“Chi ha nome, ha robe,” or in my native tongue, something like, “A good name is the best of all treasures.” Ski Trab is most definitely one of those ski companies with a great name, super respected on the rando / ski mountaineering circuit, and I think of late, becoming more of a player in the ever expanding backcountry skiing market here in North America.
The latest offerings from Ski Trab to be found in the Wildsnow test stable are the new for 13-14 Magico and an update on the recently released Ripido. Since I was in the right place the day UPS dropped these skis off from Scarpa, who is the US distributor for Ski Trab, I snatched them up before Lou knew what happened.
Here is my background. I’m about 5’7″, 160 pounds, on the right side of 40, ski mostly nordic in the early and mid winters, but do a lot of backcountry AT in the spring and early summer around the Aspen/Marble area, as well as quite a bit of resort uphilling for fitness all winter long. I tend to ski on narrower skis, up to around 90mm, and have over the last several years stuck primarily to lighter weight gear, such as Scarpa F1 boots, Dynafit binders and skis like a K2 Sahale (68mm or so) and Mt Bakers (88mm). Lou says if I spoke Italian I’d fit well in Bormio with the thousands of other uphillers — most of whom are on Trabs.
I’ve skied my narrower lighter setup just about everywhere in the spring around here. But for this test I stepped all the way up to a Dynafit One PX boot, still lightweight but plenty of power and control. Mounted on both pair of our test Trabs were the Dynafit Radical ST with brakes.
First up is the Trab Magico. Part of Trab’s ultralight series, we got a pair of 171 cm, 116-82-104 and R= 18.5.
Let it be said that we have a weight WINNER in this ski. At an average 1000 grams each that is the holy grail, the ONE KILO Ski! (See more about weights at the bottom of this post).
Beyond the ridiculous lack of mass, the first thing I noticed about Magico was a new shape. I’m guessing that comes from the Maestro, an ultralight ski that was previously released by Trab. Its a waspy-looking thing (why are all the lightweights this way?), with the widest part coming about 15cm down from the tip, according to Ski Trab. It has a wee-bit of an early rise tip. The Dynafit Radicals were overkill for this ski in my mind. If they were mine I’d stick the lightest binding possible on there, I mean, why not? So, a lightweight ski with some decent sidecut, a relatively wider early rise tip…how did they ski?
I skied the Magicos at recently closed resorts around here. Conditions were typical spring: frozen mornings, corn, afternoon mush, frozen breakable crust, spring pow on top of a firm base, and even a bit of late season groom just before they shut down.
First impressions were that the Magicos would be a fantastic uphill/fitness ski. They make going uphill fun because they’re indeed super light and that results in really “easy” climbing. The wider early-rise tip worked pretty well skinning up when the snow got soft or in 6 inches of fresh that I found at Aspen Highlands recently. The other great feature is bomber edge-hold, which worked really, really well while traversing steeper pitches in frozen to semi-frozen early morning conditions. So as far as the uphill goes, this is definitely a ski I’d love to have for fitness uphilling. But how about the down?
Downhill was pretty predictable, or so I thought. Lightweight, narrow, and a rather stiff flex in my mind, this ski would suffice, but not much more? Never judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. Yes, being a 171cm ski with an early rise tip, they felt a bit short for me in wide open terrain — but when the turns were shortened up to short and medium radius, they were very exact and solid, and surprisingly damp and smooth in chopped up, variable conditions. They really like to turn, which I do too, so Magico was a great match for me (this “turn friendliness” is understandable, given the wasp profile and Euro roots). I found the edge hold to be incredible for such a light and short ski. They do get a little unstable at straighter, higher speeds, but they’ll hold their own if you can hang on.
Overall, Magico is versatile and easy to ski. Not a one ski quiver, but one that could cover a lot different uses and conditions. For me, I’d get this ski primarily for fitness uphilling, fast tours, some rando races, and spring ski mountaineering. I’m thinking lengthy access with steep frozen to corned up faces. The only negative I could find with the Magico was its difficulty with frozen breakable crust, which most skis groan at anyways. Its more than just an adequate ski on the down. Light, terrific edgehold, smooth, quick turning and pretty damp for this type of ski. Overall, this ski would fit just fine in my quiver.
Next up is the Ski Trab Ripido. We received a 2013-14 model of this ski, which I’m pretty sure has updated graphics and definitely has the fiddly skin attachment system that’s also present on the Volare model. This ski came in at 178cm, 123-121-88-109, traditional camber and over 1400 grams for our 178 cm testers.
Initially I wasn’t super excited about this ski. With its blunt tip, traditional camber and relatively heavy weight to my skinny setups with light bindings, I wasn’t looking forward to climbing with it. But you know the saying: don’t judge…
Immediately I was surprised at how easy the Ripido strided uphill. Yeah they are heavier than the Magico, but they had a nice feel while skinning up. Even despite the traditional camber they managed to do pretty well at not diving too much in softer snow, maybe due to the blunt tip? The top sheet does not shed snow very easily while skiing up though, which isn’t a deal killer for me, but it would be nice if someone could figure this out. And similar to the Magicos, the edgehold is bomber. With good torsional rigidity and no rocker, the edges bit well while skinning across steeper, early morning faces.
Clicking in for the down, I had a feeling this ski would be a lot fun. My first few runs on the Ripidos were on mostly groomed firmpack resort terrain. First impression was that this ski is quite stable. Hitting higher speeds did not rattle them one bit. Short, medium and long radius turns, the Ripidos can do them all pretty well. And again, bomber edgehold. Lay them over, and there they will stay until you decide to do something else. Really fun ski in these conditions. Lively, active, stable, and a great turner.
Eventually the resorts shut down and the conditions turned to more springlike, variable conditions like melt/freeze cycles, breakable crust, junked up snow from those of us still hiking for turns and some spring pow. Similar conditions were also found in some backcountry skiing I was able to do with the Ripidos. Compared to the Magico which could throw you around a bit in choppy conditions, the Ripidos plowed right through just about everything, except of course, frozen breakable crust. They ski really smoothly, stable and fast if you want them to.
This is a ski that wants to be pushed and run. Though you can slow it down and pop off some short quick turns if needed, like on a steeper pitch. I had them in softer spring snow and firmer morning frozen snow. I would say the Ripido is a little more biased towards the firmer snow, for that is where the bomber edgehold, traditional camber and really nice dampness totally shine. In softer snow (like 5-6″ of spring fresh on a firmer base) they were pretty solid as well. The blunt tip of the Ripidos seems to help them stay on top a bit. But that is also where my main gripe is with this ski — the plastic pieces around the blunt tip. Either it was my technique or the ski, but the skis would almost lock together at the tips if one went under the other. These plastic pieces seem to have some sort of affinity for each other, because they want to be together and put you into the ground, which happened a couple of times to me. Whatever it was, I didn’t like this part of the ski.
Overall, the Ripido is a fun ski that would do well at the resort or most backcountry conditions. It’s kind of a hybrid ski in that regard. Decent weight, mid fat width, great edgehold, really stable, and versatile at whatever turn radius you throw at it are the selling points for me. I don’t mind the traditional camber, as I think that helps makes this ski super stable, even at high speed, but an early rise tip similar to the Magico could make this ski even better and more versatile.
Obviously the Magico and the Ripido are two very different skis. Thus, it was fun comparing them side by side and in the same exact terrain and conditions. For me, the Magico is one I’d consider adding to my quiver because it hits that sweet spot of climbing well due to its light weight and being a pretty solid quick turning but stable ski for the down in most conditions. The Magico could be a great uphill fitness, rando race or spring ski mountaineering ski. If you like those things, you’d probably like the Magico. The Ripido is a lot of fun, but I would love to see it with an early rise tip and a redesign of the blunt tip that I seemed to hang up on every so often. Maybe I just need to keep my feet farther apart? Aside from that, if you like traditional camber, bomber edge hold, super stability, and have a go fast mentality with a variety of turn radii, then this could be your ski.
“Chi ha nome, ha robe.” Both of these skis represent the Ski Trab name very well, as well as the names of those who built the skis, namely SC, GI (DU), LU and DA. Those are the initials on the skis I was able to test. Thanks for making some great skis! Bravissimo!
Where do the Magico and Ripido fit in on our WildSnow weight schema?
Well, Ripido scores an 81 on our weight/surface scale, which is very good for a non-carbon ski, and to be expected for a quality plank that’s built with attention to weight savings. Weight/length scores a 7.95, which is excellent.
But check out Magico. As mentioned above, we have on our hands the legendary, the elusive, the magical, the downright holy grail of the ONE KILO ski. Our Magico testers come in at 1000 grams, 35.4 ounces, per ski (one of our testers weighed 998 grams, the other 1002, average was exactly 1000 per ski!). They easily take our best weight/surface score of 64, and easily win our weight/length scoring with a 5.90. For something that skis downhill ok, that is truly amazing.