ALPIN – Das Bergmagazine Ski Reviews – 2011/2012

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Alpin touring ski review 2011 2012

Alpin touring ski review 2011 2012

Translation of the Tour Ski Review (“Tourenbegleiter”) by David Gerrard, edited by Lou Dawson, published with permission of Alpin Magazine, editor Olaf Perwitzschky. Thanks goes to Alpin for giving us the “Euro perspective!”

Please note: We bring this to the front TODAY because we just added all the “Freeride” review information (see last parts of reviews below.) The first review translated below is the Alpin "touring skis" review as opposed to their "freeride review&quot which comes after. The Freeride Review includes what Alpin views as the more downhill oriented and heavier (but not too heavy) planks. Freeride winner K2 Coomback is a good example: About as all-around a ski as you can get, but not particularly light in mass. We’re not sure the Alpin division of Touring vs Freeride categories makes much sense these days, but that’s how Alpin does it so to publish their excellent stuff we have to follow the same format. The Freeride Review is published below, down under the Tour review. Kastle TX87 (mislabeled as FX 87 here and there) wins Alpin’s Touring category because it just skis every condition so well even at a fairly narrow width (122/87/110) compared to “freeride” skis. Narrow skis that do well is a challenge for ski engineers to pull off and very admirable. Enjoy.

So haben wir getestet – How we evaluated and tested

We weighed all skis on calibrated scales.  The weight of the binding (also measured) was then subtracted.  The length of the ski was calculated by laying a spirit level on the ski and then measuring the actual length.  The Weight Index resulted from the measured weight divided by the actual length, it does not consider surface area.  As we always do at Alpin with our ski tests, the skiing characteristics were determined as usual by twelve testers (6 men, 6 women).  All models were skied mornings and afternoons by all testers, to have them skied in comparable conditions.  Only the skis which were tested and evaluated by at least eight testers are included below.

(Editor’s note: Also, due to the hard hitting nature of the Alpin ski testing, not all ski companies choose to be included. What is more, Alpin only tests and publishes results for skis they feel are adequate or better for ski touring and backcountry skiing. This is similar to our gear review style here at WildSnow.com, and thus makes the Alpin reviews a good fit. In other words, Alpin doesn’t waste time publishing about skis they wouldn’t recommend — everything below will work.)

The Alpin Article

Es geht voran! Die Entwicklung steht nicht still.  There’s no stopping progress and especially in the development of touring- and powder-skis some music is returning.  The magic word is currently the “rocker," which can be found on more and more touring-skis, sometimes even on traditional, narrow-waisted skis.  But what exactly is a rocker?

A normal ski without a rocker has a “negative pre-tension." Simply stated, you put the ski unweighted on the floor, the center will flex gently upward with base contact only near the tip and tail surfaces.  A ski with a rocker has a different contact area. The front end of the ski starts to curve upward closer to the binding (in effect it has a longer “tip”).   And many rockered skis also have this type of geometry at the tail.

But what use is this anyway?

Well, rocker has the effect of increasing the lift of the ski in deeper snow, which means it stays closer to the surface.  Lots of ski-tourers recognize the problem: they find it difficult to turn in deeper snow.  Why?  Because they are skiing “in” the snow and not “on” the snow.  Only after gaining a certain speed will the ski start to float, but to get there one needs to be confident enough to ski faster.  Those who can’t reach optimal speed for the type of skis they are on may have a tough time! This is when rocker comes into its own: Due to the exaggerated tip and tail, the ski lifts higher in the powder, and skis in a more "floaty" and easier way.

A similar effect can also be achieved with a softer tip construction, therefore you can’t make the generalization that “rockered skis are great in deep snow and skis without a rocker are poor”. All this is very dependent on the correct overall ski-construction.

What can be achieved by the addition of a rocker has been shown the last couple of seasons by the K2 Wayback and Back Up.  Last season the Wayback was given a rocker and landed at the top of our testers ranking.  The Back Up was given a rocker this season which also sent it to the top of our ranking.

This was only overshadowed by a “near-newcomer”: the Kästle.  The TX-87 had us all convinced – and without rocker. Or at least without a visible one.  The ski is agile and stable, relatively light (but not one of the extra light skis) and still very good when the snow begins to get hard.

 Even on extremely hard piste the TX87 was surprisingly good at edging. Which is interesting as its little brother, the Kästle TX77, failed to convince our testers at all – which again goes to disprove the notion that they come into the test with preformed opinions, otherwise they would have both received a good score or an average score, depending on which model was skied first.  

That lighter skis can also perform was proven by Völkl.  The Inuk is a super light ski (lighter than many branded as “lightweight”) which is also great fun to ski.  The experience of the Straubinger ski-specialists is evident here.  

And what of the narrow and light skis below 80mm underfoot?  Naturally they’re more difficult to ski in deeper snow.  The formula is simple: less surface area; less lift.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not up to much or are not fun to ski.  And that the width is not always the key is proven by Stöckli again.  The Stormrider Light is one of the narrowest skis (72mm underfoot), but amongst the smaller, lighter skis has much to say for itself.

A new item in this ski test is that we have measured the “true” length of the skis (not the “unrolled” length of the ski base).  The difference doesn’t appear large, but between a 170cm Völkl (measured 170,5cm) and a 170cm Elan (measured 167,5cm) there is over 3cm!  This is noticeable, at the very least when you try and pull a 170cm skin onto the new ski!  In addition it has an appreciable influence on the weight-index (weight / length of ski) and we want to of course make a true comparison between the skis.

 

Tour-skis <80mm

Company

Blizzard

Movement

Kneissl

Völkl

Blizzard

Model

Expedition

Random

Route Star

Mauja

Free Cross

Country of manufacture

Austria

Tunisia

Austria

Germany

Austria

Strengths and Weakness

+ very light

+ very maneuverable

- rather unstable

+ light

- poor edging

- somewhat nervous

+ well balanced

- unstable

+ good value

+ homogenous

- not optimal on ice

+ maneuverable

- not especially stable

Alpin Summary

The Expedition is a ski for lightweight freaks.  It doesn’t ski very convincingly and it has a hard time on steep slopes.

The Random was somewhat inhomogenous. The shorter length (158cm) couldn’t make the hearts of the female testers beat any faster, the longer men’s ski was somewhat better.

The Route Star is a typical traditional touring ski.  Light and narrow, it appeals to the alpinists amongst ski-tourers.

The Mauja is a well balanced skifor the traditional ski-tourer, who wants an all-round ski.  A very good ski for the price.

The Free Cross is for years more or less unchanged in the Blizzard range.  Despite this, still a competitive ski.

Overall evaluation

Satisfactory (3/6)

Adequate
(4/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)

Good
(2/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)


Tour-skis <80mm

Manufacturer

Atomic

Stöckli

Kneissl

Kästle

Mountain Wave

Model

Descender

Stormrider Tour Light

Tour Star

TX77

Get Up

Country of manufacture

Austria

Austria

Austria

Austria

Czech Republic

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ forgiving

- not especially good at edging

+ good edge

+ stable

+ agile

+ stable

- not especially good at edging

- unstable

+ relatively stable

- somewhat lazy

Alpin Summary

Last year the Descender was our lightweight tip.  This year it was also convincing (for a light ski), but it didn’t quite take the top prize.

Last year it was the big brother, this time the light version of the Stöckli Stormrider gets our tip.  It doesn’t always have to be very wide and very heavy.  A great ski for ski-mountaineers.

The better value of the two Kneissl touring-ski versions, and also the better performing (but also heavier).  Agile and stable, this ski convinced the traditionalists.

This was interesting: the big brother (TX87) is this review’s winner, the TX77 in contrast barely made any positive impression on our testers.

A solid ski, not so easy to unsettle, the Get-Up will appeal to your general ski-tourer.  More suited to harder surfaces than powder.

Overall evaluation

Good (2/6)

Very Good (1/6)

Good (2/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)

Alpin Lightweight Tip


Tour-skis <80mm

Manufacturer

Scott

Elan

Model

Explor’Air

Alaska

Country of manufacture

Austria

Slovenia

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ in powder fine

- noticeably poor edging

- poor stability

- poor edging on ice

Alpin Summary

What’s happened to the Explor’Air? Last year it was terrific, this year hardly convincing, especially on the piste or harder snowpack.

The Alaska had a hard time.  It isn’t one of the lightest skis, and we expected more grip on ice given its proportions.  We couldn’t determine whether the finish or the construction was to blame.

Overall Evaluation

Adequate (4/6)

Adequate (4/6)


Tour-skis >80mm

Manufacturer

Movement

Völkl

Dynastar

Movement

Hagan

Model

Logic

Inuk

Altitrail Powder

Bond

Skyrider

Country of manufacture

Tunisia

Germany

France

Tunisia

Ukraine

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Good in powder

- somewhat sluggish

+ relatively light

+ stable for the weight

+ easy to ski

+ light

- very instable

- poor edging

+ good in powder

- poor edging

+ stable

+ good allrounder

- unstable in difficult snow

Alpin Summary

The Logic doesn’t like to be turned too quickly.  Good at open, slower turns.  Not so good at quick, short turns.

A real Völkl.  For its weight the ski is great to ride.  Whoever is looking for a light ski, but with modern proportions and width can be well advised with the Inuk.

The Altitrail Powder was one of the first wide touring-skis.  From today’s perspective somewhat aged.  It is rather unstable and especially on hard surfaces has poor grip.

The third ski from the Movement range could not fully convince either.  In powder great, but once it gets harder under the ski, it lacks edge and stability.

At long last a Hagan is back in the ski test and a good one at that.  The Skyrider is a very well-balanced all-rounder without any obvious strengths or weaknesses.  

Overall Evaluation

Satisfactory (3/6)

Very Good (1/6)

Adequate (4/6)

Adequate (4/6)

Good (2/6)

Alpin Lightweight Tip


Tour-skis >80mm

Manufacturer

Black Diamond

Hagan

K2

Kästle

Black Diamond

Model

Aspect

Corvus

Back-Up

TX87

Drift

Country of manufacture

China

Ukraine

China

Austria

China

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ great in powder

- poor edging

+ good allrounder

- in heavy snow slightly unsteady

+ agile

+ stable

+great allrounder

+ stable

+ good edging

+ a great allrounder

+ great in powder

- weak on hard surfaces

Alpin Summary

One of the top skis of the last years.  The Aspect couldn’t quite convince this year.  Additionally the BD skis were all equally poorly finished, which obviously has an effect on how they ski.  Otherwise they may have had more of a chance.

The Corvus was the preferred of the two Hagan skis. With its 87mm underfoot the Corvus is a modern touring ski with which you can do anything.

This year the Back-Up was just ahead of the Wayback.  The Back-Up now has a rocker, which is noticeable.  A great allrounder with a measured width, with which it appeals to the traditional ski-tourer and ski-mountaineer.

Test Winner 2011/12! The TX87 just made it ahead of the competition.  A convincing ski across all disciplines (especially as the TX77 wasn’t so good).  A modern touring ski.

The Drift is naturally (with 100mm underfoot!) fantastic in powder.  The harder the surface, the more weakness it shows.  Also with a better finish it might have been more convincing.

Overall evaluation

Good (2/6)

Good (2/6)

Very Good (1/6)

Very Good (1/6)

Good (2/6)

Alpin Allround Tip

Alpin Test Winner


Tour-skis >80mm

Manufacturer

K2

Mountain Wave

Dynastar

Scott

Model

Wayback

Personal Jesus

Altitrail Mythic Light

Cruise’Air

Country of manufacture

China

Czech Republic

France

Austria

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ agile

+ stable

- not great on ice

+ the name!

+ super in powder

- not especially agile

+ well balanced

- could have better edging

+ great in powder

- the edging

Alpin Summary

The test winner from last year.  The Wayback is the big (broader) brother of the Back Up.  Not quite so well balanced: on harder surfaces it showed weakness.  For touring still a great ski.

A ski which strongly polarises?  This is it!  Some found it great, others couldn’t get to grips with it.  The end results reflect the average values: the somewhat alternative touring-ski

The Altitrail Mythic Light convinced the testers this year.  It wasn’t in the top ranking, but with its well balanced character a good allrounder and a modern touring ski.

Scott has slightly revised the Cruise’Air this year, but where did the edging go?  In powder the ski was as convincing as ever, but on hard piste or crust it showed clear weaknesses, as did its smaller brother the Explor’Air.

Overall Evaluation

Very Good (1/6)

Good (2/6)

Good (2/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)

 

Translation For Graphics Text Below

GERMAN

ENGLISH

Hersteller

Manufacturer

Modell

Model

Preis

Price

Herstellungsland

Country of manufacture

Vertrieb

Make

Getestete Längen

Tested lengths

Länge (nachgemessen)

Remeasured length

Differenz (effektiv)

Difference

Art des Rockers

Type of rocker

Gewicht (bei Länge)

Weight (of length)

Gewichtsindex (Gewicht / Länge)

Weight index (Weight / Length)

Taillerung (in mm)

Dimensions

Radius

Radius

Eignung Abfahrt

Descent Characteristics

Enge / kurze Schwünge

Tight / short turns

Weite / lange Schwünge

Wide / long turns

Flaches Gelände (bis 30 deg)

Flat terrain (to 30 deg)

Steiles Gelände (ab 30 deg)

Steep terrain (above 30 deg)

Auf harte Piste

On hard piste

Im Pulverschnee

In powder

In schwierigen Schnee

In difficult snow

Eigenschaften

Characteristics

Drehfreudigkeit

Manoeuvrability

Laufruhe bei niedriger Geschwindigkeit

Stability at low speeds

Laufruhe bei hoher Geschwindigkeit

Stability at high speeds

Kantengriff

Edge-grip

Eignung

Suitability

Mehrtagestouren / Durchquerungen

Multi-day tours / Traverses

Tagestour aufstiegsorientiert

Day tours ascent orientated

Tagestouren abfahrtsorientiert

Day tours descent orientated

Freeride mit kurzen Auftiegen

(Freeride) Descent with short ascents

Pisten

Pistes

Empfehlung

Recommendation

Anfänger / Einsteiger

Beginners

Gute Fahrer

Good skiers

Sehr gute Fahrer

Very good skiers

Stärken und Schwächen

Strengths and Weaknesses

Alpin-Fazit

Alpin Summary

Gesamtnota

Overall Score

Overall Score: Explained (Scored out of 6)

Sehr gut

Very good

Gut

Good

Befriedigend

Satisfactory

Ausreichend

Adequate

Mangelhaft

Poor

Ungenügend

Insufficient

Alpine touring ski review graphic from Alpin Magazine is below, in panorama mode. Let us know if it’s useful. Note that the skis are arranged with the lightest ones first, but the weight is a simply calculation of mass:length that doesn’t consider surface area. Table above translates the scored parameters.
[photonav url='http://www.wildsnow.com/mountain-panoramas/alpin-test-2011.jpg'].

**************************************************************************************************
Alpin Freeride Review

Each “freeride” ski was tested in the ski-resort of Gerlos, in the Zillertaler Arena, over a period of four days, by at least 13 of the testers who made the evaluations. We also made sure that whichever of models were available in two lengths were skied by the women in the group as well as the men. The weight of the mounted ski was measured with calibrated scales, then the weight of the (also weighed) binding subtracted from the total weight. The weight index was calculated from the weight of the ski divided by the measured ski-length. The actual length of the ski was measured, not the “unravelled” length of the ski-base.

The Article: Frei wie ein Vogel; “Free as a bird”
In the second part of our big ski test we’ve taken 13 touring-suitable Freerider skis through the best powder and heaviest corn-snow. These fat planks also had to show they had what it takes on the piste. Our conclusion: fat is good — when not too heavy.

Freeriding hasn’t just captured the hearts of active skiers recently. There are also Freeriders in mountain-biking, wind-surfing, snow-boarding and skate-boarding! It appears to be the spirit of the age. Freeriding is doing your sport outside artificial boundaries, but when you define it more strictly it’s more. It means above all adapting your line to the terrain. Rises and hillocks, hollows and cornices are all used to best effect and taken into the descent. You don’t ski a symmetrical track down the mountain any more, but you create your individual signature: you are free! This could explain why freeriding is currently undergoing a boom at the moment: it’s free of restrictions.

In ski-touring you have unlimited choices for this style of skiing, always taking the avalanche situation and your own ability into consideration. The right gear is also critical. With a ski with 72mm underfoot, it won’t be easy! The secret to freeriding is width. The wider the ski, the more surface area and therefore the easier it floats, because in freeriding you don’t ski IN the snow, but ON the snow. The ski has to float, because then it is easier to turn where previously it was a struggle. Other than the width, the float of a ski is also dependent on many other factors. A soft tip makes a ski rise easier: the ski curves upwards from the tip with the pressure from the snow underneath. Resourceful ski-makers have exaggerated this effect by pre-curving the ski. Therefore many of the modern touring-skis aren’t pre-tensioned as was usual for decades previously, but have a upward curve at the tip (and sometimes tail): the rocker! The rocker speeds up the float of a ski and makes it easier to ski as you want in deeper snow, and that with ease.

Many traditionalists (German: “old hares”) are of the opinion that this new way of skiing powder doesn’t require any technique any more. And they are right: it’s much easier than it was and it takes much less effort. So what? It is fun! As ski-tourers don’t just ski down the mountain, but (mostly) have to ascend first, it means we’re more limited in our choice of ski, than pure freeriders who ascend with the lift. Because of this we haven’t just selected the most radical or sexiest, but those most suitable for touring. But what does that mean?

Naturally everyone has their own limits, but a few factors are certain. First of all: the ski shouldn’t be too heavy. On the uphill every gram counts. Whoever goes touring on wide planks certainly isn’t a ski-racer in disguise.

But there are limits to weight. At slow rates of ascent the weight of a ski isn’t as noticeably as when ascending at a brisk or even fast pace. You should realise though that it’s not just the skis weight that counts: on a freeride ski is often a heavier binding and the boot isn’t a lightweight 3-buckle boot, but a stiffer 4-buckle boot. The skins are also wider and heavier and create more drag: all aspects to be considered. In the current test we managed to spot the optimal touring-freerider: the K2 Coomback with just over 100mm underfoot width. For it’s width (the widest in test), it’s not especially heavy. The Coomback is wide enough to be fun even in deep and difficult snow but doesn’t make the ascent of tricky terrain hard work, as with a ski with considerably more than 100mm underfoot
It would soon become a chore.

A completely different ski is the Nordica Fuel i-Core. A thoroughbred all-mountain ski for all those who want to cover piste and freeride with one ski. The Fuel was made with this in mind, but in terrain and powder you have to accept its weaknesses: the lack of width is clearly noticeable. In a similar league (all-mountain) you have the big brother of the Fuel, the Nordica Burner i-Core, the Head Peak 78 and the Stoeckli Stormrider 78. All skis which are fun to ski on the piste, have super edging and convince with their stability. In comparison the somewhat wider (but nevertheless not any heavier) skis with an underfoot between 85 and 100mm have improved to such a degree that the all-mountain skis aren’t as interesting for the ski-tourer any more, compared to perhaps three years ago. They are more suited to skiers who do 50:50 piste and tour, or for those who prefer a very stable ski.

Another very interesting ski is the Blizzard Bushwacker. The ski with the most pronounced rocker of the group tested, it is rockered both at the tip and the tail. Good to ski on the piste and fun off, but its strength lies in its performance in difficult snow. Unfortunately we could only give it a top score of 1. A feeling of security at high speed was felt skiing the Kaestle FX94, which also had a suitable width for touring. Unfortunately it’s so heavy, that you really need to know what you’re doing if you take them on tour. If you scored well in your last ECG test, this could be the ski for you.

A rival for the top spot gained by the Coomback, came from Voelkl. The Nunataq is a wide touring freerider, again with a fully acceptable weight, which was lots of fun to ski. At the final count, however, the Coomback just managed to get its nose in first.

Summary
There are great wide skis which are not too heavy. They demand perhaps a bit more during the ascent, but on the descent they create a smile impossible to wipe off your face. This goes for above all, the K2 Coomback, which combines a good width with acceptable weight and is lots of fun to ski.

The Nordica Fuel i-Coreis the all-mountain ski for all those who want a ski for both the piste and touring, but don’t want to compromise in enjoyment on the piste.
The Kaestle FX94 is a touring-freerider for all those with enough fitness to carry these heavy planks uphill first. You shouldn’t forget to keep enough energy in reserve for the descent. If you have – enjoy!

FREERIDE SKIS

Manufacturer

Atomic

Nordica

Nordica

Völkl

Black Diamond

Model

Aspect

Burner i-core

Fuel i-core

Nunatak

Ember

Country of manufacture

Austria

Austria

Austria

Germany

China

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ good in difficult snow

- average edging

+ very stable

+ super edges

- somewhat sluggish

+ agile

+ stable

- limited use in powder

+ Light for its width

+ super in powder

- not great on ice

+ good in powder

- sluggish

- poor edging

Alpin Summary

A full Freerider or still a touring ski? The Aspect demonstrates the dilemma of classification.  The Aspect is easy to ski, is rockered and above all is at home in deep and difficult snow.

Burner is somewhat wider than the Fuel.  The ski is great on piste and good when the going gets tough.  A proper powder ski it ain’t.

The Fuel is narrower than the Burner, but doesn’t perform any worse in powder. Despite this it isn’t a powder ski either. Great for days of 70% piste and 30% terrain.

The Nunatak is a typical touring-freerider.  Wide, not too heavy, super in powder and when snow is soft.  In hard conditions it naturally has weaknesses.

The Ember is the women’s version of the Warrant, but in other than that powder it wasn’t convincing.  This lay partly on the poor finish, as with the tour-skis.

Overall evaluation

Satisfactory (3/6)

Good (2/6)

Very Good (1/6)

Good (2/6)

Satisfactory (3/6)


FREERIDE SKIS

Manufacturer

K2

Blizzard

Mountain Wave

Black Diamond

Head

Model

Coomback

Bushwacker

Easy Day

Warrant

Peak 78

Country of manufacture

China

Austria

Czech Republic

China

Austria

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ super in powder

+ great in difficult snow

+ very responsive

+ easy in difficult snow

+ good on piste

- heavy for the width

+ extremely stable

+ great in powder

- sluggish

+ good in powder

- poor edging

+ very stable

+ agile

- heavy for the width

Alpin Summary

Our Testwinner?  In powder super, in difficult snow great and for such a wide ski great stability.

The ski with the most pronounced rocker, nevertheless it still skis very well on piste. Its overriding strength is difficult snow, where it feels like it’s skiing in powder.

You’ll only have an easy day with the Easy Day if you expect endless powder.  The ski offers a challenge, if you can rise to it, good, otherwise it could be time to call it a day after lunch.

The male version of the Ember was presented somewhat better.  A stable allrounder for off-piste.

A ski from the all-mountain selection.  The Head Peak 78 has been a Test Winner several times.  It convinced with its stability and agility.  In deep snow it has lost its edge over the years.

Overall evaluation

Very good

Very Good (1/6)

Good (2/6)

Satisfactory

Good (2/6)

Alpin Test Winner


>

Good (2/6)

FREERIDE SKIS

Manufacturer

Stöckli

Kneissl

Kästle

Model

Stormrider 78

Free Star

FX94

Price

Country of manufacture

Switzerland

Austria

Austria

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ good edging on ice

+ agile

- heavy for the width

+ good allrounder

- somewhat aged

+ very stable

+ good edging

- very heavy

Alpin Summary

The next all-mountain ski and with similar characteristics to the Peak 78.  Very stable, agile and with good edging, but deep snow is its obvious weakspot.

The Free Star has also been a Tip in the past, but that was three years ago.  This highly waisted ski can’t keep up with the modern skis off piste any more.

The Kästle is a ski for all those who don’t care for the ascent: it’s all about the down.  Whoever can drag this ski up the hill will have great fun on the descent.

Overall Evaluation

Good (2/6)

Very good (1/6)

Alpin Powder Tip

Below is the Alpin Magazine Freeride test graphic, published by permission.

[photonav url='http://www.wildsnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/alpinmag-freeride-ski-test-.jpg'].

(Alpin Magazine test category editor Olaf Perwitzschky began mountaineering with his parents in the early 1970s when he was around 5 years old. He hated the boring slogs to the alpine huts but was exited when it got steeper and when crampons and a rope were needed. After studying sports in Cologne he moved closer to the Alps and started his job as editor at ALPIN, with his main focus as testing products. At the same time he finished his successful education as a professional mountain guide and so combines theory and practice.)

Comments

55 Responses to “ALPIN – Das Bergmagazine Ski Reviews – 2011/2012”

  1. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 9:49 am

    Gotta love how the ski that “strongly polarizes” people has the religiously themed name.

  2. Tim December 2nd, 2011 9:56 am

    Funny – the Inuk looks an awful lot like the Blizzard Expedition! ;-)

  3. Lou December 2nd, 2011 10:17 am

    Jonathan, very astute. I’d like to see them name a ski the Dalai Lama or perhaps the Mohamed. Then I’d feel that the issue of diversity was being better addressed. But didn’t they already name a ski The Pope, or was that a snowboard?

  4. Kevin December 2nd, 2011 10:44 am

    Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus … maybe they’ll get the BC crowd going like this song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26DD0JwAbAc

    also done by no less than Johnny Cash

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/johnny_cash/personal_jesus.html

    Reach out and touch faith…

  5. Keith Roush December 2nd, 2011 10:54 am

    Are you forgetting the Gotama? Or the Reverend?

  6. Lou December 2nd, 2011 11:02 am

    Reverend was too generic. Gotama was getting closer (grin). Buddha would be more on par.

  7. Gentle Sasquatch December 2nd, 2011 11:29 am

    Kastle has been peaking my interest in the past 2 years although I have to admit I was eyeing it for resort skiing only.

  8. Gentle Sasquatch December 2nd, 2011 11:32 am

    even though I am a big fan of ski companies from German speaking countries I find it ‘shocking’ ;-) that two Germies found it’s way to the top of the test. When I lived in Germany I loved the magazine tests but one had to take into account a certain amount of ‘pride’ .

  9. Lou December 2nd, 2011 12:37 pm

    Perceived bias is a lot different than the actual thing… They make good skis over there in Germany, and K2 makes good skis as well. So does Black Diamond, and so on. The thing to remember is that every ski in the Alpin test is a good or even excellent ski. They don’t include any dogs. What makes the Alpin test really cool, but dangerous for accusations of bias, is they’ve got the cojones to select “Winners.” They get all sorts of grief for that, including being boycotted by certain ski companies including, yes, a German one. I say enough of PC egalitarianism, pick some favorites and let’s have fun with it!

  10. Tom Gos December 2nd, 2011 12:52 pm

    Lou, this is really helpful, thanks for posting it.

  11. Lou December 2nd, 2011 12:53 pm

    Oh, and wait, nationalism in Europe? No way! Isn’t that where they all agreed to use the same money, sort of like if Mexico, Canada and the U.S. agreed to use the Peso? (grin)

  12. Lou December 2nd, 2011 12:56 pm

    Tom, you’re welcome. But thank Olaf, he’s the one with the vision to realize that publishing a third-party translation on a website other than theirs is mutually beneficial.

    Main thing, click over to Alpin and show them you care! Play around with some online translators.

  13. Shoveler December 2nd, 2011 1:03 pm

    This stuff is incredibly useful. Just having a chart with dimensions and weights is wonderful. Shame on any ski makers that refused to include their products. Thanks Olaf!

  14. Alvin Isaacs December 2nd, 2011 1:40 pm

    One of my favorite magazines still. Great tour info and great gear reviews. Been reading it for years while I lived in Germany and still get copies when I am “over there”. Pretty cool to see it on this website. Thanks. Now, if I can just get my skis on my feet this year…

  15. Tree Dodger December 2nd, 2011 2:53 pm

    Hmm… can’t help but notice; most, but not all, of the above ski “images” include bindings and these bindings are exclusively some model/generation of Fritschi or Marker. Any idea, was testing conducted with the pictured bindings? And could the difference in binding have influenced the comparative impressions of the skis?

    BTW – real men ski plywood.

  16. jriph December 2nd, 2011 4:12 pm

    I have that magazine and read this part. Maybe a point of interest: They tested all skies as supplied ( boy do I not get the manufacturers that send out a ski with a less than perfect tune for a test..)

    Btw I have a ski called Redeemer.. it is black,fat and bent… yet people like it

  17. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 6:23 pm

    “The thing to remember is that every ski in the Alpin test is a good or even excellent ski.”
    – So if a ski is *not* in the test, that could mean … the company declined to submit it? … it might be a good ski, but Alpin magazine doesn’t have the resources to test every ski on the market? … Alpin did test it, but it was so bad as not to merit mention the magazine write-up?

  18. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 6:31 pm

    Following up on the observation by “Tree Dodger” — does anyone want to cull through the reviews and see if the skis pictured with various Marker bindings performed better in “edging” than the skis pictured with the various Diamir bindings?

  19. Lou December 2nd, 2011 6:35 pm

    Jonathan, either, or. I think the key with this sort of test is to concentrate on what they DID test, rather than trying to guess the why/what about what wasn’t included. Indeed, no ski test has every ski out there in it. Especially nowadays with all the boutique skis and so forth.

  20. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 6:36 pm

    So to clarify, if they test a ski, and it’s absolutely dreadful, then they withhold that important information from you?

  21. Lou December 2nd, 2011 7:38 pm

    Jonathan, they don’t include dreadful (in their view) skis. The list of what they consider dreadful is not shared. Due to the fact that ski reviews are subjective takes, to share that list would not be fair to either the magazine or the ski makers. Instead, they just focus on the positive. That’s basically what we do here at WildSnow as well. I know that sometimes seems weird, as we’re so used to “if there is a winner, there must be a loser.” We’ll, sorry, it’s just winners. Also, if a company is totally missing from the test, and you know them to make some good skis that would fit in the Alpin test, I’d say it’s fairly certain that company chose not to participate. I’m not naming any names because that would just be me, guessing, and that’s not fair. More, Tim Mutrie would probably take me to task on the poor journalistic ethics that such guessing would demonstrate, and he is a hard task master (grin).

  22. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 7:54 pm

    Big difference from WildSnow, since here the only comprehensive product lines we test are avalanche beacons and Tech bindings. For skis, it’s just an incredibly small sampling. Plus it’s all very subjective, with no quantitative rankings or ratings assigned.
    By contrast, Alpin tested some number of skis greater than 39. All of these n>39 skis were tested by at least eight testers out of a dozen total testers. Then 19 separate quantitative rankings were assigned.
    Of the n>39 skis tested, 39 were deemed good enough to merit publication of the results. Of the unknown number not deemed good enough to merit publication of the results, we don’t even get to know which models skied this poorly.
    So essentially this test casts aspersions on any but the 39 tested skis, since we’re left to wonder whether Alpin hated them, whether the companies hated Alpin, or whether it was just a matter of too many skis to test.

  23. Lou December 2nd, 2011 8:10 pm

    Well, at any rate, Olaf told me last year that with rare exceptions they only publish reviews of the better skis of the selections the manufacturers allow them to test. I’ll ask him about this again when I see him in January at annual Dynafit press event.

    I think you are putting words in the tests mouth if you accuse them of casting aspersions and hating. They simply arrive somehow at a selection of skis they deem worthy of the kind of ski touring and freeride their testers tend to do. If the test seems too problematic for you, just ignore it.

    I like it, think it’s useful for our readers because Olaf and his testers are good experienced skiers with a ski touring focus, so I publish it. If nothing else, it gets me thinking outside the box a bit, since they cover things in such detail in terms of the ratings.

    Lou

  24. RDE December 3rd, 2011 7:59 am

    Interesting that the ski that came out on top, the Kastle FX 87 is a “kein Rocker” design. In a fashion cycle where almost every ski intended for powder has to be bent, we loose sight of the fact that there is more than one way to achieve flotation and reverse camber in a ski. At low speeds the fully rockered design will always float higher and be more maneuverable, everything else being equal. However, once you are moving at 15mph or so, a soft tip bends up— voila, instant rocker. With the proper use of carbon fiber it can be not only soft but well dampened and very stiff in torsion. The other factor not commonly understood is that more sidecut– relatively less flotation in the middle, contributes to effective rocker by helping the ski to bend more. The longer running surface and full length side cut of a conventional design tend to make a much more effective tool for hard snow conditions.

    Bottom line: there is more than one way to achieve nirvana! For me it is a five year old pair of prototype 191cm Fischer Watea 101′s. (136-101-123)

    Luddite thou I may be, I’m going to demo a pair of DPS 112R’s next week!

  25. Jonathan Shefftz December 3rd, 2011 11:56 am

    So if I’m understanding correctly the process that led to the reviews of the 39 pictured skis:
    1. Alpin selected various skis that they thought would be good.
    2. Alpin was able to receive free loaners for some subset of those skis they wanted to test (with Dynafit and Trab apparently refusing to provide any free loaners). And Alpin lacks the financial resources to buy any test skis.
    3. Of however many skis are represented in #2 above, Alpin felt 39 were good enough to publish detailed reviews. Some other unknown number of tested skis were deemed too poor to merit published reviews, and further Alpin refuses to divulge which skis it felt were too poor to merit published reviews.

    If all of the above is accurate, then #1 is certainly reasonable (as the entire universe of tour-able skis is overwhelming). And #2 is also reasonable (as they don’t have the budget of Consumer Reports to buy everything at retail). But #3 is baffling (if that is indeed the case).

  26. Mason December 3rd, 2011 12:32 pm

    How does the “finish” on BD skis effect their performance?

  27. john doyle December 4th, 2011 8:36 am

    Thanks for posting this Lou. Quite a bit more information than Powder or Backcountry magazines gave us. You’ve got to appreciate how analytical the Germans are. Cheers

  28. George December 4th, 2011 12:09 pm

    Mason: I suspect “finish” is a reference to base and edge tune.

  29. Ptor December 5th, 2011 12:16 am

    The whole problem, especially in Europe, is conceptually segregating “ski-touring” and “freeriding”. Anybody that ski tours is a freerider, unless they are only in it for the “extreme cross-country” or accessing ice climbs.

  30. Kamen December 5th, 2011 4:06 am

    Different bindings definitely means different performance, becasue you do not put the ski directly to your foot. The system includes the boots, the bindings and the skis. So if the skis are tested with different bindings the results are not correct.

  31. Lou December 5th, 2011 6:18 am

    Kamen, in my opinion you make a very good point, but I don’t think you’re necessarily correct on that. If you are, then the testers would all have to ski the same boots, and even the same socks! Markers and Fritschi are both good bindings, and while the Fritschi has more rolling deflection than Marker, the bindings are more similar than different in that they provide adequate attachment of foot to ski. A good skier can immediately adjust to the small differences between the two bindings, and easily get a feeling for how a ski performs. My impression is that most of Olaf’s testers are good enough skiers to cut through boot and binding variations.

    Of course, both test winners are mounted with Markers. Hmmmmm. If I’m wrong and Kamen is right, then Marker is going to start selling a TON of bindings to ski companies who are sending their skis out for testing!

    I’ll tell you one thing about this issue: It’s exactly the kind of thing that’s wonderful about you guys commenting here at WildSnow. I never thought about the issue of ski bindings in ski tests, and now, I’m thinking this is something that should at least be considered. Best solution is of course for ski tests to use all the same binding. Not sure that could ever happen, other than here at Wildsnow.com where our Ultimate Quiver will all be mounted all with tech bindings that have virtually the same rolling deflection.

  32. jriph December 5th, 2011 8:04 am

    The only time i have felt that binding deflection was a somewhat of a real problem was in a steep (45 degree 1200 ft sustained) deep u shaped couloir that was so tight only the tip and tails touched ground the mid portion was in the air and it was nice light blue ice as well. That was on a ski with a 102mm waist not too torsionally stiff, on really sloppy fritchi diamirs with 30000 km on them.

    I’d say. One should not confuse ski testing with science.

    The largest variable of any ski is the human on top.

  33. Bill December 5th, 2011 8:29 am

    Its all so clear now… I’ve discovered how to put the binding/boot issue to rest so we can safely issue opinions about the boards themselves:

    1) Someone is going to have mount up a bunch of the same skis with all the different binder options, and then using the same boot (no matter if it crushes one tester’s foot and another tester swims in a sea of slop), ski the same slope at the same speed, ideally farming their turns in nice tightly hugged lines of identical radius.

    All my money is already committed towards getting out of Flagstaff to visit Carbondale and Minturn over Christmas break and ski something other than Arizona, so clearly that someone has got to be someone else :)

    Also, the skis will all have to be the exact same length even if one tester is 140 lbs and another is pushing 2-hundo. I mean, seriously, we have to cut out some variables here, its the only objective way.

    2) Also, and this is the most important component: test skiers will need a human-sized version of the anti-scratch-dog-lamp-shade-collar so they can’t see whats on their feet and bias the test. Or perhaps some bottom-mounted horse blinders that stick out below their goggles 5 or 6 inches will suffice, but I really like the doggy lampshade idea so lets just role with that one.

    3) Between runs, they will have to ski up next to a low shed constructed of an old refridgerator box in the snow. Someone who is uncomfortably crouched in this low shed will unbuckle their boots for them and have them step out onto some warm artificial grass. Then the tech will place their boot into the binding by hand, and have the tester step back into the boot (which is now already back on the ski) so that they cannot identify the binding as tech or traditional by the step-in feel.

    Then and only then can we eliminate enough variables that reasonable expert skiers could safely venture an non-biased opinion and approach a strong R^2 value purely relating the ski itself to skiing performance. (Association is not Causation?)

  34. Lou December 5th, 2011 8:41 am

    Bill, that’s a good Monday morn LOL, THANKS! The dog cone, oh man, it would work!

  35. Lou December 5th, 2011 10:43 am

    Ptor, yeah, it’s been a huge push by the PR/marketing community to segregate out the “freeride” segment. There really is a sort of division between the classic Euro “ski tourer” group and the “freeride” group, but the gear crosses over so much it doesn’t make much sense to divide it up other than in obvious cases, for example, Marker Duke vs a tech binding. Lou

  36. gringo December 5th, 2011 12:03 pm

    I second what Ptor said, we even have ‘freeski mountaineering’ if you choose to read Ad text. kind of like a weird Bizzaro sandbagging where you never really know what anyones gets up to without being quite nosey and picking apart their days piece by piece.

    I will say that Dynafits on gigantic skis are still pretty much the realm of those who have done time in the western USA and BC. for whatever its worth…

  37. kkashkooli December 5th, 2011 1:14 pm

    Thank you David, Lou & Olaf for these reviews and the translation.

    I agree with the above comments about the fuzzy line between touring and freeriding. As one example, the Blizzard Bushwacker reportedly weighs between 3200-3300g in a 173 length (based on a few online postings elsewhere) that would be comparable to some of the skis in the Touring review in both length and weight. With that in mind–

    Lou (or others), do you know if the ski ratings for the various characteristics are comparable across categories (i.e. is a 4-start rating in ‘Touring’ the same as a 4-star rating in ‘Freeride’)? Or, are they relative to skis within the respective groups?

  38. Jonathan Shefftz December 5th, 2011 3:08 pm

    Having testers on different boots is not at all analogous with the inconsistent bindings in this test. The whole point of a test like this is to have a range of testers (with regard to weight, gender, skiing styles, ski preferences, boots, etc.), but then have all the skis tested by the same (or similar) mix of testers.
    But a test like this needs to have identical (or nearly so) bindings. Instead, every ski with a Diamir is handicapped in the “edging” category (relative to those skis with Markers). Binding delta could also play a role, but I don’t know how Diamirs and Markers differ in that regard, plus different testers could react differently to different deltas.
    My favorite format for ski reviews is still Off Piste Mag, although I like the Alpin ski selection better.
    As for Backcountry Magazine, here are some choice ttips posts excerpts from the Master of Mockery:
    *****
    I [Andrew McLean] was involved in the BC Mag ski test [2009], and I’d fully agree that the killer skis du jour were the longest, widest most reverse curvy planks you could find. For skiing low angle, chopped up powder at a resort where you are spinning 20-30 laps a day on high speed quads, why not? They are super easy to turn, very stable and you could go straight down just about anything and it felt like virgin powder. As far as actually using them for touring, they reminded me of the Marker Duke binding – you could tour with it, but I think/thought there were way better bindings and skis out there for that application. I don’t care what people ski, but it was dismaying to hear so many testers slamming on 100% backcountry touring skis as being crap, especially for a test that was suppose to be for a backcountry magazine audience. But, the real issue is the continual dumbing down of backcountry skiing which really began with the concept that “it’s all about the down.” Now pretty much anything aside from fresh groomers are considered “backcountry” and all it takes to be a backcountry skier is the equipment. I think the Euro concept of “off-piste” is a far better description of where this trend is going. ***** I think the term “backcountry” is going the same way that “extreme” did a few years ago and is in danger of being over-marketed to the point that it is laughably meaningless. ***** To illustrate the point, I think the 2009 editors picks would totally suck on a classic tour like the Haute Route. The gear is not wrong and the Haute Route is not wrong, but there’s a distinct mismatch going on there that makes it difficult to compare or rate gear. ***** The only problem I had with the review was that it wasn’t labeled “Best Picks for Low Angle, Lift Served, Cut Up Powder” which happens to be LemonBoi’s specialty. The real problem is that there are so many gear choices out there nowadays that a real backcountry test is impossible or at least impractical. But, ultimately, people will buy the Editors Picks, take them touring, decide it blows, and stick to the sidecountry, which is a winning deal for all involved.

  39. Erik December 5th, 2011 9:43 pm

    Hey, I was wondering if in your back-country skiing career if you have ever experienced Colorado’s Dave’s Wave. It is an avalanche chute that is accessible by hiking between Loveland Pass and Arapahoe Basin. The unique part about this terrain is that it stays open year round; so you can ski in July in a T-shirt. The view from the top is just as amazing as the skiing. Check it out here at my page.

    https://sites.google.com/site/leedsdigitalmarketing/our-pages/colorado-secret-ski-spots

  40. Katrina December 5th, 2011 10:09 pm

    Hey ski world,
    I know this is quite off topic but the ‘contact us’ page directions say to just post on a recent thread so here goes!

    Has anyone skied the Prior Husumes? Trying to decide between Coombacks and Husumes, and my big concern is that the Husume might be a little too much ski for me?!?! I want a ski that will hold up well at high speeds in bounds, but the majority of my time I’ll spend in the backcountry of the PNW skiing everything from fluffy goodness to cascade concrete to sun cupped or icy snowfields. I’m not real big, but i stay on top of my skis well, so maybe a more aggro ski is the right choice. But just how much ski am i getting with those Husumes?

    I’m female, 5’9″ and weigh 140lbs.

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
    ~K

  41. Daniel December 6th, 2011 9:57 am

    disagree on the same boots requirement. boots are highly personal, often customised and something you usually do not change very often. i would consider the boots more part of the skier. a ski tester should of course wear the boots that he is used to, in order to be able to make proper judgements about the tested skis.

  42. Toby December 6th, 2011 1:38 pm

    Ptor wrote:
    “The whole problem, especially in Europe, is conceptually segregating “ski-touring” and “freeriding”. Anybody that ski tours is a freerider, unless they are only in it for the “extreme cross-country” or accessing ice climbs.”

    Problem? With this logic we shouldn’t segregate “ski-touring” and “skiing mountaineering” ??

    Classical Euro ski-touring philosophy is quite far away from new freeride mentality. Ski-touring is about going up like you used to do during summer time. The goal is the summit “Kreuz” itself (99%), or the goal can be a series of summits ‘reibn’ (not really much downhill skiing, but mountaineering.) Skiing down is just a nice bonus to have at the end of the hard day.

    Freerinding is very often lift assisted. But of course it can be also based on purely skinning up. The difference to old school ski-touring is that you are always looking for the best and nicest or even hardest and steepest line to ski. This is really not the case when you are looking at typical euro skitoures and their routes. Heck, these guys can hardly ski down. Really.. it is very trendy sport and I see more and more some super sporty fitness oriented folks going up with the lycra suits ect. Their skiing down is close to catastrophic. But there are still thes old tyrolian / bavarian men with their typical skitouring caps and old proven equipment. I really won’t call them freeriders.

    Alpin Mag. tests are very good and helpful. Glad to see inexpensive K2s skis on the top. During recent years the Shuksan has been always found on the top of its class. Now the Backup is continuing this tradition. Very good news for people not willing to spend extra bucks for fancy boutique skis.

    I’m also skiing Alpin test winners: Stökli Stormrider Lights and K2 Shuksan. (I bought these skis before reading and the Alpin articles.). This was after testing some other skis and then reading lots of internet postings. Shuksan are really a bomb proof skis whatever I do.

  43. Lou December 6th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Well, mainly Toby, I’m glad you find the Alpin reviews useful! We are honored to publish our translation here.

  44. Robtyr December 6th, 2011 2:15 pm

    Last year Alpin-Magazin explained why some brands were missing in the test. I think the reasons are still the same, so following is a ranslation of last year’s statement:

    “Why are ski brands missing? Some manufacturers of lightweight skis view the ski test with a critical eye, because the weight of the skis is not taken in consideration enough. Dynafit partook in the last years in the test, but declined to take part in this year’s test due to the (in their eyes) not satisfactory score in the last years (we got the Stoke on the free market). Also Trab declined to participate. Fischer and Hagan declined to provide skis for the tests for quite a few years now. What a shame! In our opinion this is not a sign of confidence in their own products.”

    The same brands however provide test skis for a backcountry ski test of another German mountaineering magazine (Bergsteiger). Their winners are for touring skis the Völkl Inuk (best overall), the Scott Xplor’air (best downhill performance), and the Hagan Skyraider (best ratio price/performance). In the touring freeride category the winner is the Völkl Amaruq (best overall).

    Don’t know how to attach a picture, so I cannot show you the scan of the rating.

  45. stevenjo December 6th, 2011 2:43 pm

    Lou – I may be a little slow but it doesn’t see like all the skis reviewed are listed in the scanned photos/mag. pages with the specs? I’m looking for the specs (weight) on the Volkl Inuk and don’t see it listed… which had a fairly positive review. I am I just missing where it is?

  46. Lou December 6th, 2011 3:05 pm

    Hi Steve, the images are set up to scroll left/right when you pass your mouse over them. I doubt they work on smartphones, and probably don’t work on some browser or tablet systems. Inuk is in the first graphic, I just looked. Lou

  47. stevenjo December 6th, 2011 5:05 pm

    Thanks Lou – Looks like they used the wrong graphic, but specs are there. Thanks.

    Maybe we could get a wildsnow could round out the volkl touring line up with reviews of the Amaruq… that along with the Inuk look like possible late season climbing/steep skis

  48. Kamen December 7th, 2011 3:37 am

    I agree with Daniel – the ski boots are personal. Every skier knows how his boots are reacting, but I realy believe that all the bindings in the test have to be the same. If Markers are not better in downhill performance than the Diamirs, than why people buy them?

  49. Lou December 7th, 2011 6:16 am

    Kaman, lots of people buy things because they THINK they are better… That’s why PR and marketing exist (grin).

    I’ve thought quite a bit about this AT binding issue, and while I think the ideal might be to have all the same bindings, I’m still not feeling it’s absolutely necessary to do so when comparing ski performance. In other words, in my view the Alpin test is valid.

    Luckily, in our testing here at WildSnow with our Ultimate Quiver, all skis have tech binding that perform virtually the same on the downhill. Perhaps that makes us the only valid AT ski test in existence? If so, wow…

  50. Aaron December 7th, 2011 1:15 pm

    Hey Lou; thanks for publishing/translating this review and for the blog in general. It’s been a mainstay of wasting my employer’s time for years now.

    I’ve been a long time lurker, but now have a few questions to ask about one of the skis in the article that I’m considering picking up. Any advice/wisdom would be appreciated!

    It’s cool to see that the Alpin folks thought highly of the K2 Backup. Lots of positive feedback out there (along with a K2 prodeal) have led me to heavily consider the Backup as a mountaineering and spring ski, however I’m a bit hesitant about the narrow nature of the ski, which has me looking at the Wayback or Sideshow. I haven’t skied anything under a 95mm waist in 5 years since moving to the PNW, hence my hesitation.

    A little background; I’ve been using a pair of 177 G3 Tonics in the BC since their inception and really like the ski in the deeper and some of the variable stuff, but I feel that it’s a little soft and doesn’t plow through the typical cascade concrete and hardpack as well as I’d like it to. Do you think adding something like the Backup, with it’s metal insert, to my quiver would be wise in those conditions?

    I’d also like to use them as my primary ski mountaineering ski, which would lead to a smaller size for shorter turns and easier carrying options. Again, going shorter on a narrower ski kind of worries me. I’m not the smallest guy around either at 5’9″ 180lbf. The 167s seem like they would be short, but the 174s too long? Which would you recommend given those parameters?

    Thanks again!

  51. Lou December 7th, 2011 1:32 pm

    I’d tend to go with the wider option, unless this is a quiver ski. In that case, I wouldn’t hesitate. 167 is too short. Lou

  52. Toby December 7th, 2011 1:45 pm

    Aaron, It was back in 2005 when I upgraded my go-skiing skis from 88 to 99 mm. Then two years later I bought skis with 80mm waist. And I realize, I very seldom need anything bigger. Now I also have some superlight rando skis with 70mm waist and find them little bit too less to be fun when the snow gets really funky. So something like 80 is absolutely optimal size for quiver one AT skis. It of course depends where do you live, but I really don’t see much benefit of fat touring skis. Skinnies just have so much better handling and are lighter thus more fun for majority part of the day.

  53. Chris December 7th, 2011 2:02 pm

    Any thoughts from the crew at Wild Snow about how the new scarpa rush would handle a ski/climb on Denali? I am a bit concerned about how warm these boots will be, though the lightness is appealing.

  54. Aaron December 7th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Thanks for the replies Lou and Toby, I appreciate it!

    These would be a quiver ski for sure. The plan would be to switch between the Tonics and Backups given snow conditions. For deeper days where more flotation is necessary I’ll grab the Tonics, and for the mostly cruddy, wet, heavy, crusty stuff that I seem to find here I’d use a stiffer, narrower, shorter board. So 174s for sure then in the length department

  55. Lee Lau December 7th, 2011 10:52 pm

    @Chris, the Rush would probably be fine because it has the holy of holies; an Intuition liner. You could also fit overboots on the Rush.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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