New Ride RFL boot

Ride is reclaiming their ‘OG status as the leader in lightweight boot design’ with the announcement of their new RFL (Really Freaking Light) boot, a freestyle boot that weighs in ‘below 800 grams’.

Das boot

Das boot

Marketing hype bulletpoints

• NEW! Liner: Intuition™ Dream Liner w/ Mobile Foam combined w/ Aegis™ Antimicrobial Coating

• Liner Fit: Liner w/ Cored Ankle Pockets, Thermo-Formable Internal & External J Bars

• NEW! Under Foot Support: Waffle Footbed

• NEW! Sole: Blown Light Meta w/ Gelpod light Impact Heel & Ice Picks

• NEW! Liner Lacing: Lock Down™ Speed Lace w/ Transition Wrap Harness™

• Shell Lacing: Traditional Lacing w/ 2 To 1 Internal Deep Draw

• Details: Lightweight Technical Construction, Micro Articulating Cuff, 3D Formed Tongue, Direct inject binding rub protection in the heel, high abrasion textile outer.

What the world needs, REALLY needs, is a RFSLYS (Really F*cking Super Light Yet Stiff) boot for splitting and/or the heavyweight crowd. Maybe throw in a helium filled sole for extended airs? Better yet, hydrogen filled soles, flint tipped shoelaces, and straw footbeds for starting an emergency fire in the BC in case you get stranded. Yes, that’s it. Ride? Burton? Anybody?

Review: Westcomb Mirage jacket

It’s been awhile since I’ve fired up a review, and I’ve been sleeping on this one for awhile. Took the pics a few weeks back and just haven’t set aside the time to fire up some thoughts on the jacket.

Marketing speak
The Westcomb Mirage jacket is part of the Hardshell AX line of outerwear from (ex-Arcteryxers) the Canunckistani company Westcomb. Their marketing speak is brief and to the point on their site, stating merely

Stylish eVent® shell is a superb all-mountain piece engineered for any on-or-off mountain activities requiring protection from the harshest conditions.

Fit
I purchased the jacket in an XL, which according to their size chart should fit someone with a 17″ neck, 47″ chest, 41″ waist and an ‘overall length’ of 35″. Not sure what the overall length measurement is, but possibly the sleeve length?

My biggest issue with the jacket is the fit. Given the intended use of the jacket (note that the Hardshell AX line is promoted by an image of a guy rappelling) I’d assume it to have a relatively slender, efficient cut, with some added sleeve length for when you’re reaching above your head. Instead you get a very boxy, short bodied jacket with sleeves longer than you’d expect for the body, yet still not long enough. I feel like the body length and sleeve length are non-complimentary, and both could stand to be longer (c’mon Canada, I know you’re a bunch of overgrown milk drinkers like myself!). The body could also be a bit narrower in my opinion – I feel like rather than catering to the athletic it’s built to cater to the McDonalds eaters out there.

Westcomb Mirage body shot

Westcomb Mirage body shot

Build
One place that I feel Westcomb really nails it is build quality. There are very few garments I’ve come in contact with that give off the same feeling of quality as the Westcombs that I’ve dealt with.

For the Mirage jacket Westcomb kept it simple, including only what you need to get up and down the mountain and leaving out the extras you don’t. A few mini toggles on the hood/collar, velcro on the wrists, internal and external pockets, and waterproof zips all around. No pit zips on this eVent jacket, and in my experience their unnecessary (and I am one of the heaviest sweaters around). I know everyone says that about eVent, and I had my initial doubts given my sweaty nature, but I’ve yet to get anything more then slightly damp in this jacket – and this is coming from someone that used to drip sweat and be soaked to the bone. I’m a believer.

Performance thus far
Outside of the fit issues I love this jacket. As mentioned above it’s far outperformed anything I’ve ever owned for getting sweat out and away, and it crumples down to the size of nothing. Keeps the rain and snow out like nobody’s business to where it’s my go-to rain jacket as well. My only complaint this thus far (and the reason I’ll probably be one of ‘those guys’ and abuse a certain online retailers return policy…) is the fit. The body needs to be a touch longer and a touch narrower, and the sleeves need a bit of length added as well. Yes, I’m a mongoloid, but I feel like usually the techie garments are built for mongoloids.

As always, if you have any questions/comments about the garment drop it in the comments or email me at justin@poormansheli.com and I’ll get back to you.

Westcomb Mirage internal pocket

Westcomb Mirage internal pocket

Hood toggle

Hood toggle

Zipper tucked into its cover

Zipper tucked into it's cover

If not available to you locally you can pick up Westcomb products at a few online vendors, though neither have a terribly deep selection. Backcountry.com and Oregon Mountain Community both carry Westcomb and are good retailers, though like always I suggest trying to give your local shop the biz first.

Jeremy Jones/Deeper Awesomeness

Somewhere on Hood a kid is working on getting another 90 degrees of rotation and stressing out about his style, contest scores and sponsorships. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world Jeremy Jones and crew are progressing the sport in a different manner while stressing about avy hazards, leaving for their line at 10pm!. Same sport, same planet, different worlds.

Nice views

Nice views

Xavier de la Rue smiles for the portrait by Jeremy Jones

Xavier de la Rue smiles for the portrait by Jeremy Jones

How the Northwest Was One

PNW represent

“How The Northwest Was One” teaser from kurt Jenson on Vimeo.

“How The Northwest Was One” Teaser 2 from Wild Card on Vimeo.

How The Northwest Was One Teaser 3 for Fuel TV from Wild Card on Vimeo.

The Slush Cup

I love the vids Jeremy at Funner puts out as they highlight the main reason we ride – fun with friends. Friends, beers and water rides? Sign me up!

As another season winds down figured I’d post this one. Get out there and enjoy your turns as before long it’ll be mid-August and you’ll be jonesin’, maybe hitting up a local volcano for your fix.

Avalanche beacon review round up

Haven’t been posting much lately due to time/energy commitments. Figured I’d take a moment to throw these two avalanche beacon review sites up to help out anybody who is looking for a beacon, especially as now it’s the offseason and the sales are going to start – and if you’re lucky you’ll find a screaming deal like my Ortovox D3 for $90.

I’m not going to break it out by beacon, partly because I’m lazy lately, but partly because I want people to consider all options when choosing a beacon.

Lou Dawson’s beacon reviews from this year. Also check out beaconreviews.com for a different angle on the reviews. Like all will point out though the best beacon is the one that you know how to use and that you carry with you all the time.

Sharing the bloggity blog blogger love

Bored at work and/or killing time at work? Check out the below blogs, maybe one (or all) will be new to you. Some are snowboard, some ski, all good for a few extra mental vacation minutes.

Jeremy Jones blog
Lou Dawson, first guy to ski all the 14′ers in Colorado
Lots of good cooler photos
Andrew McLean’s ski mountaineering blog
Shay’s general snowboarding blog, reviews, etc.
Southofthenorth snow/skate blog

Know of a good one? Drop me a comment with the address.

Influences v1.0

If a picture is worth a thousand words this post falls somewhere between your average blog post and ‘War and Peace’.

Craig Kelly

Craig Kelly

Jamie Lynn

Jamie Lynn

Nirvana

Nirvana

Greg Galinsky v. Eames

Greg Galinsky v. Eames

Temple Cummins

Temple Cummins

Tropical locales

Tropical locales

Mid-winter warm water roadtrips

Mid-winter warm water roadtrips

Chris Gallardo/Splitboard.com

Chris Gallardo/Splitboard.com crew

Bonfires with friends

Bonfires with friends

To be continued….

Boarder ‘rides’ avy at Tuckerman

Three words: lucky motherf*cker (or is that two words?)

The crowd cheering is an odd touch.

A few Avalung vids

Yeah, I know most of you out there have probably seen these vids, but I was thinking about the Avalung and other ‘avalanche safety’ devices this morning (it’s 80 out, you’d think I’d be thinking about surfing or something right?). I actually own a standalone Avalung that was a gift from the lady friend for Christmas, but I’ve honestly yet to wear it in the backcountry (shhh, don’t tell her!). Fortunately it hasn’t been like the first day I got my helmet, forgot it in the car initially, and later parked my dome in a tree (luckily a friend reminded me to grab my helmet at lunch), demolishing helmet #1. Between my beacon, my SLR chest harness, and constantly shedding layers (yes, I’m a fat, sweaty bitch) it’s yet to make it out – though granted most of the days I’ve gone out have been low risk days. For days that I deem a bit sketchier I’ll definitely wear it. Yes, they make the Avalung packs, and damn they’d be convenient, but my issue with them is being married to one pack design and size (Black Diamond please license the technology out to others!). Excuses excuses, I know. On to the vids.

Vid 1: Chris Cardello’s first person view of his burial in AK earlier this year. I know this made the rounds earlier this year, but still pretty amazing.

Vid 2: Non-embeddable, but interesting. Craig Dostie of Couloir Magazine (now Backcountry Magazine) volunteered to be buried for an hour while wearing an Avalung. It’s a longer vid so you may want to fast forward through parts, but definitely makes you think. His first person recount of the burial can be seen here.

Craig Dostie buried while wearing Avalung

Craig Dostie buried while wearing Avalung

The naysayers will continue to say it’s inconvenient, not a guarantee as you’ve got to get it in your mouth and keep it there, and can lead to bad decision making. The opposing view points out that if you are in an avalanche you’ll want every advantage you can think of to extend your life. I’ll continue to fall somewhere inbetween with my thinking – though I have to admit I am fond of living.