Category Archives: Articles

Gore Tex, What is it? How does it work?

Gore Tex 2L vs 3L ever wondered what the difference is?

Read on.

This is from Peter Glenn Sports and demonstrates in a very simple and concise way how Gore Tex works in theory and also the difference between 2L and 3L tech.

Disclaimer:

Everything here is just a suggestion, I strongly recommend you follow the directions on your clothing before attempting any of these instructions.

This is not an exhaustive list but will help you to understand what your clothes are doing. And how to get the best performance out of them, through proper maintenance.

You don’t take your board down the slopes for an entire season on one wax, so why should your clothes be any different? Maintenance makes your gear last longer, perform better and keeps you more comfortable. This leaves you to worry about what run you are going to take next. Instead of if you can stay warm and comfortable enough to last that lift up the mountain again.

Gore Tex Care

The pores are so small that even your sweat(liquid form) can block the pores, it is very important to keep the gear clean as dirt will block the pores and negatively impact the breathability of the fabric. Things as simple as the oil from your skin or sunscreen will block it up as well, so it is very important to clean regularly as you use the gear.

As with any garment, follow the instructions on each one to understand the best way to treat them, as a guide however:

You are ok to machine wash at warm temperatures with detergent but no fabric softener, make sure it gets a good rinse cycle to get all the dirt out of the pores.

Contrary to what you may think, most Gore Tex gear will actually benefit from a Warm Tumble dry if the DWR is not performing up to par. It helps by reactivating the treatment on your clothing (make sure that your gear allows for this!).

As stated on the wiki

Both wear and cleaning will reduce the performance of Gore-Tex clothes by wearing away the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment on the surface of the fabric. The DWR prevents the face fabric(external facing) from becoming wet and thus reducing breathability. However, the DWR is not responsible for the jacket being waterproof. This is a common misconception, so when the face fabric becomes soaked due to an absence of DWR, there is no breathability and the wearer’s sweat will cause condensation to form inside the jacket. This may give the appearance that a jacket is leaking when it is not, but the DWR is still crucial to the best performance of any membrane-based waterproofing. It can be reinvigorated by tumble drying the garment or ironing on a very low setting. If this does not work, re-proofing the garment by applying a topical water repellency restorative (DWR treatment) for outdoor fabrics can be used. Wash-in re-proofers are not recommended for this use, as they can hinder the garment’s breathability. They coat the inside and can prevent liquid passing out of the garment.

Understanding the technology

Gore Tex is by itself not waterproof, it has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) layer, they together make the product both breathable and waterproof. This is also the reason the seams of gore tex are taped. This is the waterproofing that protects you from getting wet.

The most common issue for gore tex is that the DWR layer wears away over time, you sweat underneath the fabric or dirt clogs the pores. When this happens, your sweat accumulates instead of moving through the fabric and can give you a wet feeling that is mistaken for a loss of waterproofing in the clothing.

Breathability Rating

Breathability is measured by how much water vapor passes through a fabric in a 24 hour period(measured in grams per square meter), the maths is (g/m2/24hrs), or just g depending on the way a brand labels it. This rating can vary anywhere from the low ratings such as 5k, up to 20k and beyond.

Waterproof Rating: You could get 5k, 10k, 20k or more, but what does it all mean?

This rating for gore tex is usually significantly higher than other fabrics, this can be 20k all the way up to 60k. Most of the time Gore Tex won’t claim a waterproof rating because they guarantee its waterproofing.

But what do all these figures mean? 20k is a Hydrostatic head of 20,000mm, the hydrostatic head is the height of a column of water that produces enough pressure to force water through a material. This means that in 20k gear the column of water must be 20 meters high to lose waterproofing. This is why Gore Tex can guarantee waterproof rating, there is no way anyone is pushing water through that under reasonable circumstances.

The only time water seep can be a problem is either, when you are sitting on a lift chair and your weight is enough to force water through, or the most common. You are sweating too much or have lost your breathability and your sweat is accumulating inside.

2L vs 3L

Gore Tex can then be labeled as 2L or 3L, this refers to the inner layer of the jacket ONLY. The outside of both are NO DIFFERENT.

To understand this better, let’s look at the layers:

From the outside, which is your membrane layer, you then have your nylon layer to protect the jacket (this can be thick or thin). The third layer(3L) is the mesh laminated on the inside to protect the wearer from rubbing against the membrane. 2L doesn’t have this layer instead, it has a loose lining instead to protect the membrane.

This means you have a trade off, 3L will be more durable but 2L will be more breathable. However, the loose lining will make 2L warmer but 3L can in a lot of cases have a fleece lining. In the end it comes down to your personal preference, don’t think 3L is better just because it’s a bigger number. Your needs dictate the most suitable product.

Cleaning


NikWax Tech Wash is Cheap and Effective

Understand that Gore Tex is a brand, not a product.

Anyone can make gear licensed under the name and technology. Also, the patent for this is now expired so companies are free to use and tweak it as much as they like. As such you will see a lot of other brands making similar fabric products and you shouldn’t necessarily think that Gore Tex is better.

It’s possible that their product was in fact made with the Gore Tex technology but slightly tweaked.

Here are some links to official Gore tex articles, as always, the recommendations may not apply to your gear so be certain it allows machine washes and ironing and so on, BEFORE doing it.

I hope this gives you a little more insight into the technology that is Gore Tex, helping you to make a better decision on what product you are going to buy.

Gore Tex Care Center

http://www.gore-tex.com.au/care-centre/w1/i1001207/

Gore Tex Wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore-Tex

PDF Breathability Tests

A comparison of Membrane vs Gore tex as well as conduit, sympatex, lowe alpine, nextec, schoeller, titanium

http://www.shelby.fi/tips/breathability.pdf

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The Kevin Pearce Story: Why you should wear a helmet

For those not aware, Kevin Pearce was injured whilst training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. He was Shaun Whites closest competition.
Pearce, of Norwich, Vt., has been considered a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic Team. He is one of the few competitors to challenge snowboarder Shaun White, besting him at the Burton European Open in 2008 and 2009 and taking the silver medal at last winter’s X Games, losing the gold medal to White by one point.
His accident occurred when he hit his head above one of his eyes on the wall of a halfpipe, and was knocked unconcsious. He had to be airlifted to hospital and have fluid drained to relieve buildup on his brain.
This is a really big thing to read, it is tough to see all this and not want to be in a helmet all the time. It put into perspective for me that a helmet is not an option, especially if you want to take risks.
I’ve included some articles below about the event and the progression of the injuries and recovery.

This is the helmet I use.
It’s perfect. I may have preferred the non brim version, mines in white which is great for finding me on the mountain. But the brim helps keep your goggles from snapping down on your face randomly and the removable earmuffs are killer. I’m not kidding about white being easy to find, no-one buys white gear so I’m always the only white helmet person out there.

They allow you to have Earphones to replace your earmuffs for 50 bucks

If you have plenty of cash to spend, you can even get the Bluetooth Skullcandy Kit

The Problem with Online Advice Part Two – Waxing Your Board

I’ve done this before and I need to pick on these types of articles yet again, there really are some blatant assumptions made and in a lot of cases this causes people to make decisions and choices that are wrong. Researching the facts in here makes me understand exactly why they are wrong and in turn it helps you to understand that you just can’t believe everything you read.

The bad advice

http://goarticles.com/article/The-Usefulness-of-Waxing-and-Tuning-Your-Ski-and-Snowboard-the-Right-Way/5450063/

You should always wax your snowboard base even if it’s a newer model with supposedly higher-tech base material. There are a number of benefits that come with waxing your board base. As well as providing you with a larger amount of control, your board will last a lot longer versus not waxing it. The wax will allow for a shielding type of coating for your base. If you are known for riding on artificial snow, then you should be aware that there are oils in the artificial snow that will mount up on your base. As time goes on, those oils will filter though your board and put a permanent film of sticky residue on it. A decent coat of base wax additionally safeguards against little dings and damage that can seriously obstruct the regular implementation of your ride.

Skiers and board riders should always be ready when their equipment simply doesn’t function as it should. You know what we mean if you’ve ever had those days.

You can wax on the spot if you’re ready with a bar of base wax. Your skis or board will sometimes have the wax peeled right off their base by the ice. A fast application of wax to your base is usually all you need when this happens. Hey, it’ll get you through the day, trust us. The best type of wax to use is a general purpose type that contains fluorine. What’s so special about fluorine? Easy, that’s what makes the wax slick and slippery -like a mouse’s lip. That way, your skis won’t stick to the snow but glide on it. It’s a lot more fun that way.

The Good advice

Backing up good advice with citations to show that knowledge is power and some people just blab useless, pointless information.

Things came to a halt for me in this article when they start talking about waxing newer model boards. Note that this is just the middle of the article, the beginning and end paragraphs have been cut out as I don’t have a beef with them.

All boards need wax, there are some “waxless” skis but you still need to apply glide wax to the tip and tail of these products. http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/glide+waxing+skis+snowboard.html

The point of waxing a board, is not just to protect the base. Your board has pores.  The pores absorb the wax over time, this is why it is suggested that you wax up the layer and then leave it and don’t scrape it off in a hurry.

Artificial Snow in the most common occurrence is actually just a protein from a bacteria that allows snow to be created at higher temperatures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowmaking

There are no damaging oils used in this process (or at least there shouldn’t be) these would all be prohibitive in the freezing process anyway.

Waxing on the spot can be done with cold wax pastes such as Burtons Fluoro variety http://www.burton.com/mens-tools-tuning-fluoro-paste-wax-all-temp/229692,default,pd.html This is really not something that anyone should need to do in a normal day of riding, you can apply proper coatings of hot wax at night and cold wax applications will in theory, not give you as good a layer or last anywhere near as long.

As I have said before, follow expert advice and make sure to do your own research to make sure that people aren’t just making stuff up!

I have an article I posted a while back with dogfunks waxing guide, a good read and worth following. I do.

https://snowvocaine.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/maintenance-waxing-and-scraping-your-board/

Crazy Link, Powered Snowboard a Snowski and Snowboards Bastard Child

Who needs a snowski when you can do this…. something tells me it needs some improvements to go mainstream.

www.jimmydz.com

Jackson Hole Vacation Giveaway

Sierra Trading Post have a Vacation giveaway, you can enter daily so make sure you do!

Entry period for the wintry week getaway in Jackson Hole, WY ends at 11:59 p.m. (MDT) or closing time for retail-store entries on October 16, 2011. Individuals may enter this sweepstakes by filling out the online form only once per the daily 24-hour registration period beginning at 12:01 a.m. September 7,

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/jackson-hole-giveaway/?osid=hp-_-Staff-Picks-_-100411-_-jackson-hole-giveaway-_-2

One lucky winner and up to three guests will bunk up in a luxurious two-bedroom suite, play like kids in a haven for winter sports, and indulge in the local dining, art and shopping of Jackson Hole, WY.

Trip highlights include:

  • Round trip airfare and rental car
  • Six days/seven nights at Teton Mtn. Lodge & Spa
  • Lift tickets and rentals for two days at Jackson Hole Resort
  • Spa treatments at The Solitude Spa
  • Snowshoeing excursion at Grand Teton National Park
  • Sleigh tour of the National Elk Refuge
  • National Museum of Art pass and Christmas at the Playhouse
  • Gift cards to superb local restaurants

Enter daily for your chance to win. No purchase necessary. Some restrictions apply.

Behind the Scenes Art of Flight Videos

If you are like me and obsessed with this movie, owning this in HD just isn’t enough.

I’ve been hunting down the behind the scenes work for a while. Heres a good list for the photo nerds who want to see how a lot of it is done. This is on top of the extras in the blura,y which you should have seen if you are a true addict.

A little cruise in the helicopter to see what was done with the Cineflex (a bit light on for me)

http://snowboardmag.com/videos/behind-scenes-art-flight-aspensnowmass

Interview with the man, Travis Rice, has a slideshow and he talks about his ideas for the movie.

http://espn.go.com/action/snowboarding/blog/_/post/6932481/travis-rice

The token Youtube official video with all their frustrations, it really shows how critical light gear is and how HDSLR cameras are changing the future of cinematography through high quality video in small packages. Even though they don’t shoot with them, it still is highlighted for me when they bitch about all the crap they are lugging about.

Jackson Hole Vacation Giveaway


Sierra Trading Post have a Vacation giveaway, you can enter daily so make sure you do!

Entry period for the wintry week getaway in Jackson Hole, WY ends at 11:59 p.m. (MDT) or closing time for retail-store entries on October 16, 2011. Individuals may enter this sweepstakes by filling out the online form only once per the daily 24-hour registration period beginning at 12:01 a.m. September 7,

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/jackson-hole-giveaway/?osid=hp-_-Staff-Picks-_-100411-_-jackson-hole-giveaway-_-2

One lucky winner and up to three guests will bunk up in a luxurious two-bedroom suite, play like kids in a haven for winter sports, and indulge in the local dining, art and shopping of Jackson Hole, WY.

Trip highlights include:

  • Round trip airfare and rental car
  • Six days/seven nights at Teton Mtn. Lodge & Spa
  • Lift tickets and rentals for two days at Jackson Hole Resort
  • Spa treatments at The Solitude Spa
  • Snowshoeing excursion at Grand Teton National Park
  • Sleigh tour of the National Elk Refuge
  • National Museum of Art pass and Christmas at the Playhouse
  • Gift cards to superb local restaurants

Enter daily for your chance to win. No purchase necessary. Some restrictions apply.

Fitness: Get in shape and get fit for the snowboard season

I found a great site with some really handy and simple workouts that if done right, can help with your strength, core and cardio for the upcoming season. Make sure you are not breaking form on the exercises, as not holding the form (shape of your body) can do more harm than good through injury.

Pro tip: Not holding form is easily spotted by bending your back and sticking your bum in the air during pushups (you should be able to see the sky, head up). Twisting when using weights(bad), squats should have parallel knees to feet and a straight back.

http://www.pro-ride.com/snowboard_workout.cfm

note: These are just suggestions, if you are really serious about exercising and avoiding injury. You should seek professional advice through a fitness trainer to improve your form. Just like instructors on the mountain do, a trainer can see what you are doing wrong and help you to train yourself to keep form through professional advice and knowledge.

The Problem With Online Advice

Not everyone knows what they are talking about, take what you hear with a grain of salt and make sure you are thinking on your own and not just blindly following random internet statements about gear:

http://www.20vn.com/snowboarding/the-three-most-important-features-to-look-for-in-a-snowboard-jacket-e33.htm#.Tn9uaHPLOJs

The warmth of a snowboard jacket is crucial if you want to enjoy yourself and have a great time whilesnowboarding. When you’re cold, you are miserable, period. Make sure you pick a jacket that will keep you warm no matter what the conditions. It is much better to have a jacket that is too warm than one that is not warm enough.

I completely disagree, I run with a shell jacket and it has basically no warmth to it at all, it is breathable (gore tex) and it is rugged but it has no insulating materials whatsoever (barring the obvious elements protection a shell gives you). The reason this is so contradictory is that the primary reason you want a snow jacket to be breathable is so the water vapor that is produced when you sweat needs to escape. The last thing you want is the sweat condensing inside the jacket, being trapped in with you and you being all hot then wet and or cold during the day once that all accumulates.

Opening a jacket up during the day is a really bad thing to have to deal with, it flaps at speed, if you eat it you get snow all over you, it can get caught in things and just generally becomes a pain. The reason shell outer layers are so popular is you can stack up and down layers underneath to control your temperature and instead of being sweaty hot or freezing cold, you can managed your clothing year round and day round by adding and removing as you need to.

The shell practice usually falls into three categories:

Base Layer: This is your skin contact layer, this can be as simple as underwear or as full covering as skin tight thermals. You will see terms such as “moisture wicking” which is all about getting that moisture away from your skin and up near your breathable jacket, it turns into vapor and it will pass out your jacket and pants if they have the ability to let it.

Middle Layer: When people open their jacket and you see a jumper underneath, this is the layer we are talking about. In the warmer periods this may be as simple as a tshirt or long sleeve shirt and can be expanded all the way up to fleece and polar fleece gear. The beauty being that you can stack layers together to increase insulation and to give you more flexibility during different temperatures of the day, different types of snow events(downhill, park, back country) and differing seasons. You can shed and add layers easily to keep your temperature comfortable without pushing you into too hot or too cold territory.

Outer Layer (shell):  This is where those lightweight clothes with no liner come into their own, they are thin and breathable so they allow you to dress up and down underneath them however you want to achieve perfect temperature management. I never have to worry about a warm jacket making me stink up and sweat through spring sessions or to worry that I didn’t get a thick enough jacket during blizzard days.

If you disagree with anything I have said then good, you have a mind of your own and you are thinking for yourself. A lot of advice is helping you to prevent making mistakes on your own, but the worst mistake you can make is to follow bad advice. Think for yourself and do what works for you.

Maintenance: Waxing and Scraping your Snowboard

Waxing your board for the end of season or because you aren’t getting the speed you want is an important part of board maintenance.

Dogfunk.com has some good youtube videos, two of them are how to Hot Wax your board both for the end of the season and during. I would love to wax with the shavings as well.

Hot Wax Application

Really good things to note in this video:

Do’s

  • wax your board and leave it on there at the end of the season
  • Take your bindings off your deck before waxing the board (this helps get a smooth wax)
  • Scrape off any excess wax before starting
  • sweep from end to end on the board evenly, long continuous strokes
  • Let it sit for at least 20 Minutes (the more the better) overnight is ideal
Don’ts
  • Tip and tail first, then the middle section of the board
  • Do not let the iron sit on the board ever
  •  Make sure your iron isn’t smoking, the heat should just be warm

Scraping

Really good things to note in this video:

  • Sharpen your scraper before starting
  • Start with Tips and Tails
  • Use a 45 degree angle and scrape hard
  • Get all the excess off your edges