Quarry Saw — UpSki Carbon Fiber Snow Saw

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 6, 2015      
Superlight snow saw at work. Ever been cut or stabbed by carbon fiber? It's sharper than you'd think.

Quarry Saw’s superlight snow saw at work. Ever been cut or stabbed by carbon fiber? The stuff can be sharper and more weaponized than most people realize. The designer told me it took a few tries to get the teeth working right.

Anything can be made to weigh less. Even so, we all know trimming weight can result in compromised function. Humans can be too skinny, bicycle frames can break, and skis…yes sometimes they’re too fragile. Thus, it was with some trepidation that we unsheathed this 46 gram excalibur of the neve. UpSki Quarry Saw is not a tempered steel weapon capable of hacking through ice, but I was surprised how well the sharpened carbon fiber teeth worked for isolating columns in our Colorado snowpack. My take: a specialized tool that’s quite nice in concept and could help avalanche pros and dedicated laymen carry less weight in their snow study kits.


Unsheathed. Is that a movie title?

The teeth are sharp. This would NOT be a TSA approved carryon.

The teeth are sharp. This would NOT be a TSA approved carryon.

Label includes some useful stuff.

Label includes some useful stuff.



Shop for the Upski Quarry Saw at Cripple Creek (click on the link for avalanche stuff). Weight weenies, you know you want one — resistance is futile.


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13 Responses to “Quarry Saw — UpSki Carbon Fiber Snow Saw”

  1. Hacksaw April 6th, 2015 10:16 am

    Can it also cut wood? The reason I ask is in Canada, most heliski guides carry a saw that can cut both snow and wood, becasue they might need to remove small to medium size trees for helicopter LZ’s. I use a G3 saw. I like for both snow and wood. And I once used the saw (in the scabered) as a split for a broke wrist.

  2. Charlie Hagedorn April 6th, 2015 10:33 am

    That’s super cool. Can you give us a qualitative feel for the burliest crusts it can handle?

  3. Lou Dawson 2 April 6th, 2015 11:25 am

    Hacksaw, nope, not really a wood cutter. Charlie, it won’t cut thick ice, but it seemed to cut through moderate crust quite fine. Clearly a specialized tool. Lou

  4. Scott Nelson April 6th, 2015 6:41 pm

    I chuckled a bit when I glanced at the title. Thought you might be referring to something to trim back some of the copious willows / aspens where we skied this morning, which remains secret btw…..

  5. Patrick April 7th, 2015 7:02 am

    off-piste at Nelson this year, I coulda used some skis with edges like that

  6. Lou Dawson 2 April 7th, 2015 9:54 am

    Patrick, clearly you need the Graphene Ultra.

  7. Scott April 7th, 2015 10:19 am

    Patrick, Some friends and I made some ski’s with a wavy edge and they worked well on crusts. All you have to do is build your own!

  8. Lou Dawson 2 April 7th, 2015 11:01 am

    Fisher made some of those years ago. I tested and thought they were a gimmick and of course nearly impossible to sharpen once they got dulled. But perhaps you’ve figured out a better corrugation pattern?

  9. Scott April 7th, 2015 12:54 pm

    Lou Dawson 2, Think a wavy pattern with crests ever 15cm or so and an amplitude on only a few mm. a and sharpener works find and a belt grinder can very easily follow the pattern. the wave only comes into play when the snow/ice is very hard.

  10. Scott April 7th, 2015 1:16 pm

    Scott, learn how to spell and proof your posts……

  11. UpSki Kevin April 7th, 2015 4:49 pm

    Lou, thanks for the field testing & product review!
    Our internal conclusion from our testing (speaking as the product designer) is that it is sturdy enough to cut column test through any crust layers that justify avy concern.

    The 1/4″+ ice layers we get every other year – not so much! If you are trying to cut igloo/snow-wall blocks for your winter shelter- just using a shovel is less precise, but more efficient.

  12. Louie III April 15th, 2015 5:05 pm

    I’ve been trying out one of these saws as well this winter in the Cascades. It was an earlier prototype, with a slightly different shape and tooth pattern. However, it was very similar to the production version.

    Skiing in the cascades, I’ve encountered quite a few burly rain crusts throughout the season. My experience is that the carbon saw can get through most crusts, but is stopped cold by some of the really thick ones. For some of the thinner crusts, it takes a bit of work to get through, but it will still work. I’ve also used it in Colorado and a few other snow climates this winter, and it worked well in all those. I’ve never personally seen a crust in Colorado that is as thick as those that the carbon fiber saw struggled with in the Northwest. In my experience almost all crusts in a continental snowpack are sun crusts, which don’t ever get as thick or as hard as a crust from a solid PNW rain event.

    My opinion: it’s a great tool for someone in a Continental or intermountain snowpack, but might not work in 100% of your snow pits if you live in a region with frequent rain events, like the PNW. The weight savings is pretty rad, and I’ve found the tool perfect for carrying when you are planning on digging small hasty pits primarily.

    As far as wood cutting, i didn’t try it, but i doubt it would do very well. In my opinion, unless you’re a heli guide or have some other specialized use, i don’t think a snow saw that cuts wood is very useful. . I carried a BCA saw that could easily saw wood for years, and the only occasions i used it was cutting out trees that a snowmobile was stuck on, and cutting myself some ski poles once when I forgot them at the start of a tour.

  13. Nick January 4th, 2018 2:12 am

    In researching the state of the art in ultralight snow saws, I came across this helpful review, and thought I would share the eventual fruit of my search… 3oz titanium snow saw, sharpenable teeth, and “can even cut wood in an emergency” https://suluk46.com/product/silu-titanium-snow-saw/
    Will report back with some use once it arrives. Cheers!

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