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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty

Colorado , Red Rocks , Mountains , Concerts , World Travel

Soren McCarty's Bio

I am a Rock and Roll concert photographer, Colorado Native and lover of the outdoors. My friend and I started a website called www.mtnweekly.com we cover various events, review gear , and enjoy life. You can check out some of my work there as well as at my photography website. I live in Vail during the winter.
http://www.sorenmccartyphotography.com
http://www.mtnweekly.com

Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on August 6, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

G-Form: gear review
By Soren McCarty

Have you ever wanted to learn that new trick in the Terrain Park or on the BMX Track, but were afraid you were going to bust yourself? Are you the kind of person that has dropped your phone or media player? Well I found a cool new product that will amaze you. It?s called G-Form; G-Form is a company that makes soft foam that stiffens upon impact. They have figured out how to use this technology in athletic pads and protective cases for electronics.
The Cool thing about G-Form products are they are soft and do not restrict movement or motion. They are designed to fit easily under clothing. Perfect for leaning new tricks on the snowboard, bike, skis, skateboard or great if you want a little extra protecting. The best part is they harden on impact, cushioning the blow to the athlete. I wish I had these when I was growing up. Because of the sleek fit, people won?t even notice that you are wearing protective pads you?ll probably even forget yourself.
G-Form makes Elbow pads, Knee Pads, Shin Pads, Crash Shorts and a Compression Shirt. Well worth the money and surprisingly comfortable, perfect for any active lifestyle.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on December 14, 2011

5 5

First Impression: I needed a new pair of Ski and Snowboard pants, Helly Hansen is known for making quality gear. When I got the package with the new pants I was excited. The Legend Pant has a clean look, is well built and made to handle the conditions everyday. Sure there may be companies than make pants that look crazy with funky prints, I am more interested in having a reliable quality product. Helly Hansen has a proven track record when it come to that, exactly what I want from my outdoor gear.
It is no wonder why Aspen and Vail have Helly Hansen make their winter clothing for all their on-mountain employees.

Fit: The pants feel weightless when I am wearing them, due to the great fit, I don’t need a belt and I don’t have to worry about having to pull them up ever couple runs. Sure, it looks cool when you pants are hanging around you knees, because they are too baggy. Oh wait that actually doesn’t look cool at all, and is the last thing I would want in a ski/snowboard pant. These pants are technically a ski pant but built well enough to be a snowboard pant, some people don’t know the difference, let me explain. Ski Pants traditionally, are cut slimmer and don’t handle the abuse that a snowboard pant is designed to take. Also Ski Pants are not usually as stylish or up to date as snowboard pants, they have been making strides and keeping up with innovations, but typically mountaineering and snowboarding have been setting the trends in winter clothing for years.

Waterproof/Breathability: The Legend Pant is rated at 14,000 mm of Waterproofing and 18,000 g/m of Breathability. Making the Legend Pant great for climates similar to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. The pants are filed with 60g PrimaLoft giving the user that little bit of insulation they need on colder days. The Legend Pant is designed for resort skiing and the occasional backcountry outing, but are not recommended for mountaineering or winter camping.

Style: The Classic fit is both stylish and functional; I have received multiple comments about the look of the pants, from both younger and older fellow skiers.

Construction: The PrimaLoft Insulation keeps me warm on the colder days, the Thigh Vents allow me to stay cool on the warm days and the Taped Seams keep me dry on the wet days. The HellyTech Performance Material makes the pants durable and rugged to rips, snags and tears.

Overall Impression: I would have been impressed with the quality and performance of the Legend Pant. I would recommend these pants to anyone looking for a great pant for winter activities; they are great for both skiing and snowboarding. If you are looking for quality with some style, these are the pants for you.

Retail: $175.00 USD
Colors: Red, Green, Yellow, Navy, Aqua, White, Black (Green Used for Testing)

Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL (Large Used for Testing)

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote an answer about on November 9, 2011

I have tried them on with the Smith Vantage and there are no gaps, go to your local ski/board shop and try them on together as everyone's head and face are sized and shaped differently. My bet is the will fit great together.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on November 9, 2011

4 5

First Impression: When I was asked to Demo the new Rossignol all-mountain skis I jumped at the chance. Sure I consider myself a snowboarder, but I still can rip on skis, and it hadn’t snowed in a couple days so I knew it would be a great day for charging some GS turns and hitting some moguls. Besides these skis looked pretty slick, with Rocker tip and tail and Camber underfoot they look like they can cut some serious turns.

Shape: The Experience 98 has a fairly wide shovel with 139mm in the tip, 98mm under foot and 128 under the tail. Making the ski very stable and hard charging through crud and packed snow as well as ice and inconsitant snow. These skis are 70% Camber underfoot and have 30% subtle Rocker in the tips and tails allowing the ski to float in the powder. This combination also allows the skier to lay down carving turns with ease and stability. They are great when skiing fast and are an all around versatile ski made to take on all types of conditions.

Weight: Not being on Skis for a while, they didn’t feel especially heavy, they felt more stable than anything. It is a little weird getting back on two skis, but it is fun to take on the hill after being on a board for so long. Back to the skis I would always prefer to sacrifice a little weight for stability. The skis have a sleek feel and make instant contact with the snow and the full edge grip is similar to a snowboard, having four edges instead of two is all the more fun , laying downing GS turns is a breeze with these bad boys. Skiers also take different fall lines than snowboarders, it can make you hum drum ski runs fun again , and there is nothing like straight lining it down a run, and finding a little lip to get some air off of.

Flex : The Experience 98 has the torsion and flex pattern of a stiffer ski , making them extremely stable and helps you drive through the turn. The Rocker , Camber combination helps initiate the turn , and giving a softer feel under foot , with a stiffer tip and tail. Great design and flex patter as a result.

Ski Shape and Turning: This is a Directional Ski with a tail that will allow you to land the occasional jump switch, but this ski is designed to rip the whole mountain and charge through powder. The Experience line have an Extended Sidecut, which reminds me of a snowboard and allows the skier to ride the full edge with complete contact from tip to tail. This is key for stability and allows the skier to make deep carving turns, When the turn is initiated the side cut grabs and allows the skier to drive through the turn. The new Cascade Tip technology improves swing weight for faster turning , better edge grip and superior contact.

Control : These skis have great control and are very stable , they are designed for skiers that know how to drive their skis and can ski aggressively. If you know how to tell you skis where to go, you’ll love these skis. That combined with the full edge control makes for fierce control and precise turning. You can aggressively maneuver this ski or let it make nice long sweeping turns.

Switch : These skis can be ridden switch for sort distances and will be fine for landing switch or playing around on cruiser days. The nature of these skis are deep turning , hard charging all-mountain skis. So although you could probably learn to ski them switch, they are much better when ridden as a direction ski.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on November 6, 2011

5 5

I am really happy with the Burton Pipe Gloves, not only do they work well for most warmer days on the mountain, but they also allow me to photograph while skiing and riding. They are my go to glove when photographing winter events such as the X Games and Dew Tour. They are also great for mountain biking too, they have outstanding grip and are fairly rugged.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on November 2, 2011

5 5

Product Review: Helly Hansen Enigma Flow Down Jacket
By Soren McCarty

Colors: Black / Tabasco (Red)

Testing Color: Tabasco

Testing Locations: Loveland, Vail, Breckenridge and Denver Metro Areas

Testing Conditions: Snowing, Blowing Snow, Mild Cold, and Cold Weather

Testing Size: Large

Fit: Nice fit with room for under layer if needed, the sleeves have snug fitting gaiters over the wrist if needed, it makes for a nice warm fit in snowy conditions. The Jacket is soft and has the feel of down with a sleeker design and low profile exterior. The Down Flow Venting system added both warm and a slight bit of extra padding to the back and ribcage of the jacket. The Fit is athletic and allows for a full range of motion and has great flex.

First Impression: This jacket is incredibly well designed; it is also rugged and well thought out. The seams are reinforced and the jacket material is both flexible and durable. The placement of the pockets, powder skirt and balaclava are intelligent and unobtrusive.

Weight: The Jacket is lightweight like a down jacket, with the heavy-duty feel of a mountaineering jacket; it is the perfect hybrid between the two. The Vents are in good locations along both the upper right and left breasts and along the upper arms for a good cross flow. I like that the vents in the arms have two zippers going in each direction, this makes access to them during activities easier.

Construction: The Jacket is made out of a material called Helly Tech 02, very durable yet breathable and waterproof material. The Jacket has designed and developed in Norway since 1877. The Jacket is built for cold weather and tends to be too heavy and warm for early season and mild conditions. The Shoulders are reinforced and the jacket has a breathability of 20,000 grams and a waterproof rating of 20 K.
The Recco system in the right shoulder offers a small level of confidence if an in bounds snow slide were to happen. The Vented neck keeps your goggles from fogging when the jacket is zipped all the way. I like that the hood will fit over a helmet, this is both comfortable and warmer on extremely cold days. The Hood is removable and the hooking system is easy to use and well designed to keep from breaking or coming undone while riding. The pocket that the powder skirt zips into is easy to use and makes the skirt easy to stow when not being used. Same with the pocket for the balaclava, it is a nice touch that the balaclava zips out, so it can be washed easily or taken out during warmer weather. The Thinsulate Flex material allows for a range of motion while staying warm and dry. The 800-fill goose down allows for both warm and cozy feel. The construction of this jacket is top notch and will withstand the elements in extreme conditions.

Riding: The Jacket fits snug and is very form fitting while skiing and riding. The Sleeves work well and it is easy to adjust cuffs with gloves on in cold weather. The Vents are easy to open and close and are designed for maximum venting when all the way open, the air flows evenly throughout the jacket. The Pockets are well placed and the left outer breast pocket has a goggle wipe in it, this is a nice feature. The two inner pockets are easy to get too and have enough room to stow a pair of goggles. The left front sleeve has a pocket with a key ring and room for Mountain Weekly business cards. The Durability or the jacket is first rate and the color adds extra safety when riding in the trees or on low visibility days.

Style: The Jacket is stylish and sleek, well crafted and built for extreme conditions. I have received numerous compliments while wearing the jacket. The Jacket is great for shooting photos as the color stands out against snow, trees and natural landscapes. The Jacket is also good for bike rides and when the weather is sloppy during city conditions as well. The 20 K breathability is key when hiking in the backcountry or when riding hard and building up a sweat, this will keep you warmer throughout the day. The Flo2w system venting is key to keep from overheating on warm days with a Fabric breathability rating of 20,000g

Overall impression: This Jacket is the best-designed jacket I have ever owned. I will not go out in the backcountry with out this jacket. The warmth and amount of thought that went into the construction of this jacket is impressive. The Athletic fit is great for riding and skiing, as the jacket flexes and flows when you are bending twisting and flexing. The warmth of Down with the comfort and form of a mountaineering jacket is brilliant. I often wear a long sleeve base layer as my only under garment and am still plenty warm. I have actually gotten too warm wearing this jacket; the venting system is so easy and well built that the airflow cools me off in no time. Fleece is added to couple key areas of the jacket for extra comfort and warmth. The Zippers are all easy to use with both gloves and mittens, and are highly durable. Nothing is worse than pulling off the zipper tongue while in the backcountry. The pocket on the back off the jacket is a nice touch and great to keep a lightweight pair of gloves, matches, safety items or power bars. The Breathability of the jacket is first rate and the flexibility is unlike any other jacket I have worn. Form fitting; it hugs your body with out being claustrophobic. The Jacket comes with a limited lifetime warranty, but being as well built as it is I would be surprised if there are very many warranty issues with the jacket. I look forward to further testing out this jacket through the winter in all types of conditions, I am sure this jacket will exceed my expectations.

This Jacket is so well designed , it is almost too warm for most days.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on November 2, 2011

5 5

Product Review: Mountainsmith Borealis AT Daypack
By Soren McCarty

Camera Bag and Alpine Touring Backpack

First Impression: When I found out Mountainsmith made a Camera bag, that allows you to attach your skis or snowboard, I thought this is the perfect item for me and the Mountain Weekly’s readers. The Backpack is well designed and rugged, they even used recycled materials in the making of this bag. The recycled plastic bottles used to make this bag, are both good for the environment and make the bag extremely strong. I look forward to testing this at Red Rocks this summer, as well as on bike and on trail as well. So I plan on writing a second follow up review. The Bag is well designed with plenty of room for camera gear, backcountry essentials and even fits a laptop.

Design: The Borealis AT Daypack is a daypack used to carry camera equipment as well as essential items. The Lower area of the pack has a clamshell opening making it easy to access camera gear in the field. Within the clamshell are dividers with Velcro that allows you to customize the pack to your specific needs. This is a great feature as everyone has different equipment they to choose to carry when going into the backcountry. The Velcro inserts also insure that you camera is snug and safe in the bag, and prevents lenses and camera bodies from bouncing around during travel. The top area of the pack has three main pockets, a smaller outer pocket, mid sized inner pocket and deep inner pocket with an area to safely carry a laptop computer. The smaller outer pocket has a keying, and a zippered pocket to carry various items. The mid sized pocket also has a zippered pocket within, and a false bottom allowing access to the clamshell area of the pack, making it possible to get to the camera in variable weather conditions without getting you gear wet. The false bottom closes with Velcro and allows you to carry various items in this area, so it has great dual purpose. The laptop pocket has a neoprene sleeve that holds up to a 17-inch laptop, this keeps the computer secure and upright while hiking. The laptop sits behind the back of the hiker, keeping it safe from the elements and easy to access when needed. This pocket has enough room to carry other items as well; I usually carry a sweatshirt and extra socks and gloves in this area when going into the backcountry. The top of this pocket also has a rain cover stowed in a small pouch, this is easily accessible and can be dispatched in seconds if a storm rolls in. The pack has molded back panels making it more comfortable that any of the other camera bags I have owned. The shoulder straps are padded as well as the waist belt, which has two small pockets for keys and other small vital items. The bag has compression straps to hold skis or a board. There is also an area on the back to carry attach a tripod or monopod, the pack is made out of a material called ReDura which is made up of recycled water bottles.

Weight: The Borealis AT is extremely lightweight, while being heavy duty. I loaded the backup with all my backcountry gear and camera equipment as well as laptop for it’s maiden voyage. I wanted to see the weight distribution and if it could carry all my equipment without being too cumbersome. It passed with flying colors, it must have weighted close to 50 pounds full loaded. Due to the camera being in the bottom and the contoured nature on the pack it was surprisingly easy to hike and snowboard with it. The weight was stable and the cushion on the back was comfortable and I could not feel the laptop behind my back, I have noticed this with other packs I have used.

Ease of use: The clamshell pocket makes grabbing you camera a breeze; you won’t miss the shot while fumbling to get to your gear. The laminated zippered interior pockets are great for storing media storage and batteries as well as sharpies, biz cards and lens clothes or any other small items you need to get to fast. The rain fly folds up easily and is out of your way, when not being used.

Alpine Touring: This pack was designed to go into the backcountry, and skis attach on either side of the pack with the ski tips facing up. This only takes a few seconds with the cinching of the compression straps on either side; you are ready to start hiking. I put my snowboard behind my back and then cinched down the shoulder straps and waist belt, it was fit snug and was more comfortable that I had expected.

Testing Locations: Denver, Boulder, Loveland pass, Vail and surrounding area.

Colors: Black

Retail: $189.00 USD

Overall Impression: I was very impressed with the quality and though that went into this pack. It has been extremely durable and easy to use; it travels well and will go toe to toe with anything out there. I also like the fact that Mountainsmith used recycled materials in the building of this product. I look forward to taking this camera bag on all types of shoots, and it so far has been better than the bags I have used it the past. I have had many over the years, and blown out the zippers on many. This bag will fit you outdoor lifestyle, it will also fit my photography lifestyle which happens to be outdoors much of the time.

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Soren McCarty

Soren McCarty wrote a review of on September 27, 2011

5 5

Snowboard Review: Venture Zephyr – Rocker
By Soren McCarty



First Impression: When I received the Shipment from Venture I was excited when I opened the box, a Venture Zephyr and a Venture Helix, I did not know which one I wanted to ride first. I sent the Helix to Crested Butte for Brady Snow to ride (see review here). I was excited to get on the Zephyr as soon as humanly possible, the first thing I noticed was the stability of this board, and it never washed out once. I lived in southwest Colorado for ten years and went to the Silverton Avalanche School, years before Silverton put a lift in. I used to hike on Red Mountain and Coal Bank pass. I have several friends from Durango, Silverton and Telluride that raved about Venture and I knew I needed to get on one of their decks. Also being a Colorado native, nothing makes me happier than riding a board made here. So needless to say the Venture Zephyr passed that out of the box test, with flying colors.

Shape: The Zephyr is a directional board with rocker in the tip and tail, with a flat profile under foot. The board has a twinish look, without actually being a twin tip. The Rocker shape is designed to allow the rider to float through the snow, and also allow for precision turning. Venture also makes splitboard models, for those who are interested in skiing uphill but snowboarding down. The Zephyr is tapered and makes riding powder a real treat.

Weight: The Board is solid and probably weighs more than those made outside of the country, but it floats like a feather in the powder and is bomb proof. I ran across a few buried rocks and stumps in the snow and though I might have gouged the bottom of the board. To my surprise the Zephyr was unscathed, I have a good 40 plus days on this board and it has minimal wear, hats off to Venture for building a board this strong.
The splitboards are heavier than the standard snowboards due to the devices used to hold the boards together and mount the splitboard bindings.

Flex: Venture rates the Zephyr at a 7 out of 11 on their flex meter, I love that most companies ratings go to 10, Venture goes to 11, Nigel Toughnell would be proud.
The stiffness of the board allows it to be so damn stable; it is really unlike any other board I have ridden. The stability factor is key and you know it will be faithful in all conditions; this is what you look for in an all mountain board. The Zephyr still has enough flex to pop ollies, do nose rolls and flexes when landing big jumps but still has the superior stability for the big mountain riding it was designed for. It lays down deep carves and laughs at ice and hard pack.

Turning: The Zephyr turns with precision and ease, it handles trees like a dream and cuts through powder allowing you to charge past your friends. It makes quick turns when needed but handles big Cadillac style turns in it’s sleep. This board was made to handle it all; it covers the whole mountain and all types of snow conditions. It chops through crud and turns with a steady deep fluidity. The quadratic side cut makes turning on a dime as simple as pie.

Control: This is the most stable board I have ever ridden and I have been snowboarding since 1988. Once you learn how to ride the Rocker and not let it ride you, you will be amazed at the control this board has. It is easy to control in all snow conditions, sure anything is easy in light powder, but this board it solid everyday no matter what the weather has thrown at you. Luckily lots of powder this winter, but not everyday, it’s the days that are not average that will make you love your Venture even more. Stable edge-to-edge turns at high speed is what the Zephyr was designed for.

Pop: The board is not as flexible as some of the others I have ridden this winter, but it still ollies well. It is great for big jumps and cliff drops, and it handles well in the park. Mad style points to anyone jibbing the park on a Venture, then slaying past the park kids on the knee deep days. The stiffness gives the board some spring, but this board was designed to be stable and it is. But don’t be confused this board has pop, the stability factor is key to stomp those big landings.

Switch: The Zephyr rides switch with ease and due to it superior stability it handles just as well when riding switch as it does when riding forward. The tail does not have as prominent of a lift as the nose so, switch in powder is possible and is easy to land but prolonged switch riding in powder will cause the tail to eventually submarine, but the rocker profile in both tip and tail will keep it afloat longer than most.

Testing Locations: Loveland, A-Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Vail, Beaver Creek and Colorado Backcountry

Snow Conditions: Powder, Packed Powder, Trees, Groomed and Variable Conditions

Sizes: Venture does not make men or woman specific boards, but makes boards that are the best designed for the weight, height and foot size of the rider. Therefore they make different length boards with in that concept. Sizes are: 146, 150, 154(24 cm Waist) 155, 159, 163 (25 cm Waist) 160, 164, 168 (26 cm Waist) 165, 169 (27 cm Waist) 159 used for testing

Sustainability: Venture uses sustainable harvested woods, their factory has been wind powdered since 2004, longer than some have been snowboarding for. They are committed to conservation and they use recycled materials and low impact materials as well. They live in the mountains they ride and live in harmony with nature and try to produce products that fit into this lifestyle. I think Venture deserves credit for this and as someone who loves the mountains, I respect that Venture runs their business in this manner.

Overall Impression: If I could describe this board in one word it would be Stable. This board is hands down in the top 5 boards I have ever ridden and is the best big mountain board I have ever been on. But it is much more than a big mountain board, which makes it such a great ride. This board is great on any part of the mountain and a dream in the powder, it was a real treat to ride. The board is well built and is bomber, it has a 2-year warranty and Venture is the official snowboard of Silverton Mountain. That is a pretty big deal if you have ever ridden Silverton or know the terrain in the San Juan Mountains. I have received several compliments on the graphics and one woman told me that it made her want to quit skiing and start snowboarding because she thought it looked so cool. Due to the stable nature of this board it allowed me to ride with confidence, knowing that is wasn’t going to wash out or break. I can ride harder, faster and jump bigger when I am on the Venture Zephyr because it is so stable; this is my favorite feature of this board. This board was amazing in the Back Bowls at Vail and on powder days it floats like a dream, allowing me to charge through the snow and lap my favorite runs. Next time you are in Silverton look into riding one of their boards to find out for yourself.

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