Patagonia has worked with bluesign® technologies since 2000 to evaluate and reduce resource consumption in our materials supply chain, and to assist us in managing the chemicals, dyes and finishes used in the process and created the Patagonia Bluedesign Approved Fabric. bluesign technologies, based in Switzerland, works at each step in the textile supply chain to approve chemicals, processes, materials and products that are safe for the environment, safe for workers and safe for the end customers.
Textile manufacturers that become bluesign® system partners agree at the outset to establish management systems for improving environmental performance in five key areas of the production process: resource productivity, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety. System partners regularly report their progress in energy, water, and chemical usage and are subject to on-site audits.
The bluesign system is based on input-stream management. Chemicals are assigned to one of three categories: blue– safe to use; gray–special handling required; and black–forbidden. The bluesign system helps factories properly manage gray chemicals and replace black chemicals with safer alternatives.
In 2007, Patagonia became the first brand to join the network of bluesign system partners. We committed to the highest level of consumer safety and the continuous improvement of environmental performance in our textile supply chains by applying the bluesign system to help conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment. Our progress and encouragement have inspired more suppliers and other brands to join; there are now over 400 brands, manufacturers and chemical suppliers that are bluesign system partners.
Any fabric that’s bluesign approved offers the highest level of consumer safety by employing methods and materials in its manufacture that conserves resources and minimizes impacts on people and the environment.
Patagonia Recycled Down is a mix of either 600- or 700-fill-power goose and duck down reclaimed from cushions, bedding and other used items that can’t be resold. It is hypoallergenic and offers the identical performance benefits to virgin down.
There was already a market in Europe for recycled down and feathers, but it took some time before we found the perfect partners who were able to meet our high-quality standards; the legwork really paid off. Both the collector and the processor we partner with are family-owned and share our values for high quality and uncompromising performance.
Our demand for high-quality Recycled Down has already led to an increase in supply. As other apparel companies follow our lead, we expect their demand will boost down recycling in even more countries. By plucking some of our down (and associated fabrics) from the trash, we reduce discards; help expand and add value to the recycling stream; and more fully realize our mission to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Patagonia apparel is an american clothing company that manufactures clothing for people who enjoy an active lifestyle. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, and is based in Ventura, California. Its logo is the skyline of Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia. The company believes in living and active, outdoor lifestyle as well as giving back to the environment. They actively engage in 1% for the planet. 1% for the Planet is an alliance of businesses that understand the necessity of protecting the natural environment. They understand that profit and loss are directly linked to its health, and are concerned with the social and environmental impacts of industry.
Tested In Labs. Proven On Expeditions. Trusted By Athletes.
The North Face Technology Process begins with our world-class athletes. Their suggestions, recommendations and new equipment ideas provide the inspiration and challenges that drive the research and development of advanced materials, innovative design and construction. The most crucial step involves testing both in our laboratories and with our athletes on expeditions around the world.
Original Words and Images By The North Face
Research & Development
Research & Development- The North Face Technology Process
The most crucial step involves testing both in our laboratories and with our athletes on expeditions around the world. Our athletes often recommend an innovation that’s outside the bounds of existing technology. The North Face® Research, Design and Development team accepts their challenges and turns to the laboratory for new fabrics and components. Our teams of designers and fabric technicians must turn those revolutionary raw materials into gear that maximizes an athlete’s ability to survive and succeed in the most severe weather conditions.
STEP 1: Research & Design in Conjunction With World-Class Athletes
Athletes who constantly pursue their own limits help us push the limits of apparel and equipment design and technology. The North Face® Athlete Team gives us constant feedback on the clothing and equipment they depend on for success and survival in their adventures. We hear from our athletes through gear evaluations and regular athlete input sessions.
STEP 2: Advance Material Research & Development
We partner with the world’s most innovative leading materials engineers to create the technically advanced fabrics needed to develop clothing and equipment that meet our high standards. For example, The North Face®, in conjunction with W.L. Gore, created the concept and helped to launch PacLite™ the most compressible, lightest weight GORE-TEX® shell fabric available – weighing only 3.2 ounces per yard. By adhering this new GORE-TEX® laminate to our proprietary, extremely lightweight nylon substrate, we succeeded in creating a shell material perfectly suited for the extreme lightweight requirements demanded in high-altitude expeditions.
STEP 3: Innovative Design & Construction
Exploring the frontiers of technology for better fabrics and components is only the beginning of the life cycle of a new piece of gear. A great example of this is our C130 Tent Test. Our entire tent line was tested against our competitors by placing them in back of a C130 plane. The plane’s four engines produce 13,000 ft/lbs. of torque and are capable of producing wind speeds in excess of 80 mph and unlike wind-tunnel tests, the propellers can create wind currents that are irregular and multi-directional. The results speak for themselves – our tents outperformed all the competition.
STEP 4: Laboratory Tested & Expedition Proven
We save the most critical step in our product development process for last. In addition to subjecting our products to a tortuous battery of laboratory tests, we send our apparel and equipment on extended athlete expeditions to learn how new products perform under the true test of the great outdoors. After receiving feedback, we refine each product until it receives approval from our world-class athlete team.
Technology- The North Face Technology Process
OUR MOST ADVANCED BREATHABLE-WATERPROOF TECHNOLOGY.
Disruption is in our DNA. For over 50 years, The North Face has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. The next chapter, our innovative FUTURELIGHT™ fabric, is here to revolutionize the outdoors yet again.
Like most revolutions, it started with an idea. Ours began with an on-mountain insight from alpinist, Andres Marin, who was on expedition in full kit. After repeatedly adjusting shells with changing weather, he asked, “What if there was gear that was alive?” What if one piece of gear could keep him dry in the rain, warm in the cold, and breathed when he needed it to?
We took those “what ifs” and challenged ourselves to find a solution. Our design teams worked closely with our world-class athletes to create a radically product. The end result? Our most advanced breathable-waterproof technology ever.
Ultra-thin nanomembrane creates airflow while keeping water out for better breathability
Features innovative waterproofing that was rigorously tested to withstand the harshest weather conditions
Soft, lightweight and nimble for movement without constraints
Tested by our elite athlete team in the world’s most extreme environments for proven durability
Face and back layers sustainably crafted using 90% recycled materials
Using only the highest quality goose down in all of our products, The North Face® tests each lot of down at three stages of production for loftiness, moisture resistance and ability to regain loft after compression. The fill power of goose down is an indicator of two important features: warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility, both critical to retain warmth and furnish comfort. True fill power is measured by placing one ounce of goose down in a graduated cylinder and measuring the volume the down occupies in cubic inches. The North Face® products are insulated with exclusive, high-fill power goose down ranging from 550 to 900 fill, which represents the highest quality down commercially available.
Superior warmth and comfort
Increased loft than lesser fill downs (900 + 800 only)
Highest quality, high-fill power goose down
THE NEW SYNTHETIC ALTERNATIVE TO DOWN
The North Face™ developed a partnership with PrimaLoft® to offer a new synthetic alternative to down. ThermoBall™ is a revolution in insulation technology. Unlike traditional, continuous-filament synthetic insulations, the small round PrimaLoft® synthetic fiber clusters closely to mimic down clusters; trapping heat within small air pockets to retain warmth.
Phenomenal warmth in cold and wet conditions
Packs neatly into zipper pocket (not all styles)
Insulates even when wet
The North Face® partners with GORE-TEX® to deliver the industry’s most innovative and highest performance waterproof, windproof and breathable weather protection. GORE-TEX® fabrics lead the industry in providing durable waterproof, breathable protection. The GORE-TEX® membrane is completely impervious to rain, sleet and snow, while allowing perspiration to pass through it from within. Tiny pores in the GORE-TEX® membrane allow perspiration to escape while preventing water from entering.
Protection in rain and snow
Ideal for snowboarding, skiing, and climbing
Innovation- The North Face Technology Process
STAY DRY AND MOVE SEAMLESSLY
Our proprietary fuseform construction technique vastly improves on our own innovative breakthroughs of the past. It’s a revolutionary weaving process that blends thicker, more-durable threads with lighter, lower-density fibers in high-wear zones, effectively reducing overall weight and creating a seamless transition from tougher to lighter zones.
Innovative design enhances protection and function
Seamless fabric construction eliminates panel overlays
Wondering if your shell will fit over your favorite down hoody? Our layering guide will tell you.
The Arc’teryx Layering Guide outlines and explains the various uses and purposes of an outerwear setup. From Baselayers all the way up to technical shells, we’ve got your back and an explanation to boot.
Layers are the instruments of keeping you dry, warm and using your energy efficiently. Put into the right systems, a good sequence of layers provides you with weather protection, moves moisture away from your skin, conserves or dissipates heat, and does this in the least amount of time.
Use the layering guide to select your system and to understand how it works together. Function and comfort increase from effective layering.
The way that layers sit next to each other optimizes temperature regulation and moisture management inside your clothing, by allowing the fabric technologies to function at maximum performance. Proper layering also permits textiles to move freely over each other, so you don’t experience restriction or chafing. Having an efficient system adds up to more time outdoors, safely and comfortably pursuing and pushing your activities of choice.
Arc’teryx Layering Guide Layering Key
Using the number assigned to your product, refer to the illustration to discover additional layers you can add to your system.
Product compatibility: Determine where your first layer sits and move outward to layer over top; move inward to layer underneath. Products with the same number will not be compatible.
Base layers have the smallest numbers and sit closest to the body. Hardshells have higher numbers; they are your outermost layer.
Your first layer, worn next-to-skin. In many ways, this layer determines your other layers.
Lighter weights are best for warm conditions and/or high output levels. Heavier weights for cool conditions or lower output.
Wool retains its warmth when wet and has natural anti-odor properties. Synthetics are lightweight, dry quickly and can be more abrasion resistant.
MID LAYER & FLEECE
Air permeable layers that provide some warmth and protection, in addition to moisture management.
Down fill mid layers have the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio. They are highly efficient, packable and light. Best suited to cool and dry conditions.
Synthetic fill has the advantage of staying warm when damp, and durability in varied environments. These mid layers are less compact than down, more versatile.
Hardfleece has a fleece interior bonded to a weather resistant outer fabric. These mid layers are highly air permeable, removing moisture but retaining warmth. Good for high output, cold conditions and moderate precipitation.
Fleece is a thermal garment with air permeability, that can be worn as a standalone layer. Fleece offers high comfort, less weather resistance.
Consider your base layer and your typical body temperature when selecting your mid layer. If you are often cold, choose a mid layer with less air permeability. If your base layer is warm, but you want weather protection, a lighter mid layer may work best.
When selecting insulation type, consider weight and weather conditions. Down provides the highest warmth-to-weight value and packs small, but it is best suited to cool and dry conditions. Synthetic materials remain warm when damp, are more abrasion resistant but less compact and heavier than down.
Each type of insulation is available in a range of warmths, from superlight to severe cold.
Shells are the most weather protective layer, most often worn on the outside of all other layers. Evaluate your environment, expected output level and typical conditions when making your selection.
GORE-TEX® shells are fully waterproof, windproof and breathable. Available in a range of fabric technologies, applicable to specific use and environments.
Windshells are lighter weight, wind and weather resistant. Best suited to dry conditions, or minimal precipitation.
Softshell refers to a four-way stretch textile with an inherently durable smooth outer surface. Weather resistant and highly abrasion resistant, our range of softshells deliver varied degrees of warmth and protection.
Composite garments are composed of more than one fabric technology. This is done to achieve optimal performance in targeted areas. For example, GORE-TEX® sleeves and shoulders for waterpoof protection, combined with a softshell torso to improve temperature regulation.
INSULATED SHELL JACKETS
A one jacket system for cold, wet environments. Weatherproof and insulated, these outer layers are streamlined and can be lighter than an equivalent two-piece system.
GORE-TEX® and down insulated jackets combine the premium lightweight warmth of down insulation with a streamlined, fully weatherproof outer shell. This construction also protects the down from moisture.
GORE-TEX® and synthetic insulated jackets have simplified construction, to create lightweight, fully waterproof warmth. Can be worn in the worst conditions and remain warm even if damp.
A Comprehensive Review of these two 2020 Ladies All-Mountain Skis
K2 Mindbender 88 Alliance Vs. Blizzard Black Pearl 88- A Look At The Pro’s and Con’s Of Both
As the holidays of 2018 approached rumors started to swirl that K2 Skis had something psychedelic brewing. When our industry Demo Day rolled around and we had a chance to take out the Mindbenders we were blown away by their performance in a multitude of conditions. But the question we’ve been getting a lot is how it compares to the Black Pearl or Santa Ana (which we’ll do another review on). How does this rookie in the ski world compare to the best selling women’s ski ever? Well lets jump into is shall we. First we’ll go over each skis key features, then we’ll throw them head to head and let you decide who’s the winner.
K2 Mindbender Alliance 88 Ti
K2 has been struggling to create a ski that worked well for most skier types. Not to say the pinnacle wasn’t a good ski, it just didn’t necessarily perform well in the many “all-Mountain” conditions. The K2 Mindbender is here as a replacement to the Pinnacle and Luv Series. Speaking of Luv series skis- The Alliance series was created as a replacement for that. Why the name change? The women at K2 wanted to create a ski series that better connected with their audience base and resonated with female skiers, so Alliance was born. Though there is a full line-up of waist width options for men and women, the 88 Ti is the best east coast all-mountain option (in our opinion. This would translate to 90 in the men’s version too). The Mindbender 88 Alliance Ti comes with an Aspen Veneer core for it’s wood construction. This is going to be like the 90, but the veneer and sandwiching of the core makes the 88 lighter and easier to turn. Then there’s the Titanal Y-Beam. Think of a tuning fork used to tune pianos. The Y-Beam looks like that, laid into the ski. It makes the Alliance stiff and reliable underfoot while allowing the tip to flex more easily. There’s a carbon spectral braid on top of all this construction which also helps to reduce chatter as well as help power imitation through turns. The sidewall is ABS which is a standard for most ski companies. In the alliance it is oversized. This translates to you can lay the ski all the way over. Want to go from making Slalom turns to jumping into a mogul field and bashing bumps? Yep, this ski is going to do that. Another honorable mention is that K2 has a 2 year warranty on their skis which is awesome!
Blizzard Black Pearl 88
The Blizzard Black Pearl 88 is undeniably the best selling women’s ski- ever. There’s a reason for that too. Virtually any female skier can take this ski out and have a good day on it. It’s going to do well at most All-Mountain conditions and since it’s not over powering and easy to turn ladies love it. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right? The Black Pearl is a light ski, made with what Blizzard calls their Lite Wood Core. In the case of the Black Pearl 88, it’s a poplar beech core that’s sandwiched into the Carbon Flipcore WSD. W stands for women’s. No metal here, just good old wood and carbon. This makes the Black Pearl poppy and maneuverable across many conditions. We personally found them to carve exceptionally well too. The topsheet is a duratec composite which helps with scratch resistance. Sidewall will be the same as the Mindebender Alliance 88Ti, made with ABS Sidewall. Since there’s no metal in the Black Pearl so it retails at $600 vs $650 for the Mindbender.
Head To Head
Head to head you’re getting so skis that are similar, yet different. The Mindbender 88 in our opinion is for more aggressive skiers whereas the Black Pearl is focused on intermediate level skiers. Both the Black Pearl and Mindbender were great carvers and the Black Pearl made longer methodical turns whereas the Mindbender could get laid all the way over and make tight slalom like turns then transition into smooth GS style carves. The Mindbender wasn’t limited to a select level of turning. Whatever your style was it responded. In deeper snow, both felt similar and responded the same, nothing really changed here. Then moguls- This was a game changer between the two. To be honest the Black Pearl just felt sloppy in bumps. It could be my style of bump skiing, or the lack of metal in the ski, whatever the culprit the Black Pearls felt dead and confused on how to respond in bumps. The Mindbender was different. The Mindbender snaped through turns easily and launched you into the next bump almost like you intended to do. The Mindbenders are just fun- and as I’ve been saying around the shop are totally psychedelic.
So my final thoughts? Both skis are great skis. The Black Pearl seems to favor softer conditions and intermediate level skiers more. When the terrain got more aggressive the Black Pearl struggled to keep up. The Mindbender is definitely stiffer and more aggressive than the Black Pearl but that’s not to say a beginner could take it out and not have a good time. The Mindbender is flexible and would be a great ski for someone looking to progress their skills over a long period of time. The Black Pearl is predictable though and is a great value for an All- Mountain Ski that does everything okay.
K2 Mindbender 88 Ti Alliance
Blizzard Black Pearl 88
Wood: Aspen Venner
Lite Wood Core
Carbon Spectral Braid
Carbon Flipcor WSD
Unsure (looks like Duratec)
Full ABS Sidewall
* Obviously this Review is extremely biased and based upon my skiing style and the brutally odd East Coast Conditions. Hopefully, we’ll put together a video soon. If you like this head to head style review and want to see more let us know! If this was crap let us know! We are only human after all.
Gone are the days of the standalone Nordica Enforcer. As we enter into the 19/20 winter season Nordica has not one, but 6 options to choose from- divided into the Enforcer and Enforcer Free Series. The Nordica Enforcer 104 offers up a new waist width with new technology that makes for a lighter, and snappier shred stick on the slopes. This new technology is only found in the 104 and 88- the newest waist additions, and we suspect the rest of the line will follow suit if the new technology is proven successful in these two skis.
So what makes the 104 so special? One difference between it and the 88 is that they have different shapes. The 104 is more freeride and will resemble a narrower Enforcer 110. The core is made up of Poplar, Beech and Balsa with 2 sheets of titanal for stiffness.
The biggest difference between predecessors and the latest 104 is that the wood core extends up and down the ski further and replaces some of the ABS Sidewall which has been slimmed down. This makes the ski more snappy and responsive on snow and less damp. Then there’s the carbon laminate that’s new. This makes the ski engage better on edge and gives you a little more “umpfh” and power that you’d normally loose on the original models.
Side by side next to the Enforcer 110, the Enforcer 104 is going to share rocker profile lines but be more slimming allowing for the ski to be more manageable in all conditions. Still though, slim rocker lines in Nordica Skis is still quite a bit of rocker compared to other 104 waisted skis in its class.
On Snow, the 104 is going to feel lighter and more manageable at speed. It’s still going to be incredibly stiff but maneuver better through deeper snow due to the new construction. The Carbon laminate is going to offer more stability at speed, less chatter, and more control through turns.
So what’s the biggest difference between the 100 & 104?
The 100 is going to have Nordica’s traditional rocker profile, called All-Mountain Rocker
The 104 is going to have more Rocker, so think old Helldorados. They’re deeper and more hammerhead-shaped.
The 100 is the OG Enforcer. Wood, Titanal, ABS, Fiberglass Topsheet
The 104 is the lighter and sexier(though that’s up for debate) Enforcer. Wood, Titanal, Slimming ABS, Carbon, Fiberglass
Nordica Enforcer 104 Specs:
Turning Radius: 18.5
We are located on the East Coast, so having any ski wider than the Enforcer 104 will be seldom used, and may be overkill for most east coast powder days. But, if you want something wider, for spring skiing days or maybe you’re a west coast skier who needs a reliable daily driver the 104 is going to be a great option.
Not convinced and need to ski it first? We have full-size runs of demos available at the shop. Call us for more info regarding that. 802-422-3234We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
Top 5 Skis For 2020- From An East Coast Ski Shops Standpoint
These reviews are based on our on-snow testing, discussions with brand reps, and years of experience.
Basin Sports is a ski shop in Killington, Vermont. With access to the largest east coast ski resort at our door, we are able to provide accurate and intelligent insight to the state of the ski industry as it reflects our specific market.
K2 Mindbender Series
You’ve probably heard about the K2 Mindbender and Alliance-benders by now. The replacement of the Pinnacle and LuvIt Series skis. K2 spent a lot of time testing and designing these skis to make them what they are. They wanted something stiff torsional but soft and floaty too. So what makes the Mindbenders so amazing? They’re incredibly light, yet stiff, yet powerful. The 90ti in particular for both men and women is stiff yet not. In our on snow test the ski was phenomenal on groomers and comfortable and controllable in the bumps. It didn’t feel like you had to overcompensate to make a turn. It didn’t feel too heavy or bulky either. One moment you’d be making beautiful racer carves on groomers, the next you’d be navigating tight New England trees. The Mindbenders want to float and dance over terrain- not bash and brawl their way down the mountain.
The Mindbender Series comes in many lengths. The men’s is 116C, 108Ti, 99Ti, 90Ti, 90C and 85. The Women’s or Alliance Series is available in 115C, 106C, 98Ti, 88Ti, 90C and 85. Yes, the Alliance series is a different mold. Everything is going to be the same about these skis except for the core. The main difference between the two is that the Men’s Mindbenders have full wood cores and the ladies Alliance have Aspen Vanier Core. Yes, that’s still technically wood- it just flexes differently than the full single wood core.
We’re on the east coast here, so we’re biased to the 99 and 90Ti (Or 98Ti and 88Ti) options. When we demoed these skis it was hero snow. Or at least what us east coasters call Hero Snow. Firm yet soft groomers, with plenty of packed powder in the trees. We’ve been slimming down what the optimal waist width is for the East Coast and was planning on ordering more 90’s instead of 99’s. That’s not to say one was better than the other. Both skied excellently. By this point, it’s more personal preference.
We’ve been asked a lot to compare the Mindbenders against the Nordica Enforcers, and we’ll probably end up doing a blog and video comparing the two, but for now, we’ll give you this. The Enforcer Series is a great All-Mountain ski. It does everything well and is incredibly fun to ski on. One main difference between the two is the rocker profile. The Enforcer is going to want to power through everything- we refer to the Enforcer as a brawler ski. It’s fun, enjoyable and strong- but it would rather power into snow than float. The Mindbender is going to feel more familiar to skiers who maybe raced or spent a chunk of time on groomers- expect the Mindbenders allow you to ski off trail comfortable. You can go really fast on the Mindbenders and not feel out of control with twitchy rocker in your tips. The Mindbenders carve, they don’t smear. You know that famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”? That pretty much sums up the Mindbenders. They float and dance, they didn’t come to muscle their way through. They’re precise, agile and responsive.
Nordica Enforcer 88 & 104
Speaking of Nordica, There are some new additions to the Enforcer Family. The Nordica Enforcer 88 and the Enforcer 104. Both skis come with new technology and so far, our staff have been raving about the changes. The 88 was designed with us East Coasters in mind. It’s a true on-piste carver. You can read our review on these skis here. The 104 is a wider option but not overly cumbersome like the 110.
What Makes the 88 So Great? It’s different than it’s big brothers because It has less ABS sidewall. The ABS Sidewall is essentially plastic. Plastic is damp and non-responsive on impact. Nordica reduces the amount of Sidewall and filled it in with more wood to make the ski more snappy and powerful. Then they added a carbon grid to increase snap. It makes the ski much more maneuverable at speed and not quite as unstable.
The 104 has the same technology as the 88 and made many of our employees who own the 100 consider upgrading to the 104. A positive aspect of the 104 is that it offers more drive and stability at speed without increasing extra weight. The 104 allows you to explore more of the mountain with stability and control. One of the positives in the new designs is the power in and out of turns. One thing I’ve found in the older designs is that due to its shape I often feel like I lose a lot of my speed in and out of turns. The 104 certainly does not have that problem. Same goes for the 88. Both are responsive and power out of the turns effortlessly.
These skis are great for one ski quiver shredders or enforcer series collectors. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 20/21 series of Enforcers don’t all have the new carbon technology incorporated into their design.
The Salomon QST 92 has got it’s S—t together this year. In it’s first iterations it was one the softer side of all-mountain skis. Now it’s back and in it’s series (so the 92, 99 and 106) have the same technology throughout. But it’s an entirely new ski. So new tip design, new sidewalls and new core construction. I’m generalizing but all three waist widths will be the same construction. We’re digging the 92 because it’s probably the lightest All-Mountain ski that’s isn’t made of foam, fiberglass or unicorn dust. It’s rocker profile would make it great for a east coast skinning ski but also as a weekend warriors ski.
If you ski anything like me you may have thought that the QST was a fun ski but it was a bit soft and chattery on harder snow. Beefed up sidewalls have eliminated this chatter to a minimum and torsionally increased stability in turns. Win, Win!
The carbon, basalt, and flax are blended together in the new models from tip to tail, and there’s an extra layer of flax plus cork tips to optimize dampness at a lower swingweight. This is translated onto the women’s Lux, Lumen series too. The tip shape is new too and this reduced taper. The cork in the tip and tail makes the skis less chattery, and reduces swing weight making turns pretty darn fun. The graphics aren’t half bad either on these skis. Sticking with solid tones and less flair. Mounted up with the oh so toted Salomon Shift Bindings and you’ve got one heck of a ski set-up.
Black Crow Camox & Camox Birdie
We also are going to talk about Black Crow. They’ve been around for a while but really have exploded onto American markets more recently. The Camox is the showcase twin ski and has really stayed tried and true to its roots. It’s a true twin tip ski with classic rocker, camber, rocker profile. Nothing overly fancy or technical, just the stuff that works- which is why it’s one of their bestselling skis.
But, the Camox is on the heavy side. So this year Black Crows reduced the weight of the ski and shortened the taper without overly changing the performance of the ski on snow. It does have a shorter turn radius- which can just mean it will get edge to edge quicker. An Advantage here is that as a true twin tip ski the Black Crow Camox and Camox Birdie will have an increased playfulness feel on snow. This will make for more a lighter, but tried and true ski that anyone can have fun on.
Atomic Redster X Series
An honorable mention and one ski that’s not really getting a whole lot of attention is the Atomic Redster X series. This skis was redeveloped last season and can be distinguished from its World Cup counterparts by it’s lack of red coloration. We’ve been jokingly calling it the greenster since the 18-19 skis was bright neon green. This year It’s not as bright but still a gunmetal grey with green highlights. Of the Redster X series the one that caught our eye the most was the Atomic Redster X WB (WB= Wide Body). The Redster is a series no F-ing around ski. The Redster X WB is the same nutty ski but minus the servotec. At 75 underfoot (versus 65) the WB is just a bit more forgiving. With true race camber underfoot the Atomic Redster X WB is still an extremely powerful ski. It’s just nicer to play with.
Coming in 152, 160, 168 and 176 you have a few options to choose from. The WB still has the multi-radius sidecut, full sidewall (hence 0/100/0 camber to rocker), Powder Woodcore, Titanium Powered, Structured Topsheet, and World Cup Base Finish. It still has all of those goodies. The reason we’re mentioning this ski is not that we enjoy it (I mean we do, we wouldn’t be writing this review otherwise) but because it enables you to still carve aggressive groomers, but still be able to walk the next day. We will be pushing this ski towards our Ski Bum Race Series competitors who want a fast ski for race day, but a comfortable ski for groomer days.
The Never Summer Lady West Board Review- For Aggressive Female Riders
The Never Summer Raven Redesign? Or A New Board All Together?
A few years ago Never Summer retired the Women’s Raven board line and released two new boards as replacements. The Aura and the Infinity. Both had their own characteristics but left many Raven lovers a bit heartbroken because their tried and true Raven was no more. To this day we still get people asking for the Raven. But, there’s a new board in town and it’s the closest replacement to the Raven yet. Introducing the Never Summer Lady West. Taking the characteristics of the Men’s West and the favorite features of the Raven to create one kick ass board.
So how does the raven look next to the lady west spec for spec?
Effective Edge (mm)
Tip Width (mm)
Waist Width (mm)
Tail Width (mm)
Sidecut Radius (m)
Most notably looking at specs is the tail width. This is due to the more directional twin shape and a blend of Fusion Rocker Camber. The Raven had Original Rocker camber which made the rider be more center over the board. With the Fusion Rocker Camber you have a similar rocker camber shape but the transition area will only be found in the tip and not the tail on the Never Summer Lady West. This is the biggest notable difference. Stance is setback a bit more and not as center. Otherwise things like Stiffness, and wrap are the same. The elastomers used in the Lady West is the RDS2 not the RDS1. And as previously mentioned many characteristics of the Lady West will remind you of the Raven.
So how does this board feel on snow? Since it’s not a true asymmetrical twin, it’s going to enjoy a more all-mountain shredder than anything else. It’s designed to carve across the whole mountain efficiently and effectively. If you’re a jibber we’re going to push you towards the proto type two. On snow the Never Summer Lady West is really fun. So fun in fact that I’m pretty sure all our female snowboarders on staff will be buying one. This is a fun but aggressive board. It’s designed for aggressive female riders who want to be able to go all over the mountain and go fast. Granted with the setback stance you don’t want to go to fast. But edge to edge the Lady West carves easily. It’s fast and fluid and easy to turn. When you’re in a predicament or unfavorable conditions the Lady West is a confidence builder. It’s got great edge hold and with its Fusion Rocker will really plow through choppy snow. But again this is an all-mountain board. If you’re a jibber, or like softer boards Consider the Shade or the Proto. We’re all really digging this board and are excited to offer a better replacement to the Never Summer Raven.
These boards are available for Purchase at Basin Sports and we’ll have a full demo collection available for the 19/20 season.
What to expect in the narrowest waist width Enforcer
Since its inception, the Enforcer Series has been rapidly growing as the most sought after skis in the industry. Nordica has been careful to release new waist width options and technological tweaks steadily over the years and people are eating them up. With this year’s release, all the ski industry aficionados are buzzing about the two newest additions to the pack, the Enforcer 88 and Enforcer 104. We were fortunate to ski the new waist widths for both men and women (so be on the lookout for the Santa Ana 88 review) and have a good feeling of how the industry will accept the skis, and what customer s should expect out of them.
This review is solely regarding the Nordica Enforcer 88, though we’ll get a review out about the 104 as soon as we can. Luckily for us, we hold one of the biggest Nordica accounts in New England and have access to early release gear like the Enforcer 88. This particular waist width caught our eye because we live in New England and very rarely do we really need to ski on sticks wider than 100.
The Enforcer lineup is reminiscent of an old Helldorado but with less rocker and metal- and that’s one of the reasons it excels in the east. But the Enforcers of yesteryear are bulky and some would describe as brawlers, not ballerinas. So to alleviate some of this extra meat the Enforcer 88 has vibration dampening tips. This helps alleviate some the meat, the weight and adds more nimbleness to the skis maneuverability.
These tips in technological terms are called True Tip Technology and essentially reduce weight and tip chatter. Basically, Nordica has trimmed the amount of ABS plastic in the sidewall in the tip and extended the lightweight wood core into the area now void of plastic. Plastic is not exactly a pliable material when it comes to skis, and will impact something with a thud, not a spring or rebound. That’s one of the reasons why True Tip Technology works. It makes the ski more lively and snappy. It’s also lighter so you can turn more effectively and build energy in and out of turns.
The other new construction is the Carbon-Reinforced Chassis. As mentioned early, the Enforcer could be referred to as a brawler. Where it would rather plow and power through snow than glide over snow. The Carbon chassis essentially makes the Enforcer more nimble. We’re not going to get full ballerina status on snow but it won’t feel like a brawler either- Nordica is finding a happier medium between brawler and dancer.
Another notable difference in the Nordica 88 Is that it comes in different lengths than previous enforcers. That means a completely new mold and serious “back to the drawing board” concept. With the Enforcer 88 you get to choose from the sizes of 165, 172, 179 and 186. This could throw a rope in the Enforcer Collectors wheelhouse but, if then again it could be a good thing. This ski is considered a hard carver and that divides the skiers into two categories- the slalom skiers or the super g skiers. I myself like to shorten up my carving skis. I like to make fast precise and short turns so I lean towards a shorter length. But, if you like to go fast, take minimal turns on piste and lay over edges then go longer. It’s all in how you ski.
So our first day of testing was at the New England Ski Industry Demo Day. This is where people in the industry have a chance to demo skis for the 19/20 season. This was held at Pico Mountain this year and the temps were hovering at 32 degrees so the snow was hero like. When we were able to ski the 88 we got next to perfect conditions for New England so yes, this review is biased towards the conditions we tested in. That being said the Enforcer 88 did just fine on and off-piste. On-Piste, the 88 was quite responsive and was easy to maneuver. It glided across the snow easily and was powerful yet forgiving. One notable change in turning was that the ski powered out of turns. In the past, the wider widths would lose some of that momentum in turns because of the rocker and its width. That’s not the case here and we truly feel the 88 is the perfect ski for the east. This ski is distinctly focused on performance on piste, and it does okay off-piste too. But if you’re a bump lover and tree hugger then consider the 93- otherwise you should consider this nimble machine to be in your quiver.
The Enforcer 88 will be fine off-piste but it wasn’t designed to do that. It was designed to be an on-piste carver and it does that well. The 88 wants to stay on edge and hold that turn, making consistent and thoughtful turns down the slopes. Compared to the Navigator 85 the Enforcer 88 is heavier and has more rocker to it. Edge to edge the Navigator will win- it’s quick and lighter. All around maneuverability and being as All-Mountain as they get, the Enforcer 88 will win. It just does everything well and really defines what an all-mountain ski should be.
To summarize, the Nordica Enforcer 88 for 2020 is going to perform best on firm conditions. It’s going to slay groomer runs and turn well. It’s light, but not as light as a navigator. It’s well-rounded too and when you’re in a pickle it will perform at a level that’s just plain necessary. As an east coast Enforcer lover, this is the ski you need in your collection. It works, it does its job well and is fun.
Convinced and want one? We have the 2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 and 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88 available for purchase.