Revision Subtraction Review – Blister Gear Review

Recently, Blister Gear Review put a pair of Revision Subtraction powder skis through the paces in Wyoming’s Targhee mountains.  Click here to check out the review.

Blister is widely regarded as one of the most trustworthy and knowledgeable review authorities in the outdoor sporting goods industry. They’ve conducted reviews of countless pairs of skis, and are known for thorough, honest evaluations and reviews of a given ski’s strengths and weaknesses. They know their stuff, and they aren’t scared to post what’s on their mind. And you can’t buy a review from Blister – they will accept no money from the product manufacturer, not even paid advertising on their site.

So, with that, we were stoked that Blister Gear Review found the Subtraction to ride as advertised in their evaluation. Cy Whitling put in over 20 days before writing his Revision Subtraction review and found them to be a lively, poppy, playful ski that you end up spending a ton of time in the air with. Perfect! That’s what we designed them for.

Here are some of Blister Gear’s findings from their Revision Subtraction review:

“(1) It’s quick. Really quick. I spend a fair bit of time on skis in this 110-118mm waist range, and the Subtraction is the quickest I’ve been on, both on the snow and in the air. All it takes is a flick of the ankles to throw the ski sideways, and the ski is very easy to pivot and slash.

(2) On the flip side, the Subtraction is not very damp. While you can push this ski (especially in softer conditions), it wasn’t designed to straight line through bumps, small trees, and lost children in the most direct route to the bottom. Rather, it wants to pivot around and jump off everything. On that note…

(3) It’s poppy. I’ve spent more time in the air on the Subtraction than on any other ski I’ve been on. It’s incredibly easy to load the tails and pop off of any bump or roller. Once in the air, that low swing weight means shifties and spins are very easy.” – Blister Gear Review’s Cy Whitling

Big thanks to Blister Gear Review for the Revision Subtraction review!

Revision Subtraction

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Revision Subtraction review by Blister Ski Review

Cy Whitling on the Revision Subtraction – Targhee, WY. (Photo credit Cy Whitling, Blister Gear Review)

Powder Skiing Chile: Ian Hamilton wins Poor Boyz Undiscovered

In early 2015, Poor Boyz Productions launched Poor Boyz Undiscovered: a month-long search for the best unknown skiers out there. Athletes were invited to submit a 90-second edit, and, based on online voting and a panel of judges, three athletes won a $5,000.00 cash prize and a trip powder skiing Chile’s Andes Mountains with Poor Boyz in the summer of 2015. One of the three winners was Ian Hamilton. Take a look at Ian’s edit reel below, and then check out some photos and read Ian’s quick take on the whole experience.

 

Ian laying down lines while powder skiing Chile's Andes. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

 

Revision Skis: Do you want to start out with the basics of the contest itself? When you decided to enter, everything it took to drum up votes, etc?

I originally saw the contest on Facebook and didn’t pay it much attention until a bunch of people encouraged me to enter. After I looked at the judging criteria and rules I knew I had a pretty good shot at winning so I got together all my best shots and sent them over to my buddy Zach Falen to get them into a 90 second piece. I was super pumped on my edit and really wanted to go to Chile so I went all out. I contacted all my friends, family, and sponsors to help spread the word and I was absolutely blown away by the response I got. A huge thanks to everyone who watched, shared, and voted. I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.

Terrain to expect when powder skiing Chile. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.


Revision Skis: On the trip itself, emotions heading into some powder skiing in Chile? Were you stoked, anxious, a little bit of everything? Did you guys have a smooth trip there?

It was weird winning the contest and knowing the trip was going to happen but having a huge period of time before we actually went. It didn’t really seem real all summer so when the time actually came to go to the airport I was almost in shock. I had no idea what to expect, just a ticket and my gear. It was an easy trip there though, I left Montana around 1 pm and was in Atlanta by 7:30 where I met up with most of the crew before the overnight flight to Santiago. We arrived in Santiago the next morning by 7 and after we got through customs we filmed packing up the van before taking off to Valle Nevado which was an hour north. We ended up going skiing right when we got to Valle Nevado so it was a crazy two days and I slept like a rock my first night in Chile.

Revision Subtraction powder skis; powder skiing Chile. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: How about the lodging?

The lodging was incredible, we partnered with Valle Nevado and then Rocanegra Lodge when we skied outside of Chillan. It the best I have ever stayed and eaten on a ski trip hands down. It was a crazy experience not knowing enough Spanish to communicate and having to do a lot of learning through observing and testing. There was a lot of food that wasn’t familiar but was delicious, and I still don’t know exactly what it was.

The best down time was definitely at Rocanegra Lodge, it is an absolute paradise. Located one valley over from the ski area Nevados de Chillan, Rocanegra is almost a nature retreat. You are surrounded by awesome mountains and the lodge looks like a medieval castle. There are also hottubs, a sauna, a pool and a yoga house. Not to mention the 5 course meals were delectable. I can’t wait to go back someday.

Powder skiing Chile. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: Culture?

Honestly I was surprised at how little culture shock I had. People are people no matter where you go, just trying to live their lives to the fullest. The language barrier was a little strange but everyone was super friendly and stoked on what we were doing. It made me want to travel way more and experience as many places as possible.

Bluebird day while powder skiing Chile's Andes Mountains. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: Terrain?

Ian Hamilton: The Andes blew me away. Never before had I skied such giant alpine peaks. I grew up skiing steep tree runs so having a completely open face was a bit disconcerting. It was totally a learning experience being in those mountains and I am undoubtedly hooked. There were so many options for jumps and cliff hits that we didn’t even scratch the surface. I really want to go back for a longer trip and see more of the terrain.

Andes Mountains: powder skiing Chile. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: New friends made?

Over the course of the trip the entire crew became great friends. I can’t thank the PBP crew enough for such an incredible experience. One of the best parts of the trip for me, however, was spending time with our guides. Having passionate skiers and boarders show you their home terrain is so awesome. I was blown away by how similar-minded a person who lives in a different hemisphere could be. The owner of Rocanegra and also our guide, Ruben, thought about the world in exactly the same way I did. We had great talks about how interconnected everything is and how interaction with nature is a crucial component of a live well lived. I made friends that I will never forget and I hope to see them soon.

Powder skiing Chile - Sunset in the Andes. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: Thoughts on the performance of the skis?

I was so pumped on how the Subtractions skied. We had a lot of variable conditions because we arrived a couple days after a storm. Most places were either wind or sun affected so you had to adjust your skiing every time we changed aspects. The Subtractions handled everything we encountered perfectly, from punchy jump landings to blower faceshots. I can’t believe how well they perform for both jumping and skiing, they are the most playful ski I have ever skied on.

Heli powder skiing Chile's Andes Mountains. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

Revision Skis: What was your overall experience while powder skiing Chile? 

The trip really gave me a whole new perspective on both skiing and traveling. Skiing has really become a vehicle for me to travel and experience the world in a way that would otherwise be impossible. My life has been so positively affected by not just skiing but the people I have met through skiing. It is incredible to share such a burning passion for sliding down a mountain with people from around the world. I truly believe that connecting with nature and other people through something as simple as skiing is one of the best parts of life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

CONGRATS again Ian on winning this sick contest and opportunity!

Powder skiing Chile has Ian like.. Photo cred Ian Hamilton.

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Fernie Wilderness Adventures Snowcat Skiing

Untracked lines.

 

 

Screaming quads. Cold beers with friends while soaking in the hot tub after a 10,000 vertical foot day of knee-deep pow. That’s what it’s all about at Fernie Wilderness Adventures (aka “FWA”), just outside of Fernie, BC. We wanted to take a moment to describe the FWA experience and do our best to convince you to go there.

Cat skiing with toothless Canucks. (Photo Pat Besile)

Cat skiing with toothless Canucks is the best. (Pat Belisle Photo)

Snowcat skiing at FWA is a laid-back, kick ass experience. For a long time now we’ve enjoyed an awesome partnership with them as a testing ground for our skis, for some sweet filming trips for our athletes, and running contests like the Fernie Wilderness Adventures / Revision Skis Giveaway. Most of the FWA guides are on Revision Subtractions, and FWA has a full fleet of Revision rentals to choose from when guests need powder skis. We’ve gotten to know the guys and the operation pretty well over the years, and they are seriously some of the most chill, well meaning folks in the ski industry.

Our most recent trip wasn’t about filming, testing, or marketing though. It was just for fun and bromance. Coming from the states, four of us flew into Kalispell, Montana, for an easy two hour drive north to Fernie. Along the way you can stop at Whitefish Mountain to get the legs warmed up, or ride at Fernie Alpine Resort when you get to town.

The lodge at Fernie Wilderness Adventures. (Photo Pat Belise)

The lodge at Fernie Wilderness Adventures. (Pat Belilse Photo)

 

Stay at the lodge!

 

 

You can day ski at FWA, or you can stay in the lodge, which is the way to go. It’s a relaxing, rustic luxury, badass little hunting camp experience tucked into the mountains. The hot tub mentioned above? It’s heated by a welded aluminum wood fire box which sits right inside of the water, and is cooled by with a stream of ice cold hose water when you need it. It’s an awesome example of backcountry ingenuity.

And if you’re staying at the lodge, once you’re there, you’re there. You can bring in your own beers (and for God’s sake, stock up at duty free if you can!), but all of the cooking is taken care of for you when you stay at FWA. No need to run out to the grocery store, or to a restaurant, but Fernie is just a short drive away if a night on the town is in the cards.

The lodge at Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

The lodge at Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

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Go ahead, fall asleep early like this wanker.

Arguably the best part to staying at the guest lodge is that after the day is over, and the day’s slideshow has been run (FWA provides professional photography to shoot pics throughout the day), the day crowd takes off and sweet silence descends on the cabin. At this point, you have the place to yourself and a small group of friends, and it feels like your own cabin. Pop a beer, sink into the comfy leather couches, enjoy a home cooked dinner, or watch the stars on the deck out back. Crash in a super comfortable bed and sleep good after a long day of catskiing. It’s awesome.

There are eight guest rooms in the back of the lodge, with single or double occupancy. We were lucky enough to score our own rooms, which was awesome, but if they are booked up a double occupancy room is more than enough for a pair of friends.

 

 

 

The skiing

 

Each ski day at FWA begins with the guides and day skiers arriving at around 7:30 or so in the morning. After the safety briefs are given and waivers are signed, the snow cat takes off at around 8:30 for the 45-minute or so trip up the mountain. The first run is generally pretty mellow to help you warm up and to let the guides check out the group’s ability.

Then, you just go from there depending on the group’s ability that day, riding lines from alpine meadows, flowy and open ridgelines, to steep and glades. You’ll drop into aptly named runs such as Heaven, Stellar, Paradise, and Sweetness. FWA operates up to three snowcats, with groups of around 10-12 riders each. You can tag along with a group of new faces, or even rent out your own snow cat for you and your buddies. Expect to rack up from 8-10 runs through the deep, legendary powder that Fernie is known for.

Fernie Wilderness Adven

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Jamie Warner Photo)

On our second day of skiing, we began skiing with photographer Pat Belisle. After climbing into the snow cat at the bottom of one of the first runs of the day, we were laughing about how nice the snow was. Light, and fast. We were flying through the meadows on the runouts and grinning our asses off. I asked Pat if we were blessed by Ullr with perfect snow, or if this was pretty regular. He just smiled and said “We get this type of snow all the time.”

Thanks to some terrain changes coming down the pipe for the 2016/2017 season, there has never been a better time to go snow cat skiing at FWA. Working with the forest management company which leases the tenure area to FWA, they will build a series of new snow cat routes and glade out a bunch of additional new terrain this summer. What that means is that the snow cats will be able to more efficiently move around the 5,000+ acres of amped up Subtraction playground. FWA has been daydreaming about improved snowcat routes for years, and now is the time to make it happen.

Guiding at FWA is a good gig! (PatBelislePhoto)

Being a guide at FWA seems like a good gig! (Pat Belisle Photo)

 

In the white room with black curtains near the station (Jamie Warner Photo)

In the white room (with black curtains near the station?) (Jamie Warner Photo)

At the top of a nice steep, open line at FWA in the "Heaven" zone.

At the top of a nice steep, open line at FWA in the “Heaven” zone.

 

Same line as the photo at left, looking up at Heaven..

Same line as the photo at above, looking up at Heaven.

 

Heli vs. cat?

 

So, maybe you’re ready to pull the trigger on the ski trip of a lifetime (or at least, that’s what you tell your wife while also scheming another “trip of a lifetime” for the following winter). So what’s the difference between cat skiing and heli skiing? We’ve been lucky enough to have done a little of both and were talking about it with other skiers in the cat who have also heli skied and cat skied. What’s better?

Taking a cruise at TLH Heli Skiing

Taking a nice ride at TLH Heli Skiing

To a lot of people, heli skiing is the holy grail. The birds quickly and repeatedly drop you onto untracked lines. However, you better be in damn good ski shape, as there’s not much time for rest in between runs. You might be surprised by how mellow many of the runs are (though still amazing nonetheless). Additionally, during storm cycles there may be days when the helicopter can’t fly due to low visibility, and if the operation doesn’t have a backup snow cat…. you’re f*cked. There’s no more cruel way to torture a skier’s soul than knowing that the powder is out there, but you can’t get to it.

 

 

Heli weather? Nope. (Pat Belisle Photo)

Heli weather? Nope. (Pat Belisle Photo)

 

Snow cats, on the other hand, can run in any conditions and keep you skiing in the trees when visibility is garbage. Additionally, you will often get into more challenging terrain than typically catered to heli clientele, such as glacier milk runs where farmed turns and figure 8 contests are the ticket. And with a cat, once you’re done with a run, you have 10 minutes or so before the cat gets back to the top, plenty of time for a quick rest and to refuel on food and drink. (By the way, FWA stocks each cat with a full day’s supply of snacks, food, water, and juice.) So, it’s not always true in our experience that heli skiing is necessarily better than cat skiing. They are just different, each in their own good way, and one is a lot, lot more affordable than the other.

 

Thinking about going to Eff-Double-you-Eh? Here are some tips.

 

  • If you don’t already own a pair of powder skis, FWA has a full fleet of rental skis to choose from, including a stable of Revision Subtraction Powder Skis. Based on the smiles we saw on faces of guests who had rented pow skis, they were glad they did.
Part of the Revision Subtraction rental fleet at FWA

Part of the Revision Subtraction rental fleet at FWA

  • Listen to your guides. They want you to have fun while keeping you safe. They are happy to point you towards whatever you want to ride, from a meadow to a cliff drop. It’s all up to you. But, stay within bounds. Nobody likes waiting while a straggler who went off course is rounded up.
  • There can be friends on powder days at FWA! Take turns dropping in from first to last. There is plenty of powder for everyone. Nobody likes the guy who cuts in front every time.
  • Leave some room between skiers. While everyone will have a partner, you don’t need to ski up their keester. It’s all a lot more fun when you can bomb down the entire run without getting jammed up in the woods.
  • Pay attention during the safety instruction. You don’t want to get run over by a snowcat or be a bump on a log if you need to help out in an emergency situation (that being said, FWA has a stellar safety record).
  • Go for a few days in a row. You will relish the look of envy when you tell your new friends in the snow cat that yup, you get to do it all again tomorrow.
  • Take some backup gear like an extra set of goggles and mittens. There is plenty of room on the cat to stash a small backpack. Make sure you have everything, because once the cat is up for the day there’s no coming back.
  • Be a pretty good skier. You don’t have to be an expert, but to have a good time you should be comfortable skiing most runs at a resort. While a lot of cat operations will accept almost anyone in the name of a profit, FWA really encourages strong riders so that everyone has a great time, and tends to shoo away people who might not be ready to cat ski yet. That’s a really cool part about cat skiing at FWA.
  • Fernie Wilderness Adventures is easy to get to from Kalispell, MT for travel via the states, or via Calgary. It’s about a 2-3 hour drive from either airport. If you are coming from the US and intend to drink some beer on your trip, definitely stock up at duty free at the border. Canadian beer prices are through the roof.
  • Stay at the lodge!
  • Tip your guides, (and if staying at the lodge, the hostess). A good amount to tip is $25-$30 for a day of skiing, which goes into the tip pot and is divided up between the guides and snow cat drivers. If you are skiing multiple days you can just pay into the pot after your last day.

 

Fernie Wilderness Adventures ( Jamie Warner Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures ( Jamie Warner Photo)

 

Oh, and one last thing.

Come back for the fly fishing:
When the snow melts, FWA turns its attention to guided fly fishing on the waters of the Elk Valley. We haven’t personally been able to make it to Fernie for the fly fishing, but it’s on our bucket list. FWA goes above and beyond to get you to the best secret, uncrowded, remote locations. You will catch fish and you will have fun.

FWA_guidedfishing_logo-300x234

 

Parting Shots.

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Fernie Wilderness Adventures (Pat Belisle Photo)

Revision Skis & Apparel

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Filming Advance at Grand Targhee Resort

 Over the winter of 2014/2015, Grand Targhee Resort was the playground where the Revision crew filmed part of our short film, “Advance.” Revision skis athletes Chris McKeever, Danny Arnold, and Jake Fagrelius, filmer Mike Kvackay, and photographer Arthur Balluff hit the resort on March 12th. Half of the guys had road tripped from Colorado, a 6-hour white knuckle ride through a blizzard in a rented Toyota Camry (note from Mike, Teton Pass is not advisable in 2wd in a whiteout). We caught up with the guys to talk about the trip and also to gain some perspective on everything that goes into creating a film like “Advance.”

Grand Targhee Resort is located in the Teton Mountains, in the town of Alta, a quick ride north of Jackson. The crew was put up in the Sioux Lodge, which is conveniently located right at the base of the hill and made for a great bonding experience in the comfy quarters of the lodge.

The overnight snowstorm ended up dumping about 8″ of freshies, and the crew headed out the first morning to what Kvackay describes as “probably the gnarliest in bounds terrain of any resort I have been to.” Grand Targhee offers over 2,600 acres of terrain, has a vertical drop of nearly 2,300 feet, and five lifts which spread out the crowds and keep lift lines short. With awesome terrain and the cold smoke powder found in the interior, it was the perfect setting for the opening scenes for “Advance.” 

Danny Arnold backflip

Danny with a nice backie into that perfect Grand Targhee pow – photo credit Arthur Balluff

After the first dump, the rest of the trip was quite warm and dry. No more snow fell and the temps climbed into the 40s, but still, freshies were to be found. “The backcountry access was perfect. 3 days after our storm, we could still find fresh tracks only a few hundred feet from a lift.”  – Mike Kvackay, Filmer

Creating even a short film like Advance is an exhausting effort that a lot of people take for granted. Even working with the rad Grand Targhee terrain, the crew shot for 6 days, with only a handful of shoots ever making it to the viewer’s eyes. There can be a lot of variables in a shot, such as camera errors like missed focus or simply the skier just didn’t land it. On hill, Kvackay was the only snowboarder on a “ski only” trip, which was hard. Whether traversing to a film spot, or unstrapping after getting stuck, and lugging 20 pounds of camera pack, the going was tough for him. After the filming is done, Mike needed to edit and label shots for hours after 6 hours of hiking and skiing around. “Let’s just say that it is a full time job with everything combined together.”

Revision skis athlete Jake Fagrelius spinning on Subtraction pow skis at Grand Targhee

Jake Fagrelius jibbing a Grand Targhee pillow – photo credit Arthur Balluff

“All of the athletes stepped up their game. Danny killed it. I love skiing with him and he really pushes himself on every feature. I would have to say his naked backflip was my favorite. The snow had been sunbaked so getting speed was an issue but he pulled that bad boy around with nothing on but his ski boots and his transceiver. Chris also charged hard on resort, not even speed checking through gullies riddled with moguls and trees. Everyone was super friendly, the stoke was high and we got some killer shots from the trip. I cannot wait to head back soon.” – Mike Kvackay

 

All told, Grand Targhee turned out to be the perfect place to film for “Advance.” We’re thankful for the opportunity and their generosity in hosting us.

 

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8″ of dry Grand Targhee powder on Day 1

 

RevisionSkis-Targhee-Day-2-40

Grand Targhee Day 2

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Grand Targhee Resort Day 3