Thought it worth mentioning that we’ve accumulated a crazy quiver of test skis to mess around with for the rest of the winter. We’ll continue blogging about all these planks as the season progresses.
|With 24 Hours of Sunlight coming up, we have three pairs of Trab skis loaned out among our team. The flagship Trab for that sort of thing is perhaps the Sint Aero (pictured above), as it combines light weight and a narrow dimension for quick uphill, along with decent hardpack downhill performance. We’ve also got a pair of this season’s Trab Duo Freerando Piuma set up for the race, which are super light as well. Third pair is last year’s version of the Piuma, they’re good boards as well.|
As for the backcountry, I’ve had somewhat of a ski crisis this winter. I tend to acquire skis of the narrower variety that have good versatility in spring conditions and climb well, but are not as forgiving for variable deep conditions. Boards with up to around 90 mm under foot are better for that sort of thing. Hence, when this season hit heavy I kept getting out on skis that were simply not as much fun and easy as wide options like my son’s first generation Black Diamond Verdicts.
Speaking of which, we think the older Verdict form factor is just about ideal for human powered deep snow backcountry. Anything with more girth might work on the down, but starts to weigh on the up — especially when snow piles on top and jumbo skins add mass. The old Verdict dimensions gave you about a 122 mm tip and 97 mm underfoot. They ski great in soft, but without much sidecut tend to be a bit funny on hardpack. More current versions of this form still have a tip in that width range, but bring the waist down closer to 90 mm and generally have a narrower tail as well.
Currently I’ve got two skis in this category. The Black Diamond Voodos ski well and are no doubt strong, but they’re a bit heavy and I don’t like the twintip tail (that said, strength + twintip equals a good backcountry plank for those more inclined to fool around with hucks and tricks). To save some weight and get a regular tail, I just acquired a pair of K2 Baker Superlights. At 122/86/107, Baker’s have the type of shape we’re looking for, and they’re quite light for their width. The other soft snow ski I’ve been on quite a bit and liked is next season’s Dynafit Manaslu. We’re waiting for a test pair of those for further evaluation. Manaslu is amazingly light for a dimension of 122/95/108 and thus of interest to anyone earning their turns.
What else? Another ski of interest is always the Goode Carbons. As these are out of most people’s price range we don’t tend to blog them much, but if you can find a deal they’re a great way to get width without weight for backcountry skiing. And in the mail, we’ve got two pair of 2008/09 G3 skis coming for testing. More about those when they arrive.
At any rate, it took a heavy dose of fiberglass but my ski crisis appears to be cured.