Dynafit Huascaran – Quiver Arrow of the Week


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Dynafit Huascaran backcountry ski  has a good surface and width ratio, rocker.

Dynafit Huascaran backcountry ski has a good surface and width ratio, rocker. They work.

I debated long and hard on what to bring on my recent backcountry ski trip out of Haines, Alaska. One of the harder choices was skis. I knew (or hoped) that all we were likely to find was deep powder. However, I also knew that it was full-on ski mountaineering with steep climbs, descents, and long days. I didn’t think my fat fun powder ski would be quite right, but I also wanted a ski that would be exciting for big lines, fast.

Ultimately I decided to bring two pairs. One was my 188 K2 Darksides, a ski I’ve had for about 2 years. K2s run long, so they are more like 193, and with substantial rocker, a stiff tail, and 130mm underfoot, they are incredibly fun. I knew they covered the fast, fun side of skis, but they are heavy. So I wanted a pair of fat, light skis for longer days. I didn’t have a pair of planks that really fit the bill, so I scored some 188 Dynafit Huascarans to try out.

Huascarans are Dynafit’s widest ski, at 135 / 114 / 124 mm. They weigh in at about 65 ounces per ski (1843 grams), making them light for their size (see stats below). They have a rockered tip, and a tiny bit of rocker in the tail, with camber underfoot. The ski has cap construction, with small sidewalls located just above the edges, ostensibly to add edging power.

Dynafit Huascaran rocker profile.  it is real.

Dynafit Huascaran rocker profile. It is real.

I picked up the Huascarans right before I left and didn’t have a chance to test, something I was a little hesitant about. I took them anyways and gave them a first run on the powdery peaks of Alaska. Now there’s some ski testing for ya! While most of the snow encountered on the trip was pow, I did manage to find a bit of harder snow. Given the Huascaran’s light weight, I expected them to have compromised performance on the down. However, they surprised me. They ripped through pow, and though I wouldn’t call them a piste ski they performed very well on hard snow.

The light weight of the Huascarans was awesome, especially combined with their downhill performance. I ended up using them the majority of the days of the trip. Although they had a slightly lower speed limit than my other skis, they still were able to handle the big Alaskan faces. Of course, given their light weight, there is a little bit of compromise. Mainly, at speed they don’t ski quite as well as some heavier skis out there, especially on difficult snow (full disclosure, yes, Alaskan pow isn’t always perfect).

Throughout the trip I also used the Dynafit pre-cut Speed skins on the Huascarans. Dynafit skins are super light and packable, making a light setup even lighter. However, I’ve never been much of a fan of Dynafit’s skin attachment system. The stretchy tip attachment tends to stretch and come undone, mostly in difficult snow conditions.

According to our weight charts, the 167 cm Huscaran we have at WildSnow HQ scores 81 for weight/surface, which is below our current 82.5 average. In terms of weight/length, we get a score of 9.44, just above our current average of 9.04. Since this is a wider ski that means it’s quite light in weight. Overall weight of the 167 is 1,576 grams (55.6 oz). Longer skis will of course be heavier overall, but will retain similar though sometimes slightly heavier ratios.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Dynafit skis, instead preferring styles that are designed for a higher speed, less turny style. However, the Huascarans proved to be a super light pow ski that holds up will in a variety of snow conditions and supported the kind of skiing I like to do. They now have an honored position in my quiver.

Get a pair of Dynafit skis here.

Comments

35 Responses to “Dynafit Huascaran – Quiver Arrow of the Week”

  1. Layne May 13th, 2013 1:32 pm

    I took a pair 177cm Huascarans out for demo at Alpental during VertFest back in Feb. Really enjoyed them up to the point where I took a spill skiing Elevator Shaft along the lower mountain bc access gate. A snowboarder came out of nowhere and I jammed myself trying to avoid him, crossed up the skis and double ejected. Both skis came off and slid past me while I tumbled a bit. Picking myself up I could see one ski about 20 yards below, and a ski brake laying on the snow that came off the other ski, which I couldn’t find. I had to walk/slide out of the bc, and presented the one ski, and brake to the Dynafit rep. Took the rep back to the crash site and found the ski with the help of a couple friends up against a tree. The Radical ST demo bindings had a long baseplate, but having a brake fail like that sucked, the Dynafit reps hadn’t seen anything like that before. Still, the Huascarans were a fun ski.

  2. Lou Dawson May 13th, 2013 1:38 pm

    It is very very common for Dynafit brakes to be incorrectly installed, and come off quite easily. Latest inline iteration of the Radical has permanently attached brakes. That’s too bad in our view, as we like the removable ones because we know how to use them — but it’s probably better overall to have the brakes fixed, to eliminate human error…

    Sorry to hear about your spill, glad you’re ok.

    Lou

  3. Njord May 13th, 2013 1:39 pm

    Those are my touring skis of choice in Alaska! Super fun and tour decently too!

    Njord
    http://www.kenaiheliski.com

  4. Dane May 14th, 2013 11:13 am

    Huge fan of the Huascaran myself. Been skiing them most of the winter. This from a previous comment. I own them in a 177 and a 196. 177cm ski is a true delight in any condition any tour. Glad Louie got to enjoy them as well!

    “No ski to date more of a surprise or more impressive as a true “all mountain ski”, than… the new Dynafit Hauscaran. This is truly one amazing ski. Helped to have 2+’ (yes 2+ feet) of new, untracked hero snow today to play on. It is the Cascades after all so anything you can actually ski here that is 2′ deep IS, almost unbelievable, hero snow.”

  5. Daniel June 17th, 2013 12:26 pm

    So the Huascaran has popped up on my radar recently as a soft snow touring ski for me. I have so far considered Wailer 112s, Hi5, Praxis BC.

    Dane suggests the 177 Huascaran is plenty ski for me even at 6’2 175ish. I know for good that I like that length (in terms of handling ) in other Skis (ie Coomback).

    What is everybody else’s take?

    And, maybe more people have skied that plank in the meantime and can share their experience.

    cheers!

  6. Daniel June 22nd, 2013 7:55 am

    Ordered a pair of 177ers now, based on dane’s advice and the reports that they ski longer than other rocker skis and ask for some boot in the longer lengths. Yes, I do seem to like shorter skis and rather prefer too short over too long. Bindings will be tlt speeds. Anybody thinking 177 will be too short? Goal is to have something that skis shorter and floats better than existing 181 backlashes. Cheers!

  7. Dane June 26th, 2013 12:53 pm

    Hey guys, what size of Hauscaran are you skiing? I got confused in the write ups. Lou and Louie both on the 186s? Louie’s Alaska trip on the 186?

  8. George September 5th, 2013 1:36 pm

    dane…I would infer that Louie was on the 186′s for his trip to AK.

  9. Daniel November 3rd, 2013 11:39 am

    Which skins would be good for the Huascaran?

    Something really grippy (BD Nylon) because the wide ski has so little pressure per surface to get a skin to grip, or something mohairy to let the huge planks glide some? Or maybe simply the precut Dynafit Speedskins?

    cheers!

  10. Daniel November 14th, 2013 5:25 am

    FYI, went with BD Glidelite Mix skins. To my surprise, they are only marginally lighter than Nylon Ascensions I had cut for the same ski. Also, the BD glue does not like the G3 skin cutting tool.

    Anyway, the complete package (Huascaran 177/ skins/ TLT speed) weighs a mere 4800gr/pair which is approx. 10lbs 9oz…

    Not too bad for such a wide plank, eh?

  11. Daniel November 14th, 2013 5:26 am

    10.6 lbs respectively.

  12. Lou Dawson November 14th, 2013 5:28 am

    Nice Daniel! Thanks for sharing the details. Skin weight is probably something we should be focusing more on, since it applies to the uphill specifically. Skins can be made much lighter, but durability becomes an issue. But just watch, I think one or two of the skin companies will come up with a disruptive product and we’ll suddenly see skin weights go down the way ski weighs have. Lou

  13. Jason November 15th, 2013 10:30 am

    Yes, weight of skins can make a good difference. From skimo racing we have actually learned that the glide of skin is really what is most important. The fatter the ski the more important glide is, so go mohair all the way.

    Durability of skins is way over rated. In fact, skins are faster after they have been broken in a bit. More glide means less resistance as you move the ski forward. You should barely be lifting the ski at all. And getting just a little bit of glide even on steeper skin tracks makes a huge difference over the course of the day.

  14. Daniel December 9th, 2013 2:01 am

    Got my first turns in on the Huascaran (with TLT speeds) yesterday. Conditions were mostly powder or other soft snow, but winblown and many types of crust randomly thrown in. Uphill, the Huascaran amazed me with its low weight and easy handling. Side grip was better than expected. Downhill, I immediately liked the super easy, highlly predictable handling. It’s a lively ski that still holds a line and goes across snowpack transititions with ease. You hear the sudden crust but the ski will not behave unexpectedly. Exactly what I expect from a touring ski. Safe, predictable, fun skiing. The Huascaran did not one moment feel like a 112mm fat plank. Wel done, Dynafit.

  15. Daniel December 11th, 2013 1:04 am

    Just had the thought that the Huascaran reminds me of the venerable Coomback…apart from being floatier and springier in feel. anybody else?

  16. Ferg December 22nd, 2013 3:49 pm

    Trying to make a decision on whether to get the huascaran or the grand Teton. I live in Colorado so I am wondering if I need something as wide as the huascaran for everyday touring. Seems like a great ski though. Anyone have experience with both?

  17. Dane December 22nd, 2013 7:40 pm

    Yes. GT is a fairly traditional touring ski with little rocker..and I mean little. Straight sidewals and a fairly long turn radius @ 20+. Not anything new. Very close to the Stoke I think is weight and performance. Better on edge but not a lot.

    Huascaran is a modern 5 point design, super fun and palyful. Good tip rocker, pin tial with a tiny bit of rocker. I had hoped the GT was a skinng Huascaran instead of a Stoke. Weight on the Huascaran is very close, within grams of the GT for size. WAy too close IMO. Take the width for a few grams. You won;t regret it. The better ski…by far IMO is the Huascaran. Better on soft snow and on edge in hard conditions spriing than the GT. Just a better, more modern ski I think I would bet the GT will be revamped again into a 100mm Huascaran. That is a ski I want as well. If not the Huascaran…look at the Cho Oyu. If you really can’t live without a pair of 182 GTs with skins send me a PM :).

  18. Ferg December 24th, 2013 9:15 am

    Dane. What size do you ski huascaran? At 6-2 I am thinking the 186. I will likely use this as my everyday touring ski and occasional resort in Colorado.

  19. Daniel December 24th, 2013 9:35 am

    Dane skis the 177.

    I myself went with his advice and chose the 177, too. I am also 6’2 and something around 175lbs and find my 177 huascaran to be pretty substantial on the snow.

    Dane also gave us insight into the fact that the amount of camber varies between the lengths and that in general there is more between the lengths than mere centimeters. He’ll certainly chime in very soon anyway :-)

    FYI, the 177 Huascaran doesn’t feel turnier than say my 181 K2 Backlash.
    mounting point is pretty far forward, so even a 177 leaves you with a good amount of tail to deal with in kick turns.

    Go 186 if you like long skis, and 177 if you like skis to be just as long as necessary. And also maybe 186 if you weigh a whole lot more.

  20. Daniel January 7th, 2014 2:59 am

    short update on the Huascaran.

    The shallow sidecut tours really well, edge hold is pretty awesome given the width. the ski is manageable on groomers and can actually be fun there as long as it is not too hard. not that it washed out like mad, it’s just too much work on icy pitches. I am confident the Huascaran will provide all the edge hold you need in backcountry skiing situations. The Huascaran is pretty playful in any type of 3d snow, turns very easily and floats and turns well even in cement like fresh. In anything light it’s a dream anyway. The substantial rocker and long radius work really well in breakable crust. I have my doubts this plank can be labelled “Freeride Ski” though, Heavier and/or metal laminate skis do understandably feel more substantial and have a higher speed limit. The skis is also not exactly at home in very bouncy crud. However, for an AT skier who wants more float and freeski feel without the weight penalty, this is a great tool. I have yet to find out which types of snow (ie very hard in teh uphill) will discourage me from using the Huascaran for extended tours, as all uphillig (and downhill as well) this winter has been on powder snow so far. Lucky me.
    Bottom line: The Huascaran is a superbly balanced At ski with some freeride genes thrown in. For reference, I am 6’2 175 and ski the 177.

  21. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2014 4:46 am

    Daniel, you really only ski the 177 length? I am about your size and weight and ski the coomback in 188, which is more like 190 plus. Would not like it any shorter.
    But I´ve always been interested in how a wide ski feels when it is skied in quite a short length. Never had the possibility to try that.

  22. Daniel January 7th, 2014 6:04 am

    Yes I do. I have short legs for my height though. For touring 180ish is as long as I can/want to go really, and Huascarans have the mounting point pretty forward. That and dane’s advice made me choose the 177. I have not been disappointed so far! I can see use for longer lengths at speed, but then again I ski at medium speeds and the uphill handling is great. Edge hold is not an issue.

  23. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2014 9:37 am

    Daniel, thanks for the information. What I like in longer skies is not only the speed behaviour, but also that you generally don´t have to care that much for the back and forth balance in 3D-snow or after a jump. Or, in other words: You probably have to be a better skier to ride a ski in SHORTER length ;-) (though many people see that converse)

  24. Daniel January 7th, 2014 9:46 am

    Erik, you are right about fore-aft balance. But imho the 177 is quite a solid platform and provides enough stability for me. Width also means ski surface in front and behind the binding, thus providing resistance in both directions. I do not jump unless forced to cross a little creek bed or so…

    I would have bought a 181 Huascaran but def. not 187. If In doubt, go short :-)

  25. Daniel January 8th, 2014 11:15 am

    would like to add that my Zzero4 PX felt like plenty of boot for the ski. Guess I could even ski them with something slightly softer. Not a ski that asks for tons of boot power.

  26. Jean-Marc January 13th, 2014 4:36 am

    Absolutely fabulous ! I’ll give a 5/5.

    Got these in 186 cm size (I’m 183 cm tall and weight 65 kg) and put them to heavy use for 2 intensive days in the Swiss alps. Bottom line : a very light fat freeride ski.

    Uphill :

    The obvious forte is the light weight when considering the 114 mm width. A real bonus after a +1700 m ascent. Great energy saver.
    The precut Dynafit Speed skins are a breeze to install and remove. One can feel the added width underfoot over a steep and long transverse trail filled with hard or icy snow. The skins do hold their share, but sometimes the use of crampons is becoming a necessity when a much narrower ski will continue to climb on its skin only.
    The slight rocker of the tips makes it easy to glide over the snow layer. No feeling of tips pushing snow like that with traditional ski without a rocker. A bonus in fresh powder when you have to blaze the trail in first order.

    Downhill :

    These ski are well agile and are surprisingly easy to turn considering their 114 mm waist, no matter how challenging the terrain or the snow is. It’s very easy to change the turn radius at will depending on the terrain, providing your skills are up to the challenge. One can make very short turns in steep couloir or between trees or make long turns at high speed in open big mountain where they excell.

    They are very grippy, they hold their line no matter how fast you dare to go. You can charge as hard as you can and they deliver, be it in 30 cm powder, crud, hard, or slush.

    Flotation is king, not only in 30 cm powder, but also on crud where the thin tips simply stay on top, unlike that with a narrow ski where the tips would sink through the crud layer and make it a more difficult job to initiate and hold the turns. Here, you simply stay on top. Amazing !

    On groomer, they hold their grip on soft as well as on hard and icy snow. However, carving is almost an impossible mission, they initiate an extremely long radius while solely on their edges. Forget it if this is your cup of tea while on groomer ! You have to drive them hard on the front, the soft tip won’t slip away (I tried them on groomer with racing boots without any issues). The tail holds the curve very well, no tail slip.
    At high speed on hard snow, the slight rocker of the tips combined with a classic cambre does not make the tips to chatter at all. The stability is very good, unlike that with notoriously noisy and unstable reversed camber skis.

    At the end of the 2 days intensive testing, I was surprised that they felt light underfoot and were not so much tiring as anticipated. However, you need to have iron legs because these wide beast are going to make your knees work a lot, especially on hard and icy snow. For expert only. For tall or heavy people well versed in big mountain freeriding, I would recommend to take them in 196 cm lenght.

  27. Daniel February 10th, 2014 12:10 pm

    Took my Huascarans ot today for a couple of lift rides in the local hills. snow was mostly man made, very varied, pretty hard and even white ice here and there. The HU held like a champ. You can even crank out pretty tight turns on it, even on hard stuff. Really impressed with the edge hold. Later in the day I skinned a couple hundred meters, pretty steep and hard, again great hold, much better than expected from such a wide ski. guess the modest tip width works wonders here.

  28. tallish July 27th, 2014 9:14 am

    Doors anyone have advice choosing between the 186 and the 196? I’m 6’1” 195# type III, ski 75% backcountry in Tahoe with a trip or two to Bachelor, Jackson, or Colorado each winter. Already have Lotus 138 for super deep pow and Sideshow for corn and spring chuting season.

  29. Lou Dawson July 27th, 2014 10:21 am

    Hi Tallish, if you ski fairly fast and agressive I’d recommend the longer, otherwise the shorter which is still a big ski. Cool skis, BTW. LOU

  30. Buckets of muckets July 27th, 2014 12:59 pm

    Looks like a great ski. Turn radius?

  31. tallish July 29th, 2014 3:51 pm

    Thanks for the reply, Lou!
    I consider myself a fairly aggressive rider, but I’m still not sure which way to go. I’ll be using the skis for most days in winter that are not corn or deeper than a foot. That means there will be some dust on crust as well as couloir hopping in addition to hopefully seeking out stashes both above and below the limit of Tahoe’s well-spaced trees. I currently ride a 191 and am puzzled by the large gap in sizes that Dynafit produced. It’s like making shoes in 12 and 13 without offering a 12.5. Is there a bit of extra length to the 186 a la K2 or a shortening effect of the rocker on the 196 that will make them more capable when doing windshield wiper turns above steep rocks or in tighter trees?

  32. Lou Dawson 2 July 29th, 2014 4:07 pm

    Can you go by what lengths you tend to ski in other skis? That’s generally my approach here at HQ… Lou

  33. Daniel July 30th, 2014 5:57 am

    177 Huascaran was a good amount of ski for me at 175, 6’2 and 186 would have been really long.they ski true to size or long stability wise. I sold mine to a friend when a sudden dps purchase required me to keep quiver size. For touring, 177 felt perfect. Lift served,a little small.

  34. Jean-Marc July 30th, 2014 9:53 am

    Hi Talllish,

    I second Lou’s advice : take the same lenght you’ve got in other ski if you’re a fast and aggressive freerider. I’ve got Huascaran in 186 cm and Line ski Sick Day 125 also in 186 cm and these are perfect for my 183 cm x 65 kg expert level (6′ x 143 lbs). Did I wish for a 177 or a 196 cm Huascaran after 3 months of intensive use of my 186 cm ? No way…

  35. tallish July 30th, 2014 2:26 pm

    Thanks again for the reply and the useful idea of comparing lengths of skis currently in the quiver. The problem is that they all sit smack in between the two largest sizes of Huascaran:

    PM Gear Lhasa Pow 191
    Dynafit Stoke 191
    G3 Empire 115 in 190
    DPS Lotus 138 in 192
    K2 Mount Baker 188 but runs long

    I’ve had shorter skis too:
    Dynastar Huge Trouble 185 (too short for me in pow)
    K2 Sideshow 181 (specifically short for spring tours)
    Volkl Bridge 187 for resort

    Based on the strict average of all these, I think I’m leaning toward the 186. This also makes sense to me based on the comments that it skis true to length and is not excessively rockered. If I weighed 50 pounds less, like Jean-Marc, I would have no trouble picking the shorter planks. I guess I was hoping for some insight from the Dynafit insider himself as to whether the large jump from the 186 to the 196 was compensated for by the ski designers with some extra rocker or sidecut or just less than 196 actual length.

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