Cody Townsend on Coffee Makers, Bindings, & Beacons (Ep.119)



I sat down in Blister HQ with Cody Townsend to talk about coffee makers, bindings, beacons, terrain management, mortality, movies, and more.

TOPICS & TIMES:

  • Coffee Makers (9:29)
  • SHIFT binding (14:40)
  • Bindings in general (27:02)
  • Movies (38:17)
  • Tech bindings (46:33)
  • Beacons (56:12)
  • Terrain management & avalanche education (1:06:55)
  • Topics for future conversations (1:20:18)
  • What We’re Celebrating This Week (1:23:53)

RELATED LINKS:

40 comments on “Cody Townsend on Coffee Makers, Bindings, & Beacons (Ep.119)”

  1. totally with ya on the high speed need it now coffee program…Krups bro…Costco Bold Pacific blend middle Krups coffee maker button and a splash of 1/2 n 1/2. Lots of good boutique grinds out there however getting 120 pods for a modest price is way worth it if you are basically running coffee intravenously.

    • While I don’t have metrics on the waste generated by single-serving plastic cups … on the face of it, it doesn’t seem great, so I’d be unwilling to go down this road given the sheer number of plastic cups I’d be throwing into the trash each week. I know there are re-usable / re-packable single serving cups out there, and I’ve used them a bit in the past … but I think I’d rather just keep brewing a full pot every morning.

  2. You want quick and good?
    Ehh, Espresso… as the name says, it’s fast. I’ve got a nice Breville semi auto with built in burr grinder. Push button to grind into the ports filter. Insert portafilter into other side. Push button.
    2 minutes, and you are ready to drink.

    • C’mon, Slim – this is GEAR:30! We need exact model names & numbers or you’re basically just telling me to go get some ski made by Nordica. :)

  3. I haven’t finished listening to the entire podcast, but the conversation with Cody about the subtleties of setting up the Salomon Shift really piqued my interest. I bought the Shift in in its first year, more or less on Blister’s recommendation, and particularly based on having listened to the original conversation about the binding on on Gear: 30.

    I want to say that I love it, but I have really struggled with pre-release issues throughout the time I have owned the binding. I have bruised my ribs double ejecting out of my skis after launching off of a roller on a groomer, and I have narrowly avoided cartwheeling into trees on steep gladed runs. Beyond the injuries and near misses, I have spent an inordinate amount of time searching for my skis on deep days when I would much rather be skiing untracked lines.

    I have spent time on TGR and other forums trying to learn the intricacies of setting up these bindings and I have been able to get them to pre-release less, but I have never arrived at a place where I can ski them aggressively without some trepidation about one of my skis simply dropping away when I am on a consequential line. Last year, after continuing to experience these issues, I ended up getting my original pair warrantied when they didn’t pass a calibration test on a Montana machine. I skied the warranty pair for the second half of the season and they were better overall, but I did still experience some unexpected and frightening pre-releases.

    To offer some more context, I am a fit, 41 year old, lifelong skier. I am 6’3″ tall, weigh 190 pounds, and I would say that I ski with more power and aggression than grace. I use the binding as a part of a 50/50 setup with size 28 Salomon MTN Lab Boots, and 187cm Moment Meridian 117s. Most of my skiing happens in and around Whitewater ski resort, in Nelson, BC.

    Ski shops in Canada are not required to have a Montana machine, and although I purchased the biding from a reputable shop in town, I suspect that a lot of the issues I have struggled with do come down to poor setup. When I first got the bindings mounted I definitely had AFD issues and experienced movement and clicking in the toe pieces. Since then, I have learned about the stepped nature of the AFD and I have adjusted them to avoid having them drop down when I am skiing. I have also taken to adjusting the forward pressure beyond a mm or two beyond what the Salomon manual seems to indicate ( page 70, https://issuu.com/salomonnz/docs/salomon_tm_alp_wtr2019_300dpi). Despite all that, I have continued to have pre-release issues. Truthfully, I am not sure if there was a technical issue with the pair that Salomon warrantied for me, or if they simply didn’t pass the calibration test because the setup wasn’t perfectly dialled in.

    Given how finicky the bindings seem to be, I honestly don’t feel like the manual I referenced above is nearly detailed enough to arrive at a proper setup, and at least in my part of the world, a reputable ski shop doesn’t seem to be able to get them any more dialled in than I have been able to. I would really appreciate it if you could talk to Cody, or someone else at Salomon, to get some better information about how these bindings need to be set up to operate properly.

    I know there are bound to be some legal issues surrounding this, but it would be great if you could publish an article providing clear and detailed instructions on how to get the Shifts dialled in so that they work properly. I can’t even begin to imagine hitting a 50 foot cliff on these bindings, mostly because that’s way outside of my range, but also because I would have zero faith that my skis would stay attached to my feet! As it is, even skiing off a 10 foot pillow, let alone anything bigger, leaves me feeling worried that my skis may just disappear on landing.

    I love the idea of the binding and what it is supposed to do, but my experience with them has been a long ways from positive, and I have narrowly avoided serious injury while using them. I know that I am not alone in experiencing these issues, and particularly given that Blister still strongly recommends these bindings, it would be a big service to the community as a whole if you could take the time to produce a definitive document on getting them setup so that they work properly.

    To make the article more interesting to us gear heads, maybe you could also investigate why they are as fussy about setup as they seem to be, and find out if Salomon has any plans for a revision to address these issues? Based on my personal experiences, I have spent a lot of time pondering what the source of the problem could be, and honestly, I am at a loss to explain it. When ever my skis pre-releases it is the heal that lets go: and other than having a heel riser added into to it, it seems to be a bog standard alpine heal piece, which Salomon had produced tens of thousands of across the years. After listening to the discussion with Cody, it seems like the weight reduction involved in getting to its target weight could play a role, but it would be great to understand more about what is going on. If that is the case, I would happily take a binding that weighed and extra 100 grams a pair if it meant there was a greater margin of error available when it comes to proper setup. As a final note, I will say that I am not being particularly rough with the binding or kicking it aggressively to clear snow from my boots.

    I know this is an absurdly long comment, but this has been a big issue for me across two ski seasons and your conversation with Cody brought it all back to the foreground. I am a big fan of Blister in general, and Gear:30 in particular; and it would mean a lot to me if you could take the time investigate this a bit further and help solve this issue. I am never going to ski like Cody, but I would love to have the confidence to push a bit harder this season and not be held back by wondering if my bindings are going to be there for me when I need them.

    If you do end up looking into this, I would be happy to give you more details about my time with the Shifts; and likewise, if Cody, or anyone else from Salomon want to know more about my experiences, I would be open to that conversation. Thanks for making a great website and podcast, and thank you for taking the time to read this novella sized comment!

  4. Aeropress is superb, easy and ridiculously inexpensive. Can make espresso (or, really, a coffee concentrate similar to espresso and excellent in its own right) in the kitchen or up at 12k’ in the snow, simple to use.

  5. Interesting to hear him say that Shifts were ripping out of ON3Ps and attributes that to them being an independent ski manufacturer & having “very very soft flexible skis”. To me this seems like a strange take which is at odds with ON3P’s typically stellar build quality and sturdy flex patterns.

    • yeah – that part did not do wonders for my confidence in the rest of the podcast. I must also admit to being a bit puzzled by Jonathan’s lack of critical questioning at that time – he is no stranger to ON3P’s ski. I dunno, perhaps it was the lubrication.

      I am also kinda surprised that a self proclaimed nerd would not do some trials in a lab to reproduce the whole bending hypothesis. The more likely culrprit here is a ski tech that missed the nub and then tightened down the back four screws. ON3Ps might be flexible at the tips and lively throughout, but pretty much every single ON3P ski is notable for its stiff midsection. I might be mistaken, but so far the whole thing is anecdotal.

      • Or perhaps the more important part of that section of the conversation was letting Cody present his take about the shock absorption / energy of the Shift. And I knew it was going to be a long conversation about different bindings, and I made the decision to keep the conversation moving into other topics that I wanted to get to.

        But while I personally dislike speaking in terms of sweeping generalizations, if you asked me whether we’ve found ON3P skis – in general – to be super flexible underfoot … I’d say – in general – no. We also haven’t tested every iteration of every ON3P ski ever made.

        And Pete, your own (appropriate) qualifications & caveats — “pretty much” every single ON3P and “I might be mistaken” and “the whole thing is anecdotal” — are good examples of exactly why I didn’t think it would be fruitful to go down this particular rabbit hole.

        How about this as a summation of Cody’s take: if you are sitting there holding a ski in your hand that is super flexible underfoot … maybe don’t mount it with a Shift.

        We good?

        • We were never not good – sorry if my reply came across as an attack on you, and not as an attempt of providing constructive feedback :)

          I get what you are saying, especially wrt to not steering the conversation towards the details instead of a focus on the overall point he was trying to make. But, as somebody who is rather influential Cody should strive for precision and facts, not disparagment and potential inprecision – especially when what he says can be conceived a critique of a brand he does not represent. He did not need to make those comments to get his point across, and in so doing – he detracted from his overall point. I was just left with the thought “if he can be that off wrt to ON3P, how can I be sure that the rest he says is accurate?”. That is where you could have reinforced his argument by saying what you say above. (No, I am not trying to make you responsible for what Cody says ) The same goes for the tech binding part. When sentence one is “tech bindings are dangerous” the next point can’t be “how to use them safely”. I totally got the point he was making – there is always a trade off and as long as there are solid decision making behind what you are do tech bindings can be a useful tool – but again, the stumbling block is that of precision in language.

          Yeah, I am probably holding mr Townsend to too high a standard here – especially a few drinks in – but if anything that just goes to show my respect for the man.

          Thanks for the reply and please keep up the good work. I cannot thank you guys enough for the quality content you guys provide – all free of charge. It really is second to none.

          • and yes, Moccamasters are the shit. That is simply a no brainer. It is the standard everybody else strives to meet imho. They are Dutch though, not Danish ;)

          • For what it is worth, the first time we’ve heard of this was on the podcast Friday. So not sure who experienced it or on what skis, but we have a lot of flexy skiers (Magnus, Jake Mageau, LSM) on some playful skis (Magnus 112, Jeffrey 108, Jeffrey 116) all on Shifts and all issue-free (which is a testament to the binding, too), along with a lot of factory guys who ski them on their powder skis with full confidence. So I will be curious to find out more, since it’s something that we’ve never heard about either from a customer, athlete, or employee.

  6. STANLEY CLASSIC STAY HOT FRENCH PRESS 48 OZ – takes 7 minutes to make, hot enough all morning, makes enough for 3-4 people, if you want to make less coffee, just scale back the amount of coffee and water.

    Nothing beats french press. I used to only do pour overs.

  7. Moccamaster and Stumptown Hair Bender is my go to move so glad to hear I’m not alone here. Intelligencia Diablo Dark Roast is great too.

  8. Coffee: Mocca comes from Moka, which is the Italian stovetop espresso machine which is very common in Italian households. Unfortunately sounds like Mocha the coffee and hot chocolate thing in the USA. Try a Bialetti Moka stovetop, although maybe not fast enough for you. Take it off the heat when it starts to gurgle. That’s what I use car-camping alpine starts with it all set up the night before, just turn on the gas.
    I am one of those people that used shifts and found them unreliable. I fiddled with them enough and just had it. Pre-release ejections on high speed groomers, looking for lost skis in powder, just lost confidence. The dreaded toe wiggling up and down one hop turn into a steep chute where I cannot just remove the ski and adjust the AFD. Skiing with tools in my pocket all day, and using them. I think, but am curious what Cody thinks, that the AFD height screw ratchet thing can get stripped allowing the AFD to drop down, get the toe wiggling, and then prerelease. I suspect this might come from having the boot in the binding on the bench and then just turning the adjustment screw too far and the AFD cannot go up anymore and the internal ratchet wears down. So one should really remove boot, adjust AFD, recheck. Why didn’t they put the AFD on a ramp and screw like other bindings? So now I ski tech bindings touring, and STH2 inbounds and holding my breath for Shift 2.0. I don’t drive a Ferrari, and I don’t want to ski one. Looking for something with great performance but reliable and not in the shop all the time.
    I also think the energy of a binding discussed also has a lot to do with a binding like the shift or pivot allowing the ski to flex and not having a huge plate on it. I noticed this switching from the same ski,same bindings, but one had a demo plate the other did not.
    Thanks Cody for your videos that show what ski touring is really like, lots of planning and uphill and bad weather for sometimes not great snow on the way down. And outing the product videos that are actually just 4 pow turns over and over again on a small pitch.
    Happy Trails!

  9. The Bonavita one-touch machine (8 cup, thermal carafe) is a worthy competitor for drip coffee and half the price of a Moccamaster. The warranty is not as extensive but it has worked flawlessly for me for years. It brews with a similar technique and has many of the same functions as the Moccamaster, along with a few extras.

  10. No Moccamaster experience here, but I say go straight to the quality espresso machine. Become one with the bean, and the process. My wife says I’m like a 5 year old when I wake up… a 5 yr old who makes killer coffee! Bah!

  11. I live in Australia, so we are way more into espresso than pour over/filter coffee here. Bialetti for camping in my van and an Atomic stovetop coffee maker at home (not the ski brand, but an Italian icon first designed in 1946, it’s a beast and makes wonderful coffee and also heats/froths milk in seconds if you’re into that kind of thing) As for speed, you load it up with coffee and water and put it on the stove while you make breakfast, really easy. I got a lot out of what Cody had to say about bindings, my buddy has Shifts, his had a broken brake on one ski, and he often seemed to be messing about with them, (though says he likes them), V 2.0 might be the one for me, but the current version sounds problematic. I lost confidence in my Marker Kingpins after first breaking a pin while (luckily) skiing at about 5 mph (Marker replaced the toepiece, but only one) then had a nasty pre-release while trying to lay down some turns on a firm corduroy before heading off-piste, the ski just fell off my foot, and now I know why, no shock absorbtion. I also skied a lot on Marker Alpinist pin bindings this season, and feel like my suspicions about their use were magnified by Cody, so appreciate that a lot, and definitely prefer skiing on a Marker alpine binding if I’m lift skiing. Get that some beacons are problematic, got a beacon test coming up so we can learn what are the best designs? Could be a lifesaver, literally. Thought that this was one of your best shows, thanks.

  12. One of my favorite podcasts!!

    And, regarding the Shift. First, you forgot to mention one more nuance, the toe locking mechanism, it comes loose when using it a lot (i have video of mine getting unlocked on icy traverse, so i had to use straps to hold it in place, and I know personally a few people who had the same issues). The brake popping when in touring mode, if you dont notice it, well, you are dragging brakes, thats really annoying. And regarding AFD and forward pressure, there is a post on Newschoolers and TGR forums explaining how to tighten up AFD and FP, but if pay attention its a bit different from manual. So while the idea of the binding is super great, and it skis good (not as good as true alpine binding, lets be honest here), it needs to be tested more, and then go into production. One more thing that annoys me is the toe piece wings “eat up” the toe lug of the boot… I mean, these things could have been addressed easily, and changed, having all the engineers etc., because: in the backcountry, trust me, the last thing you want to fiddle with is your gear!!! things like boots, bindings etc have to work properly, no matter the marketing!!!!

    • I had the same issue with my toe locking mechanism. I had to hold it locked with a voile strap while I was in walk mode. I thought it was due to icing up, so I let it thaw out and made sure it was fully dry before taking it out the next day and still had the issue. The following week, I still couldn’t lock my toe in while in walk mode.

      I went back to the shop to talk with them. At first they said it was because I didn’t pull it back hard enough. There are two “clicks” that you can feel when you lock it. I showed them pictures of where I had the toe locked the days it wasn’t working. They ended up telling me there was a defect with some of the shifts that cause this to happen. Then they swapped my bindings out on warranty. I haven’t had any issues yet (end of last season), with this new pair.

      Sounds like you had a similar issue.

  13. 1) Coffee Maker – Moccamaster or Breville Precision, either way make sure you get a thermal carafe, not glass. Hot plates ruin any attempt to make quality coffee.

    2) You have a wonderful coffee resource in your hometown – First Ascent Coffee. Buy local! Also dude, they arguably make one of the best tasting specialty instant coffees on the market. It’s as fast as it gets. For whole bean coffee, their Hero Day Blend is fantastic. If you dig more distinct and unique flavors, go with one of their Single Origin roasts.

    3) Filter your water.

  14. Wow these comments are charged up.

    I’ve just got to say, the whole binding characteristic and shift conversation in the podcast is phenomenal. Now this is just a spitball, but I would assume the reason you feel your ski washing at the apex of the turn on a binding with no elasticity is due to it inhibiting the ski to flex consistently. At the apex of the turn your ski is arguably the most flexed, and if elasticity has any impact on both the torsional and longitudinal flex of the ski it may not allow it to track as well… curious if anyone has a better theory.

    I’ve been on markers most my life and have had so many friends on Salomon and pivots argue bs points as to why they are better that just don’t make sense. Part of the main reason I’ve stuck with jesters is because I can kick the crap out of them, minimally adjust them, and I know they will work every single time. Now that being said, Cody’s commentary on the team testing all binding brands and his words on the specific characteristics of the salomons, is the first time I’ve felt like someone made a compelling argument as to why I should try a pair. I’ve bought a pair of shifts for this year and will be very eager to see how they hold up.

    So thanks to Cody and Jonathan on giving us a very eye opening conversation around bindings!! Not too often does someone make you rethink your most trusted piece of equipment.

  15. Go with the Moccamaster – you won’t be regretting it.

    For your beans, GO LOCAL! First Ascent is fantastic, and they’re right in Crested Butte. Guatemala is my favorite, some of the single origins have been fantastic, but they’re all good.

    • Coincedentally, I had some of First Ascent’s Guatemala roast this morning. It’s one of my all-time favorites, along with Camp Four’s Sledgehammer.

  16. Hey guys – this was a pretty informative; I love Cody’s take on risk.

    As someone not super plugged in to the ski industry during MTB season I had no idea that there was an issue with the Pieps DSP Sport/Pro, a beacon that I happen to own. Cody’s comments threw a red flag in my mind, but I had to go do some research. If you guys could highlight the issue and give the specifics I’m sure you’ll find that there are a bunch of uninformed people out there who can benefit.

    For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar: the Pieps DSP Sport/Pro beacons have a design flaw that allows them to be switched to OFF without the user being aware. It is not a safe beacon to take into the BC. Pieps has not yet issued a recall but is upgrading beacons if you submit a claim.

  17. I am wondering if the Fritschi Vipec has a DIN toe. This catalog page from Black Diamond below seems to say so. By DIN, though, I believe they mean the touring DIN standard and not the Alpine DIN standard. Personally I wonder if this binding is any “safer” than a std tech toe??

    FRITSCHI VIPEC EVO 12 BINDING

    OVERVIEW: The latest evolution of the revolutionary Vipec binding, the Vipec Evo 12 features the same pre-defined safety release and lightweight touring functionality, with a new and improved step-in for smooth handling and easy in-and-out.

    DESCRIPTION
    With an improved step-in function that makes for even smoother in-and-out, the new Vipec Evo 12 still includes the hallmarks of the original: a pre-defined safety release in the front, easy switch toe, and an ultra-light construction. The mechanics have been retooled and improved for better handling in variable terrain. Nimble for the uphill and burly for the downhill, the Vipec Evo 12 is perfect for the dedicated backcountry skier who values lightweight, yet reliable equipment.

    Defined lateral front release with DIN setting and 13mm of elasticity works in both ski and walk mode for skiing and avalanche safety
    Improved step-in function
    Easy switch toe
    Solid, non-turning heel
    Static, heel-locking lever for added security and safety
    Three level heel riser
    Brakes included
    Micro-adjustable width wings help compatibility with any model tech insert
    TECH SPECS
    Weight : [without brakes] 500 g (1 lb 2 oz)
    DIN: 5-12 Ski Width: >70mm

  18. I would go Chemex Ottomatic over a Moccamaster. Moccamaster is solid, but the Chemex autos (there’s the Ottomatic, and something that costs 2x as much and is about the same quality) make even better coffee in my experience.

  19. Here is a link that discusses the shifts, their issues, and how to set them up correctly. I am ScottB on the posts. If you want to go back, the issues description starts on page 2, and there is a lot of review info from several people who have skied them.

    https://www.pugski.com/threads/long-term-review-salomon-shift-binding.11650/page-3

    I use the shifts and once I got all the settings proper, they have been bullet proof for me. I do agree the user manual should be improved on the fine points.

    David, sounds like you had a defective pair. Hope the replacements will work better for you. Does your heel click all the way down when in the binding. Your heel spacer may be and issue with angle of your boot? Just a suggestion.

    I also think Cody has been misinterpreted on the ON3P ski flexing. He was saying the binding came apart due to incorrect assy of the binding and the flexing of the ski. If the binding was assembled correctly, it would not have happened. I think the point was the binding needs to be mounted and setup correctly, and some tech’s are not doing as good a job as they should. That was my take away and I agree. My shop did not set the forward pressure on one of my shift bindings. I have spent a lot of time adjusting the shift because I use two different boots in them, with different BSL’s and soles. I will say when I used them setup for the wrong boot, it did cause some issues, I didn’t pre-release, but the skis performed like crap, they lost all their precision. Goes to show you what 1/2″ of toe play will do. It was my fault and can’t blame the binding.

  20. Mocha – Coffee & Hot chocolate

    Moka – Italian stovetop coffee (“espresso”), often made by Bialetti

    (Mocca – Dutch (NOT DANISH) corruption of Moka I assume)

  21. I came for the gear talk, then listened to the coffee talk, and yeah, he’s right. Moccamaster is the way to go, unless you want to spend the time doing a pour over yourself by hand. There are others, but the Moccamaster is a long term proven design. Good stuff.

  22. I saw you guys got a Moccamaster. That’s awesome. For Beans First Accent is great and it’s good to support local. I would also highly highly recommend ordering some beans from Sweet Bloom out of Lakewood, they’re beans seem to be the best of anything I’ve tried.

  23. Coffee – I am definitely no expert here, but the short list of coffee makers that are designed to basically automate the pour-over process are: Ratio, OXO, Technivorm…I’m sure there’s some more but these seem to be the front runners. Of those, OXO is by far the cheapest (which is what I have). I am sure this is due to cheaper internals (plastic vs glass, heating element, etc). Coffee out of the OXO was night and day better than French press or standard coffee maker. I bet Technivorm and Ratio are even better. Having said that… I wanted something to go in my RV that was smaller, faster, and had a lower power draw on the batteries/inverter, but that still made pretty good tasting coffee, but hate Keurigs, so I tried out a Nespresso. I’ve never owned an espresso machine but I have to admit I’m hooked on the Nespresso. Not exactly cheap, not that green, but is very fast, it makes damn good tasting coffee (espresso) and I don’t have to consume as much liquid. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact they source/make the coffee that goes in the pods so they can control the quality of the entire process but I was very surprised

  24. I am so happy to see Blister going down the rabbit hole of coffee equipment. I have the Breville Barista Express and take my Aeropress with me and a handheld burr grinder when I travel.

    Money permitting, I hope to upgrade to a Gaggia Classic Pro and Baratza grinder next. I look forward to spending as much time geeking out on coffee here as I do skis!

    • At this point, I’d say Mammut Barryvox is considered the best for design an function, while having the specs to match or outperform competitors.

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