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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillips

Gearhead

Salt lake City, Utah and ANYWHERE there is snow

Wally Phillips's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Skiing
Running
Biking

Wally Phillips's Bio


Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.


As a Pittsburghian at birth, I began my outdoor foray on skis at age 2 1/2. Since then, the pursuit of the best turns has consumed me. I am willing to go the extra mile to get to places people only shake their head at (Utah provides many). I also bike, run and have as much fun as I can in this short life.


I’d love to answer your gear related questions. Here is how you can contact me:
Phone: 1-800-409-4502 ext 6112
Email: wphillips@backcountry.com

Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

A strange title, I know. The Black Crows Daemon had my shape-nerd intellect curious as it is a thinner based shape with flat camber underfoot to rocker in tip and tail and a reinforced under binding area. What it equates to is a ski that bends what can be done on it in a way where things on one single pair of skis weren't possible until now.
The Daemon found me doing two things fast. One was almost hip on the ground carves which came easier than expected. The second was a tail butter off the very next hump where I just shook my head and thought to myself "this may be where the ski industry could be going."
I've seen a lot of flat camber daily driver skis recently come into the fold. This one is a more serious one that requires a bit of a driver. But, if you do drive it a bit and get playful where applicable, you'll get a variance of performance between all mountain and park the likes of which you may have never seen before. This Daemon is a brave new world and those who can drive the versatility out of it won't be found wanting.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 31, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Yeah, you get it. The K2 Marksman is a largely athlete influences freeride ski that the title provides the feel that it says it does. The pop out of the turn that this ski provides is holy ish big to the point where you almost need to be careful of how much you load the ski if you are a bigger individual.
The poppiness does lead to so much creativity however. The shifty moves you can make with this swing weight light ski can be sometimes a bit difficult to believe as you visualize what spins you want at any realistic height and it happens.
The turn shape is definitely on the short side and the float is good but not great in comparison to a few other options in similar dimensions and weights. If you like your skiing to feel almost pogo-ish with a ton of creativity and flow look no further.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 31, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

A strange question. Let me explain. Blizzard, an Austrian ski company. Traditional, unyeilding, so much metal in the layup. Blizzard skis provide refuge for those ex-FIS racers who delve their angles first style into the all mountain scene. Are they good skis? Absolutely, so long as you pin them like you are in a race course for the most part but all around the resort and minus the blue and red panel gates.
Blizzard needed a meeting in the middle. The Gunsmoke was a step in the right direction, but things came so much together with the Rustler 11. When first trying this ski, I was on day 3 of 4 bell to bell jaunts in Big Sky and didn't know how my legs would react. The shape, profile and layup was more than rewarding with a very predictable pivot point, a solid middle and end turn feel and a swing weight that makes you swear you are not on a Blizzard ski.
That's what was the clincher for me, thinking, "I can't be on a Blizzard, I'm not putting everything into the ski but it is giving back like I am." I don't give 5 star ratings much (ask my Community peers, they give me crap about it every so often) but I feel the Rustler 11 deserves it from a standpoint of how many skiers could find this ski their jam. The only real nitpick I have is that the pivot point feels hingy at speed so if you want to go from a slarve to carve turn then you need to make a huge move to get it done. A small negative that won't shift the overwhelming positives of the Rustler 11 in a larger avg snowfall per year setting.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Black Crows has garnered quite the following through their easily recognized art style and consistent method in how their skis are produced from a predictable and durable standpoint. The Atris, Crows' top soft snow daily driver, does give a feeling of something to doesn't meet the eye. The shape, very twin tippy, gives the impression of a ski that should pop on demand. However, you click in and start laying some higher speed turns and find that this ski holds on edge hold wise WAY more than expected. In fact, the Atris craves more speed and direction throughout as it wants you to drive it more as the speeds increase.

That's the good and the bad about it. One needs to take away the belief of the look of the shape makes the ski without skiing it. PLEASE, ski this ski. It is the only way to really get to know it. But, once you do and find out how to drive it, the Atris gets you out of hairier situations that you would like to admit. Only other hang up is that the heavier weight and damper feel gives a bit less swing weight than one would think and sizing down when in between sizes might be wise.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 31, 2017

4 5

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

DPS, or more appropriately Drake Powder Skis, have been one of the staple smaller ski brands in the last few years where the look (and the price) make you double take and say"Wow, what's that?" The Wailer 112 was the initial pinnacle of this feeling with the bright yellow topsheet, unique shape and their almost unrivaled powder versatility. The changes that have taken place with the Alchemist build being introduced to me make this ski better than it has ever been.

Over the years, DPS has been working and retooling their ski internal makeup to fit themselves into a few more areas of the skiing public. Last year it was the Foundation line which was their lower priced addition which garnered an extremely familiar and predictable feel while not killing your pocketbook. This year, they go the other direction with the Alchemist build, staying more true to their original roots by adding more high performance to their ski lines along with a bit of cost to get it. What does it do to the Wailer 112? A whole friggin lot. Truthfully, I'm not the biggest fan of the Wailer 112's shape. I know, I'm probably in the minority here but I grew up gate bashing and I tend to charge more than play around where the Wailer 112 feels like it can hang me up and be a bit ubrupt. The Alchmist build mellows this out BIG TIME where you can actually charge on the 112 legitimately and let the turn hang a bit more through the apex and end. The powder performance remains but hard snow performance is increased leading it to its most versatile version as well. Does it still hang you up a bit? Yeah, but it feels more endearing about it and not forceful.
The Alchemist version of the Wailer 112 has me wanting to try more of their ski shapes with this build and that says something considering the price tag but I feel that if the Wailer 112 is already your cup of tea then this version may be something you need to hop on now.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 3' 10"
Weight: 30 lbs
Size Purchased: 6

Toddlers need good shoes as they do a really good job of bashing around in the outdoors with reckless abandon. The Vans SK8-Hi Zip Skate Shoe does a better job than most at this as the material holds up during a full summer of mess and the colors even don't fade or stain as much as usual. The look is interesting but grows on you though kids with longer feet will grow out of the "zipper in the back" closure faster.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Ex-Officio is well renowned for their borderline perfect quality in the build in their garments. The Give and Go Boxer Brief continues that trend with the super comfortable and functional design. The fitting is a bit smaller in this case so keep that in mind and it is a bit more costly but you do get what you pay for here. Also the colors are pretty good.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

The Stoic Arroyo Plaid Shirt has a bit more of a dressy feel while keeping that good Stoic durability. The material isn't too soft but the shirt definitely won't fall apart on you. The fit is a bit closer to normal within the body and while the arms are a bit small they aren't too much to mess with the fit. The color scheme is good but is a bit more muted in person.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

prAna has been making some real strides lately in the clothing industry as the name Stretch Zion has become synonymous with popularity among us outdoorsy types. The short is a very well made outdoor option with stretchiness as claimed and quick drying material. The sizing is pretty close to normal at the waist and a bit smaller in the leg holes. Super versatile short for skinnier builds.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I'm normally not a tank top guy but since I was in much warmer weather for my travels I jumped on a few, but the Hippy Tree Mojave Tank Top was one of my favorites. The fit is somewhat modern as the length runs a bit long but the rest is a bit skinny which actually gives a great look. The print visuals are amazing as well.

The material is surprisingly good and soft. Not the most breatheable but it doesn't need to be due to it being a tank top. Solid option for the more artistically inclined.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Darn Tough sometimes feel like they have some tough sledding in the sock industry with other options being bigger names but I do find that some of their socks do really well from a comfort/performance ratio. Their Merino Wool Cushion Boot Sock is no different as that is exactly what it is made for as the sock feels way more top to bottom efficient from a durability and comfort standpoint when most other socks don't put as much into the tall part. The merino blend is a bit more durable than super soft but still remains comfy and the sizing is pretty much spot on.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used a ton of Merino wool based socks for years now and the Icebreaker Multisport Cushion Micro Socks are one of the best options out there so far for me. I usually run into an issue where the merino blend is either too soft and it isn't durable enough or it is durable but too stiff. The cushion in the multisport has seemed to help Icebreaker find a happy medium as they are holding up well so far but are softer than normal. The sizing is pretty close to normal if not a smidge small. Also, the colorways are so-so, adequate for socks but wouldn't wear them to a wedding.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 3' 10"
Weight: 30 lbs

The SmartWool Snowflake Beanie is a pretty great option for those little ones who want to get outside when the temps drop. The wool and acrylic blend give it a really durable feel that only adds a bit more weight than usual. Merino wool is used so it stays a bit hot while not being irritating. The color blends for both boys and girls are appealing as well so that is a plus.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on October 30, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

Stoic's Navigator Chambray Shirt combines a bit of a more flowy material with a longer sleeve style and it works pretty well for a more temperate time of year. While the material isn't super soft it does breathe a bit better than most 100% cotton blends. The sizing is interesting though as the body/shoulders fits me well at a large though the arm holes and length run a bit small so I feel like my forearms may Hulk-Smash out of the sleeves (I'm not that buff, maybe a bit more built but..) Overall a solid shift for those who have a skinnier body type,

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have been using the SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain on my new rig and I'm pretty enamored with it. The cassette is especially noticeable due to the HUGE 50 tooth ring at the biggest cog size. It really is a cheat code when getting to that gear range with a 30 tooth crank ring. The shifting has been crisp for the most part as under some poor pedal stroke weighting has caused some catching at times, but it is more pilot error than anything. Along with the cheating feeling of the 50 tooth ring, I'm finding it hard to pedal out of the highest gears as well at 10 teeth. If you have the means to, get on the Eagle drivetrain as soon as you can!

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: 45.0

Full disclosure, I am a proponent of lessening the weight on the rotational forces around the crank/shoe/BB area to increase pedaling efficiency. Coming off of Giro Code shoes to these I thought that I was getting into some cement shoes that would bog me down. Couldn't have been so wrong.

The sole is JUST stiff enough for the right amount of power transfer while the middling weight helps to either push power through the end of the stroke or to reef on the outside pedals in the loose fast turns. Fit is a smidge small but I prefer that so if you are in-between sizes it would be smart to size up. Overall a really good options for trail/enduro/all-mountain riding.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

Second set of Giro gloves that I've had and the Remedy has been pretty solid so far. The ventilation is surprisingly good and the padding places itself well without being bulky. The sizing feels smaller at first but breaks in a bit while wearing. Beware of the wear as the seam failing is a thing as the previous gloves that I had from Giro suffered around the finger seams in about a couple months. Will update after more time.

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Wally Phillips

Wally Phillipswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Okay, I don't like pressfit BBs. I just don't. I had one threaded that spoiled me and now the pressfits feel more like high maintenance. The SRAM BB92 on my Evil Following has been good so far though I've be pretty hair trigger on the feel and sound of it and if things go sideways fast I'll try to upgrade to a Chris King. Stay tuned....

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