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Robin Abeles

Age: 33 | Vitals: 5’6″, 135 lbs. | Years skiing: 30 | Current Residence: Sandy, Utah

Background

I was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and learned to ice skate and ski at age two. I was playing hockey not long after, and my first ski setup was a pair of wood skis without edges, cable bindings, and a pair of leather boots. I rock climbed competitively and trained with World Cup climber Timmy Fairfield, but decided I loved snow more. I was fortunate to have a family that sailed, windsurfed, and backpacked all summer and then allowed me to ski all winter. The rule was: if I had straight A’s I could ditch school on any powder day.

Robin Abeles, Blister Gear Review

Santa Fe and Taos were my home mountains growing up, so bumps, steeps, and trees defined my approach to the mountain. I was an alpine skier until my sophomore year in college when I bought a pair of Line Assassin 166cm twin tips mounted with Rottafella Cobra telemark bindings; I’ve been a freeheeler ever since. I lived in Santiago, Chile, for a year in college and skied and backpacked all over South America. My favorite resorts down there are Las Leñas and Los Penitentes.

Alta and Salt Lake City have been my home base since 2010. For me, Alta has everything I love to ski: Steep trees, technical chutes, a handful of big lines, endless playful natural features, and tons of deep powder. Alta also offers easy access to the some of most challenging backcountry terrain in the U.S. I love to skin up before the sun rises to ski 2,500 vertical feet before spending all day at the resort. To me, there is nothing better.

Robin Abeles, Alta Ski Area.

The crew at BLISTER has pushed me to redefine my skiing and become a better writer. Gear today is far more advanced than the swap skis I grew up on. I am really excited every time I get on a new pair of skis or gear to see how the design is going to respond to my style, hopefully supporting and advancing my technique. To me what is most important in a piece of gear that is transparent and intuitive. If the gear lets me do what I am inspired to do with out working against me, then it is doing its job. And if it looks really cool then that is an added bonus!

I’ve always loved the aspect of skiing that gets people on the lift hootin’ and hollerin’. So right now I’m working on my Misty 720s and my 360s, and my backflip is just waiting for the next big pow day! I’ve also been dialing in my switch tele-skiing and can’t wait to get into the park some more. Hanging out with a group of alpine skiers has always made me approach the mountain differently than a traditional teleskier would: I aim to have a more upright stance and strive to carve harder and more efficiently.

Robin, Sugarloaf area, Alta.

I’ve usually shied away from competitive skiing because I find skiing with a group of good friends is equally as challenging and rewarding, and you get more runs in. But the bottom line for me is I just love to be outside with a group of good people, good food, and, of course, really good gear. For me that is better than winning.

Gear I can’t live with out:

Rottafella NTN bindings, DPS Wailer 112 RP, Black Diamond Ascension Skins, Scarpa T-Race Boots, my Taos Trucker Hat, and my Jetboil.

7 Comments

  1. Chris Miles September 10, 2011 Reply

    I had a question for Robin: do you know if the 2009 rottefella is much different from the 2011 – has the binding evolved a lot? thanks a lot for your review – it was the best one I found -Chris

  2. Robin Abeles September 11, 2011 Reply

    Hey Chis! Glad you dug the review, so far it seems like the only thing different is the color (they went to a black instead of orange), but I’m looking into it for you and I’ll post here when I find out!

    • Peter December 28, 2016 Reply

      Hey Robin, Where would you mount RP112’s (184 cm)with Outlaw bindings?
      Thanks, Peter

  3. Robin Abeles September 12, 2011 Reply

    Hey Chris! Here is your answer:

    Hei
    Det var hyggelig at du går for NTN ! Det er kun fargen som er forandringen på NTN i år !

    In case you can’t read norwegian, that means: NOPE!! the only thing we’ve changed is the color! I think that the NTN binding is pretty dialed, the only thing they could make better would be more touring mobility and their english! hope this helps!

  4. achille December 22, 2011 Reply

    A question re mounting position for tele.

    I have some 2010 Katanas 183 which i bought in part out of reading the review on this site by Will. He indicates in the review that he preferred the turning ability of the ski at slower speeds once he changed the mounting position to +2.

    I have 2 questions.
    The first, would his preference be something to take into consideration for tele as well? (I am 6″ 180# older skier, long time tele, not very aggressive skier, now (having moved to BC) skiing mostly powder at relatively slow speeds compared to you young guys).

    Second question re mounting position. Using a 7TM binding, instructions indicate mounting boot 3 pin line = center of ski… whether i go +2 or manufacturers 0 point guide should i be placing my three pin line at the mark or boot center at the mark.

    cheers,
    achille

  5. Samuel January 13, 2014 Reply

    Robin,

    Hey there! I’ll be down at the GMD Jan 24-26 Pizza & Beer are on me if your around!

    Now on to my questions… which are all NTN Freeride mounting point related: Where do I mount these things! I normally ski things mounted back 3cm but with all this rocker and such its a real toss up – would love some direction!

    Skis –
    A. 13/14 BD Amerage 175 – Just ordered these would love your two cents?
    (Alta ski shop says go for marked boot center / I called BD and the response I got was so out there that I wanted to pass it by someone I trusted…)

    B. 12/13 Armada Norwalks 179 (Tried this mounted 3cm back and could not control them… ugh! disaster… felt like I needed to go an additional 3m at min. – Alta Ski shop says I’m probable right with 6 or so cdm back given Armadas rocker profile)

    Thank Robin!!!

  6. Robin Abeles January 13, 2014 Reply

    Hey Sam, thanks for the Invite!

    This is a great question, and relates to Achille’s above as well. So, the short answer is to mount your NTN’s and 75mm farther back than you think you should. I will never mount a ski at factory recommended center, boot center, ever again when mounting tele. And as for how far back each ski should be, here is my process:

    1) Place your bindings with boots locked in on your unmounted skis.
    2) Slide the binding forward and backward until you feel like you have enough tip in front of you. I cannot stress this enough.
    3) Check to see that your bellows are around the center of the camber. Remember that we have a smaller surface area on our uphill boot than an alpine ski boot does so placing our boot at true boot center doesn’t work for us. We need to have our bellows over alpine boot center because that is where our weight is splayed. Your down hill foot will still function like an alpine boot.
    4) Mark boot center for the shop once you’ve found a good balance between tip and bellow/camber placement.
    5) Have them place the FORWARD MOST POSITION OF THE NTN at the boot center you’ve marked because this is as far forward as you will ever want to ride the ski. You still will have 3mm (two more settings of 1.5mm each) to move back if you like. Chances are you will want to move them back.

    Hope this helps and please let us know how what you find! Enjoy your turns! Robin.

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