Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Video from Jan-Feb 2013. Skiing on the Line Influence (2012 and 2013 versions; same ski). Whole lotta fun! Holler if you've got any questions.
I'm really pleased that the Influence has remained more or less untouched from last year, the exception being the cosmetics...and I think it's sweet because it's the orange makes it way safer when you're combining hunting and big lines. (not that I've ever done that...)
So, I feel the Influence is a really predictable, strong ski that doesn't punish you for mistakes. It's fun to play around on but will have your back when you get into some serious $#!*.
Despite being the 115mm waist, they can rip hardpack and groomers- while still giving the float in really deep situations.
The 21m turn radius feels true when you rip a big gs turn, but the ski never dictates the turn shape- it feels comfortable going from a straightline into a dump speed schmear, and then into whatever else you'd like.
The early rise and taper at tip and tail help the Influence ski shorter than the number indicates when you're slarving turns or in a tight situation...until you open it up and have all the stability for runouts in chunder.
On the subject of chunder... this ski is super fun in crud & chopped up snow. The wood & metal help the ski stay damp and stable until you pick a bump to pop off of and load those carbon stringers up...and then you're touching back down 20 ft later.
I'm 6ft, 165lbs without pack, and the 192cm is my go-to ski. I've used the 186cm with Dukes and it felt great and now I'm trying the 192s with a CAST touring setup...and we'll see if I'm strong enough to really tour with that, because it's not exactly a rando race ski.
I've got mine mounted with my first Dynafit bindings and have found them to be a really fun and reliable touring setup. Versatile turn shape allows you to go from bouncing through tight spots to surfing into wide open terrain. Taper, early rise, camber and sidecut all come together to provide a predictable, intuitive nature to the ski. It's got good energy and pop, but does have an eventual limit in terms of torsional rigidity- but for me that's been a rare experience. Overall, this is an energetic take-me-anywhere kind of ski that encourages you to flow and play with the terrain rather than destroy it.
Lightweight & avoiding the unnecessary, you can roll the Seven Prolite nicely into it's own hood- about the size of a basic first aid kit. The jacket has stood up to significant scruff-age on rocks and trees without any markings. Seams and other details are very clean.
The large interior bin pocket is nice for keeping goggles close at hand but out of the elements, and the chest pocket has a mesh inside with slit opening for a cord- easy spot for my shuffle.
Breathability and waterproofing are as should be expected for a garment at this level- top notch. Big pit zips further aid dumping steam while bootpacking or skinning. The hood is large enough to fit over a helmet, but it does pull the collar up really high- beneficial when it's nuking, but borderline claustrophobic without opening the curved zipper just a bit. There is a tiny layer of microfleece along the collar making it friendly on the face.
Fit is true to size, not too baggy.
I think that the Shimano XT line provides excellent bang for you buck. Strong, relatively light, and really solid performance. It's a great workhorse line, at a price you can generally stomach. I was only disappointed when I realized I couldn't adjust the tension on the clutch mechanism. (Edit- clutch is adjustable, see comments below). Even with the clutch engaged and proper chain length (on a 1x10 Ibis Mojo HD) I wanted to tighten things up to prevent chain slap that was still occurring over really rough descents. On my newest bike I threw down on the XTR Shadow Plus on which you can adjust the clutch.
...and you only wear things if you like them. 1) (IMO) This helmet looks rad. 2)It fits great and the micro adjustments allow you to get it dialed. 3)Super easy to do some climate adjustments...opening or closing different vents gives you a lot of freedom to keep your head feelin' proper. 4)Keeps your noggin safe!
Every morning I brew coffee in a french press and fill up this Hydro Flask. It's large enough to prevent the need for constant fill ups (for me, at least) and the seals are excellent. No leaks, no loosening...and the flip lip is solid and easy to open and close with one hand. It does a tremendous job of maintaining the temperature of your beverage...better than any other travel mug I've used. Keep it close by when you're on the road so you can avoid use of disposable cups!
Comfortable, roomy fit without being too baggy and getting caught on stuff. Quite durable and shrugs off branches and other trailside gnar. The hood is large and fits well over my open face helmets without problem. Breathes well, but most importantly keeps you dry. It packs down nice and small & I toss it inside my Dakine Nomad pack anytime there is a chance of rain. Zippered pockets are handy for light items but if you're riding aggressively heavier items (cell phone or multi tool) will bounce the jacket around because the shell is quite light.
The red looks great on a dreary day, too!
So light and packable that it's more or less a part of my first aid kit. Breathes really well while blocking the wind. Perfect for a chilly start to the ride or while waiting along a windy ridge line for your friends to catch up. Hiking, running, biking, and ski touring...times when your activity keeps your body warm, but you are want to avoid the bite of the wind. If you remove it to change layers in a windy place, make sure it doesn't blow away...because it's so light that it certainly could!
I often wear more casual sunglasses that are decent for athletic endeavors because, well, I think I look cooler. However, now when it comes time to go for a real ride, you can't deny the performance of some top of the line V2 shades. I really enjoy the orange lenses for busting in and out of shade and sun, but the simple clear lense absolutely kills it later in the evening or a stormy day.
Swapping lenses is very straightforward and quick. They're light, good coverage (no eye watering) and I forget that I have them on...until my sweaty head starts dripping onto them. They can't help with that! The adjustable nose piece also helps dial the fit to your face.
I use this pack for almost every ride. Adequate space for first aid kit, a rain layer, extra food, cameras, tools, tubes, pads, etc. I find the small base side pocket with a forward facing zipper is ideal for my multi tool, because you can access it without taking the pack off. The outermost portion is handy for stowing knee pads or your full face if you're on a long climb. I appreciate the full sized bladder. There are two fleece lined pockets- the internal one is handy for my cell phone or GoPro, and I save the larger glasses pocket for the...well, glasses.
I've got a lot of other packs, but I choose this one 98% of the time. (For serious adventures, the Apex may be more appropriate. For my road rides, I go with my Amp.)
I was lucky enough to help in testing and tweaking this version of the Influence 115, and they are far and away the best of the skis I've been on in the last...well, ever. You can read the details in the description, or what the product video on Line's site...but know that these are remarkably playful skis with some badass roots. I would say if you sent Pollard's Opus to the gym all fall and had it listen to Rage Against the Machine, the result at the end of November would be the new Influence 115. Ready to destroy the mountain (if necessary) but equally fun to shred even if the mountain isn't covered in fresh.
A couple fun runs lapping inbounds goodness at Jackson Hole in early March, 2012. 192cm.
James is spot on with his review. Comfortable against the skin, though I mainly use it as a mid layer for skiing. This spring and summer I've been tossing it in my hydration pack as an extra layer when I'm hiking or biking. Doesn't look dorky, doesn't hold your funk (unless you're getting extra funky), and fits perfectly.
I've had one pair of these in my rotation of socks for "real" activity (biking/hiking/running) for about 6 years now. They've outlived all my other socks. Spending $15 bucks or so on socks isn't fun or exciting, but it's great to only have to do it twice a decade. I'm going to order a couple pairs now and just hope they last as long! They're light, breathable, and wool for the win.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: you'll have a little box attached to you, and that can look goofy if you're out for a walk around the mall. But this is hands down the best camera for capturing action sports moments, which is what most people aim to use it for. The variety of mounts is insane and you can get really creative with how you're using the camera.
I highly recommend springing for the Hero2 over other options for compatibility with accessories: lcd screen, battery backpack, wifi backpack...and some special firmware updates (like the upcoming "ProTune") This is going to allow the GoPro record at bit rates that match or exceed most DSLRs.
Shoot at a high frame rate for smooth slow motion. Make sure your mounting job is steady so you don't end up with bouncy footage. If you're looking for high quality audio, pick up a self powered lavalier mic that can plug right into the side of the GoPro. Study up on the workflows (gopro support page) to help you maximize the quality of your video for exporting online. The menus might seem a little difficult at first, but 1 day of playing around with it and you'll be dialed on operating it without needing a cheat sheet.
Really, you're only limited by your own creativity with these things.
Chill colors and a collar help the Triumph maintain an air of normality when you roll directly from a ride into a party or rec league kickball game. Alternatively, when you're overheating on a super hot summer day pop those snap closures and let the jersey open all the way up.
I've personally tested the jersey by performing high speed cartwheels through branches and rocks with nary a hole or pulled thread. At 6', 165lbs and slender upper body, the medium fits me best. It doesn't carry funk like some of my other jerseys, I use the eyewear chamois on every ride, and it does dry out quickly. Plus its a color that says "I am not a wild animal, you shouldn't shoot."
The fit & function is more or less standard T-shirt...but the wearer of this shirt probably wants a cowbell to go along with the shirt for when your voice does give out from screaming at riders. Of course, if you're looking at this shirt, you're probably one step away from getting a devil costume and chasing racers up the hills. Cheers to that!
Expensive compared to others...but they won't last years of abuse, help maintain leg alignment, support your weight, not stink, and keep on kickin' regarding whatever you want to do. Grippy Vibram sole too...