of the rockered Vibram sole (which is not swapable with a DIN sole on these boots). These will fit any pin/tech AT binding (Dynafit, G3, Plum, etc). Marker Lords (and Dukes / Barons) have an adjustable toe height and a sliding AFD that Marker claims is compatible with AT boots. That being said, the rockered soles on these boots make for a very tight fit in the toe piece of a Marker Lord. In my experience, these boots have released just fine from my Lords both in the toe and the heel, but I'm not sure if they would necessarily pass a release test at a ski shop. I mounted my skis at home so I haven't had them officially checked by a ski shop, so take that with a grain of salt.


As far as fit/sizing goes, my feet measure at a US 15 and I generally wear either a 14 or 15 in street shoes. I'm pretty average for width with relatively low arches and not a ton of volume around my ankle fold. I'm in a 30.5 boot and didn't have to do any work other than a quick heat mold on the liners. The shells can be punched and/or ground a bit by a professional boot fitter, but I haven't needed any of that.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on March 6, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a pretty nice snow saw - it folds up plenty easy (just grab the back side of the saw on both sides of the hinge and give it a little twist to release the clip) and packs down well. The saw is wide enough that the teeth aren't really exposed when it's folded, so you don't necessarily need to use a carrying pouch. The height of the blade give it a little more rigidity over some of the skinnier saws out there which is nice for cutting through ice. The curved handle and tie points make it pretty easy to securely strap around the grip of a ski pole for extended cutting. The saw also comes with two of the shortest voile-style ski straps I've ever seen for lashing this onto a pole.


And of course the requisite bottle opener for those of us who are bad ass enough to carry long necks in our touring packs but fear wasting the thousands our parents spent on braces by opening our beers with our teeth....

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on March 6, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Just got a Hero4 Silver edition and this set of lens covers works with that camera as well as the Hero3 versions. I haven't used the replacement side/battery doors yet, but all of the lens covers fit just fine. This set includes: lens cover for standard housing, lens cover for the camera w/o a housing, glass lens protector for the camera w/o a housing, replacement battery door, and replacement side door.

I agree with Ryan that it would be nice to see all of these items included with the camera bundle, but at least you get all of your bases covered for not too much $$ with this.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on March 4, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked up a pair of these poles at the start of the season to have something adjustable for touring. The grips are really comfy (even without gloves for hiking season) and the two basket choices are good sizes and shapes. The powder baskets are roughly triangular with plenty of little tabs for flipping heel risers up and down. There's also a little tab at the top of the grip that is great for cranking up your toe levers on a pair of Dynafits. The velcro on the strap is a little weird - there's a soft rubber strip on one side of the pole strap that helps to hold the strap open in a loop for getting it on over gloves, but it tends to be stiff enough (esp. when cold) that it pulls the velcro adjustment open a bit. Not a deal breaker by any means, but a little annoying at times. I generally take the straps off altogether when skiing in the backcountry, so having the option to remove the straps without cutting them off is a nice touch.

There are certainly lighter options out there, but these seem to be really durable, and the locking mechanism works really well, even with gloves on. These only collapse in one place so they'll never be small enough to shove in your pack for the splitboarding crowd.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on March 4, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a pretty nice daily tracking/fitness watch. The screen stays off until you tap on it, so it's pretty subtle and keeps the battery life going for days. The bluetooth pairs and syncs well with my iPhone and Garmin's app. The app is really straightforward to use and has relatively decent features. You'll get more specific features out of other more sport-specific apps, but the Garmin app does a good job of covering the basics. Setting up alerts from your smartphone is easy and works well, but I quickly discovered that there is such a thing as being "too connected" - after my wrist buzzed with the 30th email of the day I was ready to fling the watch across the office... or just turn the vibrating alerts off... The nice bit is that you can set up the watch to not buzz you every time an alert comes in without turning off alerts altogether - you can still scroll through your alert center on your watch without getting a vibrate alert each time something new comes in.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on February 24, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked up a pair of these in the 190cm about five weeks ago thinking that they would be primarily/only a touring setup. Turns out I've been using them for just about everything we've had in the Wasatch for the past several weeks. I've skied these on everything from groomers to trees to untracked powder to rain soaked icy trash. I've been really surprised at how versatile these are - decent edge hold on groomers and hard snow, quick to release a turn in chop and trees, and good float on the few powder days that we've had this year. The aggressive pintail shape and light swing weight make it pretty easy to toss these around in variable terrain and snow, even without having even a hint of tail rocker. These are relatively stable at speed, but things can start to feel a little spicier if you truly open them up on hard snow. The long tip rocker keeps the front pretty soft, but I haven't had issues with the tips folding up on me unless I'm really far forward in deep snow.

There are definitely other skis out there in the 100-110mm range that do a specific task better than these (lighter touring options, stiffer options for really opening it up, etc), but these skis cover a lot of different bases really well, especially if you've got much touring thrown in the mix. These haven't replaced my powder skis for deep days, but if I've got much touring on the menu I have a really hard time reaching past these for my pow skis at 2+lbs heavier...

I've got these mounted with Dynafit TLT Radicals, mounted ~2cm back from the standard line (mine have a 0/standard line and a -2/freeride line and I'm roughly on the -2 line). I'm happy with this - I'd start to be a little worried about tip dive if I had them mounted farther forward. I'm 6'1" / 220# and tried both the 184cm and 190cm - the 184s are fun and very playful, but had a bit more of a speed limit on them. If I was primarily skiing tight trees, bumps, etc. I would go for the 184s,but the 190s are just that much more fun to open up in steep open terrain.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on October 30, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

These bibs are really nice and have a great set of features. I compared these to bibs from Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, and Marmot and these won out. The bib itself has a good bit of stretch and I really like that it's removable and that the pants have separate belt loops so you can fold the bibs down on a warmer skin track. The pants themselves have a really clean look and are slightly fitted so I don't feel like I'm swimming in them. Definitely not a slim fit, but not nearly as baggy as more park-oriented gear. The leg pockets are really low profile when empty but are pretty large for stuffing your phone, snacks, etc. These don't have hand pockets right by your waist, but I rarely use those in ski pants anyway. The vents are really well laid out - the outside hip vents are set back a little and the inside/thigh vents are really long. Seems like they will be great for hiking and skinning. The one thing that I would like to see them add is zippers at the cuffs to give you the option to put these on over boots.

The fit is pretty true to size, a little on the smaller end if anything. I'm usually right on the edge of L/XL in outerwear and went with the XL in these after trying both sizes. The bibs in the L were a little too snug for me to get a few layers underneath. With the "technical" fit, the XL fits great without being too heavy and baggy.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on October 30, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I just got these a couple weeks ago so haven't been able to put them through a full winter season yet, but they seem pretty sweet. They fit true to size and have a good bit of stretch to them. Unlike some other "boot cut/ boot top/ 3/4 length/ man-capri" layers that I've tried, the legs are actually long enough to reach the top of your ski boot without riding up. In terms of weight, I would say that these are on the mid-heavy end of the spectrum - they are pretty warm for their low weight and bulk. The outside is pretty smooth so they play along well with additional layers.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on October 30, 2014

3 5

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

These socks are pretty soft and really comfortable, but I feel like their life span is a little limited if you're using them on a daily basis. I've been using these as everyday socks during the fall/winter for a couple years now and I tend to wear through the heel and under the ball of my foot in about a season. Would like to see these last longer, but for the price they're hard to beat.

In terms of fit and weight, these seem pretty true to size. They're a little heavier than your standard cotton socks, but not as heavy as a full blown hiking sock.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on October 30, 2014

3 5

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

These socks are pretty soft and really comfortable, but I feel like their life span is a little limited if you're using them on a daily basis. I've been using these as everyday socks during the fall/winter for a couple years now and I tend to wear through the heel and under the ball of my foot in about a season. Would like to see these last longer, but for the price they're hard to beat.

In terms of fit and weight, these seem pretty true to size. They're a little heavier than your standard cotton socks, but not as heavy as a full blown hiking sock.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on July 29, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had to pick one of these up to work with my Yakima Forklift rack. It does the job and holds a 15mm fork very securely. It's very easy to set up and use, but would be nice to see a cheaper option or one that allows you to lock your bike down. Paired with the Yakima rack, I can lock this adapter to the rack but can't lock the fork to the adapter without throwing a cable lock around the whole mess.

Bottom line - this works great and is completely necessary, but is possibly the least sexy piece of gear I've spent $$ on in my life.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on July 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked these grips up because I wanted something a little softer than the stocked grips on my Bronson. These are great for longer rides and really help keep my hands from going numb or just hurting like hell. They work great for larger hands but might feel a little chunky if you've got really small hands. I would say that gloves are a must - the ridged pattern can be a little rough on bare skin but provides a great grip with gloves on.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on July 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

It took me a minute to get this set up right the first time I used it, but once I got it on my chain it was really easy to use. The video posted below is really helpful for first timers. I've been impressed with how quickly and thoroughly this cleans my chain. Way more effective than a wad of paper towels and some cleaner... It's really quick to take off and clean up as well.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on July 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are great tires for all mountain riding. The side knobs are pretty chunky and help keep you on your line through tight corners and loose/ sandy sections of trail. I've only had a few brief encounters with mud but never had a problem with the tread getting gunked up. I have to second Natalie's comment that the beat is really tight and hard to get mounted on your rim, but it's not an issue once you get them mounted. I've had about a season and a half on mine and they've been holding up really well. I wouldn't hesitate to buy these again

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on January 29, 2014

5 5

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

I've had a pair of these for three years and counting and I love them. I wear these just about everyday from fall through spring. After three years they are showing a little bit of scuff and wear, but they are still in great shape, especially after a fresh coat of nikwax leather conditioner. With a coat of waterproofing, these stand up well to rain, snow, slush, salt, etc. The soles are pretty worn after 3 years of daily use, but they've still got a decent bit of life left in them

In terms of sizing, these run a little large, and the pig skin leather tends to stretch a little bit when it breaks in. I went down a full size - they fit pretty tight at first but stretched to fit my feet perfectly.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on January 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things are really tasty, but I think the texture/ weight is the best part. A lot of other 'meal bars' are way too heavy and dense for me to actually enjoy. That and I'm afraid they'll break all of my teeth if they're frozen in my pack. These tram bars are pretty light for being a high cal bar and don't turn into bricks when they're cold. Think Quaker granola bar instead of softened hockey puck. Best combo of tasty and a texture I can actually enjoy that I've found!

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on January 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I picked up these boots this season hoping that they would be a great boot for doing it all here in the Wasatch. I split my time about equally between touring and skiing the resorts. Prior to these boots, I've been skiing in a pair of 97mm lasted Lange RS 130s - awesome performance boot, but pretty miserable for anything away from the lifts. These Chocises are not on the same level of stiffness and performance of my Langes, but the performance is enough to keep me happy after being used to the Langes, which I think says a lot. These are certainly stiff enough to drive big skis in garbage snow (we've got a lot of that this year...)

In terms of touring, the ski/hike switch is super easy to use, even with bulky gloves on. The range of motion is pretty good and the stride is pretty natural, even on longer tours. These aren't the lightest AT boots on the market, but they are significantly lighter and better for skinning/ hiking than a lot of the 'alpine boots with a walk mode' that have been popping up recently.

My only gripe about these boots is that the liners seem pretty light/ thin for a 120 flex boot. Their light weight is great for touring, and the liners have a softer flex zone around the heel that makes them a breeze for hiking. However, when I'm skiing the resorts it would be nice to have a heavier/ stiffer liner to beef the boot up a bit. I don't hate these liners and I certainly don't think they need to be chucked, but it would be nice if they split the difference between a super light touring liner and a beefier alpine liner a little more evenly. For now I'm hanging onto the stock liners from my Langes for resort duty - it's the best of both worlds for me but obviously not a universal option.

Bottom line: my hope was to have a boot that I am equally happy skiing in bounds and touring on the relatively short skin tracks here in the Wasatch, and I think this boot is as close to a slam dunk as I've found on the market right now.

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