For some time now, Faction has been one of the hottest brands in skiing. But how much do you actually know about the company? This week we are talking about the history of the brand, some key moments in the company, and some big recent changes; what it’s like to go skiing with and design skis for Candide Thovex; and Faction’s lineup for the upcoming season.
Last week, it was announced that Jason Levinthal had sold 4FRNT Skis. So we talked to Jason about how this deal came about; learn the background of the new leadership group at 4FRNT; ask what the group does and doesn’t intend to change about the brand; and more.
We talk to Northern-Michigan-based Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis co-founder & product engineer, Jeff Thompson, about their 20/21 lineup; their unusual “nanoMag” construction; and more. Then Luke Koppa talks about skiing pow this week (??) in Crested Butte.
Not all bikes or skis are equally good at all things — and the same goes for protective face masks. So we talked with Alex Lauver and Kat Schoewe of Outdoor Research about what type of masks are the most & least effective; how Outdoor Research’s work on medical-grade PPE has influenced their commercially available Essential Face Mask; we make some predictions about the upcoming ski season; and more.
Voormi is not interested in being just another outdoor apparel company. They develop their own textiles inhouse; they manufacture in the United States; and they’ve got some big plans. So we sat down in Blister HQ with Timm Smith, their head of materials development, to learn more about the Voormi story and where the brand is heading.
Matt Sterbenz, Pep Fujas, and Xan Marshland came to Crested Butte and sat down with us in Blister HQ to fill us in on WNDR Alpine’s new materials, new updates to the Intention 110, and their brand new ski, the Vital 100. And you’ll also hear some stories about Matt and Pep competing in slopestyle events against each other back in the day, and more.
Jonathan Ellsworth talks to David Golay, Dylan Wood, & Luke Koppa about the Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana; Manitou Mezzer & RockShox ZEB; Rocky Mountain Instinct BC; our 20/21 Winter Buyer’s Guide; and … ‘The Year of Ellsworth.’
This week we’re switching things up a bit and taking a close look at a massive emerging category — CBD products in general — and one specific company, Aprch. And to walk us through some of the relevant science, regulations, production processes, and the trajectory of this industry, we talk with Aprch co-founder, Adam Hunter.
Kristin Sinnott and Justin Bobb join Jonathan Ellsworth to talk about some of the kid’s gear they’ve found to be the most game changing. And even if you don’t have kids, you should still listen to learn about a piece of gear that we’ve currently named, “The JBobber.” And there’s another piece of equipment that currently has a unanimous approval rating among our Blister parents, and might be the single greatest piece of kid’s gear of all time? Check it out.
Kingswood Skis is a custom indie ski manufacturer based on the South Island of New Zealand, and we caught up with Kingswood founder, Alex Herbert, to talk about ski materials, sidewalls, cosmetics & ski repairs, base material thickness, Kingswood’s rather unconventional Race Department.
We talk to the founder of ON3P Skis, Scott Andrus, about the ON3P lineup for the upcoming season. There is a lot of new and interesting stuff going on at ON3P, and we break quite a bit of news in this conversation. Check it out.
We dive deep into the details with Revel Bikes founder, Adam Miller, about Revel’s new wheels — which he claims are the strongest wheels on the market — and this thing they’re using called “fusion fiber.” We talk about what fusion fiber is; their recyclability; the unique production process; other applications of fusion fiber, and more.
In celebration of episode #100, we of course had to have Hoji back on, our patron saint of GEAR:30. We discuss all the tinkering he’s been doing during quarantine; what ski gear has the most room for improvement; snowmobiles; climbing skins; monoskiing; and then, one of the all time greats talks about another all time great, Michael Jordan.
What outdoor gear is in need of the biggest improvement? How old is too old to try your first backflip?; If you had to opt for skis that are too long or too short, which would you pick? What should I do with my life? How does one start reviewing for Blister? Could you please provide an unbiased review and comparison of the Blister Membership, Deep Dive Subscription, and Blister Premier Membership? Luke Koppa and Jonathan answer these and many more.
On our latest “Reviewing the Reviewer” episode of GEAR:30, we talk to mountain bike and ski reviewer, Eric Freson, about his gear preferences; how many times he’s broken his neck; co-founding the freeride team at Western Colorado University; and Fresonisms like “torksmash” and “smokin rocks.”
Mystery Ranch has a long history of working with and making packs for the US military, fire departments, and law enforcement. They also make everything from backpacks for everyday use, to packs for backcountry skiing, and the company has quite a unique culture. So we sat down with product designer, Alex Rich, to discuss what it’s like to design packs for US special forces; how their military designs trickle down to outdoor packs (and vice versa); how their design ethos reflects their sustainability culture; and more.
Luke Koppa, Jonathan Ellsworth, and Luke’s mustache discuss the pros and cons of a number of current AT bindings, including the new Marker Duke PT, the SHIFT binding, Daymaker Alpine Touring adapters, frame bindings, and tech toe bindings. They then discuss four new touring skis: the J Skis Slacker, Sego Condor, 4FRNT Raven, and Volkl Blaze 106. Then it’s time to talk Tiger King.
Since we have to learn how to tele ski and shoot a tele video, we’re crowdsourcing a crash course in telemark technique (see Blister Podcast episode 125) and in telemark gear. So here in Tele Gear Part 1, we’re talking again with the artist, Geoff McFetridge; Flylow Gear co-founder and president, Dan Abrams; and Blister reviewers Paul Forward and Kristin Sinnott.
Paul Forward, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth talk about the signs we’re going stir crazy; Shane McConkey’s Volant Spatula vs. other modern pow skis; the DPS Koala 119; the new LINE Vision 118; our current nominations for best underwear; Luke’s new mustache; and more.
Bison Wool? Bison Down? That’s a thing? Well it’s being used by United By Blue,
who started salvaging otherwise wasted bison fibers, and is now incorporating them into a growing range of products. So we talked with Brendan Raugh at United By Blue about how the company was founded as a waterway cleanup company; how they went on to develop an entire line of apparel around salvaged bison coat fibers; how bison fibers compare to sheep’s wool and goose down; and more.
Full Tilt ski boots are beloved by some (including the likes of Bode Miller, Tom Wallisch, Seth Morrison, and Sammy Carlson), but they get pigeonholed by others who think of them as only being for park rats. So we talk to Austin Peters, the Ski Boot Engineering Manager for Full Tilt and K2 Ski Boots, about the history of Full Tilt; what makes them unique; why you might opt for a Full Tilt over an overlap boot; and what’s new for 20/21.
Picture Organic Clothing is going way beyond common sustainability practices with things like castor bean oil waterproof membranes and sugar cane waste-derived polyester, and they are attempting to eliminate polybags from their entire supply chain. So we talked to Picture’s co-founder, Julien Durant, and their sustainability manager, Florian Palluel about these ambitious projects — including their new air-permeable membrane, Xpore, that they are putting in direction competition with Gore Pro and TNF Futurelight.
Luke Koppa, Kristin Sinnott, and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss some of the new skis, boots, and apparel they’ve been testing, including products from K2, Blizzard, Nordica, Rossignol, WNDR Alpine, Atomic, Dynastar, & more. We also discuss what skis we prefer for off-piste, icy conditions; the merits of slim-fit ski pants; which ski boots are best described as “donkeys”; and more.
We talk with Graham Lonetto, the Alpine Director for the USA at Swix — the company that invented color-coded waxes, and one of the largest manufacturers of ski wax in the world — about different types of waxes and application methods; the most common mistake made when ski waxing; the FIS’s ban on fluorocarbons in waxes; and more.
Ski boot liners are probably the most overlooked and least appreciated piece of ski gear out there, but they are a critical piece of equipment. So Matt Manser, the product manager of Atomic Ski Boots, is back to demystify the extremely complex, very expensive, and poorly understood category of ski boot liners. Along the way, we also discuss Atomic’s new “Mimic” liner technology and the new-for-next-season Hawx Prime XTD.
Sam Shaheen was recently testing the new SCOTT Superguide Freetour in the Italian Alps, so in our latest GEAR:30, he talks with SCOTT about their new ski, their new touring boot, the history of SCOTT, and more.
Patagonia’s Glen Morden (Product Innovation, Materials, & Development) and Corey Simpson (Communications) came to Crested Butte to ski with us and to discuss how Patagonia is thinking about sustainability and product performance; how they continue to evolve on this front; talk about a few of their new pieces; their prototyping process; and more.