Marshal Olson: Senior Editor
Age: 32 | Vitals: 6’2” 208 lbs. | Years skiing: 31 | Current Residence: Cottonwood Heights, Utah
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, raised in a family culture that lived and breathed outdoor activities. My grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and cousins all ski patrolled at the “local” ski hill, Devil’s Head. We spent every free minute during the winter there, literally from the time I could walk. Skiing is what we did, all winter long. It was never about racing or competing, it was about having fun and enjoying the mountain.
In the summer, I was an ultra competitive soccer player, tried out for junior nationals when I was 16 & 17, won all state honors in high school, and was heavily recruited by a number of top Division 1 programs. While I was set to accept a scholarship to one of these schools, the pull of the mountains was fierce, so I dropped it all and moved to Colorado a few months after my 18th birthday.
I have worked in the ski industry ever since, beginning as a rep for Salomon when I was 19, learning the art of ski tuning and mounting as a ski tech, then managing high end retailers that carried both ski and bike equipment by the age of 22. I now work as the Retail Sales Manager for DPS Skis, occasionally ski in freeride competitions, and get to shoot with elite photographers for catalogs and advertisements.
These days I spend at least 50% of my days touring the backcountry, looking for long, steep lines that are filled with rock features, and attempt to put nice, continuous tracks down imposing faces. I spend my time inbounds always looking to smoothly ski the best snow I can find. I believe in efficient skiing and that through precise movements and lots of practice, skiing can be an art, one that nobody can truly master.
In the summer in Colorado, when the soft snow is gone, you ride a mountain bike. There are thousands of miles of beautiful, pristine land to ride, and a number of exceptional lift-access bike parks. I love to ride my bike. I have raced cross country, short-track, and downhill, and shot with photographers for magazines. I appreciate all disciplines of mountain biking, be it freeride jumps and drops, epic singletrack, or high speed downhill racing. I see them all as single facets of a complex sport.
Some favorite ski equipment:
2010 DPS Wailer 112RP, PURE, 190cm , 2010 Dynafit FT 12 Touring Binding, 2010 Marker Jester Alpine Binding, 2010 Nordica Jah Love Alpine Boot, 2011 Dynafit Titan Touring Boot
Some favorite bike equipment:
Formula ONE disc brakes, Yeti Mountain bike frames, Morewood Mountain bike frames, Avalanche Downhill Racing suspension, Rockshox Suspension Forks
All Content by Marshal Olson
Elastic Travel? Release Values? Forward Pressure? DIN settings? Tech bindings vs. Alpine bindings? If you’ve never heard of these things, or aren’t sure what they are, this article is for you.
The Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail is a zero-drop shoe that climbs steep terrain very well and has a very impressive outsole.
The Five Ten Maltese Falcon is a durable biking shoe that provides great traction. It’s also comfortable and pedals well, especially if you’ve got wide feet.
The Club Ride New West Jersey and Cargo Away shorts work really well on trail. And you’ll probably wear them a whole bunch off the bike, too.
The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra was built to fly. It does. Now read on to learn a whole lot about its fit, its durability, its trail feel, its traction, its competition, etc., etc., etc…
With the XX1 kit, SRAM has basically defined exactly what a purpose-built trail group should be, with a number of designs that will likely become industry standards.
The Scott Off-Grid Goggle offers solid optics, an excellent field of vision, and a variety of tint options that we’ll break down, too.
The Bern Baker EPS helmet has a good fit, clean look, and great durability. Which only leaves one question: to vent, or not to vent?
The Dynafit Beast 16 has a massive amount of technology, a massive amount of R&D, and it comes with a massive price tag. It demanded a massive, honest review. This is a Must Read.
The ZipFit GARA liner offers a rare blend of durability, performance, and comfort, rather than forcing you to pick just one.
Here are our first thoughts from the field (and the work bench) on the new Dynafit Beast 16 binding.
Consider this a Must Read: Marshal Olson’s review of the Lange XT contains an important discussion about boot materials that everyone who skis ought to understand.
When BLISTER reviewers aren’t out testing new stuff, what do their own builds look like? Marshal Olson recently relocated, and where he rides has changed up what he rides.
Marshal Olson follows up on our initial review of the Atomic Tracker 16 / Salomon Guardian 16 AT binding, and weighs in on AT boot compatibility, stack height, and that climbing guide….
You would be hard-pressed to find a bar these days that strays from the 8-9° sweep and 4-5° rise formula, but that doesn’t mean all bars are created equal. Marshal Olson puts four bars to the test.
The SCARPA Maestrale RC boot has been flying under the radar a bit, though with all it has going for it, we’re not sure why. It definitely deserves a serious look.
When BLISTER reviewers aren’t out testing some frame or fork or wheelset, how have they built up their own rides, and why? First up, Marshal Olson.
Two choices: push yourself hard, or play it safe. Either decision involves significant risk, whether we acknowledge that or not. BLISTER’s Senior Bike Editor Marshal Olson explains.
Marshal Olson’s primary goal in life is to find a ski boot that truly performs like a race boot with a walk mode. The new Tecnica Cochise Pro Light comes very close. It’s a long story. You should read it.
Sticker shock of a new bike got you down? Here’s our list of the best used bikes from years past that have stood the test of time.