GEAR THERAPY: A Ski Patroller’s Most-Pressing Gear Questions (Ep.259)

When it comes to gear, we’ve all been there: loads of questions, crippling confusion, severe analysis paralysis. You need some help! So in our 2nd episode of GEAR THERAPY, Blister Member & Spokane-based ski patroller, Kam Smith, poses his most-pressing gear questions to me and Luke, and gets our best recommendations (and a bit of a tongue-lashing from me). Enjoy!

Meet Kam, Ski Patroller (4:10)
Kam’s Ski Boot Situation (9:45)
Our Suggestions (15:27)
Spokane Alpine Haus (21:51)
Kam’s Ski Quiver (27:12)
Our Recommendations (34:03)
Metal vs Non-Metal Skis (40:03)
Folsom (47:04)
Session Wrap Up (52:27)
Kam’s Crashes & Close Calls Story (56:18)

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CHECK OUT OUR OTHER PODCASTS (click each to learn more):

GEAR THERAPY: A Ski Patroller’s Most-Pressing Gear Questions (Ep.259), BLISTER
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GEAR THERAPY: A Ski Patroller’s Most-Pressing Gear Questions (Ep.259), BLISTER
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GEAR THERAPY: A Ski Patroller’s Most-Pressing Gear Questions (Ep.259), BLISTER
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10 comments on “GEAR THERAPY: A Ski Patroller’s Most-Pressing Gear Questions (Ep.259)”

  1. What up Kam!
    The one company that isn’t mentioned in this podcast was On3p.
    I love my Woodsman 108 2nd Gen that I got the current Woodsman 102 as my daily driver.
    Im loving what they do with Bamboo cores.
    Good news is you can try mine this winter being that im a season pass holder at Mount Spokane!

  2. I’m a big fan of the gen 1 Mantra 102. I’d try to demo the current gen if you can.

    Also, I’m curious why the Mindbender 99ti wasn’t brought up in this discussion. I demoed it in a size down from my mantras and found it more inclined to initiate a turn, and my tips would knock together more in choppy snow, but still a very good, predictable, enjoyable ski.

    • We’re big fans of the 99Ti – as you say, very good, predictable, enjoyable ski. But we were putting a bit of a premium on stability & suspension in this conversation with Kam, and in those two areas, the (heavier) Enforcer 104 beats out the 99Ti. Plus, it wasn’t a priority for Kam to go skinnier than his Enforcer 104s, hence, fewer recommendations sub-100.

  3. Just wanted to share a data point for Kam. I’m a lift operator at Deer Valley, and I see TONS of our patrollers on the Rossignol Sender Ti (104). I’ve chatted with a few of the patrollers about why, and they tend to say the same things: predictable, comfortable and supportive in nearly all conditions, easy to maneuver when needed. I’ve not personally skied it before so hoping Jonathan and Luke can weigh in, but a lot of our patrollers rip, which made me think that ski could be a viable alternative to the E104s (in case Kam truly wanted to try something new).

  4. Thanks for patrolling the Kan, Kam! Our mountain’s ski patrol rocks.
    Hoping to stay out of the toboggans,
    Dave Dubuque

  5. High instep/skinny ankles= Atomic Hawx Ultra IMO. Put apiece of high density foam directly on the instep and cook both the liners and the shells.

    Agree with above comments, this series is great

  6. Just got done listening to another gear therapy session. Great Stuff.
    First of all, I wanted to address your boots, but without actually seeing your foot it becomes difficult. I too have been skiing the Lang Shadow 130 LV for the last five or six months. It is a great boot. The low volume is actually a little bit more roomy than the rest of the low volumes that we carry. However, if you had trouble with the XT3, as far as the instep height, you may not find that this is dramatically different. I suggest you try the Lange Shadow, but also some boots to think out of the box with – that have a narrow heel and a high instep – would be moving to a cab design similar to the Flexon that is now under the K2 banner, or the Dalbello Krypton, since you described your Skiing as linear and driving the front of the ski, they might be the ticket. The cab design allows you to have a looser fit over the instep while still having a tight heel pocket. Adjusting instep height by grinding boot boards always changes boot fit dramatically, so go out of your way to try on a bunch of boots.

    Skis, I’m gonna jump in real quickly and say we now know that you like skis with metal. Skiing in and around generally Spokane has higher water content in that snow. So you get a denser snowpack and icier conditions. So I suggest you stay with metal. And by metal I mean two layers. That’s what’s in the Nordica Enforcer.

    You also mention that you like skis with camber. I suggest trying the Blizzard BONAFIDE 97. It comes out of the same factory as Nordica, so you are looking at the same feel from the skis but with more grip and less of that big fluttery feel that oversized rocker of the Enforcer has. It has a little bit more rocker. It has the same wood structure and the same metal structure. My experience with ski patrollers is that they generally are better off with a ski that’s a little bit shorter, very stable, and with a little bit more sidecut. They need skis they are able to manipulate when towing sleds, with stability and a really solid edge grip. Metal gives the ski torsional strength, which gives you a stronger edge grip. 2 layers of metal give you stability. The 2 layers act as a tricep and bicep. They create sheer strength between the layers, forcing the tips and tails to retain pressure. This is why every World Cup ski has two layers of metal. 

    Other skis to consider 

    Greg Klein
    Willi’s Ski Shop

  7. A couple of the better skiers I know at the Kan ski the Bonafides, and they love them in tight trees, like behind the Bump Shack. (If you’ve ever seen Eddie Cairns tear it up, that’s what he’s on.) They have incredible grip on groomers, too.

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