Mount Sopris Wind and Our Dynafit Manaslu Ski Review

Post by blogger | March 3, 2008      

Past two days were the Manaslu backcountry skiing weekend. I’m talking Dynafit skis, not the 8,000 meter peak. But our climb and backcountry ski of Mount Sopris on Saturday was good training for a big one. And a good ski test. We scooted up the snowmobile trail using our trusty Yamaha, parked in the timber, and ended up climbing the peak in winds that peaked at 70 mph. Despite the weather we got some good turns, and even skied more backcountry powder yesterday in another zone. Check it all out.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Jason got a new Canon Rebel with a nice lens. He used it. That’s me looking ethereal and Louie heading up. We got gusted a few times here with winds strong enough to knock us off our feet. The boys were digging the adventure. We’d get these crazy snow whirlwinds that would start above and head our way, leading to gleeful shouts of “duck, another one’s coming!”

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Counting my past trip to Europe, this was about my tenth day on the new 08/09 Dynafit Manaslu ski. I’m here to tell you I’m wondering how in the world Dynafit designed a ski specifically for snow climates like Colorado? More on that below, but also check out our backcountry skiing gear weights for quick stats.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
We climb and ski Sopris a couple of times every year. It’s Carbondale’s signature mountain — some of the Boulder transplants around here even think some of the Shasta Lemurians dwell up there. We haven’t seen any white robed shimmering beings over all our years up there, but I’m open to the possibility.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Since chicks dig scars, the boys were jealous when the wind knocked me over and a rock barked my knee. Looks worse than it was and luckily only damaged skin, not kneecap. Weird how you can get cut through your pants with no damage visible to the fabric. I’ve always liked knee pads, and wish they’d build lightweight removable ones into all randonnee style ski pants. I’d use ’em. Louie says he would too.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
What it looked like. We kept doubting the summit, but after bundling up in every piece of clothing we carried, the peak was ours.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Dynafit Manaslu skis — my take: Naturally, as Coloradans we constantly attempt to perpetuate the state’s hard marketed image of perfect powder every day under bluebird sky, as if storms, wind, and drought are not words in our lexicon (and most certainly not in Vail’s). Reality is different.

During most winters we get a collapsing snowpack that requires fat, soft skis. Add some breakable crust to that, and well, you get the picture. Not to say we don’t get perfect storms and perfect seasons. We do. Like this year. And most winters gift us a legendary corn season. But our average winter snowpack can be tough.

So what’s the ski for that? We feel it needs to be fat, but not so wide its weight shreds your groin muscles (bear in mind we are ALWAYS are talking human powered skiing). We like a big tip that rides up out of collapsing junk; ski geometry we learned about years ago but seems to presently be out of fashion. The tip has to be soft, and the ski should be somewhat supple but still have enough snap to do something more than take a nap on hardpack or bouncy powder. On top of all that, the ideal plank should be incredibly light for its width.

Thus, time to talk Dynafit Manaslu.

Update, this just in from Dynafit Brand Manager Reiner Gerstner:

Hello my friends, when reading your comments and Lou’s blog I can really feel the same skiing heartbeat we have here in good old Europe. We live for skiing, and we feel being self propelled is the perfect way to enjoy it. The Manaslu ski will be available in three lengths, 169cm, 178cm and the one which divide the boys from the men the 187cm length…Uff. What is very special in this ski’s shape – besides the 230mm long soft nose and the 65mm long tail, the special side cut allows you to use the complete length of the effective edge in steep terrain. The side cut is a dual radius with 35,4 in the front and 21,0 meters in the end (for the 178 cm) for the other length 169=29,2/21,0 and 187=42,2/21.0 meter. This gives you neutral skiing in fast and wide turns even if the snow is changing and challenging… Have fun and enjoy winter.

These are a no-compromise planks for difficult conditions, and we like ’em. We like ’em mucho. Indeed, as mentioned above it feels like Manaslu is designed for human powered backcountry skiing in Colorado’s wild snow. They have huge long “slow rise” tip. In fact, the almost reverse camber tip combined with a low twintip tail means this ski in a 178 cm length has the hardpack running surface of a ski nearly 10 centimeters shorter. As for width, we’re talking 122/95/108 — fat enough, as far as we’re concerned. Manaslu weight is amazingly low: our test pair weighs 51.4 oz (1457 gr) per ski, for a 178 cm length! As far as I know, the only ski that compares to that mass per unit length and surface area would be a Goode carbon fiber. Manaslu’s weight reduction is done by using low mass plastic for the tip and tail core, as well as using a couple of foam laminations in the wood core.

How do they ski? In powder Manaslu is easily as fun as any supple wide body, and if the snow tends to the difficult side, the tip does resist those abrupt dives that can ruin your day. While a wider heavier ski might rail better in breakable crust, Manaslu does fine in that arena as well. On boilerplate hardpack or white ice you’ll get a bit of chatter if you get off the sweet spot, but on packed powder or softening corn they’re totally friendly, totally stable, and totally at home. As many of you know, I’m not a fan of twintip tails, so I could do without even the Manaslu’s small twintip butt. That said, Dynafit says the Manaslu tail is designed for maneuvering in tight couloirs. I’ll admit such is useful for that, so I rest my twintip case.

What else? Manaslu does have the dedicated Dynafit skin anchor tip. Don’t let this scare you off, as the tip anchor can be modified or even removed to allow use of any brand’s skin tip loop system. And if you choose to go with Dynafit skins, it works well (Dynafit skins are improved this year with a stronger rubber tab in front). Perhaps most disconcerting to me as a fan of short skis for mountaineering, is that going back to a 178 cm length seems awkward once I strap them on my rucksack (the ski will also be sold next winter in 169 and 187 cm). Sure, how they carry has nothing to do with how they ski and they’re amazingly light once you shoulder said pack. So go ahead and laugh at me for my weird climber inspired views. But seriously, for true alpine ski mountaineering this is something to consider.

One other thing: Manaslu is pre-drilled with two different Dynafit binding positions, and can be mounted conventionally as well if you want to go for or aft of the pre-drilled holes. Thus, it’s amazing how fast you can get a pair of bindings on these things. Terrific for the home mounter, and should eliminate most of the pesky shop errors we keep hearing about.

Manaslu summary: A superlight widebody ski with perfect weight and geometry for human powered backcountry skiing in North America’s mid continental snowpack. Recommended. But they should have called them the Dynafit Colorado. Or Wyoming. Or Montana. Or Sopris.

See our previous Manaslu backcountry skis first-look here.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
On Sopris we skied everything from breakable crust to perfect powder, then yesterday we got in a few lower altitude storm laps after yet another pulse dropped 8 inches of dust. Ho hum, another day of Colorado backcountry powder. At this point, it’s feeling like it’ll go on forever.

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149 Responses to “Mount Sopris Wind and Our Dynafit Manaslu Ski Review”

  1. Tyler March 3rd, 2008 11:20 am

    Nice review Lou. Do you know what the next size down from the 178 is? I also like a shorter ski. I’m usually on a 175cm and when I go up a size to a 178 or so I do find that those kick turns and de-skin tricks become a little more delicate.

    I’m also wondering about top sheet color (I noticed the Manaslu was black). This may seem very trivial, but lately I have been conscious of trying to keep my skis cold before I take them out on the trail. The warm ski melts the snow and results in frozen glop on top. If the ski is kept cold and the sun isnt too strong then the skis tend not to collect much snow.

    I have a theory that light colored top sheets might not collect as much snow as dark colored top sheets because the dark colors absorb much more solar rad resulting in melting and freezing of snow on top sheets. There is a week’s work of testing for you!

  2. Will March 3rd, 2008 12:15 pm

    Is it true that this ski is only coming in one length?

  3. Terry March 3rd, 2008 12:17 pm

    Nice review. Just for grins here is a shot of Manaslu (world’s 8th largest peak):

    We heard that just prior to our trek, there was a group of Germans that climbed it to ski. Was this a Dynafit team and do you know of a link of photos or video?

  4. MichaelB March 3rd, 2008 1:47 pm

    I’m a Mt. Baker local, and I’m thinking about getting the Manaslus for all my touring — side country to day trips with some moutaineering, winter and spring — plus “powder” days in the resort. Is this asking too much? Do they getted tossed around in the crud? I was thinking of mounting FTs on these and then going with a Megaride or a Spirit 3.

  5. MichaelB March 3rd, 2008 2:53 pm

    One more thing. I was also looking at the G3 Saint and BD Killowatt. I know there’s a weight penalty with both, but I was curious if there’s anything performance-wise that keeps them in contention against the Manaslu.

  6. scott March 3rd, 2008 3:11 pm

    Nice action photos, but that’s kind of a curious injury for an AT guy? Must have been the wind.

  7. Lou March 3rd, 2008 3:12 pm

    I’d say the Saint and Killowatt are more “alpine like,” meaning they are heavier and perhaps more durable, and might be better on hardpack. As for using Manaslu as a resort ski for more than the occasional deep powder day, that’s not what it’s designed for. (Nor is it deigned for telemarking and thus having the required massive and heavy binding reinforcement to prevent tele binding pull-out). Let’s all be clear that what’s cool about Dynafit is they’re making skis for those of us who get our vertical with muscle power using AT bindings. These are not heavy beefy resort skis that can take millions of vertical feet of bashing, and I’d hate it if Dynafit was forced into doing that instead of offering these elegant lightweight planks. So let’s be realistic here… Black Diamond, more power to them, is now offering demo skis at the OR show with alpine bindings. I didn’t see that at the Dynafit booth. Therein lies the tale. Each are good and have their place and type of user.

  8. Lou March 3rd, 2008 3:14 pm

    Scott, yeah, I wasn’t even wearing my skis! I just kind of kneeled down on a really sharp pointed rock. Hurt like the dickins!

  9. MichaelB March 3rd, 2008 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. “As for using Manaslu as a resort ski for more than the occasional deep powder day, that’s not what it’s designed for.”

    That’s actually what I had in mind in terms of in the resort. I have a dedicated resort ski with alpine bindings. I want something that I break out occasionally for the deepest days and that lets me get out and tour on a light ski with Dynafit bindings.

  10. Barry March 3rd, 2008 4:08 pm

    Lou, what is the thinking on the one length for the Manaslu? It sounds like this could be an incredible ski at 165 or 168 cm.

  11. Pat Mullen March 3rd, 2008 4:42 pm

    Manaslu sounds like a sweet ski, but have you checked out the Voile Insane? It’s a bit wider (103 at the waist) which you may not be excited about, a bit heavier (~1531g/ski…middle of your gear weights) which you may also not like, but I’d still like to hear your impressions. Why don’t those SLC slackers send you a pair?

  12. Steve Pulford March 3rd, 2008 4:51 pm

    Lou, You should take a look at the Black Diamond Telekneesis knee pads. They are made for telemark skiers, but I wear them every day – alpine or telemark. You will forget they are even on, are light weight, and will save you from lots superficial knee injurys. They hold up well too, mine being 3+ years old.

  13. Lou March 3rd, 2008 5:25 pm

    Barry, I tried to make it clear in my review (but probably failed), the Manaslu at 178 only has the running surface of something around 168 in a conventional ski. Thus, it’s sort of like having two skis in one. Shorter when you’re up on top of the snow, longer when needing float. That said, if the ski is popular I’d be pretty sure they’d make another length.

  14. Rando Swede March 3rd, 2008 5:37 pm

    Are they really twin-tips? I tended to agree with your sentiments on their functionality for bc & ski mountaineering. What’s your take on the Manaslu tails? Change of heart?

    I am with Pat… how about some info on the Voile Insane. I’ve been hearing good things about them.

  15. Doug March 3rd, 2008 5:42 pm

    Hey Guys,
    Dimensions are similiar to the Rossi T4 122-94-112 ($200 undrilled) I recently mounted with some dynafit verticals. I agree that shape ski seems optimal for a Rockies winter, albeit I’ve been skiing them in an unusual winter. Mostly Loveland powder days but have also toured them in the Absarokas of Montana. Less of a severe sidecut than what seems to be the norm as of late = less tip hook in wind crusted powder and the like. Is this what Dynafit is after, more float in powder with less sidecut. I tried to look up weight differences but haven’t been able to find much on the Rossi T4. Anyone know??? Ski the T4?

  16. Barry March 3rd, 2008 6:24 pm

    Thanks Lou. I got the running length info, but I think a shorter total length would suit many folks. It is hard to imagine a “one size fits all” ski.
    Any additional feed back on the plastic inserts? I’m still dubious about the long term with these.

  17. Clark March 3rd, 2008 7:04 pm

    As long as we’re voting on lengths, I’d like to go on record for a 182-183cm version too.

  18. Randonnee March 3rd, 2008 7:28 pm


    Is it possible to have some comparison between the various skis that you test? It sounds as if you like the skis that you write about, fine, but how about some comparison. It does not have to be opinion that one is better or worse, just compare flex, turning, one may be better for aggressive skiing or less so, one better for a heavier or lighter person, etc. I tend to categorize gear in this fashion for comparison (For example, while my old Shuksan was an excellent ski my new Seven Summit is stronger beneath my heavy weight).

    Thanks for the info. Just when I thought my quiver was full there is something new that sounds good : )}.

  19. Lou March 3rd, 2008 8:00 pm

    Rando and all, I’ve never been big on comparo ski testing but I’ll see if we can whip up something that charts all the skis we test. Perhaps like our weights page.

    But please know that as I’ve stated in the past and you observe, we usually only review gear that we like.

    Also, we’re only working with a few testers and everything is done through that lens. On top of that, we usually only work with one length of ski, generally shorter than a person would use for aggressive things such as big air. Thus, if you want more, perhaps you need to look at group efforts such as those done by Ski Press and Backcountry Magazine, or Powder?

    Lastly, I’ll continue to specialize in rando bindings. In that area, I try to cover everything available. Though that’s become more difficult now that companies are spitting out all these model variations that are sometimes only cosmetic, but need to be looked at in person to know that for sure.

  20. Lou March 3rd, 2008 8:05 pm

    Swede, the Manaslu tail is just turned up a bit more than normal. Rather than a “tip,” it’s more of a slow rise slightly higher conventional tail (if that makes any sense. It’s still close enough to “normal” to where I can live with it. For all I know it might contribute to the overall performance of the ski by making it ski longer when in soft snow.

  21. Barry March 3rd, 2008 8:21 pm

    I’d like to add a plug for the Karhu Jak BC, I think you’d like them as well Lou.
    I’d also like to add how amazing it is that we can argue about this huge variety of skis. As a “seasoned” (old) skier I can say that it doesn’t seem like all that long ago that there was only a few very limited options available.
    Full marks to Dynafit and all of the other companies for putting out backcountry specific skis.

  22. Doug March 3rd, 2008 8:25 pm

    Understood, but there is a reason folks visit a site like yours rather than some of the others. One is a common respect for a ski mountaineer with a resume such as yours and the fact that you have been able to raise a child with a similiar perspective and humble approach that you both bring to the mountains and this site and impress upon those who visit your site. With that we accept that all the info we seek may not be readily available and appreciate your limitations. Thanks for the blog.

  23. Lou March 3rd, 2008 9:32 pm

    Doug, thanks for the kind words. I do keep striving to improve. Having the industry support has been huge in that area as I pretty much do this full time now so I’ve got a bit more time be more in depth. Problem is, I spend way to much time on back end stuff and that cuts into what I could be doing with reviews and such. For example, today I spent more than two hours dealing with a website that’s stolen about 100 of my blogs to use as their own content. It’s never ending. Groan… I’m now a major target for the content preditors out there. I mean, can you imagine how they must look at WildSnow, as a trove of over 1000 meaty blog posts? It’s strange to be the victim of thieves stealing your livelyhood on the internet, when you live in a town where that kind of crime just isn’t a factor But despite the hassles I love it. And all you guys keep me going.

  24. Grant March 4th, 2008 6:33 am

    Got the 2008/09 Dynafit work book on my lap, it lists the Manaslu in 169cm, 178cm, 187cm!
    Can’t wait to get on them in NZ variable conditions this winter.

  25. Lou March 4th, 2008 8:03 am

    Grant, yeah, I got confused because I’d been told by someone back when that the ski would only be made in 178. I should have checked up on it more. I’ll update blog post this morning.

  26. Jim Jones March 4th, 2008 8:54 am

    It doesn’t seem like any of the skis have a tip that comes up enough to
    make me happy, do you feel the same, Lou?

  27. adam olson March 4th, 2008 8:55 am

    Im 6’4 and weigh over 200# fully loaded for touring. I must be on the far end of the curve, but ANY ski less than 184cm is like skiing on large spoons! Im not sure if growing up w/ long boards has tainted me for the newer short skiis. But I havent found ANYTHING that will float the pow or hold an edge with a length less than 184cm. None.

    Any reviews about Dynafit bindings and large skiers? anyone? Durability is my #1 concern. I only see smaller skiers using them.

  28. Michael Kennedy March 4th, 2008 9:21 am


    I’m 5’11” and weigh in at 185 lbs. soaking wet, pack weighs at least 15 lbs. so may be in a similar overall weight category. Skiing on 172 Volkl T-Rocks with 5-year-old Dynafit bindings, Garmont Megarides. On the really deep days I’d like something longer but 95% of the time the 172 is perfect.

    Been on the Dynafits for 10+ years with no durability issues (back country only). No hucking or other shenanigans, though – I ski like an old lady.

  29. Randonnee March 4th, 2008 10:39 am

    Thanks for the comment about “comparo” ski testing. I should say that I appreciate the information on Wildsnow because the focus is on randonnee skiing and ski mountaineering.

    My view is that unless one skis more walking over skins than on lifts, one may not appreciate properly the gear that works well for walking over skins.

    The reviews by magazines and the buzz seem to be mostly about big stuff that is good for lift skiing, hucking, sidecountry. Some of the evaluations and ratings in Backcountry, for example, seem to be from the lift skier who occasionally goes out of bounds (please listen Backountry up as I continue to subscribe).

    Ok, so thanks again for the Wildsnow perspective. Such info is valuable for those of us who walk on skis a lot, and rarely ride a lift.

  30. Randonnee March 4th, 2008 10:52 am


    In regard to Dynafits and big guys using them. I am 6′ 1″ and weigh 225 lbs, I tour roughly 80+ days per season on Dynafit on 70, 80, 88 waist skis. The Dynafit binding works for me after adapting to it initially. Generally, I have learned to ski is a more smooth and balanced fashion in order to stay in the Dynafit binding. On firm snow or hard area piste I must lock the toe or I release when skiing. On steep terrain in the bc with a hard surface I also lock the toe. I can still come out of the toes relatively easily with the toe locked. Now the qualifier is that when first on Fristche bindings about 10 years ago I would actually walk out of them on max DIN if I did not walk properly eg no twisting.

    If one is touring, Dynafit improves efficiency immediately and is well worth adaptation. Someties I ski fast in the bc since the gear is so good these days, and do well with the Dynafit bindings. Now it is time to go for a sunny tour in spring conditions : )}

  31. Will March 4th, 2008 11:53 am

    Grant: “Got the 2008/09 Dynafit work book on my lap, it lists the Manaslu in 169cm, 178cm, 187cm!
    Can’t wait to get on them in NZ variable conditions this winter.”

    Fantastic! At 6’6″ and 200#s before I but any gear on 187cm is my lower limit for a ski. I can’t wait to try this sucker out.

  32. Kirk March 4th, 2008 1:13 pm

    I’m a cornfed lad that weighs 250 and ski Dynafits exclusively, both in resort and out. I have to lock out my toepiece, as well, or I get some release issues. But I ski them 50-80 days a year and no complaints other than they require a bit more attention than the step and go bindings like Fritschi or Naxo.

  33. adam olson March 4th, 2008 9:02 pm

    Nice to hear some beta from the larger crowd. My boots (Lowa) AND bindings (Freerides) are almost worn out! Im excited to try out some light weight gear.

    I might as try some new skiis too!! ya-hooo


  34. Lou March 4th, 2008 9:27 pm

    Adam, come by any time and borrow some Dynafit stuff to see how it works for you. I’d like to get your take on some of these skis we’ve been testing. Guest blog?

  35. adam olson March 6th, 2008 10:00 pm

    Sorry for the late response.

    I would love to give the Dynafit set up a try. Size 28 shell? Ill drop you a line SOON.

    thank you for the offer.


  36. Nathan Bryant April 2nd, 2008 2:52 pm

    Hi Lou, with these new wide-but-light skis, do you feel like the older Matrix boot is still enough boot to drive the ski?

  37. Lou April 2nd, 2008 11:29 pm

    Nathan, I’d say that would depend on your style. They’d work for me as I’m pretty mellow.

  38. Nathan Bryant April 3rd, 2008 10:52 am

    Sounds like it’s worth a try, Lou. I’m interested in the Dynafit skis (FR 10 or Manaslu) rather than the Baker Superlight, as I’m 6’3″ and my weight fluctuates around 160 or so. So although my manufacturer-recommended ski size is in the 17xcm range according to my weight, by my height Baker Superlights seem a little short for a soft-snow ski at 174. The Dynafits seem to split the difference at 178. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but even on the Ethics, a nice predictable ski, I’ve sometimes had to tailgun a little much to avoid abrupt tip dives.

    I already have a pair of Ethics at 176cm (great ski which I bought based on your review of the old Mira) and a new pair of 174 Shuksans. The Ethics are getting beaten up and will eventually need replacement with something that’s significantly differentiated from the Shuksans. The Shuksans are fine in predictable conditions where I don’t have to worry too much about fore-aft balance or hookiness. But for deeper snow that’s less than perfect powder, definitely need something with less sidecut. It’s kind of a bummer that the major manufacturers of traditionally-built (non-carbon) skis are discontinuing the “skinny” 80mm minimally sidecut platform, but I can see their logic.

    I ski mostly East Coast powder stashes on the weekend, leftovers from midweek storms that are often settled and creamy by the time I’m able to get to them, a few days after the storm. Or Tuckermans in variable conditions (a foot or two of wind-loaded snow and light bustable sun/wind crust over wind slab, on days when the sun has just gone behind a cloud after the new snow was getting baked.)

  39. Aaron September 24th, 2008 7:39 am

    I’m a full-time telemarker looking for a new pair of backcountry skis (might use them some for resort powder skiing as well). I saw your brief mention that these aren’t designed for telemark skiing because the binding point isn’t reinforced. Any chance you could elaborate? Do you think these would be decent telemark skis, or do you envision having a lot of problems pulling out of bindings? I’m not big, but I tend to ski with HammerHeads in a stiffer position.

  40. Charlie October 10th, 2008 6:22 pm

    Coming in way later here. I am looking for a relatively light touring ski. I currently use a heavy setup, Dynastar Mythic Rider with Fritchi bindings – mostly for work. I am 5’10”, ~150lbs and live in the PacNW. So the local spx is variable, heavy and light powder, corn, breakable crust, etc. I am considering the Mansalu, BD skis, or the K2 Mt Baker Superlt – mounted with Dynafit bindings. I will use Garmont Megaride boots with the new setup.

    I am not a fan of K2 ski – they are so damp, its not a great ski for me, and in my opinion they do not last that long. The few BD skis I’ve looked at are heavy, but I have not looked at their complete product line. Do you think the Mansalu’s will last more than a season or two and how will they ski with variable conditions? Any other suggestions from the larger crowd. thanks, cr

  41. Lou October 10th, 2008 6:45 pm

    For PNW I’d think the Manaslu or BD Kilowatt would be great if you’re not a K2 fan.

  42. charlie October 11th, 2008 12:57 pm

    thanks Lou. Now for ski size.
    My current setup is a 172 cm Dynastar Mythic Rider.

    So for an all-around PacNW touring ski, the choices are BD Kilowatt 175 and 165 (seems a bit short) or Mansalu 167 or 178 (seems a bit long). The Kilowatt is a bit heavier. So what do you all think?

  43. Alex October 15th, 2008 11:10 am

    Hey Lou!

    Have the same “problem”. Manaslu or the kilowatts? What’s the best AT ski option for all conditions? Of course light is good, but they have to be good on icy/crowdy days too. I’m 190 cm (6’2″), weight 82 kg (180lbs), going to mount dynafit fz12 bindings on them. Kilowatts in 175cm sounds a bit too short? Or Manaslu in 178cm?

    What’s your thoughts about it Lou?

  44. Lou October 15th, 2008 5:59 pm

    Here is the deal, I’d say the Kilowatt is a bit more of an all-around ski with the Manaslu being more specialized for soft snow. I liked the ride of the Manaslu better than the Killowatt in soft and pow, and like the Kilo better on harder snow though it worked fine in the soft as well. (I didn’t like either ski on hard hardpack). BUT, if you’re hiking for turns, the light weight of the Manaslu is definitly something to consider.

    That’s the best I can do as my mind reading skills seem to have been blocked at the moment (grin).

    As for length, if you want to ski fast go longer, otherwise go shorter to save weight and make them easier to carry on you pack.

    And if you’re trying to get advice on what to use at the ski resort, you’re in the wrong place (grin).

  45. Tony October 15th, 2008 7:23 pm

    Lou, do you think that skiing the Manaslu without the dedicated Dynafit skin anchor tip poses any problems? I took off the tip and see a couple of really sharp corners where the U has been cut out and some exposed layers, no metal edges. Seems like a somewhat fragile leading interface to present to the snow, especially comparing to a ‘normal’ ski which presents a full metal edge.

    I have some G3 alpinist skins, the tip attachment won’t fit over the Dynafit tip. I guess the options would be to go without the tip, or to dremel/shape the tip so that the two little metal hooks on the Alpinist skin fit over it.

  46. Lou October 16th, 2008 6:30 am

    Even though I say in the review that the tip protector can be removed, I would recommend leaving the tip protector on the Manaslu and if necessary shape it to accept the skins. That said, I doubt you could shape it thin enough for the G3 skins. You might need a different brand of skins with a conventional tip loop, which you can shape the Manaslu tip for.

    Full disclosure: I use the Manaslu without the tip protector, but I’m fairly easy on gear and am not using the Manaslus as resort skis.

  47. Kai October 28th, 2008 9:08 pm

    Lou–thanks for all the great info on your site. I’m a newly reformed tele skier, and just picked up a pair of Manaslu’s, mounting with Vertical ST and Scarpa Spirit 3. It’s my first ever Dynafit/Alpine setup. Just got tired of the heavy, non-releasable tele gear.

    Anyway, I notice that the literature for Scarpa Spirit 3 indicates that the Dynafit toepeice should be mounted 4mm further back than normal, to account for the location of the pin holes on the Spirit 3 being 4mm back.

    How important is this 4mm offset with the Spirit 3’s , and how do I accomodate for this with the pre-drilled Manaslus? It seems like drilling new holes 4mm away from the pre-drilled holes wouldn’t be a wise idea.

    Any ideas?

  48. Lou October 29th, 2008 6:57 am

    Good question.

    Kai, just mount ’em and don’t look back! What’ll happen is your boot position will be 4mm farther forward that it would otherwise, which shouldn’t be a big deal. The Manaslu is quite forgiving in terms of exact foot position, as are most modern skis.

    Look at it this way: Most boots have shell sizes that cover a range of specific foot sizes within that shell. Those shells are usually mounted in the same place on a ski, but people’s feet within the shell vary quite a bit in length, meaning the location of the ball of their foot varies quite a bit in relation to the ski. We’re talking crude differences of centimeters. Point being that this variation alone proves that worrying about foot location down to a few millimeters is over-thinking — though on a larger scale you of course want to be in the correct spot on the ski, and sometimes mounting you foot to the rear a centimeter or more can improve how a ski performs in powder and crud.

    If you’re wondering which set of holes to use for the toe unit (which dictates where your boot ends up on the ski), I’d imagine you’ll want to use the rear set of holes considering you’re 4mm farther forward no matter what. But if your boots are really big (29 and larger), go for the front set of holes. And remember you can always try the other set of holes/inserts if it seems like you’re too far forward or back on the skis.

  49. bill ligety November 13th, 2008 9:56 am

    I weigh 145, am 5′ 9″ and 60 years old. Should I be on the 168’s or 178’s?

  50. Lou November 13th, 2008 11:01 am

    168 sir.

  51. Rob January 2nd, 2009 8:41 am

    Thanks for the review(s). I’ve been narrowing down my next plank to be Dynafit Manaslus or Mustagh Atas. The Manaslu’s seem to match my style/requirements pretty well, but the Mustagh Atas have almost the same width. Unfortunately it’s hard to find info on the latter ones. I’m doing up to 2500 vertical meters a day, but primarily to get good runs down. I like to go fast when conditions are good, but don’t do scarily steep coloirs in less than perfect conditions. Could you help me making up my mind? Thanks!

  52. Lou January 2nd, 2009 12:11 pm

    What kind of snow do you mostly ski?

  53. Rob January 2nd, 2009 1:49 pm

    All kinds of snow, skiing from Nov. ’til May (region of Salzburg, Austria, elevations around 800 to 3000 a.s.l). We usually manage to avoid longer sections of hard hardpack, but apart from that everything from breakable crust to powder-over-knees to corn.

    Also hints on ski lengths would be much appreciated. I’m about 6ft tall and 170lbs (unloaded). Nobody here does serious tours using skis longer than 170cm. I’m currently using 173ers. That said, having spent years of backcountry snowboarding (also up to 2500 vertical meters per day) I’m prepared to take modest weight penalty for better downhill performance.

    I’m undecided beween the respective 169 and 178cm models of Manaslu / Mustagh Ata.

    Thanks in advance for your help Lou, seems you’ve built up a great community here!

  54. Lou January 2nd, 2009 2:04 pm

    Rob, in my view the Manaslu is a bit more of a soft snow ski, but for midwinter here in Austria is tends to be my go-to plank because it’s so good at dealing with variable soft snow. Yet for a quiver of one, I’d tend to go with the Mustagh Ata or Seven Summits. I have more experience with the Seven Summits, and feel they are quite a good ski for an all-around board that climbs well. As for length, if you want to ski fast with your height and weight, I’d indeed consider skis more in the 178 length range, but I know many taller ski mountaineers who stay in the 170 range and make beautiful turns. In all, I think we obsess too much on ski length and not enough on HOW the ski skis, probably because it’s something we can read in a catalog. Ultimatly, when making an investment of this sort I still think trying the skis before you buy is important.

  55. Rob January 2nd, 2009 3:23 pm

    Thanks Lou. Probably either ones would work fine for me anyway, so I might just get the one I find a compelling offer for. Conditions greatly vary during longer skiing days anyway.

    I’m leaning a bit towards the Manaslu, especially if it can hold what it promises in bad conditions like breakable crust and slush.

  56. Rob January 6th, 2009 12:08 pm

    Here are some more parameters 🙂

    The zilch avy danger situation you are just enjoying yourself here in the region allow for steeper descents, the kind of thing we usually do in spring. My current cheapo Dynamic ski with a sidecut of 122-72-108mm caused me some trouble both up- and downhill. Upwards the aggressive sidecut would bridge away from the ground, hindering the ski-crampons from applying properly. Downwards the wide tip sometimes “hangs” when going sideways in difficult terrain.

    I’d really like to go for a somewhat “fat” rando ski, but it has to work in steep terrain. Any word on how wide-body skis do 40+ degree terrain? I’m trying to collect as much information as possible before making the trip to the dynafit test center 🙂

    Regarding your “quiver of one” comment, we usually just have a rough idea of a tour and then decide about alternative runs on the summit, after checking conditions, so versatility is key. (I also decided to stay in the 170cm range, my 173er has been giving me hard times climbing occasionally, and it pays to push the sweet spot before having to change to (non-ski-)crampons by just a few degrees).


  57. KR January 6th, 2009 10:16 pm

    I have 15 days on the Manaslus and love them for the uphill. I also think they ski surprisingly well on hardpack. My left ski tip tends to get a bit squirrely on me in the soft stuff for some reason, probably a combo of the lightness of the ski and my crap form. I am still getting the hang of them but give them a thumbs-up.

  58. Tait January 7th, 2009 10:58 am

    I ski the Manaslu – just picked up a pair last month! – and have taken them out in the less-than-ideal conditions we have been having this season in Rogers Pass…i have to say i am thoroughly impressed with every aspect of the way this ski handles (skis windcrust with no complaints!). My concern however, has to do with the edge durability of this ski…is it just me, or does it seem the thinnest edge EVER on a ski!? i work as a ski tech, so take the time to do things carefully, but the other people here in Revelstoke skiing the Manaslu’s have come in crying about edge damage. Any other ski would have easily deflected the obstacles that have been the cause of 3 blown edges i have encountered! Keeps me cautious when i consider that i do mostly ski-mountaineering as opposed to strict touring. Has anyone else noticed a similar problem???

  59. Lou January 7th, 2009 12:50 pm

    My take would be that the thin edge keeps them light, and it works for me. Probably doesn’t work for everyone. And nope, I’ve not had any edge damage problems though I have hit quite a few rocks with the skis.

  60. Greg January 11th, 2009 9:39 pm

    I’m currently skiing a 178 FR10 and am curious as to how it compares to the Manaslu. I find turn initiation takes more muscle than I like with the stiff tip of the FR10. And if I were to do it all over again, I’d have selected the 169 as the additional length of this stiff ski isn’t really necessary for my 165# frame even if I am on the more aggressive side. If I were to buy the Manaslu today it would be the 169… I think? Thanks! Great info!

  61. Lou January 11th, 2009 11:35 pm

    Greg, Manaslu and FR10 are VERY different skis. No real meaningful comparison between the two. And yeah, a 178 is a long plank.

  62. Greg January 12th, 2009 12:23 pm

    Thanks Lou, really appreciate your thoughts.

    I’m looking for something different as the FR10 requires energetic skiing in the deep and chatters on the hardpack. Love the light weight and the durability though, which is why the Manaslu is of interest.

    If you don’t mind me asking, would you have any specific recommendations for the PNW? Weight is a factor, as I struggle uphill to keep pace with the 135# lung I ski with. But then again I like a ski that maximizes the fun going down…

    I ski a Garmont Mega Ride with Dynafit Comforts backcountry, which raises another question (sorry), which of the Dynafit bindings w/ brakes would you recommend?

    Thanks again for your time and insight.

  63. Lou January 12th, 2009 12:32 pm

    Greg, if you’re not partial to the Dynafit offerings I’d move on to K2, the Bakers, specifically.

    If your Dynafits chatter on the pack you might want to experiment with how they’re tuned.

  64. Greg January 12th, 2009 12:49 pm

    Thanks Lou. I suspect that I just don’t weigh enough to bend the FR10, but will take your advice and play around with the edge bevel if I don’t sell them.

    Do you happen to know what the tradoff is in downhill performance between the Mt. Baker and the Mt. Baker Superlight?

  65. william kuestner January 15th, 2009 8:28 am

    how much do you weight? i am trying to get an idea on ski length for my self. I am
    180, 6′ 1″ and tired of falling through the hoar. currently skiing on 185 supper stinks. I am thinking the 187 but if you are near my weight i would consider going shorter to 178.

  66. Lou January 15th, 2009 9:30 am

    I’m 155 when fit, which is most of the winter.

  67. william kuestner January 15th, 2009 11:18 am


  68. Dan Powers January 31st, 2009 10:31 am

    Lou and All – Any thoughts on the Manaslu as a spring Euro touring ski? I think it’d be ideal as a Teton winter ski, and we’re headed to Europe late March for a month.
    I’m touring and riding lifts on a 177 Mantra now, great ski but heavy. Can’t quite see two more skis, so it’d have to be a compromise between Teton winter and Euro spring.

    I’m 5’9 155, 48, looking at the 178 as I’ve always had a bias towards a little longer skis.

  69. Lee Lau January 31st, 2009 7:55 pm

    Dan – I think I answered your question over in another forum at TGR? If not then I’ll post thoughts

  70. Lou February 1st, 2009 10:48 am

    Dan, I think Manaslu would work for that but the later in the spring you were the more you’d want a ski that was more optimized for edge hold. Also, one thing I’ve learned with Manaslu is they’re not forgiving of dull edges, so keep ’em tuned if you do choose to use when snow surface might be hard (frozen granular, white ice, etc). Personally, if I was skiing in EU in the spring I’d bring my Dynafit Seven Summits or K2 Baker SL.

  71. Dan Powers February 2nd, 2009 9:23 am

    Lee, I did post something similar on TGR (as Panchosdad), but I don’t think you chimed in. Curious as to your thoughts.

  72. Josh Marvel February 7th, 2009 8:39 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Short version: Can you think of any ski that vaguely approximates a shorter Manaslu – around 159cm?

    Long version: My girlfriend needs a powdery touring ski. She has been toughing it out on alpine boots and diamirs on some borrowed icelantic skis this winter and decided to go with Zzero 4 PX boots and Dynafit comforts. She hikes for turns here in the east when the snow is decent and we ski in the rockies pretty frequently as well – always looking for (and seemingly finding) powder. Her favorite skiing is short turns on moderate to low angle slopes in powder and she avoids ice or super-steep slopes. She is a good skier, 5” 6″, 130lbs, but not overly aggressive and likes an easy-turning ski – especially here in the east. She also doesn’t have a huge amount of experience skiing powder (just a few years) and a wider ski has proven to make things a lot more fun. She loved the 153 K2 Phat Luv last winter in deep powder (all alpine that time) but she also is usually trying to keep up with faster skinners (me and others) so something lighter would be optimal. The Mt Baker superlight in a 160 seems just a bit too long and a bit too narrow. This setup would see the occasional resort powder day as well. Do you have any suggestions?

  73. RalphE February 10th, 2009 9:28 am

    Hi Lou –
    I read this review of yours after three people recommended the Manaslu to me. “Hmm, this guy’s also in CO.” I have two general questions in lieu of available demo skis:

    1) How does a skier determine his best length for this ski? In my case I’m 6’2″ and 168#’s, and get just a few days in each season.

    2) In the larger sense, how does a skier make a decent decision on what ski will work for them? I figured since I am not a strong skier, a softer ski will allow me to load it nicely, while my hardened buddies would mash it. I originally brewed up the idea of a new and lighter AT setup to go ski a 6000m peak in the middle east, but that’s not in this year’s budget (and yup, I’d put in a buncha prep days in should I go). Ya it’s one of those short easy questions with a long hard answer.

  74. Lou February 10th, 2009 11:32 am

    Ralph, a lot of people just go with recommendations from friends as well as keeping in mind what they’ve used in the past and liked. In terms of length, you just look at what’s available for a particular ski, then figure out where your weight and type of use fit in that range. It’s generally done by weight, not so much by height. If you ski expert aggressive and fast, you might go longer. It also helps to consider what conditions you’ll mostly be skiing, especially when looking at more specialized skis.

  75. Phil February 13th, 2009 4:27 pm


    Still mulling over a complete AT set-up for use in Wallowa Mts here in NE Oregon..I am a beginning AT skier..experienced Alpine and a lot of three pin touring, but crappy tele skier…Luckly I like to climb so I intend to skin in to huts and climb to ridges for my turns…moderate terrain and perhaps a little mountaineering…looking for a ski that can make turning “easy” for short/medium radius turns in our light powder, heavier spring corn, crusted-breakable ‘wahtever’ snow in bowl/ ravines and trees..I am not out to claim fame only have fun! I am 5’10″/189 lbs and 66 years young..would appreciate boot/ski options…I am going with Dynafit bindings [TLT Vert or Comfort]…thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge…Phil::

  76. Phil February 24th, 2009 11:03 pm

    Not certain if Lou is around..but in answer to my last set of questions..I bit the bullet and went with Manaslu skis in 178cm; DF TLT Vert ST and Garmont Radium boots ..a lot of $$$ …sure hope this set up works!

    Sure it will, I just need to learn to ski if we can just get more snow here in NE Oregon!

  77. Lou February 25th, 2009 6:58 am

    Phil, that sounds like a great setup. I’ve been using the Radiums a bit as I’m preparing a review, they definitely have some beef but still tour well.

  78. Phil February 25th, 2009 10:45 am

    Lou…first thanks for recommendations and your observations..

    On my Manaslu skis….what is the best skin to use on them? Dynafit/G3?

    Also any more comments on the Manaslu [I believe what I read came from Rogers Pass] edges needing special attention…by the way is there a prefered angle for the edges?

    Can’t wait for the new gear to arrive!…still pounding on my Rossi 205 7S Kevlars…yes, I have gotten my moneys worth out of them! Time to retire them to the quiver…

  79. Phil March 2nd, 2009 2:58 pm

    Lou..Manaslu 178, what skin do you recommend?….anyone else with this skin is welcomed to chime in..thanks..

  80. Jim March 3rd, 2009 7:15 am

    Phil, I just went with the Manaslu 178s and bought a pair of BD Glidelite STS skins (110mm, large tip loop) and they work great. I tried a pair of G3 Alpinists I had and the twin tip hooks weren’t wide enough to go around the the Manaslu’s tip attachment. As for the The Dynafit Speedskins they are no where to be found in the 178 size, believe me I searched online and locally for a week. I just heard the Speedskins are being redesigned this year to add another layer of laminate to them so I am glad I didn’t pull the trigger. I will look at them next year as I like the peg and slot tip attachment. Until then the Glidelites work just fine.

  81. Lou March 3rd, 2009 7:39 am

    Jim, I took the plastic tip cap off my Manaslus so they’d work with regular skin loops while testing some skins (Geckos and G3s). Then I just left t the caps off and have not seen any resulting problems. They perhaps provide some protection but I don’t tend to ram my ski tips into rocks and stuff so it’s not an issue for me.

  82. Randonnee March 3rd, 2009 9:18 am


    Speedskins for my Manaslu are working nicely. However, as I search online this morning I cannot find any available to purchase. I tried for a year before finding Speedskins for my Seven Summit.

    On my FR10 a few years back I could not get the Speedskin so I bought the Coll Tex 60/40 online from Europe. I like the 60/40, it is pretty slick and durable with the nylon/mohair combo. I like the Euro skins that are thinner. Also I have all (6) of my skins with the tail hook in back and rubber up front, I like to remove them from the front, I prefer that system.

    As far as skiing the Manaslu- it is in soft snow by far the easiest turning ski ever for me. Since I weigh 225 lbs the Manaslu feels a bit flexy and I cannot get back on it. Because it is flexy and easy-turning I am now touring the Manaslu using my 3-buckle Zzero3C and turn it just fine. That is a very light setup, skis great, just a shorter boot but enough power when skied in a balanced fashion.

    Best, Rob

  83. Phil March 3rd, 2009 3:22 pm

    Rob…Much Thanks..I will wait for next generation Speedskins for my Manaslu’ skis/boots delivered today..WOW! Only have to convection oven/mold my Garmont Radium liners…then I going to our local hill, Fergi, to test ride them..Radiums are 27.5 for my 10.5 US sizing…boots seem to have a lot of adjustments..TLT Verts STs are very simple and seem idiot proof [I will test that theorem!]..

    First set of AT gear and it looks BITCHIN’! Ooops my age is showing…thanks to everyone who has given advice and information…very appreciated.

  84. Randonnee March 3rd, 2009 7:00 pm

    Yes, Phil, let’s hear it for the gear! Your setup sounds great! Ski touring is quite easier even in funky snow compared to the skinny tele or skinny randonnee ski days, especially considering the boots we had back in the day. My buddy toured with me today- his fourth ski tour, he on my FR10 and Zzero4C, he skied funky snow and powder with ease. I explained to him how sporty such funky conditions were back in the day…

    Today we skied a south ridge that had crust and breakable crust in the sun and deep shots on the next turn in the shade- I think my FR10 would have handled that better but Manaslu was fine…but then we found a NE facing bowl treeline with boottop pow and the Manaslu was the tool for the job!

  85. Phil March 9th, 2009 11:12 am

    Wow! Manaslu/TLT Vert/Radium set up is outstanding! Coming from 205 Rossi 7S skis and 24 year old Nordica boots this new combo absolutely re-invented my skiing…now I am looking for crud and deep stuff…the 178cm skis know how to carve and float a lot better than I do! But I will follow if they will lead. Fresh powder here tonight [and last weekend]…out again tomorrow…

    Anybody know if there is a current source for Dynafit Speed Skins in 178cm? I can’t find any.

    Next season…backcountry bound…Nordic hut…second avy course.. and tons of turns here in the Wallowas! Thanks to all for the advice and recommendations.

  86. jaketaufer March 9th, 2009 11:31 am


    Sunlight Ski & Bike in Glenwood Springs, CO has one set in stock. 970-945-9425 or email skibike at I’ll gladly ship them to you if need be.

    Lou, sorry to advertise on your blog, but thought we’d be able to help Phil out.

  87. Lou March 9th, 2009 12:36 pm

    Jake, no problem so long as you give Phil the Wildsnow discount.

  88. jaketaufer March 9th, 2009 1:45 pm

    of course!

  89. Phil March 9th, 2009 7:35 pm

    Jake..Just got back from mountains and saw your offer..tried web site with no luck finding you or the shop…I will call the -9425 number tomorrow morning to contact you…thanks again..much appreciated..Phil

    Ps..Thanks Lou!

  90. gwest March 16th, 2009 3:46 pm

    I’m 170lbs, 5’10”, ive had my 178cm manaslu’s out for several days now. In powder they obviously do well. They also do surprisingly well on hardpack (ive had a few resort days), ..this may be in part due to their still sharp edges, ..but im able to rail on them easily. My personal opinion is that i wouldnt mind a fatter tip. This would help out a bit more in less than ideal conditions (wind effected, thick powder, chopped crud), and would make the turning radius a bit shorter, which id prefer. Anyway, very happy with them, ..and they’re ridiculously light. I’ve been skiing them pretty hard, ..they’ve held up so far.

  91. Lou March 16th, 2009 3:58 pm

    Agree, with a good tune they’re quite adequate on hard pack. But watch out, in my experience they’re not very forgiving once the edges are dull.

  92. bmoe March 29th, 2009 4:28 pm

    The manaslu at 178 is truly a technical tool. I have been skiing them here in the Tetons and Winds this winter and the saying of doing more with less was never more true. While competent friends work to bludgeon difficult snow with big heavy skis; the dynafits are a relaxing ride. I tried them in area after a big dump over melt freeze large bumps on Bivy woods and almost hit a large spruce. The light swing weight with too much pivot caused me to grossly over turn and take a side ways approach to my descent. I traversed out and headed to the Hobacks and swapped skis back at the locker room. These are without a doubt awesome touring /soft snow boards. Thanks for all the beta on your Wild Snow site! Bill Moe, Jackson Hole Mtn Snow Sports School.

  93. greg November 4th, 2009 2:30 pm

    I really like the Manaslu reviews but can’ t seem to figure what size to get. I am 5’11” 190lbs. I prefer shorter turns and slow to moderate speeds. My alpine skis are all now 170cm but I understand that the Manaslu skis shorter and I am worried about stability with a pack in crud conditions. On the other hand the 168cm would probably work great in 95% of the cases. In there any real downside to the 168cm for my weight and skiing preferences?

  94. Nelson November 10th, 2009 1:36 am

    Question from a novice, sorry if too simple, but could not find the info… Which brakes would fit the Manaslu? The TLT Vertical ST bindings bring 92 mm brakes, and the Manaslu are 92 mm at the weist. So do they fit? Or do I need the newer bindings that come w/o brakes and get the 110 mm brakes?
    Thanks a bunch,

  95. Lou November 10th, 2009 7:59 am

    The 92 mm brakes would probably fit. If they catch a tiny bit when opening just file some plastic off the inside of the brake arms, that easily gains a few millimeters of clearance. BUT, I just use the 110 mm, that way they cross to wider skis as well, and most people will nearly always go wider at some point in the future. The 110’s look fine on the Manaslu, and neatly retract when closed.

  96. Nelson November 10th, 2009 12:38 pm

    Thank you, Lou… From your answer you recommend the 110mm brakes…So, please, next question would be: can I get the TLT Vertical ST bindings (that have 92mm brakes) and change the brakes for the 110mm? Or do I need to buy the newer model more expensive TLT Vertical FT 12 DIN that do not have brakes and get the 110 on them? I do not need 12 DIN (as I said I’m new to the business), so the “old” bindings (with 10 DIN) will work for me, but then I need to switch brakes to make sure I do not lose the skis downhill if the 92mm fail to pop in the Manaslu…
    Thanks again and sorry if this is too basic, but in the stores people are not always that familiarized with all the equipment…

  97. Lou November 10th, 2009 1:55 pm

    Any store with shopping in will work something out so you get the correct brakes!

    In my humble opinion, anyway.

    That said, if you’re shopping at a store, get them to mount the binding with the 92mm brakes and see if they work. I think they will, but like I said, you might need to skive a bit of plastic of the inside of the arms.

  98. SB November 10th, 2009 4:40 pm


    I just ordered a pair of Vertical STs without brakes, so I think you can probably find them that way.

  99. Lou November 10th, 2009 6:25 pm

    Greg, get the longer Manaslu.

  100. stephen November 10th, 2009 8:59 pm

    I’ve been following the discussion here and am seriously considering a pair of Manaslus in 169cm. Lou, do you think these would turn okay with Scarpa F3s? I’m happy to keep the edges sharp. This would be my first set of AT skis for 20+ years, so I’m used to softish boots, coming from tele.

    Also, these would likely be one ski for all conditions. Where I live (Oz) we get lots of wet and/or firm snow, but as I almost never get to ski in powder, that’s where the most help – from the ski – is needed. Earlier this year I took 166cm BD Stigmas to India and they/I weren’t too successful in deeper snow. I think a straighter ski would help on icy climbing traverses too…

    Bearing in mind what you said earlier I guess I should consider the MA’s and the 7S’s as well, but no chance to look at or demo anything on this continent. One other option might be to remount the Stigmas with TLTs and use these for firm conditions, but most trips are multi-day so really need one ski that’ll work all the time.

    Thanks for any advice.

  101. Mark November 11th, 2009 8:53 am

    My .02 cents on F3 boots and Manaslu skis: You could make it work, but expect to adjust technique for a fairly soft-flexing boot versus a taller, stiffer one. I had skied Dynafit Megalites on (mostly) K2 Bakers and did just fine, but had to keep my head engaged at all times as balance and precision in all facets of the turn are key to control.

  102. Jonathan Shefftz November 11th, 2009 9:21 am

    Based on lots of experience skiing with the F3 in the spring & summer of 2008, and lots of experience skiing on the Manaslu in 2009, I think the F3 would do just fine with the Manaslu … for the conditions the Manaslu are intended.
    (The F3 is way more boot than the Megalite, especially since it’s significantly taller. Garmont’s attempt at lighter versions of the GRide/Megaride were kind of mystifying: barely any lighter for the up, but much worse skiing performance for the down.)
    But for other conditions, get something like the Mustagh Ata Superlight like you mention. I took mine out for their first “tour” yesterday, skinning up a ski resort (temporarily closed midweek). Conditions were a mix of very firm and very nice snow. The MA excelled at both.

  103. stephen November 12th, 2009 3:57 pm

    Thanks guys. Jonathan, what size MA SLs do you have – 169cm? (I’m asking as I’m about the same weight at ~140lbs.)

  104. Jonathan Shefftz November 12th, 2009 4:00 pm

    Both my Manaslu and MA SL are 169cm, and I am 145-148 lbs.
    Both feel just right in length for me.
    Note that although I have a 296mm bsl, I use the more forward of the two sets of holes for the toes (and then by necessity also for the heels), in contrast to the mounting instructions, which said I should use the more rearward of the two sets of holes for the toes.

  105. Mark W November 12th, 2009 11:39 pm

    Hope I didn’t confuse things by comparing the Scarpa F3 and Garmont Megalite as I did. I have not skied the F3. With the Megalite I have skied skis as fat as 105 or 110 in the middle and did appreciably well. As to Garmont not quite making the weight gap between some boot models big enough, I would agree somewhat. I like the Radium, but also the Helium. When I noted the weight difference, I didn’t pursue the Helium further.

  106. Ostap Mojsiak November 19th, 2009 11:00 pm

    Lou, great discusssion on the Manaslus. My question is similar to Greg’s above, but I belong to the Clydesdale group of skiers. I am 6′ 3″ tall and weigh approx 225 lbs. I am a good skier and like to ski the fall line with modest aggression. I don’t do cliffs!!! My current rig is Garmont Adrenalin boots (Mondo 29.5) with Fritschi Freeride Plus bindings all mounted on Black Diamond Verdict 180 cm second generation skis. My objective is to lighten up this rig significantly.

    Have looked at the Dynafit Manaslu skis and wondering 178 or 187 cm. Secondly, have also contemplated Ski Trab Stelvio Light XL skis 178 or 185 cm. Thoughts and comments on these skis and the shorter or longer length. Any othe rsuggestions?

    As part of the lightening up, also contemplating new boots, as Adrenalins do not fit Dynafit bindings. Looking at the Garmont Radium 29.5 (same as my Adrenalin size) or potentially Dynafit ZZeus or ZZero 4C-TF boots. Based on what I have read and having skied on the Adrenalins, I should have no issues with the Radiums and possibly the ZZeus boots from a stiffness perspective and the ability to drive skis. My question is that if I want to lighten up even more, will the ZZeros be too soft for a guy my size and weight. I know that you like the ZZeros, but we are different size skiers.

    Our skiing conditions are variable as we ski all around Western Canada, in coastal BC and interior BC. Have ventured into the US in Wyoming and Colorado is definately on the list. Next trip … Roger’s Pass in BC, likely to be more powder than crud in February.

    Open to your thoughts and comments.

    Thanx in advance and thanx for the great website and info.


  107. Scott Davenport November 29th, 2009 4:36 pm

    Hi Lou & Others,
    The 169 Manaslu is fantastic going up. Almost fantastic coming down – at 6′, 200 lb with pack, 326cm boots – the tails needs to be longer. I need to drill new holes in front of the forward mount holes; how far forward to drill new holes and using existing holes for the heal of the binding? I’ve skied 4 bc days on them and need to fix my backseat/balance problem. Any direction would be appreciated. Scott

  108. Randonnee November 29th, 2009 7:20 pm

    To Ostap Mojsiak in re Manaslu-

    I am 6′ 1″ and 225 lbs and I ski the 178 cm Manaslu with theZzero3C boot. That is a very light setup. My Zzero4C boot for me really overturned the 178 Manaslu. At your height I would go for the 187 Manaslu, and perhaps you would like the Zzero4C as well. I tend to like smaller boots to tour and ski as well as I like in smaller boots. I ski tour 10 days for every lift day, so touring performance is importan- kick turns in tough spots etc are easier with shorter skis, The 178 Manaslu and Zzero3C boot are just enough for me for strong downhill soft snow skiing, and very quick to thread trees or narrow lines, I blogged the Manaslu here also-

    I hope that helps.

  109. Lou November 29th, 2009 7:29 pm

    Scott, what bindings/boots are you using, re your backseat problem?

  110. Scott Davenport November 29th, 2009 8:35 pm

    I’m using the 4buckle Zzero and the TLT Vert F12.

  111. Ostap Mojsiak December 4th, 2009 6:54 pm

    Thanx Randonnee (a.k.a. Rob).

    Based on your comment and everything else I have read and having talked to a number of other people, including folks from Dynafit, it sounds like the 187 cm are the best bet for my height, weight and skiing style. Will give them a go this year, but will keep my Verdicts as back up in case of crazy deep powder in Roger’s Pass later in February 2010.

    If the Manaslus are everything they claim to be, I will be more than happy to sell my “heavy” rig.

    Thanx to All.


  112. Lou December 4th, 2009 9:25 pm

    Scott, judging from your equipment I’d suggest two things. First, simply add a 1/8 inch or so shim behind your calf and see if that makes your setup feel any better. Second, please know how important it is to allow your neuromuscularity (spelling) system to adjust to new gear. That might be your only issue. Three days is not enough time to adjust if your previous setup is much different.

    Here at the WildSnow World HQ, when people come to us with your problem we carefully measure all angles of previous setup and compare to the new gear. If they are much different, we play around with the new setup to help it closer match the old, but we also say, “hey, ski on those things for a few days at the resort and see if you get used to the feel!”

  113. Scott Davenport December 9th, 2009 12:45 pm

    Thanks Lou,
    My take on the problem is the 169 is probably not recommended for my height, weight and boot size. I am use to skiing on the icelantic 156 & 161 but the Nomad is just too heavy on the up hill. My skiing amounts to about 40 days sidecountry & 40 days bc annually. We have moved my binding up one set of holes in the rear and drilled two new holes for the toe of the binding. All other holes matched up. The dynafit wholesaler said we could see the outline of the strength layer under the boot for holding the binding. We can actually move one more set of screw holes forward if necessary. I have not skied on this new set up so I will let you know how it works.
    The same dynafit boot and binding are used on all skis in my quiver. I will try the shim behind the calf too. Thanks for your help. S

  114. Christopher Nicolson December 29th, 2009 2:43 pm

    Yes the 178 cm Manaslu skis are good but different.

    For an expert skier, most people I know want to be in the snow, not on the snow. For this reason, I actually don’t fully appreciate the early rise technology on the descent. Also, I prefer a longer ski. It provides more of a graceful flow down the mountain through the powder. The guy on wildsnow favoured short skis. I don’t agree, at least not yet.

    However, the early rise technology was definitely appreciated on the up track. When breaking trail, the ski popped out of the snow much more quickly which made for less resistance -a great asset. The shorter length will come in handy for narrow couloir entrances or tight turns in the trees. And it already made for easier switchback turns on the uptrack.

    So there is a compromise. The skis are marvellous for the uptrack, but I give up a little on the descent.

    I should note that we ski in pretty consistent dry snow conditions in the BC interior. If we had more crud, I might appreciate the early rise more.

    I would recommend that Dynafit look at a 183 length. If they made this length in the slightly narrower Mustagh Ata, I think this would be the perfect combination for me as an expert technical skier. Short enough for the tight areas and steep up tracks, but it allows for a deep, rhythmic and exciting powder turn (albeit giving up forementioned advantages of the early rise).

    I hope this help with some of the consumer feedback. I really appreciated the site. It was a great source of info during my research.

    PS – I also purchased a set of G3 Zest’s for my wife. Huge brownie points. They are awesome. She is skiing terrain she has never touched before.

    C Nicolson
    6?1?, 210 lbs. Expert skier.

  115. Randonnee December 30th, 2009 11:29 am

    Great feedback, C Nicholson! I actually agree with you, the 178 is just enough for me, if I were one inch taller I think I would need the 187. I agree that a 183 would be good for my 6’1″ also. Sometimes I think about how much fun it would be to have the 187 Manaslu and my Zzero4 or bigger boot and just rip! However, my conservative side that protects me from injury so that I may support the family tells me to take it easy!

    The 178 Manaslu is good for me because I am willing to sacrifice some downhill performance in exchange for easier uphill walking and kick turns through the trees. If I had one inch longer legs I would go for perhaps a longer ski. And as I said, since I can easily crank the 178 Manaslu with the Zzero3, that is a light setup- actually a similar weight to my Seven Summit/ Zzero3 setup.

    I do think that your idea of a 183 Manaslu is a good one.


  116. RB January 5th, 2010 10:47 am

    Question for Lou or anyone with a qualified opinion: I just picked up a NEW pair of 178 Manaslu’s on EBAY from a shop. Upon inspection, although new, they do not appear completely symetrical in the camber. When laid flat on my bench, the camber is 2.5mm greater on one than the other. Should I be concerned or is this acceptable variance? Is there a way to measure flex?


  117. Lou January 5th, 2010 11:02 am

    If the price was right I wouldn’t worry about it. But the price should reflect that being a pair of seconds.

  118. danh January 16th, 2010 2:06 pm

    since the points of snow/ski contact on the tips are a little further back on these, should the tips be detuned a little further back as well?
    anyone hate the factory tune on these?


  119. Josh Briggs January 16th, 2010 2:23 pm

    Just a contrasting opinion on the Manaslu’s:

    I skied a pair (178cm @ 185lbs, sz 28 method boot, vert ST binding) last winter for 3 weeks and got rid of them. Hate at first run. The binding mount position is placed very far back on the ski. The explain this as corresponding to the snow contact point of the early rise tip. My feeling was that this didn’t work, and they skied like a ski that had been mounted significantly backseat: slow to initiate, with tips that feel slightly sluggish and wandering. One the plus side, it was impossible to make the tips dive and they would float on variable crusty conditions as well as powder.

    Overall, they felt like a DHV1 paraglider to me… hard to screw up on them, but not very reactive, either.

    Yes, I realize that I could re-mount forward of the holes but I wasn’t interested in twiddling with their engineering.

    I would look at them again if they appeared without pre-mount holes and with more torsional rigidity: even powder (soft) skis should be torsionally rigid to create predictability in firm conditions.

    I replaced them with Head Monster OB 95’s in 181 (no longer produced sadly) and have been quite happy with those. Much snappier, much more torsionally rigid, can mount them in a proper position and only slightly heavier.

  120. Ben February 19th, 2010 4:39 am

    I am researching buying a lighter weight ski-binding set up and want to know if the manaslu is the right ski for me.

    I live in Chamonix and have been ski touring with a very heavey set up of kingswood fats with marker dukes. Over the last few years i have done lot of ski touring and steep sking and now want something lighter. I am definatly going to mount dynafit TLT Verticle FT 12’s but am not decided on which ski to go for.

    The choice is between the k2 coomback and the manaslu. I need a light ski but also one which is capable of 55 degrees on hard snow, visit my blog to see the sort of use i would put them to. Does any one have any information on how the manaslu’s preform in these conditions? Are they capable of this or should i just stick with the heavier coomback’s?

    Any advice or information would be great thanks.

  121. Lou February 19th, 2010 7:31 am

    While I like the Manaslu, it is not particularly strong on hardpack. If you want something for steep hard snow, I’d look to another ski. Consider the Dynafit Stoke as well as the Coomback. But of course even those skis are wide all-conditions boards that might still not be ideal for steep hard conditions. Sounds like you need to get out and demo some stuff.

  122. Mike February 19th, 2010 11:49 am

    Cannot figure out the Manaslu on hardpack, 5 degrees or 50 degrees, hoping (and certain!) its pilot error. Not getting rid of my FR 10’s yet. By the way Lou, how have you, and others, prepped your Manaslu’s e.g. detuning, base bevel etc.? Thanks.

  123. JoelVB March 12th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Hey Lou — freakin’ love this site.

    I’m a 5’10”, 185lb tele skier. The playground is the Sierra Nevada, so plenty o’ crud. while I grew up an east coast alpine skier, I’m venturing into AT for the first time and the manaslu seems like a winner.

    I’ll be skiing the zzero 3 C boots and most likely vertical ST’s. What length would you recommend? And in terms of all-around versatility, how does it compare to the se7en summits?

    Thanks man, and here’s to the upcoming corn season!

  124. Lou March 12th, 2010 12:43 pm

    Joel, I use the Manaslu 178 because the actual running surface on those skis is way shorter than the specified length. Sounds like that would be your length as well. The 7S is going to be much better on hard or firm corn, the Manaslu in my opinion is a powder and crud ski, I don’t prefer them on hardpack. And thanks for the props!

  125. Arnt November 2nd, 2010 1:09 am

    Hi. I’m a 181cm, 85 kg skier, and wants to buy me a pair of Manaslu. Should i go for 178 or 187? This will be my all-conditions skies.

  126. Lou November 2nd, 2010 9:13 am

    Arnt, I’d say your choice would be based on your ski style. If you ski fast aggressive get the longer ones. Otherwise the 178 would probably work fine.

  127. Michael Koerner November 19th, 2010 11:25 pm

    Will this season’s new shorter Manaslu 161 be just as wonderful for a smaller person (my wife, at 5 foot 5 inches and 125 pounds) as my 169 is for a small to medium person (myself, at 5 foot 7 inches and 145 pounds)? I have heard the 161 may be a little stiff… Say it ain’t so! Thank you!

  128. Andrew December 21st, 2010 6:32 am

    Lou; Glad to say I just picked up a set of manaslu’s to replace my old BD’s

    Havent been out on them yet as It is impossible to find skins in Canada / Calgary for these. Any suggestions for alternatives?


  129. Lou December 21st, 2010 7:00 am

    Skian, do you guys sell skins in Canada?

    Andrew, if you’re not the kind of guy who beats up gear, you can remove the fancy gewgaw on the Manaslu tip, then just use a large traditional tip loop or perhaps the G3 Alpinist type hooks.

  130. Andrew December 21st, 2010 8:32 am

    Hey Lou,

    Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure why MEC in Canada sell the full compliment of Dynafit skis and boots but not the skins. I felt like returning the whole setup.

    The alberta rockies and myself are both hard on my gear but it might be the only easy and quick option..

  131. Lou December 21st, 2010 8:59 am

    Andrew, that is just, weird.

  132. Jonathan Shefftz December 21st, 2010 9:35 am

    Understandable though, as stocking the skins must be an inventory nightmare, since if the skis are purchased without skins, then the shop is stuck with skins that will be very hard to sell.

  133. Lou December 21st, 2010 10:08 am

    Yeah, I’ve always wondered if brand/ski specific attachment systems were not something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but will fade into obscurity due to the limits of reality…

  134. Al January 22nd, 2011 7:15 am

    Dear Lou:

    As an infrequent, but avid skier (I have a real job) I appreciate your website for all the beta on gear and backcountry technique. I have been a telemark skier my entire life and have been skiing K2 Work Stinx with Hammerhead bindings and Garmont Energy boots. In the past several years, I have found this set up to be very inefficient for touring in Whistler and somewhat scary in the very steep. So this year I invested in an AT setup (I am not getting any younger): Scarpa Maestrale boots, Manaslu 168 with compatible skins, and Dynafit ST Verticals (I bought the entire package two days ago in Breckenridge). Although it was very difficult adjusting on the first day, I have not been tempted to put on my tele gear. The new AT equipment is just so elegant, light, and comfortable. Can’t wait to take them touring this year.

  135. Lou January 22nd, 2011 8:01 am

    Al, that sounds like a sweet setup. Enjoy!

  136. Al January 28th, 2011 9:09 am

    Dear Lou:

    I had a chance to evaluate the downhill performance of the setup at Vail and Breckenridge last week, which turned out to be a great week. Even did >28,000 vertical feet on Sunday according to Epic Mix. I found the skis and boots to be completely predictable and secure on everything the mountains had to offer. I was also surprised at how solid they felt on the groomers and in the crud despite their light weight. The rearward binding placement made kick turns and walking uphill (herring bone technique) a breeze. My feet felt like they were getting daily spa treatments in the Maestales. I did have to overcome the fear that the skis ski tips with the skin notches would hang up on low lying brush sticking up through the snow on the glade runs, but it never happened. I did notice that the skis would wobble a bit on the icy sections of the groomer runs when returning to the base at the end of the day. Perhaps this was a consequence of the “dual radius” sidecut. Can you please provide an explanation of the dual radius sidecut and whether it requires any specialized technique to ski it well. Thanks for all your contributions.

  137. Jonathan Shefftz January 28th, 2011 10:05 am

    Like I wrote in a comment on my Movement Logic-X review, Dynafit pointlessly adds confusion to their specs with the so-called dual sidecut. All ski sidecuts are something other than a portion of a circle, so any ski has multiple turning radii if only a segment of the ski is measured. (Pet peeve / rant time: only Elan has ever used a parabola as the basis for a ski sidecut, so “parabolic” skis were specific to Elan.)
    In other words, it’s just a measuring/reporting thing, as opposed to something different about the sidecut (which I have personally found to be just perfect for me on the Manaslu, regardless of how it’s measured/reported).

  138. Michael timar February 10th, 2011 11:06 pm

    Been reading all the chat on ski length with interest. I am replacing my old touring skis which are 180cm long and 72mm underfoot. Very tempted by the trab stelvio xl but getting conflicting advice on length that would be best – I am 191cm tall and 90 kg (say 6’3″and 195lbs) and an advanced skier. Use will mainly be touring in Europe and scotland (when we have some snow!) and possibly west coast Canada as well interested in any views on length or indeed alternative skis (would the normal stelvio light be a better choice?)

  139. Lou February 11th, 2011 7:34 am

    Michael, just so we don’t have to look it up, what are the length choices?

  140. Michael timar February 11th, 2011 1:59 pm

    Sorry, should have said 178cm or 185cm.

  141. Phil eastley February 14th, 2011 12:25 am

    I’m 6 foot and weigh 170-75. I have the 178 cm Manaslu’s w/Dynafit bindings and the white Dynafit Titan boots. The first day I skiied them in 10-12 in of new
    fluff I had a hard time finding the sweet spot on the ski. I had moments of perfection followed by ” in the back seat” and then too far forward the next minute. The next day I discovered that the “switch” on the back of the boot was in the ” Walk” mode. I flipped the switch and really enjoyed the skis in powder and crud. Though the cuff didn’t initially feel like it was allowing too broad a range of forward and backward movement on the ski, the fact that the ski performed so radically different with the cuff anchored to the boot is, to me, an indication that the Manaslu’s require a boot with stiff forward flex. I think the Manaslu’s will be a great deep snow ski.
    Regards, Phil Eastley ❗

  142. stephen February 14th, 2011 12:38 am

    My experience has been a bit different. I’ve used the Manaslu in a variety of conditions (deep heavy new snow to resort hardpack) with Scarpa F3s, with the standard tongue replaced by a modified Garmont Excursion tongue to soften the ankle flex. I absolutely loathed the F3 (and the related T2X0 with the standard tongues, however, I weigh ~145lbs, so YMMV. Bottom line is that forward stiffness is personal preference, not an absolute requirement.

    The skis certainly limit speed a bit on hardpack, but they are so much better in anything where it’s not a struggle to get an edge to bite that this is irrelevant IMHO. I’d much rather go a little slower on the odd bit of ice than totally flail in soft conditions, my only option with my BD Stigmas; and if I know it’s going to be firm I can take the Stigmas instead. If I’d had the Manaslus and Dynafits in India in 2009 my life would have been SO much better!

  143. Lou February 14th, 2011 7:24 am

    Michael, the 185

  144. jaume March 14th, 2012 9:48 am

    Hi Lou!
    thanks for your web! It has been very useful for me and my dynafit bindings. Now I have bought a pair of manaslu skis because I’ m going to make the Silvretta trip next Holy week, and I have a pair of questions…
    first, I’m going to mount a pair of TLT speed and I’m wondering if the base plate of the toe will be strong enough to work with the 110 mm crampons. I think I have a solution, to mount a Vertical toe base plate instead of speed’s one…. what do you think?
    and another general question…if the holes for the screws are in the same position for both bindings, why dynafit recommend Vertical or Comfort bindings and not Speed for thiese plancks?
    Well, thanks again from Catalonia!!!

  145. stephen March 14th, 2012 7:12 pm

    The problem with the Speed (as opposed to the Speed Radical, or Vertical, etc) is the lack of adjustment at the heel – 6mm versus 20+mm. If your boot is one of the right lengths for the heelpiece to be in it’s adjustment range, then everything’s good, but there’s a very good chance this won’t be the case no matter which sets of holes the bindings are attached to.

    If you haven’t bought the bindings already, or cannot check the fit before doing so it would be much safer to get one of the other bindings with more adjustment. These will definitely work, and will save you the likely hassle of having to return the Speeds and swap them over.

  146. jaume March 15th, 2012 7:10 am

    Thank you Stephen!
    As I will buy the Speed to a friend, first I ‘ll check if they fit with my boots.

  147. ShailCaesar! January 23rd, 2013 12:03 pm

    Been looking for a summer volcano ski so I don’t have to lug my 182 Stokes around! Basically decided that a 178 Manaslu would be more or less perfect as they are so light weight, but maybe something heavier and skinnier with more top sheet is more appropriate? Any suggestions welcome, thanks! 😀

  148. Mark October 3rd, 2013 9:10 pm

    Well I know this is an old thread but…

    Got some questions, would be great if any one could help out
    Mostly ski at a resort off piste that has a lot of backcountry on the east coast (VT). My setup is the line bacon with marker duke and bd prime boot, love the setup (ski does over power the boot at times, need to fix that too) except touring – heavy as hell! cluncky…

    I came across 11/12 manaslu 178 with skins $325, seems like a killer deal. I am 5’11 200ish pounds, not super aggressive (no hucking, helicopters, etc…) this would be a dedicated touring setup 2-6hrs climb max
    – mostly variable conditions here in VT, this ski got edge hold? I don’t plan on rippin’ it, i ski like an old lady wearing a half full diaper. (stole part of that comment from above, but it works so i’m using it)
    – Would the 178 be to short for my weight? (minus the diaper)
    – Thoughts on the G3 onyx binding with this setup? Only reason i ask is that i have read that it may hold better then dynafit as far as pre-release. and honestly as a dud coming from only ever using a alpine type binding the tech binding freaks me out.

    Thanks in advance for your comments!


  149. Stano October 3rd, 2013 10:15 pm

    Mark, I skied the Manaslus in 187cm for about 100 days of backcountry, mostly powder but some firm snow and corn as well. I am 6’1 and about 160.

    The edge hold is good and I think that width (95mm) is enough for east coast, and is more versatile.

    The 178cm seems a bit short for a 200 guy but if you don’t ski aggressively and given some tree skiing in VT it will likely work just fine.

    I am a tech guy for last 15 years, never looked back. Never a problem with pre-release or any other kind. But skied only two brands – Dynafit and ATK (for race skis). I don’t have personal experience with G3 Onyx.

    Hope this helps.

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