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Ben D Ski

Ben D Ski

Clear Creek County, CO

Ben D Ski's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing

Ben D Ski's Bio

50 something JONG. Ski 70-100 days a year & do a bunch of biking. I'm the best skier on the mountain!

Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on June 22, 2014

1 5

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

I bought 3 pair of these socks about six months ago, and all three have started coming unstitched around the ankle cuff with only moderate use. I love merino wool socks, and have owned many pairs of SmartWools, which I've been very happy with, but it seems like their quality control has declined over the years to the point where I probably won't be purchasing again.

There's other merino socks out there that I've had much better success with (Darn Tough) that will be getting my business from now on.

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on May 22, 2014

5 5

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

This is my second pair of Vasque Talus. The first pair are about a year old, and still going strong, but I just bought a second pair 1/2 size larger to preserve my toenails on longer hikes.

I've probably owned 6 or more different pair of Vasque boots over the years, and have found all but the Breeze 2.0 to be comfortable, durable, and supportive, and a pretty good match to my foot shape; low instep, slightly wide but soft fore-foot, and narrow heel/achilles.

I find I prefer more of an approach shoe vs a backpacking or mountaineering boot. The Talus strikes a nice balance for me. The full-length molded polyeurethane midsole provides great stability and cushioning, with a longer life than the EVA midsoles used in many boots in this category. The Vibram Nuasi outsole provides great traction, and has been very durable. They're harder than the Vibram Stealth soles I've had on some other Vasques, so they don't scuff floors as easily, but only provide moderate traction on frozen surfaces. The Talus' outsole provides very good wet traction, and of course dry, so unless you're planning on doing a lot of hiking in ice and snow, the Nuasi sole will probably be fine.

The styling is classic Vasque one-piece nubuck. My year old pair look practically new, and have not had any problems with wetting out, or soaking through. Ankle support is very good, and is probably aided by the very supportive PU midsole. Break-in is almost non-existent, with only minor irritation caused by ankle padding needing to mold to my individual ankle shape. Nothing that can't be accomplished in a couple of shorter hikes, before trying to tackle an all-dayer/multi-dayer.

The Talus seems to fit true to size, but at age 51, I think my feet might be spreading (along with everything else) which might explain my feeling slightly crowded in my usual US Men's 8.5. The size 9 definitely give me more wiggle room, without sacrificing stability or support.

Maybe the best Vasque's yet for my needs!

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on October 12, 2013

3 5

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

The lacing system is hit or miss; great when they stay tight, but frequently slip, leaving the fit loose and sloppy. Fit like slippers, and provide decent support and traction. I wouldn't recommend for anything more than lightly loaded day hiking, or more rocky/technical terrain, as their very lightweight, and don't provide as much support or traction as a full-blown hiking/backpacking boot.

More versatile than sneakers for sure, but not very breathable. What's the point of a waterproof shoe, if your foot gets soaked from the inside?

Contagrip soles provide OK traction, but wear fairly quickly and just OK traction on wet/frozen surfaces.

With a better lace system, these would make great trail-runners, or light hikers, but breathability would still be an issue for me, and a little more aggressive tread, and some more support would suit my uses better, so I'm going to try my luck with some Vasque Talus WP's next time around. YMMV

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on October 12, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small

I bought these to replace a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Mids size 8 that are a tad on the small side. I ordered the Comet 3D in size 8.5, but found they had the exact same sole length as the XA Pros, and an even more crowded toebox. I've had the XA Pros for a little over a year, and they are extremely light, and for the most part, comfortable, although not very breathable, and the lacing system kinda bites. I did experience some pretty good toe-jam on longer descents, and wanted a little more support, traction, and wiggle room for the toes in the Comet. The size 8.5 Comet is no larger than the size 8 XA Pro, and the last is not nearly as comfortable. I already lost both my big toe nails on my last 14'er hike, and am not going to repeat the same mistake again. I could have exchanged for a size 9 and taken my chances, but aside from the crowded toe box, the overall fit and finish of the Comet was sorely lacking compared to the XA Pro 3D, so I'm returning for a refund and trying a pair of Vasque Talus WP's instead.

Short story; I would recommend upsizing 1/2 size from your normal shoe size, and would not recommend the Comet to anyone with a slightly wide fore-foot. These boots may make some people happy, if they've got the right foot shape, and their feet don't sweat too much. They just felt too crowded to me, and too clunky for lightly loaded day hikes. They would probably work well for someone looking for more support on more technical hikes, or for carrying heavier loads when backpacking. They would probably require a little more break-in than the XA Pro, but will definitely provide more support and traction with the more aggressive tread pattern. Can't really speak to the treads ability to clear debris or hook up in wet/frozen conditions, but based on my experience with other Salomon Contagrip soles, and the poor fit of the Comet with my foot shape, I'm not willing to take a chance on the boots suddenly becoming more comfy or grippy.

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on July 19, 2012

5 5

I bought the Iceman to replace a Marmot down jacket I purchased almost a decade ago. I can't speak to the warmth of the jacket since it's the middle of July, but it has every other feature that the Marmot was missing and then some.

#1 Pit-zips; having a warm jacket is great, but if you can't adjust for overheating you're going to sweat=get wet=gonna have a bad time. Pit zips are also two-directional so you can vent just the body or just the arms, depending on what's needed.

#2 Cut longer than my old Marmot and has a powder skirt. The old Marmot had no powder skirt and was cut shorter making it very drafty, especially when arms are raised. The Iceman allows for all kinds of athletic movement without creating a gap at the waist=no drafts= no snow up the back when tomahawking. Powder skirt is also removable for less active pursuits.

#3 Attached Hood; I never liked detachable hoods. They typically create extra bulk around the collar area, and if you detach to avoid this problem there's a good chance the hood will still be in your gear closet when you really need it. Some hooded jackets I've owned didn't provide much neck protection when the hood is down, but the Iceman's collar stands high enough to offer ample protection even when the hood is down. I can't wait to deploy the down insulated hood for chairlift rides when the wind's howling and temps drop into the single digits!

#4 Low bulk styling; Having down insulation shouldn't require resembling the Michelin Man. The Iceman's outer shell is smooth so you won't even know it's a 700 fill down jacket until you look at the inside baffles. I also like that Flylow used dark grey material for the underside of the purple jacket. I don't want to have to worry about stains showing up on the inside of my jacket any more than I do about the outside.

#5 Waterproof shell; There shouldn't be an assumption that just because it's wicked cold that you won't encounter moisture. Snow guns that are blowing water at 10 degrees are a classic example. My old Marmot used Membrain rated at 5,000 waterproofness, which is better than nothing in a down jacket. The Iceman rating is 10,000=more better. Add waterproof zippers and pit zips and I think all the bases are covered.

Final note on fit and more features with Flylow; I'm 5'7", 165lbs, 34" waist, 31" inseam, 41" chest. Flylow's chart would probably put me at a medium which is pretty much spot-on, however, I like a little more relaxed fit so I upsize to large in both pants and jackets. Both the Stash Cargos and Especial pants I own from Flylow have adjustable snap closures on the cuffs plus some burly Velcro, so I can keep them from getting shredded dragging in the snow. The jackets have Velcro adjustable cuffs so I can keep them out of my soup at lunchtime, and the longer sleeves cover almost my entire hand, preventing frostbite when holding a cold one bare-handed in the parking lot après ski. Both pants also have adjustable waists and big belt loops so no worries about plumber butt, unless that's the look you're going for.

Nice job once again from Dan & Co.!

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on November 20, 2011

5 5

when I bought my first 175cm Pocket Rockets. It felt like cheating, but in a good way! I'm 5'7" and 165 lbs.
I tried the Twenty Twelve in a 179cm and felt right at home. Easy turning, light and pretty smooth through chopped snow.

I would consider the Twenty Twelve as a quiver ski, but one that should get a lot of play in my surroundings, the Colorado Front Range. I still want to be on something wider/longer for deep days, but for anything under 8 or 10 inches, or tighter trees and firmer bumps, this ski should be super fun!

The early rise and going to the 179cm from a 175 could make the deeper days pretty fun too, but probably not as much fun as something 110mm under foot or wider.

Other skis I liked a lot were the Line Prophet 90 179cm, and the Icelantic Pilgrim 179cm, both 90mm under foot. Both felt like really solid skis, easy turn initiation and stable, just not as lively or should I say "Salomon feeling" as the Twenty Twelve.

The Prophet and Pilgrim both have traditional camber, i.e. no early rise, which could explain the different feel.

Can't really speak to durability, but I've had decent success with Salomon’s in the past, although I'm not one of those guys who skis like I'm trying to break my equipment. I know people who've had better longevity from brands like volkl, but I never liked the way volkls felt, so an indestructible volkl just means I'll be unhappy with my ski longer.

Also tried a Dynastar Sixth Sense Distorter (87mm under foot) 179cm and was pretty underwhelmed.

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Ben D Ski

Ben D Skiwrote a review of on October 29, 2009

5 5

Had such great success with the Ibex Woolies top over the last 3 years that I had to get the bottoms to match! Great warmth and comfort, minimal bulk. Excellent performance over a wide temperature range. Easy care. No pilling or odor between washings. Have tried smartwool and never been as satisfied as with Ibex. Worth the extra $$ over synthetics!

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