“Are those for your Movement Goliath Sluff skis?” my friend jokingly asked of some high-DIN all-metal bindings on my work bench (actually destined for Super G skis). At the time I didn’t even realize that he had incorrectly combined the names of two different Movement models, but, whatever, all their models were hefty “freeride” skis, so, same difference, right?
I was therefore very surprised when another friend who is perpetually envious of my Trab Duo Sint Aero skis asked me about the Movement Red Apple 74, which boasts some highly competitive specs in the lightweight yet narrow ski mountaineering category.
I was then utterly shocked by the Movement Logic X-Series with a width:weight ratio that seemed downright impossible.
I know some of you are going to scoff that even a ski 88mm in the waist is still too narrow. In my defense, I submit this excerpt from a Wanatchee Outdoors interview with Martin Volken, the esteemed mountain guide and author.
“If I’m looking at one do-it-all ski, then I’m looking for something that’s 85 to 90mm under foot.” “From guiding I’m fairly confident that going lighter and skinnier (85 to 90mm skis) than the current ‘fatter is better’ mentality is significantly more efficient. Maybe that doesn’t matter on a day trip, but when I’m out with clients who are stacking up 6 hard days in a row, efficiency matters to them by Day 3. Likewise when I’m guiding for 20 straight days, the skis that average things out the best and accomplish the most work for the least effort become really important to me.”
With Martin’s guidelines, I produced a chart summarizing the various offerings in this range (see below).
The table’s “d” is for sidecut depth, which I calculated using the standard formula of tip plus tail minus twice waist (i.e., the bigger the “d” number, the turnier the ski). The “r” is for turning radius (i.e., the smaller the “r” number, the turnier the ski), as stated (or sometimes not) by the manufacturer, which is a function of both sidecut depth and contact length. (Note that a ski can’t have a constant set of sidecut specs and turning radius throughout all the lengths — some models vary the sidecut, some vary the turning radius, and some even both.)
|Narrower AT skis with Volken-esque waist widths, i.e., 85 to 90mm.|
|Dynafit||Mustagh Ata Superlight||169||5||7.5||2480||116||86||109||53||18.2||$630|
|Dynastar||Altitrail Mythic Light||172||6||7.6||2938||122||90||110||52||21.0||€ 549|
|Stelvio FreeRide Light XL||171||5||15.9||2720||124||90||112||56||20.0||$999|
A few of the models are pushing the upper end of the lightweight characteristic, but most are pretty close to each other. The Dynafit Mustagh Ata Superlight had stood out until now as the lightest, but the Movement Logic-X specs almost look like a misprint.
And indeed those specs are incorrect, even outside of the +/- range Movement cites. But if anything I was relieved rather than disappointed: at 4 pounds 9.8 ounces for an 88mm-waisted 168cm, any lighter and I really would have doubted their descent abilities!
So how do they ski? As fellow guest blogger Lee Lau commented in his Dynafit Stoke review, a ski should be tested in its intended conditions (i.e., a backcountry powder ski in backcountry powder, not lift-served groomers). The problem with such a review basis for skis in this category is that they’re intended as a compromise across all conditions, and thus trying out the Logic-X in all conditions is going to take awhile.
Now for my previous experience with a ski in this all-rounder lightweight category, I found the Dynafit Mustagh Ata Superlight to be capable across the spectrum of horrible sastrugi, chalky windslab, steep refrozen nastiness, weird moguls — plus some nice corn. On my second outing with them. All in a single run. (Hurray for New Hampshire’s Mount Washington!)
I doubt I will be so “lucky” with test conditions for the Logic-X, but so far I’ve skied them on good firm snow, soft yet fairly consolidated snow, nasty ice, and even nastier chunky refrozenness. Yes, on my very first run with them. The Logic-X definitely performs well on anything firm. For softer snow impressions, stay tuned.
Otherwise, some minor quibbles for a design obviously appealing to ski mountaineering applications are the lack of a hole in the tip (for sled construction) and a somewhat upturned tail (thereby hindering anchor applications). I’m also wondering if the base doesn’t hold wax all that well, although this might be the new skins stripping off wax more quickly, but something about the base just always seems “dry” almost immediately after hot waxing. And the camber is traditional, with no tip rocker or early rise or whatever you want to call it. Whether the new trend in tip camber will trickle down to become ubiquitous in skis with these dimensions is of course entirely speculative, but I did notice that K2 has tweaked the tip of its Wayback entry in this category for this season.
Rounding out the X-Series line, the even lighter Random-X has dimensions that compete with the Dynafit Broad Peak and my beloved Trab Duo Sint Aero. The Fish rando race model isn’t any lighter than its competition, but with my 162cm pair weighing in at only 3 pounds 1.6 ounces, any lighter and it might just float away. (More on that later this season once I mount them up for my DyNA boots.)
For purchase in the United States, Movement is sold direct from the distributor, contact via their website.
September 2011 Update: For the 2011-12 season, Movement skis will be distributed by the La Sportiva North America distributor, but with an emphasis on the alpine downhill line-up targeted toward alpine downhill ski shops (while La Sportiva’s own ski line-up will be targeted toward backcountry ski shops).
(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)