Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin

Anywhere in the mountains where there's fun to be had.

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Nathan's Passions

Trail Running
Mountain Biking
Alpine Skiing
Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on April 4, 2013

5 5

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

just got these out for the first time today... love 'em. nice and light, low to the ground feel, excellent grip on loose dirt, all sorts of rock and easily the best downhill feel i've ever experienced. similar shoes i've used and like are the keen a86 tr and the new balance MT110s, these are definitely more similar to the MT110 in terms of having a nice, stiff/hard sole for rock protection with light weight and low drop, but the downhill hold on these is superior. maybe slightly higher volume than i'd like, could have sized down a half, but i think true to size will work out too. the main thing i noticed right off the bat in these is a nice high arch. testing ground was mt. olympus here in SLC if you're familiar, very steep and rocky, just what these are built for. i'm going to get them on a more typical trail tomorrow.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on December 24, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Nothing special here, just a solid all around touring pole. Nice strong metal, comfy grips, plenty of adjustment, solid locks that don't give out, and the grippy material on the lower shaft for offset traverses and such works great. Nice pow baskets too, they definitely aren't super light but have a nice feel. Compare very well to the BD traverse.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on December 19, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Big and bad. Not for small faces. I have found that my helmet can push them down a bit but it isn't really bothersome (smith gage). Same amazing smith optics we've come to know and love, lenses are outstanding and they'll all come with a lens for dark and bright conditions so you're set to go.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on December 19, 2012

4FRNT Skis Hoji Ski
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I am loving these things. Coming off a leg/knee injury from last season I needed something a bit more forgiving and versatile than the renegade. These have fit the bill perfectly. They are more than manageable on groomers and have been a ton of fun in untracked pow. Very easy to pivot and smear around. I had to go with the 195 but would have preferred the 87 at 6'1 150lbs, the 195 is a bit much in the trees. The flex is dialed, fairly stiff throughout but not too much to be hard to ski, and the highly tapered shape is super playful in any type of snow. If you're looking for a ski either to tour on and get into some bigger lines, or as an every day resort ski for areas that get heavy snow, there's not much that's going to beat these.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on December 16, 2012

O'Neill Jones 2L Jacket - Men's
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This thing is perfect. Slightly heavier than expected but the lining is a lot nicer than I've seen on similar jackets, providing a tiny bit of warmth and good comfort/wicking. Nice pockets and features all around, the media pocket works nicely, and the color and feel of the fabric is sweet. Nice and stretchy. For sizing I am around 6'1/150 pounds, I went XL for a baggy fit and it's perfect, not too long or big but nice and loose with plenty of room for layering.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on December 16, 2012

O'Neill Jones 3L Pant - Men's
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These pants rock. I've only got a couple days out but they seem to be super well built, better than expected for sure. Nice, durable fabric that is fairly light too, a similar weight to something like goretex proshell, with a tiny bit of stretch. The green is pretty spot on in terms of the picture on the site, maybe slightly brighter in person, and the slight two-tone style is perfect. 2 way vent zips also kick ass. Nothing bad to say so far but I'll report back if there is. Sizing: I am a skinny 6'1 or so, around 150 pounds. XL fits perfectly for me, it's a nice baggy fit without being gigantic and the waist cinchs help out, with a belt there aren't any issues.

after a few days the only update i have to add is that for skiers, these don't have inner cuff guards so edges will cut them fairly easily. a little duct tape will hopefully do the trick.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 11, 2012

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got a day in these last year. The 98 last is definitely wider than your typical 98mm shell, my foot that loves the Dalbello 98mm boots was swimming in these. The walk mode is great, awesome range of motion, and they are lighter than your typical alpine boot, but the flex just seemed a bit off, they did feel fairly stiff but I wasn't a fan of the actual way they flexed. I would say better than similar options on the market, but without having tried it the Dynafit Vulcan may be a good alternative to these for many people.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Best fitting helmet ever. The BOA system kicks ass, lock this thing down till it's tight. The vent system is ridiculous, full customization as to where you want vented and where you don't. It looks slick too, and while not quite as light as the Maze it is much more full featured and still one of the lightest helmets I've used. Love it.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things are beasts. I've been skiing in them for a couple years now (one season in the SR, one in these), aside from my old Nordica 150 flex race boot nothing compares. From what I've been told they're the stiffest boot you can order without access to race products, though they didn't seem that overpowering to me, just with a perfect, stiff and precise flex that was just how it should be. Great for powerful freeriders looking for a solid all around boot. I typically wear a 10 street/running shoe or pretty much any other footwear, I've been sizing down for ages so I go with a 26 in these and with a nice narrow foot all i need for fitting is a liner mold. Definitely a nice narrow boot but the Dalbello last shape has a pre-punched feel for more comfort in typical hot spots. I am going to be checking out the KR2 this season, the updated Krypton, only because they are now using the same last shape in that boot as the Scorpion. If you want something that's as close to race performance as possible in a freeride boot, these are the best bet.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things truck. If you're not a solid expert skier looking to play on fast, big lines, look elsewhere. Coming from a strong racing background, I really love these for charging around snowbird. They want to go straight and don't care what type of snow you're on or what's ahead. What makes them special is the ability to smear and ditch speed due to the shape and rocker pattern, you can slide the edges for days then make a turn on a dime. I clock in at about 6'1, 160 and despite a past love for long skis see absolutely no need for the 196. The 186 was extremely stable, I never once wished for more, and the shorter length made them feel really nimble in tight situations since it's actually a shorter ski than I'm used to. Normally I am all about sizing up, especially with a fully rockered ski, but with these I would not hesitate to tell most people to size down. Also look out for the BC/4frnt collab version with an alternate topsheet coming in a couple weeks, they are super slick!

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote an answer about on October 10, 2012

They're an entirely different animal from the CRJ, which is a jibby, fun, playful pow ski. The Renegade is a big, burly ski that only wants to charge, they can handle pretty much any condition as long as you're willing to go fast, definitely not for anyone aside from a high expert skier. The Hoji is basically a smaller version, they are a bit friendlier all around and will be better for most people, and make a great option for touring due to their reasonably light weight for a big ski. I'll be skiing on both this season.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things kick ass, nice narrow fit which is perfect for my skinny feet, and a true to size fit, I wear 10 in just about everything, no exception here. The one functional complaint is that they don't handle rock strikes well, the sole is a bit soft. Great for all around lightweight mountain and trail use though, nice grippy sole, and they lasted for ages before the upper and lower finally separated. May pick up another pair to replace my NB MT110's, not sure which route I'm going yet for a replacement.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Been in these for a couple months, and really have nothing but good things to say except for some durability issues. They fit very true to size, I wear a 10 pretty much across the board in anything I wear and these fit the same, I would say with an average width as I am pretty narrow and used to very small/narrow ski boots and these have a little room side to side, especially in the toe, with a little extra height in the toebox as well, heel hold is great though. The weight is awesome, there's not really any cushioning or support but the rock plate through the sole works really well, it takes a good hard slam into something pointy to feel much, which was a major plus for me as I have been running on pretty rocky trails, talus and generally in the mountains with some bouldering included and such. I can't remember ever slipping once on these, the traction is pretty much unmatched. The only thing I noticed was certain parts of the sole wearing unevenly which could be a result of poor technique, also as mentioned above the perforated material on top of the toe tore away after a bit. Regardless, I got a couple hundred miles in these before that happened so I would highly recommend them.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote an answer about on August 19, 2011

rocker 2 is much more in line with something like the armada jj or even the line opus, rocker is hard to describe as i really loved it when i could just go extremely fast down steep open runs that were totally fresh, it had a great combo of stable platform but the swallowtail let you kick the tails out and slide a turn if you wanted, probably more like the old blizzard zeus or one of those other big, stiff AK style chargers (there is not a whole lot at all to compare it with).

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote an answer about on August 19, 2011

it's 100% a totally different ski... the rocker is great on big open mountain faces for really high speeds and drops, the rocker 2 is awesome if you are a more playful skier who like to spin, ski switch etc, and don't need a huge, stable platform for going straight down the hill. i have ridden both and both are best left to untracked snow, the performance on both left something to be desired when anything got even a bit tracked.

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Nate Blouin

Nate Blouin wrote a review of on August 8, 2011

5 5

this pack rocks. plenty of room for all day rides but a great suspension design keeps it light on your back. i've been riding all kinds of stuff from XC-ish longer rides to lift served laps without feeling the need to take it off. the back panel keeps you well ventilated, the shoulder straps allow a great range of movement, and the helmet carry while designed for regular lids doubles as an awesome fullface carrier. get one!

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