Dynafit’s 2010/11 ski line gets fatter and more “freeride” oriented with the addition of their 129/105/119 “Stoke” model.
Along with the now classic and well liked Manaslu and Seven Summits models (among others), this year we are treated to Dynafit’s first “freeride” width plank. This ski’s design was influenced by well known ski mountaineer Greg Hill and the needs of skiers in areas such as Revelstoke, Canada, where consistent dumps of loose snow make wider planks an extremely useful tool for ski alpinism. Combine the 105 mm waist width with Dynafit’s lightweight construction, and you get a ski that is said to handle well, but only compresses the scale with 1550 grams for the 173 length (not verified).
If the production Stoke skis can stick to this weight, that’ll put them in the class of a K2 Baker SL or Dynafit Manaslu in terms of surface area vs mass, which could make this a superb choice for human powered sliders who want something in a freeride width.
How does the Stoke ski? I’m not qualified to evaluate a freeride board as I don’t ski other skis of that width enough for perspective. But I quizzed a few of the guys at the Dynafit event who were used to that type of ski. They had no complaints. Some pointed out that a wide ski with less sidecut than some other freeride brands/models is a bit different (both pro and con), and that you do notice the lack of weight. Overall, everyone sounded pleased though some wondered if it could use some rocker. My take is that not all skis need rocker, and it can of course be detrimental to a skis hard snow performance, so let’s not make a god out of it.
If you’re looking for wider backcountry skis, pay attention to the Stoke and try to get on a pair when demos are available next winter. To that end, we’ll attempt to test a pair this winter in varied conditions, and do a real review. But meanwhile, we may have a winner that could even be a game changer such as the Manaslu.
Beyond these being a super interesting develpment, the burning question is will we still see Greg Hill on Goode carbon skis, or only on his imprimatur plank? We’ll be watching.
Dynafit’s other new ski, the Broad Peak (112/74/96 in 167 cm), is Stoke’s opposite. Built for edge hold when you encounter conditions such as white ice during ski descents of big peaks, the ski is still said to handle varied conditions, as a board of this sort would have to.
My take is that the Broad Peak is a quiver ski. You’d own it if you want something that’ll help you survive steep icy terrain you might encounter during spring ski descents and that sort of thing — or if you’re heading out for a quick blast up and down Broad Peak before your morning espresso. Available in 149, 158, 167, 176, weight will be just over one kilo per ski — another reason this might be the choice for gargantuan climbs.