Dan Bergdahl

When James asked me to join the abetterski team I couldn’t have been more excited.  Admittedly, I have never been much of a “gear hoar”.  Rather I prefer an old pair of whatever that is comfortable and works well.  With me, the challenge is on the gear manufacturer.  Make me want to replace my old comfortable with some kick ass new gear.  I believe in both form and function.  My gear has to work for the conditions it was designed for, be well crafted and durable, comfortable, and yes, look cool as well.

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Years Skiing- I really started skiing when I turned 16 and I finally got my drivers license.  My friends and I would regularly take off after school and head up to our local mountain which was only 2 hours away (we made it in 1 1/2).  After I graduated pre-med, I decided to become a ski bum instead of getting a real job.  18 years later I am keeping the dream alive and skiing almost every day during the long Mammoth season.

Days a year– Somewhere around 100 I guess

How much gear I try– In the past I would use an item till it was worn out then I would go out in search of a new one.  When it was time to purchase a new item, money was never an object. I just wanted to get the best I could find that fit my body and eye.  Now that I am looking at new gear all the time, I am finding out how the little details are what really make a great piece of gear.

Skiing Style– I would describe my skiing style as aggressive and creative. I like to go fast and take the lines less traveled, the steeper the better.  Also, while I am turning and cruising and avoiding people when necessary, I am always looking for a way to catch some air.  For me, skiing is as close to flying as I will ever get and that is the feeling that I am looking for with my skiing.  While spend all the quality hours possible looking for smooth powder, you can also find me carving up some groomers or sliding some rails in the park.  Sorry, no more gigantic inverted airs for me kids.

Favorite type of ski– I have spent most of the last 2 years on a 178 Line Chronic unless the snow is deep. I like playful all-mountain skis that can hold an edge at high speeds and rip 6 inches of crud like a hot knife through butter.  I like traditional camber with early rise tip and tail for most conditions.  On deep days, A nice fat 115 with a softer flex and scoopy tip and tail for the float.

Specs– 6’1″, 185 lbs. size 10.5 shoe, size 27.5 shell. 34″ waist. I pretty much wear a large in everything.  I wear 34-32″ jeans.  I have a medium build with broad shoulders.

 

Alessandra Ciachella

Hi everyone, Ale here signing in with abetterski.com and joining the gear review team.  I couldn’t be more excited about testing all the latest and greatest skiing equipment and getting to try on all those clothes.  Who could have thought that a girl born in the tropics of Central America would be living in Mammoth Lakes CA and testing skiing equipment for the internet.  Well here I am and here we go.

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Years skiing– I learned how to ski when I was a little girl down in Chile.  We also had cousins in Argentina who loved to ski so my family would frequently visit and head up to San Martin de los Andes.  When I moved to America I decided to head up to Mammoth Lakes CA to join another cousin.  I was then I decided to become a ski instructor and have been teaching for the last 4 seasons.

Days a year– something like 75

How much Gear I Try– As my skiing has progressed over the years, so has my taste in equipment. I love trying new skis and discovering new  feelings and possibilities with the equipment. It is surprising the range of shapes and designs.  If only there was more time. . .

Skiing Style– I would describe myself as a cruiser.  On an average day you could find me making turns on some groomers or working on keeping my weight forward on the steeper terrain.  Of course I love the powder and always look forward to improving my style in the soft stuff. I like going fast and like to feel in control over the terrain.

Favorite type of ski–  On an average day you can find me on a pair of all-mountain carvers somewhere around 160cm.  I prefer a traditional camber and love the maneuverability of an early rise tip and tail.  For powder skiing, I like something soft, fat, and playful to go cruising through the powder.

Specs– 5’6″ 119lbs size 7 shoe, 23.5 shell size, pants size 2. 34c-28-36, I wear small in most everything in most everything I buy except some outerwear.

Chris Moore

Chris newly joined abetterski.com beginning winter of 2016.  As an amateur gearhead, he has always enjoyed finding out what makes a product better.  His passion for construction, design and manufacturing allow him to hear the softly told stories of the gear we love.

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I am stoked to be part of the abetterski.com team, my addiction for gear is fueled by its ability to push each skier into new territories.  Pro and amateur skier alike, finding the best gear is a personal journey, I hope that my insight can be a part of that journey by providing unbiased, real reviews independent of brand name or marketing dollars.  I hope that you find the reviews made by the contributors of abetterski.com, including myself, helpful and informative.

Years Skiing– New Hampshire winters are cold, bone chillingly cold, you have two options growing up in North East winters: sit by the fireplace with some hot cider, or go skiing.  Being a young boy with plenty of energy, I chose the latter.  The first time I was on skis, I was 4 years old, I can still remember that feeling that straight-lining down the green run at Gunstock gave me, and I still feel that joy every time I step in to my bindings.

Days a Year- 75-125 days

How Much Gear I Try- I try and test everything I can, I have an appreciation for skis of all shapes and sizes.  On a typical day at my home resort, in Park City, UT, I can most likely be found on an all mountain ski with a little bit of shape to it.

Skiing Style– Not sure there is much “style” involved in my skiing, some would label me as an aggressive skier, groomers, steeps, trees, powder, bumps, ice, I love it all.  Namely, I look for solitude, for places where I can have the mountain to myself, and to connect with the sport in a peaceful way.  Many times, this leads me out of the gates, or awake before the sun, I am drawn toward the tallest peaks and not always the best skiing.  When it snows 12”+, I tend to ignore my email till late in the day, put up an away message and connect with what is important, friends, nature, and stoke.

Favorite Type of Ski– One ski? That’s a tough question.  Being that I live in Utah, and I know my resort well enough to find soft snow on most days, I need something that skis the groomers well, that can handle crud, and loves deep snow.  I ski with heavy edges and prefer a ski that has camber underfoot and shape at the waist.  Last year I spent a good portion of days on the RAMP Peace Pipe (RIP RAMP), it carved well, and floated in the deep stuff.

Specs– 6’0” 190lbs and size 13 foot.  I usually fit in a large tops and large bottoms in nearly every brand.  Mondo size 29.5, and depending on the ski and mission, 175-190cm.

 

Jen Hudak

Jen was a pro skier for 11 years, but has found freedom in the afterlife by being able to try out gear from all different brands! New to ABetterSki in 2016, she’s excited to https her perspective on skis, bindings, goggles, helmets, and gloves but especially clothes!

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Years Skiing- 27. It’s crazy to say that number out loud… but the only activity that I’ve done longer than ski, is eat! I started skiing when I was 3 years old and never looked back (thanks dad!).

Days a Year- 50ish +/- 10 (a lot more when I was competing…)

How Much Gear I Try- I’ll test as much gear as I’m given and the rest of the stuff that I buy! I’m extremely picky about my gear. My husband would say that I’m like The Princess and the Pea. Fit is extremely important to me and I’ve been known to throw temper tantrums when something doesn’t fit right or if layers get too bunched up. I’m always curious about how different skis perform (especially the hot-ticket items, to see if they’re worth all the fuss) and can make a goggle fog up like it’s my job.

Skiing Style- Fluid and strong. I like to ski aggressively but controlled and I enjoy dancing with the terrain by allowing the natural contours of the surface to direct my every move.

Favorite Type of Ski- Generally I prefer a wood core to a synthetic one, but really, I just need a ski that can hold up to my aggression, but also has a playful side. My one-ski quiver would be about ~108 under foot, with camber, early rise in the tip, a little less rise in the tail, and a medium turn radius.

Specs- 155, 5’ 9” and size 9 foot. I’ve got the classic skier butt & thighs. Typically, I wear large pants and a medium jacket (unless it’s techy gear and then I need to size up to a large). Hips are about 39.5” waist is about 29” and I have unusually long arms. I wear a 24.5 ski boot and skis are usually 175 – 180 cm.

 

Matt Willey

I used to be the editor, writer, and gear whore of the website. But now I test the gear just every now and then.
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I love to ski, and I love to talk about gear! Gear often plays a role in how much you enjoy your experience, and as technologies advance, it helps to push the sport to new places. I love being able to help fellow skiers find the gear that helps them get the most out of their experience on the mountain. I do this because I love it. I am not affiliated with any manufactures and I don’t work for a shop. I ride gear, travel to trade shows, and write about gear. This is truly my dream job, and I love being able to https everything we do with the rest of the skiing world. We are in the early stages of A Better Ski,and we are constantly working on the site. We are always open to feedback.

Years Skiing– I grew up in rural Wisconsin, a place that knows all about snow. I began skiing about 20 years ago. It started with the occasional trip to the local ski “hill” and holiday trips to norther Michigan. I enjoyed skiing then, but it didn’t really turn into a passion until I had the chance to visit Colorado when I was about 15 years old. I instantly fell in love with the mountains. I now live in Colorado, and spend almost all of my free time on the mountain.

Days a Year– 50-100, if I’m injury free and we have good snow.

How Much Gear I Try- I try and ride as much gear as possible. Since we are just starting out it’s not as easy to come across gear, but as we grow we will test everything that we can. I try to focus on new gear, and if things don’t change much from year to year I don’t spend as much time on that gear.

Skiing Style– I really am an “all-mountain skier”. On any given day you can find me in the powder, hiking to the steeps, on the groomers, in the park, or at the bar. I really love the camaraderie of skiing, and enjoy being with my friends and family. Some days we really like to push it hard, and we give each other a hard time when we crash. I think this also makes us better skiers. Some days I slow it down and just enjoy being on the mountain. I love to carve (with the right ski), and I love the steeps. I really love the bumps as well, although I tire out much quicker now than I used to. I am not the biggest park rider. I do enjoy jumps, but never got into riding rails or jibbing. Still, I occasionally hit the park, even if just to watch all the other great skiers. But most often you can find me using the natural terrain as my playground. No matter where you find me riding, I am always trying to get better.

Favorite Type of Ski– This is really a tough question. Since I live in Colorado and enjoy riding in all kinds of terrain I find myself most often riding skis that can do it all. The downside to these skis is that they often do everything well, but never truly excel in an any one area. As such, I prefer to have multiple skis for multiple conditions. This can be expensive though, and all depends on how much I want to spend on gear. As you will see in our reviews, however, not all of our favorite boards are the most expensive. If I had to choose the perfect Colorado Quiver, it would include the Blizzard Brahma for carving the groomers, the Nordica Enforcer for charging the entire mountain, The Moment Belafonte for the days I just want to point it, and the Liberty Origin for the deep snow.

Specs– 5’10″ 160 Lbs Size 9.5 Shoe. I am a pretty light-weight skier, but I often ride harder than my size would indicate. My boot size is a 26.5 and I prefer to ride skis in the 175-185 range. Although this varies quite a bit with the type of ski I’m on.

 

Laura Godsman

Laura is a good friend and old colleague of Matt. She helps with women’s gear.
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Years Skiing- 20+ Years. Laura has been riding most of her life, and has lived and skied in Colorado and New England.

Days A Year– She usually gets 25-30 Days a Year

Skiing Style– Laura has a background in racing. She was part of the ski team in high school, and spent several years riding the icy hard packed slopes of the east coast. She also spent much of her childhood, and again resides in Colorado, where she enjoys fast groomers, as well as soft snow and powder days.

Favorite Type of Ski – Laura has a background in racing, and really enjoys riding on frontside (carving) skis.

Specs– 5’10″

 

Brian Coe

Brian is a fun guy to have around the trade shows and demos. He helps with SIA and WWSRA demos, and brings another view of how skis ride.
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Years Skiing: 26. I grew up skiing in the Lake Tahoe area, lived in Colorado for seven years and just moved to Truckee.

Days a year: On a bad year: no comment. On a good year: as many as physically & fiscally possible.

Riding style: Ideally I’m fluffing through deep, steep powder… perhaps navigating the trees, milking a bit of air here & there. But of course I’m also on cloud nine carving up the groomers at breakneck speeds or just cruising along casually with friends, enjoying the mountains & letting gravity do all the work.

Favorite type of ski: Currently I’m riding the Rossignol Experience 98 underfoot, 188 length. Also a big fan of the Armada TST and the ON3P Kartel. Fast, versatile, stable, maneuverable, carving, floating, all-mountain magic skis are my bag.

Height and Weight: 6 ‘ 2 ” , 175 lbs.

 

Cindy Willey

Cindy is Matt’s wife, and the person who keeps him in line. She is a snowboarder, but has helped me with women’s outerwear. I find I just don’t have the frame for women’s jackets and pants. Cindy doesn’t get to spend as much time on the mountain as I do, but we always enjoy riding together when we can, and she always pushes me to be my best (both on the mountain and off).

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Tim Scheffer 

Tim is our awesome web developer. He has put in a ton of time to get us up and running, and we wouldn’t be anywhere without him. He makes everything on the website look good, and work well! He too is a snowboarder, but we can cut him a little slack for all the awesome work he does!

 

MORE CONTRIBUTORS TO COME…….