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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabio

Where the snow is deep...

Jon DiFabio's Passions

Biking
Climbing
Skiing
Snowboarding
Hiking & Camping

Jon DiFabio's Bio

Critical care physician by day, backcountry adventurer on the weekends. I like to share on backcountry to help others get the most out of their travels and gear choices. See you on the mountain....

Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on June 15, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got these near the end of last season, and only used them a dozen times, but I feel I have given them a good test.

The highlights for me are the nice fit, thanks to the rachet system, and the Illuminator 50 lens, which works better than any other low light lens I have tried. For the first time I can charge in low light without worrying about hitting something because I can't make out subtle contours more than 5 feet in front of me. Definitely a game changer for me on less than bluebird days.

The lenses change out easily but I have only used them on mostly gloomy days so I have only changed out the lens twice. On the mountain swaps might be a little tedious with frozen fingers, but I could see how it might be done quickly.

In terms of criticism, I would say they fit kind of big, and the foam around the nose is slightly irritating compared to my last pair of goggles. I also notice that they ice up fairly quickly, and maybe aren't as warm as my last pair, but I'm really stretching to find something negative to say here.

Overall, a versatile and well designed pair of goggles with great lens choices. Make sure you get the Illuminator 50 for low light days.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on May 6, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This was my first POC VPD 2.0 product and I have only had good experiences with it so far. I originally bought this for skiing and it served me well. I had some nice falls onto ice and some hidden rocks, one fall was from about 10 feet up when my binding released on the hard landing, and my arse was unscathed despite a big impact on my tailbone. I remember bracing for the pain after I landed, with memories of my last "tailboner" fresh in my mind, where I was in so much pain I couldn't even move, let alone collect my skis and get to bottom of the hill. But the agony never came, and I skied away like nothing had happened. That incident alone was worth the price of admission.

These shorts were not tested much by falls from my bike, but I recently fell doing about 40 kmh on my "all terrain" in line skates on concrete and I think the only parts of my body that weren't injured were covered in VPD 2.0, specifically the long knee/shin guards and the shorts. I ended up with a torn biceps tendon, four broken ribs, a contused lung, road rash all up my right side that looked like hamburger meat, multiple bruises and lacerations, and bleeding in my abdomen, likely from a liver laceration. I'm already on the mend, but I have since ordered the VPD 2.0 jacket to complete my body armour.

Anyway, they fit well, don't impede flexibility or range of motion, they are light, and they do the job. Highly recommended.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabioMESSAGE_KEY: label.community.profile.wrotevideo NOT FOUND IN REPOSITORY on April 29, 2015

A quick edit of some of the better footage from last season. Still haven't found a bad thing to say about the V-werks Katana. Definitely the most powerful ski I have ever used. I'm still a little worried about the longterm durability of these uber thin planks, but after 30 or so ski days with lots of rock and tree hits the only damage is some loss of carbon fibre near the edges where the ski struck something, and bases that need some professional attention. It's really just normal wear and tear considering the terrain I like to ski.
Overall, these skis are rock solid at speed, quick edge to edge, supple in bumps and crud, and float pow like a Pontoon. Not to mention I've noticed they soak up some impact on flat landings...my back is grateful.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the video.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on April 23, 2015

5 5

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

Bought these half way through last season to go with my Mammut Alyeska Pro jacket and bib. I was skeptical as I had never tried a Dry-Tech product, and I ski hard and sweat a lot. All I can say is that these gloves are more comfortable, and just as warm and breathable as my Scott Gore-Tex snowmobiling gloves. They don't protect like my POC gloves, but they aren't made to, and the padding and protection offered is good enough for the odd tree hit, and fall on ice. Overall, a well constructed, good looking and functional pair of gloves that keep you warm and dry. Highly recommended.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on April 16, 2015

Bulletproof binding....
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Spent a season on the Barons driving Volkl V-werks katanas. Have never used a touring binding before these, but I am truly impressed. Awesome power transfer, never have they pre-released, no significant signs of wear after a season of abuse, and they accepted my Dynafit Vulcans with no problem. The only con is that they are heavy. But they are built to last, and I'd rather a burly binding that weighs a little more, than a lighter binding that falls apart after a cliff drop.
Awesome binding....

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on April 9, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been using the Dynafit Vulcan to drive Volkl V-Werks Katanas mounted with Marker Barons for the last season, comprised of about 30 ski days in varied conditions, from powder, to hard pack, to steep tree lines, bumps and groomers, and even a little messing around in the freestyle park. In short, I am thoroughly impressed. Even without the extra stiffness from the removable tongue inserts, these boots are solid and the huge weight savings (my last boots Nordica Fire Arrow F1 literally weighted twice as much) has really changed the way I ski in a good way. It actually took some getting used to, but now I feel I have much more agility, and more energy when I reach the top of a long skin track. The only issue I have had is excess wear on the toe lug, to the point where I am worried they won't be skiable come the end of next season. I had my Barons professionally adjusted for the toe height, but this didn't seem to help. I think the toe piece is made of PEBA, which might explain the durability issue.

I thermoformed my liners at home, and trust me they are warm and comfortable after a full day break in.

If you are on the fence about switching to a touring boot because you are worried about losing that control on the steeps and at high speeds like I was, just give the Vulcan a shot. I will never go back to heavy race boots.

Check out the video to get a sense of what these boots can do.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a question about on March 29, 2015

Anyone here know if it would be advisable or even possible to mount these on Volkl V werks Katanas? I have Barons now but I am looking for something that skis almost as well, but is much lighter on the uphill. I understand the use of bindings other than Marker will void the warranty (which is another issue I won't rant about here), but wondering more if the mounting block will work with the G3's.

I also worry that they might not stand up to my abuse. I am only 190 lbs but I tend to break stuff and I am not shy to TRY to go big when the conditions are right. Not worried about pre-release, but I am worried about the bindings ripping the top sheet off my favourite skis, especially considering this will be the third set of bindings mounted on them. It already sounds like a bad idea.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on March 4, 2015

5 5

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

Spent this season with the Alyeska Pro jacket and Alyeska Realization pants. I can't say enough about the weatherproofness, durability, and breathability of these garments. The Gore Tex Pro fabric is different from the ArcTeryx Theta AR I was using last season. Much more supple, less annoyingly crinkly, and just as light (I think). The price may seem steep, but with a lifetime warranty, bulletproof construction and a very functional design, I don't regret the investment at all. Compared to the ArcTeryx, Marmot, and Patagonia gear I have used in the past I would say this combo is the best I have used to date, and I will not be switching next season like I usually do.
Jacket is true to size, but fits slightly loose. I am 5"11" 190 with a muscular build for reference. I would go up a size on the pants. See my review on the Alyeska Realization pants for more details.

Highly recommended from someone who is rarely happy with outerwear for one reason or another.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabioMESSAGE_KEY: label.community.profile.wrotevideo NOT FOUND IN REPOSITORY on February 27, 2015

V-Werks Katanas 184 cm with Barons mounted 1cm rearward, driven by me wearing Vulcans. The skiing isn't anything special, so I apologize in advance. But the skis are solid, and they look great from this angle. Awesome ski. Highly recommend them. Just don't go billy-goating with them. I have concerns about durability. Although they supposedly come with a lifetime warranty....may come in handy.

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Jon DiFabio

Jon DiFabiowrote a review of on February 27, 2015

5 5

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

My only complaint is the looser style fit, which is not my style. It's not late 90's snowboarder loose or anything, but they don't fit like the Nordwand Pro pants I had last (which were awesome too). Other than that minor gripe, these pants are worth every penny.

The fabric is Gore Tex Pro but with a much nicer feel than the ArcTeryx and Patagonia shells I have owned. I don't sound like I'm crinkling tinfoil as I'm skating through the lift line. It's also more supple, and less restrictive. Kudos to Mammut for really getting Gore Tex Pro right. The stitching is also very nice, and the fully taped seams look top notch. The whole garment is very well made.

The coolest part, I can use them skiing or not, to ice climb, rappel, whatever. The built in harness fits pretty well, and you don't even notice it when you are skiing or sitting on the lift. I don't think I will be skiing mountaineering the Y couloir at Mont Blanc anytime soon, but knowing I can use them for other winter climbing activities justifies the extra kit.

I have the Alyeska Pro jacket as well, and when the two are combined it really becomes an impenetrable barrier to the elements. I only wear a 215 weight merino on the bottom and top plus/minus the Broad peak hoody (which is also a nice jacket, that is warmer than it should be) and I have been very comfortable on -30 C days without the windchill at the top of Tremblant. In short, I can't say enough about the weatherproofness of this garment.

There is a really handy bib pocket to stow your avy beacon that you can access from the jacket, and the jacket and pants link up with loops at the detachable snow skirt. A well thought out and executed design that is very functional for both resort or backcountry.

Fit wise, I am 5'11, muscular build, 185-190 lbs depending on the proximity to the holidays, and I ordered a large with regular inseam. I was worried it would be way to big in the waist and bib but you know what, it fits perfectly. I took some cues from people who had ordered the regular Alyeska bib pants, so cheers to them for the heads up that I should probably size up. I normally take a 32-33 waist jean so I was surprised. Bib is a little tight fighting so consider going a size up. Got a medium in the jacket and it fits perfectly too.

Overall, I am very pleased with these pants, and given the lifetime warranty, I think I'll be using them to attack the mountains for a very long time.

Highly recommended (except for the looser fit)

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