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K2 Mindbender 88 Alliance Vs. Blizzard Black Pearl 88

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
Core Wood: Aspen Venner Lite Wood Core
Metal Titanal Y-Beam None
Carbon Carbon Spectral Braid Carbon Flipcor WSD
Topsheet Unsure (looks like Duratec) Duratec
Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker
Sidewall Oversized ABS Full ABS Sidewall
Warranty 2 Year 1 Year
Price $650 $600

 

* 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.


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Nordica Enforcer 104 Ski Review

Welcome To The Family Nordica Enforcer 104

A slim yet wide waist width with new technologies

Nordica Enforcer 104 Ski Review

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.

Read Our Review On the Nordica Enforcer 88 Here

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.

Nordica Enforcer 104 Ski Review

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?

Rocker Profile

  • 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.

Laminates

  • 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:

In 186cm

  • Tip: 135
  • Waist: 104
  • Tail: 124
  • 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. 802-422-3234


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Top 5 Skis For 2020

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.

Top 5 Skis Of 2020

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.

Top 5 Skis Of 2020

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

Top 5 Skis Of 2020

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.

Salomon QST 92

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.


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Never Summer Lady West Board Review

The Never Summer Lady West Board Review- For Aggressive Female Riders

The Never Summer Raven Redesign? Or A New Board All Together?

Never Summer Lady West

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?

Lady West Raven
Size (cm) 149 149
Effective Edge (mm) 1140 1160
Tip Width (mm) 281 282
Waist Width (mm) 236 237
Tail Width (mm) 276 282
Sidecut Radius (m) Vario 723* Vario 697˚

 

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.

 

Never Summer Lady West Never Summer Lady West Never Summer Lady West

 

 

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.


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2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 Ski Review

Nordica Enforcer 88 Ski Review – Tried and Tested

What to expect in the narrowest waist width Enforcer

2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 Ski Review

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.

2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 Ski Review

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.

 

2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 Ski Review

 

Convinced and want one? We have the 2020 Nordica Enforcer 88 and 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88 available for purchase.

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. 802-422-3234


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POC Coron Air Spin Helmet Review

POC Coron Air Spin Helmet Review
POC Coron Air Spin Helmet Review

Last year POC released the Tectal Trail Helmet with Air Spin Technology and took racers and recreational riders by storm. This year, the POC Coron Air Spin Full Face Helmet was released. POC wanted something lighter and something that held up better to multiple impacts. You’ve probably heard of MIPS or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System and are probably wondering how this is different. If you’re like me, MIPS is not comfortable, in fact I opt to use non-MIPS protection due the sheer discomfort I experience.  POC has taken MIPS technology and combined with the Air Spin. It allows a buffer between your head and the MIPS and potentially provides better protection.

Air Spin Technology

What makes the Air Spin Tech so special then? Instead of a plastic system that mimics the brains structure, Air Spin takes that same concept but with silicone pads. It allows for the head to almost float against and moves equally upon impact. POC uses a silicone bladder inside each pad placed within the helmet. These pads allow the helmet to move slightly in impact and reduce the impact the head takes in a crash. The pads locations are strategically placed so that the head is only in contact with the pads and not rested directly against the shell of the helmet itself. This well thought out structure helps dissipate force of a rotational impact, potentially reducing the severity of the impact on the brain.

The Helmet

POC is always striving to make the lightest, most comfortable and safest helmets available. The Coron Air Spin is no exception and potentially one the best well thought out full face helmets on the market at the moment.  The POC Coron Air Spin Helmet comes in two models.  An affordable fiberglass shell and a lighter Carbon shell. Both holding up to POC’s high safety standards and both stunning in craftsmanship.

Coron Fiberglass Coron Carbon
MSRP $275 MSRP $450
Fiberglass shell construction Carbon fiber shell
Innovative air flow and vent design Innovative air flow and vent design
SPIN Technology SPIN Technology
Emergency removable cheek pads Emergency removable cheek pads
Ear chambers Ear chambers
Break Away visor Break Away visor
Multi-impact EPP liner Multi-impact EPP liner
Simple and effective buckle fastening system Simple and effective buckle fastening system
Three Color Options One Color Option

The Fit

The fit of this helmet is controversial, like any other POC helmet is. The fit on the Coron Air Spin was universally better than the old Cortex was but there were positives and negatives to it as well. Most people who enjoyed the POC Tectal Trail helmet disliked the Coron and vice versa. I found the Coron to fit well in the dome area but squished my face to much for my liking. But some enjoy that secure fit and actually found the Coron to be more comfortable than other helmets we sell in our shop. POC is tricky because you have to have “A POC Head”. That being said, those with rounder heads found the Coron to be more comfortable than others. Those with flatter heads found the trail helmets to fit well but the full face option by POC to be less than desirable.

POC Coron Air Spin Helmet Review
POC Coron Air Spin Helmet Review

Closing Points

If comfort, weight and above all safety are your biggest priorities when shopping for full face helmets, the POC Coron Air Spin is a good choice. With all the features both the fiberglass and carbon version offer, the bang for the buck is better if not on par than helmets in the same price range. This helmet is recommended for riders who enjoy a secure fit. Though Emergency Pull Off Pads are bulkier than typical pads they will break in slightly. It is recommended that you size up in the full face helmets. This helmet will fit better on people with rounder heads too.  It’s all about perspective though and I sincerely feel that helmets are things you shouldn’t purchase over the internet without first trying on. When it comes to appearance, overall comfort and safety standards the Coron scores high across the board. The bang for your buck is substantial and absolutely a great investment for your next full face helmet.


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  • We can be reached 7 days a week at 802-422-3234
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Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around

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Devinci Troy Carbon GX Review

A Technical All-Mountain Brawler – Devinci Troy Carbon GX Review

Devinci Troy

The Devinci Troy at first glance looks like any modern trail bike. It’s low, slack and comes equipped with 150mm of travel. Basin Sports brought in Devinci this year so we were excited to put a “new to us” trail bike on dirt. I’m going to be doing a lot of comparison to my trail bike, a 2017 Santa Cruz Bronson- so bear with me as I digest my remarks.

When testing the Troy I actually sized up. I’m 5’10” so my go-to sizing falls in the Medium range (at least on a Santa Cruz). On this the Large actually felt more comfortable which could be the result of a multitude of things. So I geared up and headed out. I rode the Devinci Troy at one of the local bike trail networks, Pine Hill. This network leans more towards the groomed side of trails with short, steep, technical bits and some pumpy flow as well as few little jumps. Well rounded as trail networks go, but short enough to cover the entire park in a couple hours. The elevation here is not high, the highest point in the park will leave you with maybe 400 feet of gain, so not too difficult.

Right out of the gate the Troy climbed well on the mellower, consistent gradient. The moment I hit a steep pitch the bike really struggled to stay grounded (tires slipping and this was after adjusting body position). In areas that I could climb fine on my Bronson, I couldn’t even muster on the Troy. This could have been partially due to it being a Large and not a Medium but the Medium just felt too small. In my mind the Troy was not a great climber, I exerted a lot of energy to justify gains.

 

 

As I reached the highest point in the network I was granted a short bit of downhill featuring tight, flowy turns, a few jumps, drops and technical sections. From there I got to an outlook point and then could enter a trail named Stegosaurus, which I’m hoping you can put two and two together and maybe even formulate what the trail looked like.

One area where the Devinci Troy excels is in groomed flow. The short chainstays make the bike nimble and agile in tight, bermed corners. Turning never felt so easy and that’s one area where this bike gets high marks. It was pretty unbelievable how good the Troy corners. Next, there was a short uphill to down with a small jump then a manmade drop. I hit the jump and the bike just doesn’t want to give, it wants to stay glued to the trail (almost like a downhill bike). When I hit the drop it didn’t feel elegant or graceful by any means, rather it surged forward and sought out the ground.
When I finished the flow trail I got into Stegosaurus, the technical part of my ride and the Troy was a beast. Some have referred to it as an all-mountain brawler and in the technical terrain, it showed. Like a downhill bike, the Troy got into its line and held it without fumbling or skipping. In this respect, it felt more stable and more precise than on any other section of trail. It almost felt like well, riding flow. You lined it up and the bike did all the work, you didn’t have to put a lot of thought into it.

My takeaways are this… That this bike wants to stay grounded. Some say this bike likes to jump and I just didn’t see it (or feel it). By comparison to my Bronson, the Troy felt horrible in the air. If I were a semi-pro or recently retired downhill rider looking for an all-around trail bike, I’d say look at the Devinci Troy. My reasoning is that it feels and rides very much like a downhill bike would, but with uphill capabilities and shorter travel. If you’re a technical rider who enjoys the occasional flow trail, you’re most likely going to enjoy this bike. It’s mean, it’s ready to fight and it’s fun.
Ask us about our Devinci Demo Fleet and how you can get your hands on one to test ride or maybe even buy.

 

Devinci Troy

 


We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?

Shop Now For the Latest Outdoor Gear

  • We can be reached 7 days a week at 802-422-3234
facebooktwitter-birdinstagramgoogleyou-tubepinterestlinkedinemail

 

 

Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around

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How To Choose Ski or Snowboard Jackets

How To Choose Ski or Snowboard Jackets

 

Types Of Jackets

With so many types, features and specifications it’s hard to decide on How To Choose Ski or Snowboard Jackets. The more features don’t necessarily mean more expensive either. With so many features, names, and types we’ve decided to help you navigate the winter brand tornado of Ski and Snowboard Jackets.

There are five major types of jackets for both skiing and snowboarding but before we even get there let’s discuss the difference between ski and snowboard. The main parts are function and fit. Snowboard Jackets tend to be longer and in some cases looser (some women’s brands being the exception). The main reason being that some snowboarders need to sit down from time to time. Ski jackets tend to showcase a slimmer fit in general- though some park and freeride specific options are looser.

 

Shells

Shell Ski Jackets are considered technical apparel for the most part and they’re pretty straightforward. Shells are light, packable jackets that ward of wind, snow, sleet and rain. They are popular amongst ski touring enthusiasts and people who enjoy layering efficient winter clothing. Shells are often a single, double or triple layered water repellents. Some companies use their own proprietary water repellant material though Gore-Tex is the most reliable and most well-known. There are many types of Gore-Tex too but we won’t go into the details on this. Shell Ski or Snowboard Jackets should be paired with other inner layers of clothing.

Flylow Daphne Jacket Gear Review

 

Insulated

Probably the most popular choice amongst skiers and snowboarders is the Insulated Jacket. There are so many types of insulation and even with our staff will often recommend you to buy a decent midlayer to accompany your Insulated Jacket and here’s why. An insulated jacket that’s too heavy (Too much Insulation) won’t breathe well, causing you to sweat and causing you to retain moisture from your body heat and sweat rather than expel it. You know that sticky, sauna hot humid like feel? That’s what we’re talking about and there is a way to avoid that. (Insert Layering Blog Here) We recommend a lightly insulated ski jacket that’s either a blended synthetic insulation or full polyester. Synthetic materials release body moisture but trap heat while down insulation is known to trap moisture and heat. A nice fleece baselayer and a simple midlayer are also good components to have of any ski or snowboard jacket collection.

 

Technical Shells

Technical jackets are similar to shell jackets but are specific to backcountry touring and ski/snowboard mountaineers. Technical Jackets are often triple layer protection with no insulation. Technical Jackets often integrate with climbing harnesses, pants and other features. Technical jackets often specify what they’re designed for too.

 

Softshells

Softshell jackets are made of hard fleece to help protect against wind, rain, and snow. They are not a hard “shell” and have more stretch and give than the average jacket. Softshell Jackets are recommended for light anaerobic activities or spring skiing. Touring enthusiasts often enjoy this jacket for light backcountry excursions. Softshell jackets often don’t hold their water repellent abilities for as long as hard-shells and are not as popular as Shell or Insulated Ski Jackets

 

3-in-1 Jackets

3-in-1 Jackets are often referred to as system jackets and consist of two or three layers that integrate together. Say you were looking to do a shell layering system but didn’t want to cough up the big bucks to create that system you’d be directed towards a 3-in-1 jacket. Usually made up of a light outer insulator, a mid-weight medium midlayer, and a moisture-wicking baselayer (though not as common), 3-in-1’s are the affordable layering option for the skier or snowboarder on a budget.

686 Smarty Form Jacket

Features

Knowing what features come in an item are key in How to Choose Ski or Snowboard Jackets. Sometimes a jacket will have many features but me made of poor materials or vise versa. There are some features that should come standard in all ski and snowboard jackets though. These are things that will make or break decent day in the snow.

 

Venting

Good venting is really important. You don’t need to have a ton of vent points but you should at least look for pit zips. A good venting system in an Insulated jacket is important too because there will be those times when you overheat and need to let the heat out. Some venting systems have a mesh guard others are just open. Either or works though I’ve found mesh guards to get caught on things and rip.

 

Pockets

Any jacket should come standard with at least two outer pockets. A jacket that is pocket less or doesn’t even have a kangaroo pouch will make a day on the hill suck. Most jackets will have outer pockets but will also have other features too. Ski resorts are trending towards RFID style lift passes so some jackets have a wrist pockets for easy storage. Internally jackets will often come with an audio pocket, a goggle pouch and a secondary internal. Pockets are self-serving and everyone has their thing. That being said there are some things you cannot live without on the ski hill.

 

Hood

Hoods can be tricky too. Some people don’t like hoods, some do. I personally enjoy a hood because I find wind and snow to hit the back of my neck and it can often find its way down my back. Hoods do restrict side to side vision and require you to turn your whole body to see around you. Some hoods are removable but I’ve found in more technical apparel that the hood remains attached. It’s another one of those creature comforts but believe me on those bitterly cold days you’ll be wishing you had a hood.

 

Powder Skirt

Not a necessity if you live on the east coast and I find powder skirts without an interface to pants are really uncomfortable. For one thing powder skirts ride up, they bunch up your underlayers and are tight. Sure if its super deep you’ll want a protective layer to keep snow from finding its way up but it’s definitely not a necessity and even on those pitted powder days I rarely utilize my powder skirt.

 

Jacket to Pant Interface

Most companies have a interface that links their pants and jackets together. Sometimes its by a zipper system, more commonly by button links. Does it make the jacket and pant work well on powder days, sure. Is it incredibly restricting? YES! Even back in my park days when I was into the super baggy setup I felt like the Jacket to Pant Interface was incredibly uncomfortable. Because no one enjoys a wedgie while riding up the lift.

Cuffs Design

This is super important and I have an excellent example to back it. Before I understood cuff design and wrist gaiters I would always get snow up my jackets from my gloves. It got my gloves wet, my hands cold and resulted in me drying out my gloves in the base lodge. Then I bought a jacket (inexpensive for technical apparel standards) and it had wrist gaiters. It was amazing, no more snow up the sleeves or wet gloves, it was awesome. Then I bought a new jacket, a jacket that retailed for around $750 and it was amazing. Triple layer Gore-Tex, Pockets galore. It was pretty awesome- expect it lacked wrist gaiters. It’s become such a pain for me that I’ve thought about sewing my old gaiters into my new jacket. Wrist gaiters are kind of a necessity and will be a lifesaver in the end.

 

Waterproof Zippers

You can have the best water-repelling fabric in the world but water is still going to be able to penetrate through a zipper system that’s not waterproof. Most companies have created some Urethane based zipper system that repels water. Arc’teryx has perfected this technology by Adding WaterTight Zippers to minimalize the weak spot in Ski & Snowboard Jackets.

Black Diamond Mission Parka Gear Review-7
Super strength YKK Zippers

Lining

The difference between a Shell Jacket and A Rain Jackets is the backer system or lining. These jackets almost always have what’s referred to as a Flannel Backer. It isn’t so much an insulator but a blocker against the wind. Some jackets have fleece lining or quilted insulation. But linings are typically a sheer material or a flannel base to help keep in warmth.

 

RECCO Reflector

RECCO was originally designed in the 1970’s to help located people in avalanches. RECCO reflectors are commonly found in most apparel these days in help in transmitting an avalanched beacon signal at a better range so that you’re more likely to be found quicker in avalanche burial situations.

If considering venturing into the backcountry always be informed of the dangers of avalanches. Level 1 Avalanche Courses are highly encouraged.

 

Accessories

When we talk about accessories we’re sure to include pockets and their locations as well as specific pockets and uses. In this day and age you typically hit the slopes with your phone and if you’re a seasoned winter adventurer you know that your lithium battery doesn’t like the cold. Most brands (but specifically Helly Hansen) now have special warming pockets to protect your electronics from the elements. If you’re someone who likes listening to tunes on the slopes most jackets come standard with a special MP3 pocket. Easy access and storage make this a must-have for any ski or snowboard jacket.

The nice aspect of pockets is that it can help in customizing what you want and need. Some people enjoy a ton of pockets while others want the minimalist option.

Jacket options and designs are endless. Between Euro Fit, Asian and American styles and designs there’s a lot to choose from. For more Information on specific jacket designs and purposes feel free to reach out to us either via the web or phone at  802-422-3234.


We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?

Shop Now For the Latest Outdoor Gear

  • We can be reached 7 days a week at 802-422-3234
facebooktwitter-birdinstagramgoogleyou-tubepinterestlinkedinemail

 

 

Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.

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Salomon Shift Binding Review

An Overview of the Highly Anticipated Salomon Shift Binding

I first heard of the new Salomon Shift Binding through my College Alumni Group on Facebook. See I went to school for Mountain Recreation Management so when something this big (that could dramatically change the AT binding game) gets released we gear addicts get a little excited. It was there that I got into a conversation with an old professor where I questioned the reliability of the binding. It’s new, it’s different, it’s made of polycarbonate (ever heard of a six-foot drop test?). Yep, going to question the binding durability. Through that our Salomon Rep reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in testing the ski and binding out (the New England Ski Industry is a small, small world). I’m not the biggest fan of the QST 99 either. I like it but don’t love it. This new binding was intriguing though and I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to test a binding that quite literally will change this ski industry. My only request was to put the binding on the QST 106 instead of the 99. I hadn’t had a chance to test the 106 yet so it would allow me to test two new products at once.

The Salomon Shift Binding

Salomon Shift Binding

The Salomon Shift Binding itself is sleek, relatively lightweight and simple enough to understand after a few walkthroughs. I’d consider the binding light for AT standards and heavy for tech standards. It’s both, so to be a light AT and a heavy Tech binding seems more logical than not.

The idea is that you have a WTR/ Multi-norm tech boot that you can skin up in, then hit a few switches and lock into alpine mode with Alpine release values. This is revolutionary because before this you had two options. A tech binding like a dynafit or fritschi which locks you into the ski and allows uphill travel but won’t release like an alpine binding. If you crash you better know how to crash gracefully- so don’t crash. The other option was an AT binding which is short for Alpine Touring. It’s basically an Alpine Binding on rails that pivots for uphill travel and locks down for downhill. The downside for Alpine Touring is that the bindings are quite heavy.

The Salomon Shift Binding is the happy medium. It takes the best parts of a tech binding. The pivot range, the uphill mobility and combines it with the best parts of an Alpine binding- safe release values, actually releasing and control at speed downhill.

When the binding is in uphill mode it’s range is incredible. It’s most likely due to the higher placement of the pins where they interface with the binding.  Salomon says it can pivot a full 90 degrees and I totally believe that. In touring mode the binding pivots and glides with ease. It works as it should and didn’t seem to have any issues with pivoting. Granted I’ve been testing this binding in east coast conditions, not breaking trail on a powder day. Since the pivot is so high up the binding could potentially get jammed up with snow. The other notable point to make is that you have to completely step out of the binding to get from touring to alpine mode. You also need a thin pair of gloves to access the levers, they don’t really work with a set of Hestra mittens.

For alpine or downhill mode the bindings were phenomenal. There was not wiggling, no give and the bindings worked as they should. In fact, they were so good they tested in our Binding Release Machine better than any Marker binding has. Hitting little jibs on trail was also effortless and even ripping groomers was easy.  I could easily say I trust these bindings.

We have the Shift MNC 13 Available in Salomon and Atomic Badging. This binding is HOT and we’re actually having trouble special ordering it. Get yours before they’re gone.

Salomon Shift Shop Here

Atomic Shift Shop Here


We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?

Shop Now For the Latest Outdoor Gear

  • We can be reached 7 days a week at 802-422-3234
facebooktwitter-birdinstagramgoogleyou-tubepinterestlinkedinemail

 

 

Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.