(Editor’s note: Alas, G3 harassed us enough and we finally sent our tester Synapses back to the crazy Canucks, but not before my old friend and avid backcountry skier Doug Stewart gave them a go during our epic Colorado spring ski touring season. I felt a little guilty. Doug has been on frame bindings and 20-year-old planks; when I handed him the latest uber-tech in the form of ION bindings and carbon skis, it was like a drug pusher giving the first one free. Wait, isn’t that my job!? Oh, and some of you might notice these are supposedly a “women’s” ski. We beg to differ. They’re for anyone. That said, we suspect that while this ski is nearly a direct match to the men’s version only with purple graphics, it is possibly a bit more supple and thus enjoyed by our lighter weight testers. Check out Perl’s review. )
I stood at the top of Ski Hayden, south of Aspen, Colorado and wondered if I had just wasted 4300 feet of uptrack. Beneath me were a pair of G3 Carbon Synapse 101, which I’d happily picked from Wildsnow HQ for demo.
Thanks to the slight weight of the Synapses (6 pounds for the pair, 175 cm), my legs were fresher than usual. But now I was looking down at a pair of boards with a very unfamiliar shape, thinking that I might use up most of my turns just trying to figure them out. (I’m not the standard Wildsnow gear connoisseur, so the G3s were a huge jump in technology from my standard rig.) An earlier shakedown at post-season ski tour at Cooper hadn’t given me the test I’d wanted, with the intermediate pitch combining with 14” of dense powder to slow my decent to a mostly downhill polling experience.
Below me, telemeister Aaron Daler had already looped several dozen nice drop-knee turns, ending with a couple of whoops that passed for a faux yodel. So all was well on the mountain, at least for the guy on teles. Only one way for me to find out if the climb had been worth it.
I had my answer in a couple of truly backcountry turns. The G3s grabbed the arc quickly and didn’t let go until I pulled back. I pushed them harder each turn. No hesitation. No chatter. Damped down solid. My anxiousness quickly turned into a big, high altitude ski touring grin. Now I could play a bit. I pressed my heel to see what I could get at the end of a turn. The rocker shot me around instantly, letting me know there was more under the hood when I needed it.
As I dropped elevation, the snow changed from frozen hardpack on top to corn in the morning on mid-mountain. The Synapses didn’t miss, navigating varied conditions with the same aplomb as above, sometimes within the same turn.
As I hit ankle-deep mush near treeline, I looked upslope to calculate what it would take to ski tour back up top for another silly-grin rep. But the sun was already too high for that. So I set out into the labyrinth of trees that is the Hayden approach, grateful that I had the Synapses on my feet for the hundreds of close-quarter turns ahead.
The G3 Synapse Carbon 101 is impressive. They spoiled me forever. My only suggestion would be for the ski brake that comes with the G3 bindings. I had difficulty getting it to stay down a few times, requiring strength and dexterity that might be tenuous with cold hands. But that’s a small inconvenience compared to the feeling of letting a pair of these run free beneath you down the mountain!
(WildSnow dot com guest blogger Doug Stewart works in public communications for Colorado Mountain College. He is a backcountry skier of many decades, and his skis are of the same vintage — though he hopes to change that before next winter.)