G3 FINDr102 Ski – ION LT Binding – Review


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | July 5, 2016      

Michael Kennedy

Yours truly, in the Colorado BC

Yours truly, in the Colorado BC. Click images to enlarge.

Last winter, during a press trip I got in a few good runs with the G3 FINDr 102, and was impressed enough that when a pair showed up at Wild Snow HQ I snagged them post-haste. The testers (I skied the 179 cm; also available in 174, 184, and 189 cm) were mounted with brakeless G3 Ion LT 12 bindings. Alpinist skins, G3’s proven nylon model, rounded out the “pure Canadian” package.

Background: At 5’ 11” and 190 pounds I’m hardly the svelte skimo racer archetype. I stick to moderate terrain and would be best described as an average yet experienced backcountry skier. Now into my sixth decade, I’m more than happy with 2000-to-5000-foot days in the backcountry. No hucking off cliffs or straightlining for me — I figure if I’m going to walk that far I may as well get in as many turns as possible. I spend 30-70 days each winter on skis, mainly in the backcountry with a few lift-serviced days thrown in. My current boot is the Scarpa F1, which I reviewed earlier this winter.

After long-term testing spanning three months, my initial impressions were confirmed: the FINDr 102 is a terrific all-around backcountry ski, reasonable in weight (1492 grams on the WildSnow scale) and adaptable to a wide variety of snow conditions. I put more than 30 days on the FINDr 102 in everything from waist-deep midwinter powder to groomed man-made to spring slop. Smooth and stable, they responded well to a quick roll of the ankles and capably executed everything from short jump turns to sweeping arcs.

G3 Findr edge chips.

G3 FINDr edge chips.

The 133-102-120 profile helps the FINDr 102 float the deep stuff and skip over windpack, perfect for winter in Colorado. The extra width didn’t prove detrimental for trail breaking, although the narrower and slightly lighter FINDr 94 and FINDr 86 would likely tour better and be worth considering, especially for longer tours and firmer snow conditions.

Minor damage to the nylon top sheet and polyurethane sidewalls (due to user error and poor technique) was easily remedied with a utility knife and sandpaper. Perhaps the worst I can say is that the FINDr 102 isn’t a particularly exciting ski. Competent, predictable, steady, and reserved, true to its Canadian heritage it gets the job done without a lot of fanfare. If you want a ski that challenges you, look elsewhere — I prefer a steady friendship to a gaudy display of emotion. The FINDr 102 even looks the part with its simple red-and-white graphics that echo the Canadian flag. (As a side note, I was born and raised in Ontario and have retained my citizenship despite having lived in the U.S. for most of my life.)

My testers, FINDr with ION LT

My testers, FINDr with ION LT

The ION LT 12 is a robust and well-finished binding. I was curious to see if its greater weight (456 grams for the Ion vs. 370 grams for my go-to Dynafit Speed Radicals) would be offset by any appreciable gains in performance and usability. I was pleased on both counts.

The ION toe clamps onto the boot with a reassuring “thunk” — I could tour with the toe unlocked 95% of the time, adding a valuable measure of safety in avalanche terrain (verified by Lou’s testing, resulting from well designed geometry and strong springs). The heel can be rotated in either direction and has a solid detent to lock it in position for touring.

The ION heel lifts are easy to flick into place with a ski pole, and unlike some bindings, the Ion allows you to tour with the boot flat on the ski. While we’ve seen a few reports of the ION heel lifters detent mechanism getting loose, I had no problem with this even after fairly extensive use. Even if this had happened it wouldn’t be a deal breaker for a backcountry day, and from what I’ve heard the G3 customer service system is reliable if problems do develop.

As a bonus, the ION ski crampons are excellent and easily taken on and off without removing your ski.

More ION info here, And the crampon is reviewed here.

A side note on brakes vs. no brakes. While most use brakes for reasons of safety and convenience — you’re not tethered to a windmilling plank in a fall or avalanche, and you can step in rather than bend over and fiddle with a leash — I prefer the simplicity and lighter weight of a brakeless binding like the Ion LT 12. I use the B & D breakaway leash (you can also use the plastic fuse links with the cable leashes included with the Ion LT 12).

Last but not least, the Alpinist skins are a treat. The tip clips fit the blunt nose of the FINDr 102 to a T, the tail attachment is simple and robust, and the adhesive, sticky-but-not-too-sticky, worked well over a wide range of temperatures and through multiple daily transitions. The glue has also held up very well despite my less-than-sanitary handling of the skins. A worthwhile accessory is the G3 Love Glove, a spandex sack that keeps the dirt and pine needles off your skins. Or make your own.

Overall, pure Canadian understated excellence!

Comments

17 Responses to “G3 FINDr102 Ski – ION LT Binding – Review”

  1. Tom Gos July 5th, 2016 1:09 pm

    Nice review. I would like to encourage Wildsnow to begin including rocker profile photos with the reviews as has become common in many other ski reviews. Thanks, keep up the good work!

  2. Lou Dawson 2 July 5th, 2016 1:24 pm

    Hi Tom, thanks for reminding me about the rocker profile. I’ll try to be more consistent with that. What’s the best way to communicate it? Centimeters from tip? Photo? Lou

  3. Nathan July 5th, 2016 4:27 pm

    Photos and measurements in cm from tip would be helpful, Lou.

  4. See July 5th, 2016 7:35 pm

    Looks like the Volkl Vwerks concept— reduce or eliminate the core at the edges— is catching on.

  5. Gary July 6th, 2016 6:22 am

    Solid looking touring setup.

    Do the white tips collect less snow?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 July 6th, 2016 7:21 am

    Thanks Nathan, I’ll get more on the case with that. Lou

  7. MAVO July 6th, 2016 3:35 pm

    Lou,

    Second time / long time 😉 To dovetail on Nathan’s comment, I think it would be great to get pictures of the skis you review from the top angle (looking down at the top sheets full length, which you have in this review) and the full profile with the skis base to base to judge rocker/camber profile (similar to Scott Nelson’s review of the K2 Wayback from LY). Thanks for all your great work!

  8. Tom Gos July 6th, 2016 5:55 pm

    Lou, I’m always happy just seeing a photo of the ski profile. There are so many different ways to measure rocker that so often are not clearly explained. If I see a photo then at least I know what I’m looking at. And I’ve learned that the shape of the rocker curve effects the way the ski performs – there’s no easy way to measure and describe that shape. But a picture is worth a thousand words.

  9. Tom Gos July 6th, 2016 5:57 pm

    Oh yeah, FWIW I always prefer the rocker profile photo to be taken with the ski resting on a table or work bench (as the Blister guys do) as opposed to base to base. Thanks.

  10. See July 6th, 2016 7:39 pm

    I didn’t mean to suggest above that the Findrs are Volkl knock-offs, just that skis like the Vwerks, Fischer Hannibals and the Findrs all have seriously thin or nonexistent cores along most of the edge. I suspect this is a consequence of the use of carbon fiber. As the layup accounts for more of the structural properties of the ski, the core can be shrunk and weight reduced. The traditional wood core may still be needed to anchor binding screws and provide damping (both directly and by proving some thickness for sidewalls), but I wonder what skis will look like in ten years.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 July 7th, 2016 6:23 am

    See, good point about what will skis look like in 10 years. The pace of innovation is incredibly fast these days. Thin edge profile is a good example, though I recall this was being experimented with over the years even without carbon to add strength without much weight increase. Lou

  12. Pablo July 11th, 2016 6:01 am

    See & Lou,
    do you remind Salomons Spaceframe construction?
    Available on 2014 1080’s, Pocket rocket’s and Scream Pilot’s…

  13. Lou Dawson 2 July 11th, 2016 9:11 am

    My guess is it’s mostly just a branding/naming effort, not a game changer in how a ski feels on snow. The older Pocket Rocket was a cult ski that was super soft, and very wimpy when pushed. It was fun if you kept your speed down and used it on soft snow, or liked a noodly ski. One suspects that the newer version might keep those parameters. Things is, with so many skis now designed specifially for ski touring, why use an alpine ski? Lou

  14. See July 11th, 2016 12:10 pm

    Thanks Pablo. When Lou mentioned that the “thin edge profile… was experimented with over the years” I was having a hard time thinking of examples. Hi tech sounding names like “spaceframe” aside, the construction of those skis may be more than just a marketing gimmick. Back when there weren’t many touring specific alpine skis on the market, those pocket rockets were pretty light. (At least that’s what I remember, but I never skied them.)

  15. trollanski July 11th, 2016 9:03 pm

    Toured the 179’s. Seemed like a great ski for a lighter finesse skier. Highly recommend demo’ing them first. They folded up even at moderate speeds until I backed off of driving them like a Coomback or Nunataq. Still couldn’t get any speed on them. On the plus side, you can turn them anywhere without having to put a lot of energy into them. I am 180 and 6’2″. P.S. Not sure if the pair we got were “pre-production.” Graphics were the same.

  16. Mick November 28th, 2016 11:24 pm

    Hi there,

    What’s the difference between the current 102 FINDr and the (now apprently discontinued) 100 Boundary model?

    Thanks!

  17. Chris Boz December 16th, 2016 12:07 pm

    Having 10 days on my Findr 102’s I have a few comments:

    About me 5’11” 200lbs, strong and athletic with a Provencal level Ski Racing Background, 30 years on skis and 15 years of Touring and mountaineering experience.

    Set up: Findr 102 184cm, TLT5’s plum yak Bindings G3 Aplinst skins and G3 MoMix skins.

    Over all I am very pleased with these skis, and would agree with Micheal Kennedy that if you are looking for a ski to challenge you then look another direction. I have found them to be easy to ski and predictable in every thing from deep (70cms in 24hrs kind of deep) wide open bottomless powder, steep and sketchy billy goating, tree skiing, and in wind effected snow.
    Unlike others I have not found them to fold up or to really have a top end on speed, and this includes some very wide open high speed GS turns. Im sure on groomers with powerful boots they might be a little soft… But for generally ski touring/ ski mountaineering I find the flex to be spot on.

    On the ups they are a great weight and are easy to skin with. The nice flat tails are nice on steeper kick turns. I have G3 skins attached the tip and tail of the ski messes very well with the skin connections.

    Over all for a $799 Canadian I think these are great skis that easily compete with may of the other much more expensive options out there. Having owned DPS 99 pure’s, and Blizzard zero G 95s in the past I can say that I find the Finds to be better than both of these much more expensive skis.

    I never got on that well with the 99s and found them to ski very short and the front of the ski was easily over powered.

    The Zero G’s are great but after a long day they could be a little much to handle on some ski outs.

    The findr seems to be a good balance between the 2.

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