Tuesday, August 21, 2012


2013 Icelantic Review

Just when I thought Icelantic Skis couldn't outdo last year's stellar lineup and "You are an animal" themed artwork, they come out firing on all cylinders with two new skis, a line of Side Country boots (First Degree ST1 and ST2 boot review
coming soon) and an array of artwork that would bring Alex Grey himself to tears. Artistic Director and hypothetical student of metaphysics Travis Parr, (one can only guess his ideals lie with Plato's notion of that which holds that what exists lies beyond experience) set his sights high and shaped a line of artwork that everyone at SIA couldn't take their eyes off.

This year, Icelantic's theme is, "Find Your Rhythm." An audibly growing drum beat that builds to a reckoning of what is to come from this Denver-based ski company. Icelantic has been busy this past year building up to a 2013 season  bound for not only more snow (much much more snow, right snow Gods?) but a year where they find their rhythm, delving into a plan of action that saw them sign one of the top big mountain skiers on the planet, Julian Carr, (owner of Discrete Headwear) who by the way also got the cover of the new Warren Miller movie, Flow State improved on their already bomber ski construction, added a line of ski boots, dubbed The First Degree, and threw the most monumental and first ever, Winter Concert at Red Rocks over the SIA show weekend this past January. That show sold out I might add, and if you weren't there, you missed one hell of a party. But don't worry, word around the campfire is they are making this an annual event. sshhhhh
Not only have they added two benchmark skis to their growing iconic lineup- the Seeker and Nomad RKR, but a few material additions have also sprung up. First, for 2013 Icelantic's top-sheet material has changed from Nylon to Carbonium. Carbonium has increased durability, (chip resistant) is lighter, damper, snow doesn't stick to it, and it is by far the finest top-sheet material on the market today.
Keeper Hypnotic Horizon
Icelantic chose Carbonium due to the success Never Summer had with it last year, and to stick to their historical M.O. of providing consumers with skis made up of the finest and most technologically advanced materials on the market, it just made sense. In addition, my thoughts on the Carbonium, especially for this year's artwork, is that it gives the skis a deeper, almost 3D appearance.

There is a lot going on in those graphics, so look deep into the various horizons that move your eye further into the ski when you see them in person, then as your hypnosis grows thicker and your mind becomes heavy, breath deeply, grab the pair off the rack and walk them to the register and just hypnotically nod to the sales associate. They will know what to do.

Second, Icelantic invested in an industrial Wintersteiger tuning machine that provides consumers with a fully tuned ski right out of the wrapper, with a pattern that is specific to each model. That right there is the equivalent of an $80 value if you ask me.

Now to the meat and potatoes my friends. Feast your eyes and turn on your minds.

The 2013 Icelantic Gypsy is back for year two. It's the POW ski all other POW skis want to be like. Back from a year where it was the new kid on the block that everybody wanted to secretly be friends with, even when they were committed to their old friend from years past. The reason? The Gypsy not only floats like a butterfly in the deep, but is cool, calm, and collected when faced with the crunchy, hard packed bully up the block.

This baby can lock in on turns when pressed and turn a bully into a friend connecting front side with backside without having to switch to another set of boards in your quiver mid-day.

One of Icelantic's 2013 new models - (The Seeker is a ski) not for the faint of heart, said one tester at SIA. Another said, "This thing is a different animal altogether, the most powerful ski I've been on in a long time, I can't believe there is no metal in that core."

True to its name, the Seeker is a blood thirsty plank of raw power that big mountain skiers will be gushing over this season. Anybody who is in need of a ski that can man-up to the task of their hard charging ways will be pointing this ski down their favorite couloir and letting their confidence build the run for them. Julian Carr will be riding this one all over the world this year and you may even see this crusher on a few podiums as well.

Ah, the Keeper - a ski that has become another benchmark of Icelantic's line, and personally my favorite graphic for 2013.

Early rise tip and tail and traditional camber underfoot makes this baby an all-mountain ripper that has a surprising 16m turn radius (178cm) on a ski that is 119 mm on the waist. An anomaly in its own right. Take two runs and come back and tell me you don't love this beast.
Take 3 runs and I'll probably be pissed that you took that many runs on a demo day. Come on share the love people.

The 2013 Icelantic Shaman is, as David Byrne so eloquently put it in his song, Once in a Lifetime off the album, Remain In Light, Same as it ever was.

Remain in light while skiing on these two effortless planks of poplar. You will feel the Shamanic light surround you like a pink Snuggy you've sewn yourself into against all your better judgement. In other words its a good move my friends.

This kind of ski comes around once in a lifetime like that sun-kissed beauty you spent 16 magical hours with only to wake up to the realization you will never see her again and strangely, your wallet is missing. So, grab destiny by the snowballs, strap in, throw I Know You Rider on your headphones, and steal an hour back from your life while you cry yourself down the hill - it only gets better with time.

And to keep with old adages,

If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (a proverb meaning it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more) No risk here and no need to keep hunting, your one quiver ski has arrived.
Seeing is believing and in this case skiing is achieving. Get on a pair and you will never look back, I promise.

Stop me if you heard this one. So, a ski walks in a bar with camber sits down in a chair and then falls. A patron of the bar says, "You are off your rocker."

That was terrible and I apologize.

No need for pleasantries though with the NEW FOR 2013 Icelantic Nomad RKR because this ski has already turned heads and will be in all the gnar mags come this fall for best of.

Icelantic did away with the Nomad SFT to keep the confusion down a little and has put together a ski that will inevitably outsell all other Icelantic models in its first year. I'll call it the tramp of the line because this little bitty will be getting around come this winter.

"The most playful and fun ski I have sk'd all day." said one SIA tester.

"I'll take 30 pair." said a Michigan shop owner.

NOMAD RKR, remember it, see it, know it, but don't ever underestimate it. To paraphrase and add-lib Trey Anastasio, . . . this (ski) is going to F#$@ your face, 'Cause it knows how to scream.

 Visual urban artist, Sam Flores (left) and Icelantic Founder, Ben Anderson (right)
posing for a pic with the original limited edition print.

NOTE: American Visual Artist Sam Flores did a live painting at the 2012 SIA show that will be transferred to a limited edition Nomad RKR. Only 100 sets of of the Sam Flores skis will be available.

I believe the cost is $1000 and it includes a limited edition t-shirt, large Giclee art print, a set of Nomad RKRs with the Sam Flores design on them and a set of ski hangers. Sam stopped by and airbrushed the print live at the show after doing his mural for the Denver Airport last January as part of the Terminal Kings project. 

As if the new RKR with a limited edition Sam Flores print wasn't enough excitement to make you change your drawers, Travis Parr has created a Special Edition Nomad RKR to commemorate Loveland's 75th Anniversary.

What does this mean? It means I'm going to have 3 pairs of Nomad RKRs this year and two of those pairs will never see snow, and my girlfriend is just going to have to deal with it!

Stay tuned for the second half of the lineup in the next few days along with the chilly First Degree Boot Review. Shits about to get real.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

LifeProof iPhone and iPad Cases Review

What is so LifeProof about an iPhone case?

With the menagerie of iPhone cases on the market, the need to weed out the pretenders can lead to an extensive Google search that can leave you cross-eyed. Well search no more, LifeProof has designed and engineered cases that are dirt proof, waterproof, snow proof, and shock proof.

Last week at the US based Outdoor Retailer, I tested the durability of the LifeProof iPhone case. At the prompting of the gentleman working the booth, I spiked his LifeProof laden iPhone on the concrete floor, and after a nifty bounce I picked it up with absolutely no sign of damage to the iPhone and the LifeProof case was also in perfect shape.

After doing some digging on the web, I found some great user videos that illustrate the IP-68 waterproof standards -- the highest International Protection rating -- that the LifeProof case exhibits. At the Outdoor Retailer show they had both iPads and iPhones submerged in a tank of water with their displays fully illuminated to show that they were working without a glitch.

In this video a user freedives about 10 feet in the ocean with his iPhone shooting video. Although the LifeProof case is tested to 10 feet, LifeProof recommends staying above 6.6 feet or 2 meters.

As an avid outdoorsmen that puts all my gear through extensive abuse while hiking, skiing, kayaking, and the ever-popular getting out of my car while my iPhone is on my lap, I appreciate the no-nonsense approach that LifeProof as a company displays and the levels of protection that they spell out for you on their website. Further, I find that popular cases like the Otterbox can be obtrusively large and bulky in a pocket, whereas the LifeProof case is surprisingly low profile. 

Although, LifeProof cases start at around $79 or £59.99 for all my UK readers, the functionality in my eyes far exceeds the price. Not only are you getting a bomber case for your most prized electronic possessions, but adding the cost of a LifeProof case from the time you buy your iPhone or iPad until you decide to sell it and trade up will increase the resell value considerably. An unmarked and unscratched used iPhone will garner at least that much more extra cash when you go to resell it. Plus adding a LifeProof case with your sale only makes your ebay listing all the more desirable, which will ultimately make your LifeProof investment back and possibly even a little more. 

I'm not saying you will make money on this device, but take a look for yourself on the web and see how much an iPhone with  sells and one that has rattled around a purse for a year. The difference to me looks considerable.

The best online web store that I found for not only LifeProof cases, but for tons of their accessories is OUTDOORGB.COM for all my UK readers. Armbands, mounts, covers, and cases can all be found on this site. 

If you want a little more information on LifeProof's technologies and products, visit their website at www.LifeProof.com. Worried about your iPhone sinking, they also have a new LifeProof LifeJacket that works seamlessly with your LifeProof case.