Dynafit Chugach Ski — Quiver Arrow of the Week

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 11, 2015      

Michael Arnold

Dynafit Chugach.

Dynafit Chugach.

Testing out the Chugach.

Testing out the Chugach. Click to enlarge.

…NOAA forecast: A winter storm watch is in effect for the Aspen area above 9000 feet. Heavy precipitation is likely to occur…

It is time; the change of seasons is upon us. As climbing and mountain biking come to a halt, we think about the winter ahead.

Whether it’s avalanche education or the newest and coolest of ski gear, status quo is a term seldom used within the innovators of the backcountry ski world. Big changes continue.

Dynafit is typically known for its light weight approach to mountain travel. No longer. With the birth of the Beast binding and now the Freeride Series skis that consists of the Chugach and Hokaido, the Snow Leopard is on a path to round out their selection of gear with, yes, heavier skis and bindings. Heavier!? Dynafit!? The payoff, performance for extremely high energy skiing.

During my testing, I found the Chugach ski to be the most enjoyable of the two planks. After mount and tune, I took them on our local slopes around Aspen, Colorado. Highlands Bowl is our best testing grounds for a ski like this. Last spring it had three elevations bands to ski through: cold pow, hot packed pow, all the way to hard pack and slush.

The first thing I noticed about the Chugach was the benefits of the tip rocker. Most skis have that design quality, but this was different. The carbon stringers helped when breaking through hard “crud” to give it a smooth soft transition. It also performed when I needed more rigidity. I was sold on the ski after only a few days on them.

For testing on more technical terrain, I brought them over to Europe for steep skiing and off piste touring. My second day in Chamonix, I skied the big iconic Cosmiques Couloir, off the Aiguille Du Midi. As we threw the ropes, I strapped in with confidence, rappelled into the couloir, and carved the first technical turns at 45+ degrees. Small radius turns with the full rocker felt playful and effortless with the Chugach.

In summary, the 181 Chugach felt short in larger terrain. With the full rocker, the contact surface of the snow was not adequate for Super G style turns. But in Colorado, where we are limited to tree skiing most of the year, this is a perfect tool for tight trees and narrow couloirs if you desire a full-on “freeride alpine” feel from your skis. Is the weight tradeoff worth it? Up to you, but worth considering.

Dynafit Chugach
Tester: Michael Arnold, IFMGA Mountain and Ski Guide
Test zones: Aspen, Colorado, USA; Chamonix and La Grave, France; Courmeyeur, Italy
Terrain: steep hardpack, powder
Touring binding and boot: Beast 14 and Dynafit Mercury/Vulcan boot
Test ski: 181cm Chugach, mounted +1cm
WildSnow bench verified weight: 2052 grams

MSRP: $800
Available lengths: 173cm, 181cm, 188cm, 194cm
Shape: [173cm] 134/106/124 mm, [181cm] 135/107/125 mm, [188cm] 136/108/126 mm, [194cm] 137/109/127 mm
Construction/core/profile: ABS sidewall; poplar, ash, carbon stringer; double rocker

Dynafit Chugach available here.


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28 Responses to “Dynafit Chugach Ski — Quiver Arrow of the Week”

  1. Tim November 11th, 2015 12:32 pm

    Thanks for the review! Always a good idea to share height, weight and ability level to understand the reviewer’s preferences. As an ex-racer and AMGA guide, would you be happier with the 188 in this ski?

  2. ptor November 11th, 2015 1:30 pm

    I had a day on the Chugachs last spring and totally enjoyed them…steeps,pow, variable, hard. For me, the double full rocker makes everything else obsolete on wild snow.

  3. Matus November 11th, 2015 2:48 pm

    Looks like an interesting alternative to Volkl Nunataq. But heavier.

  4. JC November 11th, 2015 5:15 pm

    As a Nunataq fanatic, I agree with you ptor. I can invision the day when most bc skis are made with full rocker.They are just that good.

  5. Mike November 11th, 2015 6:06 pm


    The 188 Chugach is what I would prefer. That said, today, skiing wind pressed powder, and utilizing short radius turns, was FUN! I feel like this is the never ending battle with gear these days.

    Addition- Mounted, Radical 2.0 ST on the Chugach and skied with TLT 6. What a combination! Psyched to give the 2.0 more mountain time.

  6. Craig November 12th, 2015 9:11 am

    Any comparison to a Zero G 108?

  7. Mike November 12th, 2015 9:42 am


    I don’t have a great comparison. Have not skied the Zero 108. Blizzard seems to have a more traditional ski construction. The Dynafit Chugach will preform differently than a ski like this. Looks to be lighter! Thanks

  8. Greg Louie November 12th, 2015 10:25 am

    @Craig: I’ve skied a bit on both the Chugach and Zero G 108, and I don’t think the skis have that much in common other than waist width. The 178 Zero G 108 weighs 1613 grams, while the 181 Chugach (closest size and the size I would ski) weighs 2072 grams. I’d call the Chugach a freeride ski that happens to have a tip notch for skins – Dynafit does a great job of combining stability and playfulness in this ski; it’s super solid and damp at speed and still lets you butter to your heart’s content. The Zero G 108 is extremely precise (meaning it goes where you point it) with great edgehold, really a ski mountaineering ski with plenty of surface area to float softer snow. A comparison to the aforementioned Nunataq is a good one, the Zero G is a lighter and grippier version.

  9. IanB November 12th, 2015 4:11 pm

    Mike – I’m loving the sound of this ski, I get the impression it will be great for both skiing in-bounds with the family and yet also delivering on those tour/powder days out of bounds. It sounds solid when it needs to be on variable/hard conditions yet playful when required. I’ve always had a tip/tail rocker ski with camber under foot and never skied a full rocker ski. So…….given I’m 173cm (in bare feet) and approx 80 kg, do you think that the 173 length of this ski will be to short or should I size up? Thanks, Ian.

  10. Mike November 12th, 2015 4:24 pm


    Sounds like this is a good option for you. Not knowing ski ability etc. I recommend going with the 181 for your size. It will be nice in the backcountry as well as more ski contact when in bounds. I feel if you go to the 173, you might regret it due to the fact of minimal snow contact when in bounds on hard packed and your trying to make turns. Though this isn’t a carving ski, it does have some release when carving and exiting the turn. Really fun and responsive. Hope that helps!

  11. Rob Coppolillo November 12th, 2015 9:17 pm

    Nice review, Mike—I enjoyed this ski a bunch, on a really deep (but heavy) day in RMNP. Not sure I ski it as well as you…but it’s fun trying!

  12. Mike Soucy January 30th, 2016 12:34 pm

    Thanks Mike, great review! I’ve also been spending some time on this ski so far this winter and concur with much of what Mike has to say, especially regarding the near-perfect tip rocker and profile. This ski transitions in and out of variable/breakable snow like it’s cutting through butter. Super smooth.
    One detail that Mike mentions that I think is worth repeating is to consider mounting the ski 1cm forward. I mounted on center and at times feel like the useable edge at and behind my heel is short. This makes for decreased fore/aft stability in steep, hard snow situations. +1 would likely remedy this problem. I’d also agree that it skis short, so if you’re in doubt, go longer.
    Psyched on a bit heavier, downhill performance-oriented ski from Dynafit!

  13. Kyle March 4th, 2016 5:35 pm

    I just took the 181s out for a demo – LOVE the ski. Got to try them in a lot of different conditions (demo was in-bounds). I’m going to purchase them but I’m SO torn between 181 and 188. I normally ski a 186 and up. However, skiing in Montana here we are in a lot of trees and sometimes narrow chutes. So I would generally reach for the 188 but I’m wondering if I should stick with the 181 for the times in trees or any ski-mountaineering in Glacier Park. I wish it was offered in a 185!!

  14. Lou Dawson 2 March 4th, 2016 5:48 pm

    Hi Kyle, those are a real ski that is for sure! I’d say if it’s a quiver of one you’d want the longer, but if it’s mostly backcountry you’d want the shorter. Lou

  15. Kyle March 4th, 2016 5:52 pm

    These are going to be mounted with dynafit 2.0 and only for backcountry skiing. I have plenty of longer skis for inbounds so your advice sounds spot-on! 181, sold!

    Thanks Lou, much appreciated!

  16. KC March 22nd, 2016 10:34 am

    Great review, I just got my 181 Chugach skis in that Dynafit sent me from a failed set of Danalis(I didn’t want to wait for the Dhaulagiris). I can wait to hit the BC and some 14ers here in CO. I was curious about the mounting +1. I am pretty new to skiing however I have put in 100 days since I started winter 2014. Do you guys think the +1 mounting would help me or am I not going to notice the difference? I have a pretty neutral stance, I am 6ft and weigh about 165lb, my wife says I am very aggressive for how long I have bee skiing.


  17. Dan March 22nd, 2016 4:58 pm


    You sound in a similar position to me – relative newcomer, and just bought a pair of Chugach too!

    I’ll mount mine on the mid-point. I’m not keen on being too far forward on any ski, much less one that is rocekered.

    Let us know how you go and the results!

  18. Kyle March 22nd, 2016 9:20 pm

    I went +1. everyone I spoke with locally went anywhere from +1 up to +3. I tried them center and now prefer +1. Difference is subtle but a little more playful. Length 181.

  19. Al October 29th, 2016 8:55 am

    Hi- I have the 181 chugach, unmounted. I think I’ll try them 1cm forward. My question is- what width brake dynafit binding do u mount them with? Skis are -108 width. Dynafit bindings come in 90, 105, 120mm brake width. Seems ur either bending them out or in to fit. Any suggestions? Thanks

  20. Daniel May 1st, 2017 11:52 pm

    Can anybody comment on the slimmer brother, the Dynafit Meteorite? Thanks!

  21. Keel Sebastian October 9th, 2017 8:14 pm

    I would love some more weight height stats. I love my rockered 178 Volkl Werks for touring but Montana trees are tight and I am spending more time in bounds with my 3 year old ripping around. I am worried 173s will be too short.

  22. Evan November 22nd, 2017 12:55 pm

    Is that 2050 g w/ bindings?

  23. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2017 2:30 pm

    Evan, I’m not sure, I do remember they’re big heavy skis… I tried to find in my Dynafit catalogs but I’m missing the 2015/2016 from my collection, which is a bummer… I think that was a year all I got was a PDF and it’s lost somewhere on my hard drives… Lou

  24. DaveO February 2nd, 2018 6:41 pm

    Bought a pair of the Chugach’s off Evo.com earlier this year with skins for $450. Just spent a week in BC. Mounted a pair of Radical 2 on them. Just spent a week in BC and am in love! Can’t believe these are discontinued. If I had to replace them today, what would be the ski? I’m 6′, 200, a former PSIA pro who prefers sidecountry but not a hucker. Steeper and deeper the better but still split my time on groomers with my wife (kids are grown). Any suggestions?

  25. andy February 2nd, 2018 8:39 pm

    DaveO: Beast 108 is the same ski, just a little lighter

  26. DaveO February 4th, 2018 5:09 pm

    Thanks Andy. I read something where they shaved some weight by – if I recall correctly – a layer less of the top? Did I hear that right?

  27. andy February 4th, 2018 9:22 pm

    that’s what the bc.com description says.

  28. granite November 15th, 2018 1:24 pm

    So has anyone gotten any time on the Beast 108 that came out last year and replaces the Chugach? Seems like a pretty good soft snow bias all-rounder.
    I’m a little leery of touring on a full rocker ski, but i guess these have a somewhat flattish underfoot section.
    Anyone anyone? Bueller?

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