Vapor Tease La Sportiv’ — Sorry To Mess Up your Shopping Plans

Post by blogger | May 23, 2015      

We’re blessed that Colorado is still having an outstanding ski touring spring season, so on-snow gear evaluation can continue (Lisa and I are still in Europe, but guest bloggers in Colorado are carrying the local torch). Weight is 1154 grams per ski for our pair of 178 cm.

La Sportiva Vapor Svelte ski.

La Sportiva Vapor Svelte ski.

A little while ago I got the La Sportiva Vapor Svelte into the weight chart. THIRD overall lightest! While I’d like to see these with more light colored topskin, the graphics do look pretty cool (and as we’ve covered recently, perhaps my bias towards heat reflective skis doesn’t apply to as many situations as I thought). We’ll get extensive testing done on these eventually. For now know this pair of 178 cm planks has real-world measured profile 121-94-112, in my opinion thus falling into the perfect width class for an all-around touring ski that still has a nice platform under the foot.


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31 Responses to “Vapor Tease La Sportiv’ — Sorry To Mess Up your Shopping Plans”

  1. Bob Perlmutter May 24th, 2015 7:37 pm

    Lou, thanks for the prompt all the way from Europe. The torch is burning bright in CO this spring. It is more like winter as we are experiencing cold temps and fresh snow on the Pass on a daily basis. Today was 6″ of fresh which were perfect test conditions for the Vapor Nano Svelte(or any other ski for that matter). I have 3 days or so on the Svelte and am starting to get them dialed in. In addition, I am also testing the Movement Response X-Series(another 5lb. ski like the Svelte) and the Dynastar Carbon Mythic. The Svelte and Response make for the perfect 5 lb. ski cage match and could not be more different. As soon as I get a few more days each on the Response and Mythic and I will be ready to file a full report. I’d like to see how all of these skis perform on corn snow but that just might not be an option anytime soon.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 May 24th, 2015 9:38 pm

    Super! It’s wonderful Colorado is finally having a spring ski touring season like the old days, shows what we used to have and why we all stuck around. Perhaps it’s a trend? No dust next year as well?

    Might as well clarify that Lisa and I are still in Europe, Norway completed and we’re in Austria, but have a few more Norway blog posts coming. Been rainy here and we’ve not done the classic spring Alps skiing we were hoping to, but we’ve still had a good time by shifting to some cultural objectives as well as a few industry visits.


  3. Steve September 14th, 2015 3:16 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Any updates on the Vapor Svelte, mainly in terms of durability and functionality?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 14th, 2015 4:30 pm

    Hi Steve, I’m writing up the Ultimate Quiver and they’re in there. More versatile than Vapor Nano, and I’ve heard of no problems with durability. That said, I’m convinced that some of the ultra light skis are not as durable as heavier touring skis (that’s not news, just stating reality). Nano is in that class, but my impression is the Svelte is a bit beefier. Remember that with carbon fiber they can build a ski so strong it’s amazing, but it gets tough to mix flex with extreme strength. A good compromise is the G3 carbon skis… Lou

  5. Jeff November 7th, 2015 10:54 am

    Hi Lou – I’m sure you are working as fast as you can on wrapping up the ultimate quiver reviews. I am really curious to hear how this ski compares to the wailer 99 tour 1 or even more about the float/platform trade-off vs the vapor nano. This year I plan to experiment using Scarpa Aliens instead of my TLT5s. I was interested in getting your opinion if you think the Aliens could drive a ski like the vapor svelt / wailer 99 tour in normal backcountry touring situations? Love your blog. Thanks.

  6. Grif November 28th, 2015 5:26 pm

    Any update on these bad boys?

  7. Lou Dawson 2 November 28th, 2015 6:47 pm

    All I can say is I like them, but they’re not a Wailer 99, either. I’m including them in Ultimate Quiver as I think they ski really well for their weight and width. Are they an every day touring ski? Perhaps, if you’re looking to really save weight. Lou

  8. Kristian December 3rd, 2015 3:46 pm

    Just now mounting up ATK 2016 Raider 14s on Svelte 178s. Hurray! However the graphic printing is off by over 1 cm on one of the skis. And the graphics include the boot centering marks…

  9. Kristian December 9th, 2015 10:59 am

    After the first few minutes of skiing the La Sportiva Sveltes, the edges of my lips began to curl up into a smile that extended all the way to my toes. They are that good!

    The Sveltes are authoritative and powerful on alpine ice when you drive your edges on GS or Slalom turns. And they are playful and effortless in powder or crud as you bounce through tight trees and hop over rocks and fallen timber.

    Think Hendrix Voodoo Child…

    I have decades of experience; these are by far the best off piste skis yet. They do equally well on piste, but because they have such an absurdly light construction, they may not be the first choice for a daily resort driver. I am looking forward to climbing and skiing many 4000+M peaks with them.

    I am skiing 178 Sveltes with La Sportiva Spectre Boots, La Sportiva Svelte Skins, ATK Raider 97mm 14 Bindings and ATK 97mm Crampons.

  10. Kirkt March 8th, 2016 4:35 am

    So where’s that review? In fact where is ANY formal, on-snow review of this ski?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 March 8th, 2016 6:04 am

    Kirkt, good question! I’ve indeed covered the Svelte quite a bit

    and kept putting off the big review simply because I got busy and because the ski is not available “officially” in Europe.

    I’ll see if I can get to it, but it won’t happen immediately. I’ve skied the Svelte quite a bit now, and quite like them for soft snow as a lightweight (1154 gram per ski, 94 waist) for soft snow conditions. Their fatter brother Nano is ok as well, but for some reason feels more nervous to me and is not as versatile. Svelte has a bunch of tip rise and rocker. I found the recommended boot position was too far forward for my taste in powder skiing and I moved it back 2 centimeters, which feels fine though that big tip out in front looks pretty extreme (I’ve thought about cutting a few centimeters off the tip, actually). On piste the manufacturer recommended mount position felt fine. The Svelt is clearly not as all-around a ski as, say, a Volkl BMT 94. But it is noticeably lighter in weight. I can pick between both skis her on my rack, and tend to use the Svelt when the powder is perfect, but I grab the BMT when I might encounter varied conditions. Lou

  12. Kristian March 8th, 2016 7:41 am

    This is a touring sport. I live in the Rockies and am going up relatively steep terrain to relatively high altitudes. There are always trade offs of weight & control. I am now having great success with the Spitfire 2.0 boots with optional power straps and the Sveltes.

    Lighter kit requires a more active technique on the down, which I find thrilling. (I’m the kind of guy that uses a 29er Cross Country Bike at a DownHill Bike Resort.)

  13. Keith March 8th, 2016 8:02 am

    hi Lou,
    I’m thinking about mounting some ski-trab adjustable race bindings on some tour1 ’99’s. I’m 5″10″, 150 lbs, and ski fairly light on my skis having entered the BC a long time ago from a nordic background. thoughts on this? seems like what I’ve read, those bindings might have a rough “DIN” of about 8. or at the very least, they will release.
    thanks, keith

  14. Lou Dawson 2 April 26th, 2016 7:25 pm

    Just wanted to add, I’ve been out on these regularly over the winter, and yesterday for spring semi-corn touring. They’re good skis, though I keep feeling like I can cut 4 cm off the tips. I’ll continue to keep them in the “Lou quiver.” Lou

  15. Scott November 21st, 2016 10:21 pm

    Hey Lou. What do you think about the new kastle 98 vs the 90 for long tour days and skiing variable conditions off peaks in Europe. And do the volkl bmt qualify as well?

  16. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2016 6:51 am

    Hi Scott, the BMT is your full rocker type ski, while the Kastle is more traditional. I’d tend to use the 90 in the Kastle, as I’ve mostly gone back to that as my European ski touring width, or even narrower. For Colorado winter I still like something closer to 100 due to our snow conditions. But since I’ve always got the WildSnow quiver I tend to shift between widths as the mood goes. Lou

  17. Lou Dawson 2 December 1st, 2016 5:28 pm

    UPDATE! I was just out on the Vapor Svelte enjoying our new load of powder here in Colorado. I really do like these skis, and highly recommend them for human powered powder and corn laps. They’re just dang good touring skis. Kinda my go-to at the moment, though when I get fitter I might haul a bit more width in our loose Colorado snow. Lou

  18. Grif May 9th, 2017 8:25 pm

    Hail Lou! Was wondering if you or any fellow Vapor Svelte owners out there had any recommendations for my loose binding issue. Been doing a lot of touring this season & last weekend noticed the toe piece on one of my G3 Ions was loose. My battle buddy’s screwdriver got me through the day. Originally mounted with roo glue. Looking for options / recommendations before committing to 2 stage epoxy.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 May 10th, 2017 8:39 am

    Sounds like the bindings were not correctly mounted. If the holes are not stripped, simply re-mount using epoxy. What’s the big deal with epoxy? Lou

  20. Jim Milstein October 19th, 2018 11:52 am

    Soon to mount a pair of Sveltes and I want advice on where. In this thread Lou says boot center on zero is good but prefers -2cm for powder. Any further comments?

    As it is, the recommended positions on the skis’ graphics look very far back. I suppose that’s why Lou feels like cutting the tips off his Sveltes. On the plus, uphill kick turns should be easier!

  21. Jim Milstein October 20th, 2018 9:33 pm

    ATK Trofeos arrived this morning and are now mounted at boot center zero on the Sveltes. Very light combo. 1220g for 168cm ski and binding. The Trofeos are pretty. The toe jaws belie the prettiness though and slam shut definitively. Indoors, entry is very easy. Hoping to find out more real soon. Next storm arrives in a couple of days, they say.

  22. TSB October 22nd, 2018 1:38 pm

    Jim, thanks for the update… I just dropped some coin on a pair of once-drilled Svelte’s and so I’m scouring Wild Snow for tips on mounting. Can I ask what made you go for boot center on the mount despite Lou’s lamentations of the extra tip length? And, what is your boot of choice? THanks!

  23. Jim Milstein October 22nd, 2018 4:59 pm

    TSB, When in doubt, I go with rec’d mount, and did. Not a lot of wild snow yet, so I skinned up the Wolf Creek Ski Area with the new rig today all by myself (WCSA is closed weekdays). Thin there too, but skiable if you don’t mind cultivated snow. On the way down, the new Sveltes seemed a bit balky; so I stopped and crayoned on wax. Did the trick. Skis felt normal. I expect they will be okay in deep stuff too, but need a bunch of snow to find out for sure. As I descended, the first flakes of the next storm arrived.

    Boots are ABCL, Atomic Backland Carbon Light. They weigh about the same as the Sveltes. Bindings are ATK Trofeos, and they hardly weigh anything. For walking with them, you have two choices, really: flat on ski (slightly negative heel) and +40mm above top sheet. Given the ABCL, which has a big range of motion, the 40mm heel lift seemed okay for moderate slopes up to fairly steep. Anyway, that’s all it’s got. This is one of the compromises for the light weight. The other big compromise is non-adjustable release. I’m fine with that. Lou is not. I seldom fall and even less often release, like Lou in that. As they say, skiing is a hazardous sport. Most of the hazard involves falling. Don’t fall.

  24. TSB October 23rd, 2018 12:15 pm

    thanks Jim for the quick reply and real-world testing on the matter. My two cents, anything more than a full-on race binding like the Trofeo or the Plum 150 would be a strange choice for uphill weapons like the Sveltes…knock wood on that whole “not falling” thing, though! Happy skiing out in CO, bring on the next storm…

  25. Jim Milstein October 23rd, 2018 11:53 pm

    Knocking wood is common around here, TSB, until snow covers the wood. Takes about four or five feet of snow to bury the deadfall.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2018 8:11 am

    Hi Jim, I just grabbed my Svelts off the rack, I can see the binding mount holes, did ski them on factory then mounted 18 mm back (not sure why not full 20, probably due to something about where I was drilling holes in relation to other holes). They were fine either way, though I prefer the slightly more “couchy” ride farther back, and the kick turns are easier (every mm counts) The tips are a little ridiculous. Every time I ski pow I watch them to see if I can catch the sneaky things taking a face shot and being necessary, seems like they’re at least 30 mm longer and somewhat higher than I’d ever need, perhaps more. But that’s for couch style not aggressive turn initiation. I do plan on cutting the tips once the skis have sufficient wear as to not get me yelled at by Sportiv’

  27. Jim Milstein October 24th, 2018 8:30 am

    Ridiculously high tips may be useful, Lou, in skiing over deadfall. Knock wood!

    Just saw “Molly’s Game” where Molly Bloom gets undone as an Olympic skier by a tiny piece of wood. Then she does other stuff.

  28. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2018 12:07 pm

    Had some measurement typos above, fixed. Thanks Jim.

  29. Nick Zajac October 27th, 2018 6:13 am

    Never been on your site before, and sorry for being off topic. I recently found a pr. of 210 Head Deep Powders in my search for significant skis to use in making a loveseat and I can’t bring myself to cut them up ! I had a pair when I lived in Aspen from 1972-1979 during which Lou broke his femur on Highland Bowl. I think I even have the article from the Aspen Times about him getting hurt and being rescued ! Anyway I was wondering about the DP’s and if they are even more rare than I thought. Thanks so much for your thoughts and time ! Nick

  30. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2018 7:11 am

    Hi Nick, thanks for visiting! The value (collectability) of such skis, or rarity, is just now coming into play. Up till now, the only skis that (usually) had known intrinsic value were the wooden ones, or transitional wood/composite, up through the 1960s. That said, I am clearly not an expert on this! The guy I defer to is Richard at Vintage Ski World. Per conversations with him (he’s a friend), we do fawn over various 1970s skis as being “cool,” but usually agree their time to be bought/sold/collected is just now coming into play (see the ones on his website, for sale). My understanding is an “antique” is 50 years old or older, while a “classic” is more in the realm of 30 to 40 years. Thus, skis from the 1970s are now clearly classics, perhaps antiques. As for rarity, that’s an unknown for skis such as the DP, while once they achieve some monetary value, their “rarity” will become much more obvious through the next ten years. My advice would be to hold on to skis that have emotional value and are old enough to be “classics,” but don’t expect them to become valuable for quite some time yet, if ever. Composite skis obviously don’t have the gravitas of the old wood skis, that contributes to the mystery of how collectible they’ll eventually be. Overall, what’s obvious is the older wooden skis, the authentic ones, will obviously increase in value as the supply is finite and they’re cool. Again, a conversation with Vintage Ski World is where you can get clear. Lou

  31. Jim Milstein October 31st, 2018 11:22 pm

    Deep stable powder snow in the Southern San Juans! I got to try the Sveltes for real in their element. They were just fine on the descent and a little less wonderful than the Mythics for setting an uptrack in steepish unconsolidated snow. Not enough tip, Lou.

    But, really, losing fifty-one ounces by going from Mythics with Vipecs to Sveltes with ATK Trofeos is totally worth it. I need all the help I can get.

    So, the ATK Trofeo bindings. Amazingly easy entry. Why are not all tech bindings so easy to get into? They have strong toe jaws and I have not needed to lock the toes into Walk mode for climbing. I will on a steep, icy traverse, because walking out of a binding there could be bad, and it is more likely in that situation. Changing the heel from flat-on-ski to elevated while in the bindings is a pain. The heel tower rotation is stiff. It has to be. Luckily, between the two heel heights there is not much difference. I tend to just stay with whatever I start with.

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