New G3 Zenoxide C3: light, fat, and stiff


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Enjoying the featherweight G3 Zenoxide C3's while setting the bootpack on Mt. Davidson, BC.

For all-conditions ski mountaineering, a 105 underfoot ski is the ticket. Big enough to have fun in pow, while still skinny enough to save some weight and ski well on hard snow. Also, having a bit of width helps in variable back-country snow, such as wind crust or mashed potatoes. 90% of the time when I’m in the backcountry, I ski a ski this size.

I was pretty excited when, on our Christmas vacation in Nelson, I picked up a pair of G3′s new, lighter version of their Zenoxide, the Zenoxide C3. G3 constructed these skis with 100% carbon fiber (no fiberglass), and a wood core. Weighing in at 1500 grams (178), and being the same shape as their original Zenoxide (131 / 105 / 123), they are in a category with a very small number of light, fat skis. Even though they are crazy light, they are still quite stiff (due to the copious amounts of carbon fiber). They also have a fair amount of rocker in the tip, a necessary feature.

Sure, they are light, but how do they ski? There are lots of light skis out there, but I generally choose slightly heavier skis that ski much better. I’m willing to give up a little weight for a ski that is more fun and less work on the down. The fact that that the Zenoxides are stiff gave me some confidence, since many light skis are noodles, given the lack of material and low density cores that are common. However, I’ve traditionally preferred somewhat soft, forgiving skis for ski mountaineering. Stiff skis are like sport cars, fun to drive when you put some muscle into it and want to speed like you’ve got Andretti DNA, however, when you just want to cruise, they aren’t the best. Conversely, I can muscle a soft ski into going fast and shredding (as long as it’s a nice, damp, ski), but when I’m tired and my legs are rubber from an 18 hour push, it’s great to ride a soft, forgiving ski. That being said, the Zenoxide C3s are stiff, really stiff.

Carving through wind affected snow.

Ski review of G3's new Zenoxide C3 ski mountaineering ski

I've been skiing a pair of ski's with last year's graphics. This is the graphic for next year, featuring a large clear top sheet to show off the carbon fiber construction. I like the white graphic I've been using better. It's surprising how much less snow sticks to a white, sun-reflecting top sheet.

My first day on the skis, all I could find in the Nelson backcountry was pow (bummer, right?), but I was pretty impressed with how they skied. In powder they were fast, and also quite poppy. I had a blast popping off pillows and out of deep turns. That same day I also managed to take a few runs on some icy groomers and crud at Whitewater ski resort. Being such a light ski, I was worried they would be chattery and get thrown around by the crud. Surprisingly, they laid nice rails in the groom, and were more than passable at busting crud. Being so light, they did get thrown around a bit, although quite a bit less than I expected, and they didn’t chatter.

Since then I’ve taken them out on quite a few other trips, encountering a slew of conditions, and they’ve performed well. Having such a light ski on long days is a breeze, and it’s a treat to have the width on the down. Being a stiff ski, you do have to stay on your game somewhat, and It was nice to have stiff boots to pair them with. However, they are more forgiving than I first thought they would be. They’ve become my new go-to ski, and I’m looking forward to skiing them more this winter and spring. Also impressive about these skis — MSRP is $849.95, pretty good for a fully carbon fiber touring ski.

Zenoxide C3 105 specs:
Length tested: 178
Dimensions: 131 / 105 / 123
Wildsnow verified weight (per ski): 1465 g
Skier: 5’10″, 150 lbs

Comments

45 Responses to “New G3 Zenoxide C3: light, fat, and stiff”

  1. stevenjo January 16th, 2013 10:52 am

    Thanks for the review. I think G3 nailed it with the org. Zenoxide as a ski anything ride at a reasonable weight. Aside from weight any comparisons of the C3 to the standard Zenoxide?
    Tx

  2. Tim January 16th, 2013 11:01 am

    Looks like a fun ski. I’m hoping you’re able to give a head to head with the new Grand Teton ski from Dynafit.

  3. Dimi January 16th, 2013 11:45 am

    They look interesting, how do they compare against my current ski-mo ski? The hi-5 :)

  4. Louie Dawson January 16th, 2013 12:40 pm

    I’ve only skied the original Zenoxide once or twice, so I can’t compare it that well. It seemed like it skied similarly though. They are the exact same shape, and feel like they have a similar flex pattern.

    I’ve never skied the Hi-5, but it the C3 is quite a bit lighter (about 10 oz per ski!).

  5. John January 16th, 2013 1:09 pm

    Besides the weight, how do these compare to the Coomback?

  6. Boulder Dave January 16th, 2013 1:45 pm

    Great Review, Lou!

    And a great sounding ski. I’m guessing the “go to ski” helps me guess how you would feel about this relative to some others in that category of fat and light. I am currently evaluating the category and thinking hard about DPS, LaSportiva (Hi5), the BD Drift and basically anything that makes the ultimate quiver list with a waist in the 100-110 zip code. Thoughts, comparisons?

    Thanks again,

    David

  7. Scott January 16th, 2013 1:51 pm

    .

  8. stevenjo January 16th, 2013 2:39 pm

    Thanks Louie, that’s helpful.

    Dimi, I skied both the 178 Hi5 and original 178 ZenO this weekend – to the extent the new and old Zen ski similarly my thoughts are below. Also these are just first impressions after skiing only a handful of laps on each at the resort. Conditions gave us abnormally (Oregon) cold dry snow on groomers and 6-8” dry chopped crud and pockets of fresh.

    The Zen is a grownups ski. The wildsnow review pretty much captures my major thoughts (http://www.wildsnow.com/4889/g3-gear-review/). It is a big, stable board that likes to be skied at speed. In fact I think its a bit lackluster at anything less given it’s large turning radius in comparison to something like the G3 Tonic if you’ve skied it. I felt surprisingly confident straight lining the first part of a groomer before laying into gs carving turns – same holds true in charging into a mixed powder or crud field. Having only mild early rise it skied fairly true to size.

    The Hi5 skis very differently. It is on the opposite spectrum in terms of rocker with a very big tip rocker profile. Accordingly it skis short and excelled in soft snow between trees with easy pivots. I thought it still held its own in mixed/crud conditions but did not inspire the same confidence as the Zen if charging in with speed. I also thought it did pretty well on groomers with nice edge grip but similar to Zen in that I would not call it a ‘turny’ ski.

    All and all both seem like very capable everyday touring rigs but differ in that the Zen is more at home with speed in open terrain whereas the Hi5 seemed to shine more in tighter slower terrain.

    Hope that helps.

  9. Dan January 16th, 2013 3:42 pm

    Lou, how would you compare the new C3 to the Nunataqs? Other than the weight, of course. Thanks for your review.

  10. D. January 16th, 2013 3:56 pm

    The C3 is amazing stuff, I have skied quite some many days on it already and it is really great. Reminds me more of the “original” ZenOxide, which was really amazing skis, but at much bigger weight. By “original” I mean the non-rocker one, no cap construction – the one from 2-3 seasons ago.
    C3 compared to current ZenOxide – I would say way better on hard pack and at high speeds and again lighter, while keeping the forgiveness..

  11. stevenjo January 16th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Good point D, thanks. To clarify for others, I was referring the current ZenOxide not the original ski with full-camber.

  12. Eric Steig January 16th, 2013 6:17 pm

    “Crazy light” is a bit of an oversell. I mean, that’s still nearly 3 kg/pair. The Voile Charger has about the same dimensions and is around 3.1kg/pair. So this isn’t game changing.

    The Movement Bond X is 2.3 kg/ski. Not as wide a ski but that’s a big weight difference.

    Nothing against G3 — I want a pair too.

  13. brian h. January 16th, 2013 6:18 pm

    Hey ya’ll! Check out the “Icons” issue of Backcountry (this month). Congrats!! Mr. Dawson. (As if we didn’t know that!).

  14. Eric Steig January 16th, 2013 6:18 pm

    Any other light G3 skis coming, by the way?

  15. Lee January 16th, 2013 7:09 pm

    I have the original Zens and I have loved them since my first run. They have taken some shots and held up well. With a hundred or so days on them they are still stiff. I will defiantly get a new pair when its time.

  16. AndyC January 16th, 2013 9:26 pm

    Lou, you are saying that for all conditions, 105 is the ticket. I just started using my 182 Stokes alternately with my 187 Manaslus. My initial impressions: the 105 waist put much more pressure on the ankles & knees with traversing sidehill with the top boot buckles unbuckled; the wider ski is more prone to slip off a degraded skin track (slanted downhill, broken on the downhill edge), and with the same skin (Dynafit), more prone to slipping backwards on steep & irregular icy uptrack. Of course the two ski downhill markedly different and I’m still learning about that and that has as much to do with construction as with waist width I think. In spring and summer snow, I am not using either ski, I am using a 184 Volkl Snowwolf with a 76 mm waist which traverses great, turns effortlessly, and holds an edge on steep and hard snow well. Maybe the snows you ski tend to be softer and deeper most of the time, whereas in the maritime climate of Western Washington and year-round skiing I deal with more harder snows. Or maybe I just need more time on the Stokes. I ski a 188 Rossi S7 lift served with a Zzeus and turns even on firmer groomed and bumps are not a problem, but I’ve never tried traversing a steep firm slope with the top buckles unbuckled with them :-)

  17. Fernando Pereira January 16th, 2013 9:32 pm

    I’m a G3 Tonic guy through and through (I know, I like it easy…), but I wonder sometimes about a lighter weight version of the Tonic. The ZenO is clearly not that, but maybe there are other options I don’t know about…

  18. Louie Dawson January 17th, 2013 1:14 am

    For a bit, this article was posted as being written by Lou, but I actually wrote it (I managed to swipe the C3′s). Sorry for the confusion.

    I ski the coomback quite a bit as well, and it’s a very different ski. I love the way the coomback skis, very damp and forgiving, and fairly soft. The Zen C3 is stiff, and consequently isn’t quite as maneuverable (although I honestly haven’t been in much tight terrain with it), and likes to go fast and bust through variable snow. It’s also not nearly as forgiving, it sure is fun though.

    As far as other comparisons. I’ve never ridden DPS’s, but I expect with the additional rocker, and reverse sidecut tip and tail, they are more pow specific. Same goes for Hi-5′s, to some extent.

    Yeah, there are a few skis with a similar width and weight to the C3, but not a ton. Also, in my opinion many of those other light, 100ish skis are very powder specific. Their width and light weight make them perfect for human powered pow skiing. However they don’t perform well in variable conditions, something that is essential in an all-around backcountry or ski mountaineering ski. The tough part is making a ski that skis well in variable conditions, and is also light and wide. That’s why I’ve stuck to slightly heavier, better skiing skis in the past. I think G3 did a good job of making the C3 light, and also a good ski for variable conditions.

    Wider skis are definitely a bit more work on icy skintracks and traverses. For me it’s not a big deal, and the advantages on the down more than make up for it. For spring and summer skiing, a narrower ski is definitely the ticket. But for all conditions, including pow, breakable crust, etc, nothing beats a bit of extra width. I took the Coombacks down to South America this summer, and they were perfect for all the varieties of snow we encountered. Everything from blower pow to hard corn.

    There might be some other super-light G3′s in the future :wink

  19. Phil January 17th, 2013 5:26 am

    Louie,
    I’m hesitating between Coombacks and Manaslu as my new go-to ski for ski mountaineering (my budget unfortunately only allows one). Living in the Alps and not in Nelson, I get powder sometimes and all kinds of other snow most of the time. All my previous AT set-ups would be on the heavier side, because I do appreciate the downhill a lot… But in the last seasons, I got tired of hauling heavy skis up the mountains with all the Dynafit-clad people running past me.

    So I need a new, lighter ski, which de facto includes tech-bindings, but I’d like skis that are still fun going down.

    Your father (or Wildsnow in general) seems to be fond of the Manaslu, which has a very appealing weight/width ratio. Did you have a chance to ski them? If yes, how do they compare to the Coombacks? At 95mm at the waist, they are definitely slimmer than the Coombacks and don’t seem to be that great on hard snow? G3 skis aren’t available here, but if you have other suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!

  20. g January 17th, 2013 9:04 am

    “while still skinny enough”

    Only a 20 something would refer to 105 underfoot as “still skinny enough”

  21. XXX_er January 17th, 2013 10:19 am

    Can anybody compare the C3 to the Stoke my current ride which I find pretty soft/easy to ski and I am also in that 105-ish waist camp for a BC ski

  22. Louie Dawson January 17th, 2013 11:47 am

    G3 is also coming out with two other skis with the full carbon construction. The C93 (basically a lighter version of their saint), that reportedly weighs 3.1 lbs (170) and the C88, (basically a lighter spitfire), that reportedly weighs 2.6 lbs (157).

  23. gringo January 17th, 2013 1:18 pm

    Hey Phil,
    you might try the Scott Venture alpine ski. Its 140-98-130-ish dimensions mounted with a Dynafit binding make it a true do everything ski for big tours in the Alps. They carve great, have a nice sidewall construction which keeps things nice and damp / stable in frozen avy debris, and for sure wide enough for the pow.
    I have been rocking a pair since last Jan. and could not be happier

  24. Tyler Beck January 17th, 2013 1:31 pm

    Hey Louie,
    Will the Zen O C3 be availabe this season to purchase/demo this season?

    Thanks for the review!

  25. Richard January 17th, 2013 4:58 pm

    Hi Louie,
    Thanks for the report on the Zenoxide Carbon There are so many different ideas about shape and construction out there that any real comparisons are hard to come by.

    re wide, fat, stiff skis

    I just finished a back to back comparison of a ski that skis a lot like the Coomback and the PM Lahasa 186′s I’ve been skiing on a lot this season. I specifically wanted a comparison of real junk snow and firm groomer performance. I already knew that the Lahasas were fabulous in variable wind crust and the like.

    Me: 240# ex racer, over the hill but still strong.
    Skis:
    –192 cm pre-production Fischer Watea 101, 134-101-124. No early rise, full side cut, medium-medium soft flex. Torsionally very stiff. Reportedly have some carbon in the layup.
    –PM Gear Lahasa 186 140-112-120. Bullet nose early rise tip with the widest point near the flat surface contact point. Semi-pintail tail, no tail rocker. Carbon construction. Stiff, progressing from fairly flexible tip to stiff tail.Weight 4# 3oz for a ski with perhaps 30% more surface area than the 178 G3. PM does make a somewhat narrower179 for you little people (LOL) that should be very close to the G3 in weight, although the manufacturer doesn’t publish a weight for it.

    Junk snow performance: week-old skier/snowboarder tracked, snow temp 0 degrees, irregular bumps and ruts, everything very firm. Not even snowboarders venturing onto it.

    The Lahasas charge through this kind of junk with little tip deflection. As long as you hold your form your legs will take a pounding but the skis will take care of you. Fischers– hmm– I don’t think I want to do this. Getting thrown off balance, recovering, starting to think about mortality.

    Firm Groomers; Lahasas absolutely demand that you maintain forward pressure on the ski. As long as you do that they hold amazingly well for a very wide ski. Not as pleasant to ski on as the Wailer 99′s for example, although they hold as well. Don’t encourage quick slalom style turns. Wouldn’t hesitate to take the Lahasas on a steep and icy traverse. Definitely not my world cup Head race skis though!
    Fischer 101′s: Well balanced, but no edge hold in comparison. My weight and power just overwhelm them.

    Conclusions:
    –There is definitely something to the bullet nose shape on the Lahasas, Atomic Automatics, and Dynastar Chams, and I attribute their ability in junk snow and wind crust to it. Before choosing a ski with a conventional tip shape like the G3, even with early rise I’d definitely want to do back to back testing.
    –Skiing styles and abilities differ, but for me I want stiffness that is appropriate to my weight, and that rules out most powder specific skis.
    –I don’t ski backward and have no desire to have a foot of extra ski flopping along back there sending up a rooster tail, even if it is a yellow rooster tail from a Wailer 112!
    –I’m not totally sold on the semi-pintail shape of my PM’s and don’t know how the same ski would perform with perhaps 6cm more tail width and tighter sidecut.
    –I agree that the 100-105 waist size is the sweet spot for an all mountain ski.

    So Louie and Lou, when are you going to do a back-to-back test with your G3′s as the baseline and some more unconventionally shaped skis as the comparison?

  26. Bar Barrique January 17th, 2013 7:47 pm

    I would like to add my voice to those skiers who do not think that skis should come in the colour “black”. Black skis tend to absorb sunlight converting it to heat, this results in the skis becoming coated in ice, and, snow, It is somewhat self defeating to build a light weight ski, that will often be coated with a heavy layer of ice, and snow.

    Just my 2 cents worth;

    Bar

  27. Lou Dawson January 17th, 2013 7:56 pm

    That’s more like 1,000 cents worth.

  28. Dan January 17th, 2013 8:20 pm

    I noticed that the new BD “Drift” ski is basically white…it’s about time. BTW: I have been skiing a pair of fat boards with dark colored topsheet lately. The buildup of snow/ice due to the recent warm weather (dry with inversion) we are experiencing here in the N. Cascades results in a very noticable difference in the skinning effort.. Too bad, because it is easier to ski these somewhat spring-like conditions with the fatter skis.

  29. Louie Dawson January 17th, 2013 9:34 pm

    Richard, thanks for the comparo.

    I think the G3′s will be available next fall, I’ll have to check on that though.

    Aesthetically, I’m not a fan of BD’s graphics, but the fact that most of their skis are 90% white is great! I just got a pair of Carbon Megawatts, and it’s interesting how often snow sticks to the small portions that are dark blue, while not to the white. However, I think it’s only an issue some of the time, when the snow is really sticky, it’s going to stick no matter what.

  30. Richard January 18th, 2013 6:56 am

    One thing to keep in mind with carbon skis like the G3 and PM that use a clear topskin to display their carbon layup–. The epoxy in the carbon matrix will deteriorate with long term UV exposure. Not sure if a ski will get enough sun in its lifetime for it to become a factor, but I wouldn’t store one of these designs in front of a window over the summer!

  31. D. January 18th, 2013 7:05 am

    Richard, G3s are not clear topskin, and do not show carbon layup…

  32. AVIATOR January 18th, 2013 7:47 am

    Everything will deteriorate with long term UV exposure.
    I keep anything I want to last out of the sun religiously.
    And pretty much anywhere you see “exposed” carbon it’s not actually the structural layup that you see. What you see is a decorative top carbon layer put there for show, and it serves the same purpose as a coat of paint, protecting the structure underneath from UV a little bit.
    Most things carbon you will break before you have to worry about UV breakdown anyway. :D

  33. david January 18th, 2013 3:15 pm

    Louie, I noted Husumes were included in some of the TRs over Christmas. Wondering if you had a chance to ski them and if so if you might have any comment on the differences between Husume carbon and ZenOxide carbon given both skis built by people who are skiing similar terrain/snow. I appreciate there is a weight difference and sidecut difference, but not clear on other characteristics such as flex patterns etc.

  34. Louie Dawson January 18th, 2013 4:48 pm

    I was under the impression that the topsheat was clear and showed the actual carbon. It could show a layer of carbon that is non-structural, like AVIATOR said. I think that is fairly common with bikes and other carbon fiber products. I bet there are ways of blocking UV light with the clear resin as well, so I bet that isn’t much of a concern.

    I haven’t skied the Husumes, they look like sweet skis though, I’ve heard good things.

  35. See January 18th, 2013 7:46 pm

    Is it the carbon or the epoxy or both that is most vulnerable to UV?

    Regardless, how about a light sanding and a coat of white BIN primer?

  36. AVIATOR January 18th, 2013 8:11 pm

    @louie, exactly, there should be UV filter in the clear coat
    not as good as paint but better than nothing
    http://www.awlgrip.com with UV filter is used a lot in sailing for masts and spars
    if you are really worried just add some UV clear coat yourself
    and anything you want to know about carbon fiber and UV , just google boat building forums :D

    @see, it’s the epoxy, and yes, all skis should be white always, there should be laws and trade embargos regulating it

  37. Richard January 18th, 2013 11:39 pm

    Since I opened this topic I suppose I should chime in. I’ve 20 years as a yachtbuilder and project manager and have seen a lot of clear coat failures as well as a few successes. Unprotected standard epoxy will deteriorate structurally and fail cosmetically in the tropics within a matter of six months to a year.

    Awlgrip clear has many virtues but very limited UV barrier capability. I’ve used it extremely successfully as a tough upper layer over varnish that provides the UV barrier.
    Awlbrite, the company’s clear wood finish product has in my experience a limited success and life expectancy. In any case it is not durable enough to be used for skis.

    I doubt if any clear topskins that ski manufacturers might employ have significant UV resistance. However even where they expose structural carbon laminates it shouldn’t become an issue unless the exposure is extreme, like storing in direct sunlight for several off seasons. So don’t mount them on the deck of your sailboat and sail to Tahiti. LOL

  38. Charlie March 4th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Hey Lou,

    I wondered if you have ever thought about applying a hydrophobic coating to the top of a ski in order to reduce snow build-up? I remember you bemoaning the dark topsheet of certain skis because of ice / snow loading under sunny conditions, and with good reason: why spend hundreds of dollars on light-weight skis and then schlepp a couple of kilos of ice on them up the mountain?

    There are a couple products coming onto the market now claiming that they are durable hydrophobic coatings. One of them is called UltraEverDry and there are some pretty amazing youtube videos circulating about it (disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of these companies).

    It could be a fun experiment to treat one ski with the coating and leave the other as a ‘control’. You’ll have to weigh the skis at the bottom and top of course *smile*. What about it Lou? Does it work? How durable is it? Backcountry skiers with fatigued hip flexors demand to know the truth!

  39. Lou Dawson March 4th, 2013 12:56 pm

    I don’t see how anything can be more hydrophobic than alpine ski wax, which is what I rub on the tops of the skis to try and help. But I’m willing to try anything. Light colored skis are the solution, really. White with just some small graphics. Been experimenting with this for years, and I’ve seen a few people paint their skis white when they got sick of hauling around a pile of ice. Lou

  40. Peter Burke March 5th, 2013 9:02 am

    not sure if this stuff will stick to a ski (it does work on metal surfaces, so I guess it would) but it even repels oil, Ice and water are the easy things for it to shed:

    Ultra-Ever-Dry

    http://youtu.be/IPM8OR6W6WE

    Expensive, as you may have guessed

  41. Pierre askmo December 9th, 2013 4:25 pm

    Hey Lou, you say “It was nice to have stiff boots to pair them with”. What boots were those?

  42. Louie December 9th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Pierre – last year i was using the Dynafit Vulcans with these skis. This year I’ve been trying out the Scarpa Freedoms. Both are quite stiff, and work great. I’ve also used Scarpa Maestrales with the C3, they work, but do get a bit overpowered by the stiffness of the ski, especially in bad snow.

  43. Pierre askmo December 9th, 2013 6:18 pm

    Thanks Lou, I got interested beacuse last year I went from a 84 mm 171 cm Ski Trab Freeride to a hagan Chimera 1.0 87 mm 176 cm with a lot more heft. All the excitment over the new skis took a hit when I noticed that my (too) old MegaRides were totally overpowered by the new skis which killed the whole benefit of the ski upgrade. I ended up changing boots to Garmont Cosmos with high density Intuitions and low and behold: Balance was restored! Ever since, the issue of matching boot to ski has gotten all my attention. All the more that finding good light and stiff AT boots takes some effort.

  44. Matt January 9th, 2014 12:22 pm

    Hey All,

    Just a Heads up, I’m riding the new Zen Oxides discussed above this season. A much better ski than I initially gave them credit for, in fact so good in my opinion I’ll sell my other set and use these all the time.

    One issue though which is yet to be resolved is that a crack has formed on the top sheet, from the tip going back an inch, its about the size of my thumb. I haven’t heard of any issues with these skis but I wanted to throw this out there. Can’t explain what happened just yet but I’ll be taking them into my local shop for a chat.

    Has anybody heard of any failures like this regarding the Zen Oxide?

  45. David miller April 10th, 2014 12:40 am

    Uninspiring in many ways.
    The only thing they do well is ski fast through crud.
    I am unsure why that is useful.
    Not particularly light wt either.
    Save your money.

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