Testing Pow Skis in Alaska & Japan + Shop Talk (Ep.9)

We’ve got two conversations in this episode:

First, we talk to Blister reviewer, Paul Forward, about some of the powder skis he’s been reviewing recently in Alaska and Japan, including the Faction Prime 4.0, the Black Diamond Helio 116, and the DPS Spoon.

When he’s not out skiing or writing ski reviews, Paul is out working as a lead heli guide for Chugach Powder Guides in Girdwood, Alaska, and he’s also a family-medicine-boarded physician who works in rural Alaska doing emergency & hospital medicine.

Paul Forward on the Gear 30 podcast
Paul Forward, Chugach Mountain Range, Alaska. (photo by Jeff Hoke)

Not long ago Paul and I recorded a conversation on the Blister Podcast (episode 62) talking about backcountry safety and wilderness travel, so you should give that a listen if you haven’t already.

After talking to Paul, I have a conversation with Jeremy Cole, the owner of Alpine Sports, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is one of our Blister Recommended Shops. (You can find our current list of Blister Recommended Shops on the navigation bar of our website.)

Jeremy and I cover 3 topics: first, the new gear he saw at Outdoor Retailers that has him most intrigued; then the current products that he thinks deliver the most bang for the buck – or the most performance for the price; and we finish by talking a bit about all of the new bindings and boots and boot norms currently out there, and some things you should understand and consider before settling on a ski boot and ski binding combination.


  • Join us in Telluride the weekends of February 24, March 10, March 17 (2:11)
  • Paul Forward on the DPS Spoon, Faction Prime 4.0, Black Diamond Helio 116 (3:01)
  • Jeremy Cole, owner of Alpine Sports, Santa Fe, New Mexico (20:31)
  • As a buyer, what were some of the most intriguing new products you saw at OR/SIA (21:52)
  • Bang for the Buck: some of Jeremy’s favorite price-point boots & skis (27:02)
  • Bench Test Results: real-world issues around boots + binding compatibility (32:41)

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