Show Season — La Sportiva New Boots &1 Kilo 96 mm Ski!


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 18, 2015      
La Sportiva Sideral 2.0 has over-the-top graphics and perhaps matching performance.

La Sportiva Sideral 2.0 has over-the-top graphics and perhaps matching performance.

The annual “season of gear” will close soon, bookended with the OR show in Utah and ISPO Munich. I’m staying in Europe for ISPO. Lisa and a gaggle of WildSnow guest bloggers will cover OR. The blogosphere is already fraught with previews, but along with the rest of the blogsters we might as well pant over the new gear like overheated dogs on a hot summer day in Munich.

La Sportiva in particular has nice new ski touring goods. I’ll visit them in Italy just before ISPO for core details about how this stuff is made and who makes it. For now, check it out and watch your shopping list magically expand.

You all know the La Sportiva Vapor Nano ski, which has possibly the lightest weight-to-surface-area ratio of any snow plank on the planet. The new Vapor Svelte probably won’t win the surface calculations as it’ll be narrower (96 mm waist), but overall it’s going to come in at almost exactly 1,000 grams. In our opinion the “1 Kilo Ski” is the end goal of any touring ski design, and the closer to that result the better. Sadly, the Svelte is not light colored. But in truth making these full carbon skis to be heat reflective requires extra layers of paint and protective coatings — perhaps it’s just not to be. At least as far as we know they don’t include duck ponds on the topskin (and as our astute readers suggest, white spray paint is always an option).

Vapor Svelte

Vapor Svelte has 96 mm waist, weighs about 1 kilo, and if this skis it will help push the lightweight touring revolution.

It’s been interesting to watch various ski companies attempting to work the North American market along with Europe. Over here (I’m in Austria at the moment) seeing a ski tourer on a 100 mm wide ski is like seeing a runner in Sorrells. Hardly ever happens. A 95 waist is considered big, and most people are on skis in the 80s — or less. Thing is, the EU market is huge compared to North America, so you have to wonder if skis such as Vapor Nano really sell enough to pay their way, or if they’re done for brand recognition or to keep North American distributors happy.

Some of you might ask, why the difference in ski choice? Mainly, most North American touring is done in snow that lends itself to wider skis: either full-on powder, or non-based conditions where the snowpack isn’t bridged and you tend to sink and wallow if you don’t have something wide. In the Alps, snow tends to be more based and consolidated though they do get plenty of powder and yes you do see freeride tourers on wider planks, usually closer to ski lifts. But in the core touring areas the skin tracks are narrow, as are most of the skis.

In any case, nice to see La Sportiva expanding their line of one kilo wonders. The 95/96 mm width does work in most European skin tracks — a few of our favorite skis are similar in form factor, e.g., Dynafit Manaslu (<> 95 mm waist) and DPS Wailer 99, especially the Manaslu. Thus, if the Svelte skis well it could be a market leader despite its steep MSRP of $1,200. So how much per gram will you pay for lost weight? Answer:“Me see ski, me have credit card.”

One other thing. While La Sportiva won’t tell me where their carbon skis are made, various industry insiders have told me they’re manufactured by Goode in the United States. I don’t have any real verification of that but it makes sense, as the first thing I thought of when I skied the Nano was they “sound like a Goode and sure weigh like a Goode, and under that white paint they look like a Goode.” Operative concept here is that Goode has had very mixed success with how their full carbon skis perform. Our hope is that La Sportiva’s skier/designers can work with Goode (or whoever makes these) and come up with a winner. But considering all, I’d suggest not going into a shopping panic until the Svelte is thoroughly vetted. We’ll try to do that for you in March when they’re available, if not before.

On the shoe side of things, La Sportiva has redesigned their Spitfire, Sideral, and Starlet boots. Spitfire 2.0 is intended for super fast touring or racing, 1,130 grams in size 27. Sideral 2.0 is an all-around ski mountaineering boot with excellent cuff mobility at 1,150 grams in size 27. (Starlet 2.0 has same features as the Sideral 2.0 with female shaping for calf volume. (Some of you might ask what’s going on with the 4 buckle Spectre? As far as I know it continues, and will again be one of the best power to weight ratios available.)

La Sportiva Spitfire 2.0

La Sportiva Spitfire 2.0

Looks like La Sportiva is staying after their clothing program as well, and it is probably best with that to simply cherry pick some pieces for review over the next few months since it won’t be available till next fall anyway. Gloves and a helmet are also on tap.

More coming from the Dolomites when I visit La Sportiva next week.



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Comments

51 Responses to “Show Season — La Sportiva New Boots &1 Kilo 96 mm Ski!”

  1. Sam January 18th, 2015 10:47 am

    I appreciate your desire for white skis and also for light skis Lou. I also realize your job requires finding something to complain about. ski color is about the easiest thing to fix yourself though. Way easier than many of the ‘mods’ your site encourages. Do I want attractive, high performing skis with perfect dimensions for all terrain and zero mass? Yes. What is the first thing I am willing to give up from that list? Attractive. Why? $4 worth os spray paint and 30 minutes of me lufe solve the problem.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2015 10:55 am

    Sam, I can not argue your point. Am not unfamiliar with cans of spray paint (grin).

  3. Chris January 18th, 2015 1:25 pm

    I’m not sure in this case that color has as much to do with heat absorption, or at least not as much as is implied. Much more to reflectivity characteristics than color, although it does play a role. Consider the studies on roofing materials in the southwest US desert, many medium dark colors have the same performance when it comes to heat gain and these are very controlled studies. Skiing in Sierra and Cascade cement, my personal experience with top sheets that go from brilliant white to complete black on the same ski is that there is no difference in icing. IMO the texture and slope of top sheet is much more important. Just my $.02 worth. Maybe someone will ski a season with the same pair of skis, one black and one white ski for comparative purposes, but the choice of paint and sheen will influence results.

  4. Erik Erikson January 18th, 2015 2:51 pm

    Lou, just want to add a few words to the “Austrians on skinny skies”-thing.
    You are totally right that the trend of using wider planks establishs vey slow over here. But than, I know several people upgrading to wider skis and no one ever went back.
    One reason that narrower skies are still dominating is that they are usually lighter and there are many quite competitive communities here in Austria in a way that you have to be the fastet on the uphill. The down does not count very much. Not my thing, by the way…

    And for the “100 mm freeride-tourers” : Right, the one place you´ll see them is closer to the lifts, But then I feel there is a second group of freeride-tourers developing (mainly interested in cool downhills), and those you normally won´t see at all if you are not a real local. I tend to count myself into this group, quite experienced tourers (at least by years and knowledge of their home-mountains) who very specifically look for untouched secret lines and slopes you want find or know or beeing able to judge concerning danger if you are just an occasional tourer.

  5. ffelix January 18th, 2015 3:03 pm

    Interesting theories. I finally embraced fat skis for the backcountry, not for US powder, but after some utterly heinous experiences with unsupportable transitional snow on big, multi-day tours in the Alps.

    I don’t think Euro resistance to fat skis has anything to do with actual snow conditions.

    And I’m really surprised and bummed that Dynafit, of all companies, is abandoning light and fat. Hopefully the La Sportiva line will provide a good replacement for the awesomeness that was the Huascaran.

  6. Erik Erikson January 18th, 2015 3:11 pm

    Hi ffelix, me too do not think that mainly snow-conditions are the reason for the dominance of skinny skies here.
    But, to be honest: Unfortunately in Austria the conditions where you could really benefit from a ski much WIDER than 100 mm are rare. In my opinion 100 or a few mm more is the best to use on most days. But that ski should be quite long and rockered. What do you think?

  7. biggb January 18th, 2015 4:56 pm

    Please more LaSportiva Lou. They are my go to brand (all mountain footwear and now skiing) and are very underrepresented here in the US … making it very hard to get their ski gear anywhere but a few stores – driving my purchases to the internet and no local fitting / support. I look forward to your report.

  8. See January 18th, 2015 7:12 pm

    Maybe it’s a west coast thing, but I also have the impression that the texture of the topsheet can make more difference than the color. I have some skis with a design composed of matte and glossy sections over a second completely different color graphic. The black sections with one texture seem to shed snow better than the white sections with the other texture. Now if I could only remember which was which… (they’re my powder boards and I sadly haven’t had a chance to use them yet this year).

  9. George January 18th, 2015 8:02 pm

    Svelte dimensions please?

  10. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2015 11:50 pm

    Looks like it’s a 96 mm waist ski, that is really attractive, I love that width for touring, and in 1 kilo! Sportiva says limited quantities will retail in March of 2015.

    96 is still a bit wide for much of the European skiing I’m around, but I’ve skied that width here before while using my Wailers and it’s perfect, still fits in the skin tracks…

    https://outdoorindustry.org/news/industry.php?newsId=21017

    Lou

  11. Chris January 19th, 2015 5:38 am

    After skiing the Carbon Converts the end of last year and all this year, I’m not convinced the white color makes a dramatic difference. It may depend on your climate. On warm days (especially cloudy and warm) with colder snow, snow is going to stick to every ski. The only conditions where I’ve found it makes much of a difference is on sunny cold days, which may be common in some climates. I had one day where there was snow stuck to the black lettering and logo on my ski but there was no snow at all on the white areas. But this was one day in probably 40 that I’ve skied these. Even sunny days that are, say, 25 degrees a white top sheet is going to warm up enough to have snow stick. I’d say 80-90% of the time I have just as much snow on my topsheet as everyone else. Again, may be climate specific. And of course the C Converts have the duck ponds, which I don’t think help matters but aren’t entirely to blame.

    To summarize, when I buy my next ski, I don’t think color will play a huge role.

  12. Erik Erikson January 19th, 2015 6:10 am

    As for topsheet color and snow sticking: Beeing quite often discussed, I think its is kind of odd that no ski-company actually did an experiment on that topic till now. Should be quite easy to compare different colored skis under varying temperature-, humidity- or whatever conditions. They could take 10 pairs, paint them differently and wear for example a dark one rightside and a bright one left side.
    Companies who are selling light-colored skis could use the less.snow-sticking-thing as a marketing argument than more easily.
    But maybe some companies DID actually a test like this and there were no results that would serve marketing? I don´t know. I just feel that on my very dark coombacks snow is sticking much more easily than on my light green and white waybacks. Nevertheless I cant really compare those fair under the same conditions, cause I don´t want to wear a 188 coomback on one side and a 181 wayback on the other – not even in the service of sience 😉

  13. Jernej January 19th, 2015 6:13 am

    Another vote for “snow conditions are not the main factor” and another vote for “color doesn’t matter as much as texture” 😀

    You read and hear many false preconceptions whenever having these discussions. It’s always something along the lines of: “Nobody needs a ski that wide” The “that wide” is usually anything over 90mm…
    And the answer to the follow-up “have you tried them?” is a guaranteed: “Never”. Those that have don’t go back to anything skinnier.

    Claiming skis over 95 have no place in our snow conditions is just plain silly and largely misguided. Just as everywhere else, 90 to 105 is probably the sweetspot for backcountry touring. Wider than that for freeride, narrower for radical steep lines on concrete snow, resort up-hilling and ski-mo racing. Again, just the same as everywhere else.

    The width reluctance probably has a lot to do with inertia… things were always done this way so why go to something unfamiliar type of logic. A leftover from decades of focus on race skis, racing role models for kids and glorification of perfectly groomed terrain. These topics are featured almost daily around here, while any sort of skiing starting with free (or tour) receives 10min of TV air time per season (30 during the Olympics). Kids learn nothing about backcountry skiing in school (an almost forbidden topic) yet they will spend altogether about 4 weeks learning how to ski on the groomers during 13 years of education. Avalanche conditions get 3s of TV time only when the danger rating hits 4. Usually as a sign-off from the weatherman with no context given.

    It all ads up to A: backcountry is for the crazy people, not something to be enjoyed
    B: many of the above mentioned crazy people maintain a unique/strange perspective on skiing itself

  14. Chris January 19th, 2015 6:38 am

    8-9 years I remember some K2 folks in Sun Valley letting locals try a number of different test skis. They were all Mount Bakers or whatever the equivalent was back then, and they were all white. But they all had different textures if I remember correctly, and if you tried them you had to fill out a report on snow stickage. Never heard the result and not sure it changed much with their ski design.

  15. Wookie January 19th, 2015 6:55 am

    I think there are several reasons you see so many skinny skis here:
    – the demographic is older – they’re used to smaller skis and they appreciate the low weight more
    – the skiing is (on average) a little less aggressive (see age) and often the length of tour is longer (although the gigantic slog-ins of some NA tours can be epic)
    – this is a big one: distribution – there are a lot of shops catering to the touring crowd which do NOT sell alpine gear, at all. They are able to exist because they serve a specific demographic, and they defend it by making sure they do not “crossover” into alpine territory. For some, this means not carrying any skis above about 100mm wide. They will also only carry touring specific boots, so often, TLT 6s but no Vulcans….a Mistrale but no…umm…whats Scarpa’s beef boot called again….and so on.
    This makes for a weird disconnect – and I think its temporary. The big shops are starting to carry all the touring gear, and people are buying it. The old-school hard-core tourers are loyal to their shops, but they are seeing and noticing the wider gear in the magazines, and increasingly, on the skin track. They’ve been leaving the traditional shops to buy the heavier, wider gear….and several core shops have closed, or have revamped to start offering the newer gear styles…..but people change slowly.
    I’m happy to ski all kinds of stuff – but what I’ve noticed is a kind of polarization: either I’m on super-light stuff – or I’m on the fat and heavies…..

    Might have to rethink that.

  16. Andreas January 19th, 2015 7:33 am

    Any idea of how much rocker the svelte will have? Dont understand the tail-rocker on vapor nano and would love if the Svelte had a similar profiel to the BD Carbon Convert..

  17. rhd January 19th, 2015 7:37 am

    I skied a local mountain in the Valais. Very popular. I would estimate there was circa 200-250 people on this nice and safe route to 3000m peak (1700m ascent)! Was crazy!
    However, as 1 of 3 people who were on 100mm ski (98mm Movement Shift) we were the only people to have dropped into a mellow but delicious powder run with 50cm’s of blower pow (that’s what you North American’s call it right?)

    Long live the skinny mentality!! 😉

  18. rhd January 19th, 2015 7:43 am
  19. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2015 7:55 am

    RHD, hah! Every generation is allowed to invent skiing, and apparently every country including the USA? (grin)

  20. Erik Erikson January 19th, 2015 9:22 am

    Wookie, I think the “old-school-hard-core-tourers” are mostly the group I referred to above in my comment as beeing very competitive on the uphill. Usually they will be at least in their mid-forties. Maybe it´s a kind of midlife crisis thing than that you have to compete with the aged 30 and below guys… only way is often to use very light and therefore narrow gear. And it does not seem to matter how much enjoy the down for those oldschoolers…
    Would be really interesting if this “contest-culture” also exists in the US. Or if the best skier there is the one who has the most fun… (as a famous climber once said about climbers).

  21. Scott Neldon January 19th, 2015 1:22 pm

    The ‘contest culture’ is totally alive and well, at least in the Aspen area. It almost seems that if something isn’t quantifiable (like how fast you uphill the local hill e.g), it’s not worth doing. Working in a ski shop, I hear that stuff all the time, and it gets old. But hey, whatever makes you get out of bed in the morning…

  22. Manuel January 19th, 2015 4:17 pm

    Lou – did you already test this ski:

    http://www.downskis.com/skis/countdown-102l

    seems to be wide and light…

  23. Nexus6 January 19th, 2015 6:00 pm

    Toured for the first time in Europe last year in the Ortler range and I definitely noticed the skinny and short skis most people were on (despite the abundance of powder). The emphasis on the uphill was definitely part of it, but more than anything I think it was the their downhill style. The locals seemed to all do short radius old school style bouncy turns at slow speed. Where I would lay down 3 high speed turns the euros would put in 15. Might as well have a skinny ski if that’s your style. The surfy powder style from North America still hasn’t made many inroads into the old country so no demand for wide rockered gear.

  24. George January 19th, 2015 6:10 pm

    Quiver Justification: We all NEED a quiver justification. The Svelte by La Sportiva may fit many of us as a replacement for current toys. I have skis with 65 mm (Dynafit Race Performance), 80 mm (7 Summit), 88 (Salomon Pocket Rockets), 102 (K2 Anti Piste) and the105 (C-Convert). The 7 Summits and Rockets are beat and need a replacement after 5+years. I think they will become a bench next year and I will test the Svelte.

  25. Jim Milstein January 19th, 2015 8:40 pm

    My experiment last season with painting skis a reflective metallic color did not resolve the question. They iced up about as much as they did before. I sprayed on a primer, then the metallic paint, then a couple of coats of clear. The skis originally looked like burlap (Altai Hoks). There may have been a difference with the new paint, but it wasn’t obvious.

    Since then I’ve tried spraying dry Teflon lubricant on my Manaslus — with little effect. Spraying on Rain-X, ditto. Sometimes they ice, sometimes they don’t — often on the same day.

    Yet still I wish my skis were such a slippery white that nothing could ever stick. Actually, a slippery black would be just as good, if it worked. Slipperiness may be more important than color, but that’s only a guess.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2015 10:13 pm

    Jim, my white slick top skis such as the Fischer Hannibal carry noticeably less ice. Like someone else said, much of this might be the type of climate we ski in. Colorado has hot sun (altitude) and cold snow, the combo is perhaps what ices ski more readily. It also might have to do with whether you’re in prepared skin tracks or breaking trail, and even the width of the skis. I’m sticking to my opinion that overall, white or light colored reflective skis are better for touring, and I hope the industry keeps making such skis. It can’t hurt. Lou

  27. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2015 10:21 pm

    Nexus, it all comes down to whether you’re enjoying yourself or not. The North American style of surfy turns isn’t necessarily any more fun than making a bunch of Euro-tour turns. And going uphill on big skis can be a drag, hence, I don’t think you’ll see any sort of gigantic revolution in European ski touring gear, though I do think that overall the winter touring skis you see in Europe will get wider as the 90 mm range is so much better in difficult soft snow. Dynafit Manaslu is an example of the ideal width in my opinion, around 95 at the waist. Lou

  28. Lenka K. January 20th, 2015 3:24 am

    Oh, big fast turns in powder are SO MUCH MORE FUN! And you save a lot of energy by doing only 1/3 of the wiggly turns, so in my opinion the weight/energy penalty on the up is pretty much canceled out by the energy savings on the down.

    In spring/corn conditions the equation doesn’t really add up and herein lies the problem: if you ski all conditions, you cannot use just one big (say, 110mm underfoot) ski, you need something lighter, handier for the spring corn and various hut-to-hut trips (very popular in Europe) as well. And as I see it, having a quiver is still a no go for most skitourers in Europe, so they still use that one universal ski in the 75-90mm range.

    Lenka K.

  29. rhd January 20th, 2015 3:45 am

    I really don’t think you can make a judgement by one visit Nexus6.

    Its very diverse, because we have such amazing access from resorts a lot of the ‘freeride’ type skiers will hit the resorts and then skin to stashes early/mid season.

    I have seen an increase in ‘dynaclones’ but a bigger increase in free touring. 1000m and a great day out. I didn’t see any other 100mm’s that day as it was an epic day to go lift access in a very lean snow year so far.

    Much less judgement between 3 flowy turns and 25 little turns. Make your own signature!

  30. JCoates January 20th, 2015 5:04 am

    Also, I think in general, you don’t see as many “corn-fed” 200+ pounders in Europe as you do in NA. You may say this is a broad generalization, but I think there is definitely so truth to it. “Euro-cut” is that way for a reason…I see a lot more guys built like Killian Jornet in the alps then I did in the Rockies. Is to the ultimate goal of the perfect ski-touring ski to be the lightest ski you can find that still keeps you in the surface? Why do Europeans ski skis with a smaller surface area? Because they can.

  31. rhd January 20th, 2015 6:39 am

    JCoates: Correct! My 190lb buddy quoted ‘Biggest Skis on the Mountain, Biggest unit on the mountain!’
    So many 160lb Alien’s chatting to each other at 800 Meters Per Hour.

  32. Scooch January 20th, 2015 7:29 am

    The problem now is that most people which are new to backcountry skiing have not tried anything skinnier than 100 mm! If I can do a 4 day tour in the rockies (at 210 lbs plus oversize backpack) on a 74mm superlight ski, and enjoy it, then a 95mm ski is noooooo problemo. BTW – That was on my Head Alpinist skis at 114/74/103 with no rocker.

    You can do lots in North Amercia on a 95 mm width ski.

    Believe.

  33. Stokes January 20th, 2015 11:50 am

    I don’t wanna get into a contest but it really supprises me how we euros all get lumped into the skinny Lycra clad slt meadow skipping box.

    Someone above mentions that it’s a generalization to say that US tourers are all big dudes but it’s just as big generalization to say euro tourers are on skinny skis IMO.

    Europe is huge and the mountains varied just like the US. If I went to Vermont I could see a lot of people on race carvers, if I went to squaw or Jackson I’d see a lot of fat skis. It’s the same here. Lou is spending a lot of time in Austria which has a very traditional ski culture. Head to la grave and your gonna see tech binders on the fattest of skis, same here in Chamonix. I’d wager that there are as many fat skis with tech bindings in Europe as there are in the US, and then ten times as many skinny set ups. Different mountains, different styles.

    And for one poster that suggested that ‘american style’ big turns haven’t made it over here yet, get out the meadow skipping terrain and you’ll see some big turns 😉

  34. Erik Erikson January 20th, 2015 12:24 pm

    As an advocate of heavier gear, emphasizing the down and not always giving all 100 percent on the up I still have to say: Of course those real race guys have all my respect. They are often incredibly fit and I am well aware that I never could accomplish what they do – not endurancewise but even more concerning commitment.
    But concerning the skinny-ski-topic: I remember like 20 years ago it showed much more if you were a good or not so good skier, cause you had to be really good in technique and strength to master the equippment in those days (VERY skinny, no rocker, no side cut..). Nowadays every average skier can have fun on the down, even in not so good snow when using a wider and longer ski. But here in Austria there a still “oldschoolers” who tell beginners that a ski turns the easyer the shorter and narrower it is, which of course is nonsense. I convinced several quite new to the sport guys to try wider, longer skis and normally they told me it felt easy for the first time. Just not getting bounced around that much, having more flotation and not having to care as much for forth and aft balance makes all the difference. For sure 99 percent of the wildsnow readers are well aware of that. but still I post that for the Austrian-newbie-readers 😉

  35. Nexus6 January 20th, 2015 12:36 pm

    I wasn’t making a judgement about whether “euro” style small turns or North American big turns are right or wrong (whatever puts a smile on your face), just saying that it explains the lack of wide skis over there (at least from what I saw in the South Tyrol). For myself a huge part of the ski experience is that surfy high speed feeling and a 75mm ski isn’t going to do that very well.

    With the amazing wider but light gear we’re seeing these days there’s little reason not ride something 90 – 110 mm. That said for the 8 day hut trip in Euro land I took my 90 mm Cho Oyu’s and TL5’s which is the skinniest and lightest setup I own. Back home in the PNW mank those skis don’t come out until spring corn season.

    Stokes – I do think it’s fair to generalize in this case. I’m not saying everyone fits the stereotype, but. Euro’s tourers do tend to be skinnier and North American skiers tend to be bigger (I’m 210 lbs myself).

  36. Kristian January 20th, 2015 1:06 pm

    The locals seemed to all do short radius old school style bouncy turns at slow speed. Where I would lay down 3 high speed turns the euros would put in 15.

    Short radius bouncy turns – Austrian Stye Skiing

    Long radius high speed turns – Snow Boarding

  37. Erik Erikson January 20th, 2015 1:19 pm

    Kristian, don´t generalise – A fast growing big turn-underground-movement does exist in Austria… 😉

  38. water January 20th, 2015 1:46 pm

    wow. I’m about to be 33 and took up skiing 3 years ago after how many times watching someone ski past me while I postholed down cascade volcanoes. Have a 93mm underfoot with a bit of rocker. It’s a totally fine ski in wide variety of conditions. Just a bit heavy.

    Reading these comments make me feel like I’m on a fools errand that I’ve been looking at getting a second pair ~78mm under foot and a few cm shorter..of course for spring tours, but also to save weight when going up year around. Wouldn’t be taking them for tree tours.. And it seems like more often than not I’m, I’m scraping ice or firmness getting down the ‘canoes than harvesting pow..

    Partially inspired by a larger bodied, faster friend using toothpick race skis to ski off the top of Mt. Hood.. hmm

  39. Michael Browder January 20th, 2015 2:03 pm

    Like Stokes I also find it ridiculous to lump all of Europe/Euros in one pot. I’ve lived in Chamonix for 15 years and do as much ski touring all over the Alps as anybody. I see LOTS of people on wide skis here and elsewhere (and narrow skis too!) doing many styles of turns. It’s all good. I do agree that the typical French person is much smaller and lighter than the typical American, but I’m not sure if that is factoring into ski choice.

  40. Erik Erikson January 20th, 2015 2:06 pm

    Funny to look at another recent blogpost where Salomon writes about their new 88 (!) Ski: ” It’s lightweight but stable construction is perfect for long approaches followed by steep descents, especially when you need skinny skis to fit the Austrian ski culture. ”
    88… far from beeing skinny for AUSTRIANS. Even on my waybacks (not coombacks) I am among the fat-ski-guys,at least on regular tours…

  41. Nexus6 January 20th, 2015 2:07 pm

    water – Check out some of the light but mid width options. No reason to go down to 78mm anymore in my opinion. My Dynafit Cho Oyu’s are only around 1100 grams but still handle corn and deeper snow nicely.

  42. xav January 20th, 2015 2:08 pm

    Whoaa. Are we getting into the same level of dispute as 26″ vs 27,5″ vs 29″ MTB wheels? Does it make me an outcast if I like to do short turns on my 115mm skis (the width that works for my 200lbs, 6’3″ in soft snow)? It’s all in the name of glisse!

  43. JCoates January 20th, 2015 10:28 pm

    Stokes and Michael Browder,

    Comparing Chamonix and La Grave (and I’ll lump St Anton and Verbier in there too) to “the Alps ” is comparing apples to oranges. They are filled with more folks from outside the Alps (Brits, Americans, Scandinavians) than originally from the area. Also, these areas tend to be mostly FreeRide areas. I know people tour in Chamonix, but the vast majority don’t–therefore bigger skis because the focus is in the down.

    People tend to gravitate to the gear that suites there style of skiing. If you are into long multi-day tours, you start to count grams. I’ll even go so far as to say that this can effect your style of skiing down. I ski different when I’m using lifts than when I’m touring. Spend all day long busting your butt to slog up a mountain, and it makes you appreciate going down that much more. Therefore, you want to savor it–making lots of little wiggly turns so the ride lasts a little longer. It’s fine wine vs. a cold beer (and I like them both for different reasons). 🙂

  44. Lou Dawson 2 January 20th, 2015 11:13 pm

    Erik, glad you’re reading, I snuck that in there, a bit of humor. Lou

  45. Erik Erikson January 20th, 2015 11:22 pm

    Hi Lou, you totally toke me in… really thought it was written by Salomon and not by Mr. Dawson 😉

  46. Lou Dawson 2 January 20th, 2015 11:33 pm

    Sorry Erik, I was in too much of a hurry, that kind of edit should be marked, even though I did place the caveat at the start of the PR, saying it had been edited. Lou

  47. rhd January 21st, 2015 2:33 am

    Nice…I like beer and wine. Hence I do small turns and big turns.

  48. Dragos January 27th, 2015 12:21 am

    I guess it all depends on snow conditions. I ski in the Carpathians in Romania and I tried skiing light and wide skis and they simply don’t work for me.

    Wider skis are so much easier to ski down on nasty snow like sasturgi, breakable crust and wind affected snow. The problem with very light and wide skis is that they don’t hold an edge on icy snow, which can be outright dangerous and scary on steeper slopes.

    So after much experimentation I came to the conclusion the the best skis to use in such conditions need to be quite a bit heavier (at least 1600-1700g/ski for a 100mm plank). No tail rocker because I find a strong turn finish is important on icy stuff. Moderate front rocker to prevent hooking in the nasty stuff. And width in the 90-100mm range. Less isn’t fun on powder days; more is getting sketchy on icy stuff. Plus the extra width helps in the dreaded breakable crust and “soupy” wet snow before it turns to corn (we call it “firn” here 😀 )

    The skis which I found fit the bill for me are a pair of Black Crows Camox. 98mm and 2kg/ski (would have gone for the “Freebird” version which is 1.800 if I had the $$$).
    With a pair of Radicals they are ok-ish even for longer uphills (1200m-1400m/day). Only problem they have is that the tail is VERY stiff and you need good legs to have fun with them; still working on that 🙂

  49. “Rando” Richard February 1st, 2015 10:17 pm

    What are the side cut dimensions of the Vapor Svelte?

  50. stephan July 28th, 2015 4:04 pm

    did they also redesign the locking mechanism on the spitfire 2.0 or did they just make it lighter? it looks like this is a completely different locking mechanism (wich would be good news, compared to the old one wich has/had several flaws and is/was not working very well from my experience…

  51. Jeremy G. January 28th, 2016 10:38 am

    Has anyone gotten a chance to ski the Spitfire 2.0? I am currently skiing the Spectre and am curious how the Spitfire 2.0 fits in relation to the Spectre ( especially in volume, forefoot width and shell length ) I’m also interested in comparisons between this boot and the Atomic Carbon Backland in fit and ski performance. This seems like it could be a great boot but I can’t seem to find much info on it and no one local carries La Sportiva. Thanks!

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