Dog Fight — New, Old Dynafit Manaslu Skis Gnash Their Teeth

Post by blogger | April 11, 2011      

Ever seen a yellow lab and a pitbull in a dog fight? No? Neither have I. But when I gave the new 2011/2012 Dynafit Manaslu a good go this weekend, and tried to compare it to the original ‘Slu, I did feel like a gnarly dawg was trying to beat up on the family cuddle puppy. Only unlike the dubious survival of a pacifist in a pitbull attack, being a pacifist in this case still worked.

Dynafit has a dog in this fight.

Dynafit has a dog in this fight. Actually, three (two on the feet and a Lou). Official WildSnow Magazine ski test this weekend involved everything from fresh backcountry powder to hardened suncrust. Reality. Click to enlarge.

April backcountry skiing is about taking what you get. Could be powder as fluffy as chalk flying off Chris Sharma’s hands when he nails his latest monkey hang. Could be hardpan suncrust that shakes your knees like standing on top of the space shuttle during takeoff. Both, perfect for ski testing.

This weekend Lisa and I headed up to the Ragged Mountains (western Colorado) for some April mystery swag, otherwise known as “variable conditions” backcountry skiing. Gracing the bed of the Silverado, a prominently displayed pair of new version Manaslus turned heads on the way out of town. I think I even saw someone snapping photos.

The labrador cuddle pet and the pit bull.

Original Manaslu at top, new at bottom. The labrador cuddle pet and the pit bull? Sort of.

About that yellow labrador. Yes, the original model Manaslu is an ideal plank for human powered powder skiing. Beyond, with freshly sharpened edges the original Manaslu has enough teeth to get you down something steep and icy. But like your detuned family canine, the Manaslu teeth are more suitable for gumming a chew tow (or retrieving a dead duck without shredding it) than getting enough bite to win a battle. More, if your edges are blunt with age, you’d better be feeding those original model Manaslus ground beef rather than steak — hold the bone, please. Add to that the somewhat rearward Manaslu binding mount position, and you got something most of us agree was fun in powder, but less than ideal as a quiver of one for backcountry skiing.

Dynafit Manaslu for backcountry skiing.

Your friendly reviewer riding with the new dogs -- 2011-12 Dynafit Manaslu, 178 cm.

So what kind of breeding made the original Manaslu such a pick of the litter for human powered fluff laps? Two things: Optimal width (95 mm underfoot) for good uphill ergonomics but enough surface area to ski like a modern mid-fat, and a stunning lack of mass (51.5 ounces for a 178 cm plank, new model virtually the same weight, see our weight comparos).

The ski’s width is a result of Dynafit’s ski designers understanding ski alpinism from a European perspective, meaning the arcane and secret knowledge that to enjoy ski touring you don’t need to haul around a pair of living room recliner chairs on your feet. The weight? Easy. Eliminate the mounting reinforcement area by providing screw inserts made of lightweight nylon, build the ski with a partially foam core, and laminate with minimal resin.

All good. But to make doubly sure the original Manaslu was a forgiving ride the binding/boot position was chosen somewhat rearward. Combine that with less running surface in the rear due to turned up tail, and these skis had a noticeable amount of tip out there in front of you. If you wanted a bit more pit bull and a little less cuddle you could use the forward position the inserts allowed. But even the forward position was a bit aft compared to where instinct and experience would tend to place it for backcountry skiing. I’ve experimented extensively with both positions. I like the forward one, but kept going back to the rearward. In truth, the best for me probably would be halfway between the two, and certainly no more forward than the front position.

Dynafit Manaslu binding position.

Dynafit Manaslu binding position. New version at top. Both bindings mounted in rearward position provided by inserts in ski. 1.5 cm difference is significant, noticeable while skiing.

The new Manaslu tries to be more the animal you say “sick” to and less the one you’d use as a foot warmer. Perhaps most effectively and least detrimental to all around performance, Dynafit added what’s said to be a layer of carbon fibers to the build, the idea being more bite on hardpack, and added beef so a farther forward mount position wouldn’t overpower the ski. I tested the new model Manaslu on steep frozen suncrust, and can confidently say it does have more edgehold than the older version. Does it have enough hardpack performance to be the dog that hunts as well as cuddles? Nope, not in my opinion. A ski this light, without damping, is simply not going to ski the firm stuff smoothly at speed. In other words, walk the dog, don’t run it, and you’ll have a good day. But since it’s important let me state again that the new ‘Slu is going to be much less terrifying in situations such as getting down a steep icy mountainside at night, with a battery failed headlamp. Don’t ask me how I know.

Thus, the new Manaslu is still a good machine for everything from breakable crust to powder — perhaps even better if you want a ski that gives a bit more back and is less of a couch you sink into and tweak your back getting out of. But what about that new mount position? Okay, as stated above, compare between same positions and new model is about 1.5 centimeters forward of old. Compensate by moving the old to the forward, and old is still about a centimeter back from as far back as you can mount the new ‘Slu.

Ski the new Manaslu with the new rearward (but still 1.5 centimeters forward from old) mounting position, and you can feel the difference. Much less of a couch ride in the powder, and the tip engages more readily on the hardpack — sometimes a bit too readily. Indeed, I found myself immediately thinking that if these demos were mine, I’d be aggressively detuning the tip edges to prevent hooking — and even doing this to lessen engagement in denser powder and crud. By “aggressively detuning” I mean taking a grinder to the non running surface tip edges and rounding them, as well as stoning out the edge a few centimeters down into the running surface. In the pow, I felt that big easy sweet spot of the older Manaslu was reduced to a region somewhere between the rigid rear cuff of my TLT5s to somewhere about half way to full boot front engagement, while with the old ‘Slu dogs I can completely collapse the boot forward and still see those tips riding high and proud up ahead. Are these negatives or positives? Are there times for agro dogs and times for cuddly human companions?

Yes, the new Manaslu is more of a performance plank. Is it a pit bull? Not quite. More edgehold yields better versatility. Forward mounting position yields a lively yet more demanding feel. Yet for some skiers that forward mount might be a bit much, especially if you’re simply looking for the most forgiving ski possible, with little care about icy descents in the dark or how tight you can make powder turns. What is more, take a skier with smaller feet and associated smaller boot sole length, stick him in even the rearward insert forced mount position on the new model, and you could definitely end up too far forward. Uh huh, the deep dark secret disadvantage of inserts — they forego using a boot center mark lined up with a ski mounting mark, which compensates nicely for different boot lengths.

Just as with the older model, this is most definitely not a hardpack ski. Serviceable, yes. Survivable, yes. But just like that pit bull, the new model’s teeth are sharp and the dog tends to shake its victim without letting go (or, as my obfuscated metaphor is trying to communicate, not a damp ski that makes smooth hardpack turns). Conversely, the old model is a fuzzy yellow labrador that will cuddle on the couch as she always has, but has dull teeth. Can the new model be more a lab and less a bulldog? Sure. Use the rearward mounting position and detune the tip. Also, if skiing longer lengths using insert dictated mount position, you’ll want to have average sized feet so you don’t end up too far forward. (Which begs the question, can the new model be mounted without using the inserts, to tune mount position? Not really, as space between the inserts is minimal, and if you use the rear pair of toe unit inserts for the front pair of binding screws, you end up too far back for any foot size or performance need.)

Conclusion: New model Manaslu is more versatile, but still a quiver ski for backcountry skiing. Would I travel with it? For unknown conditions or springtime ski mountaineering, I’d prefer something that was more a compromise between hard snow and soft. On the other hand, I’d still call this an ideal hound for the human powered powder hunter. So if my destination was a softer snow region or season, sure I’d travel with the new Manaslu. The older model was a cuddly pacifist labrador. The new model has a bit of pit bull DNA mixed in. Both work.

(Note, this is not a rockered ski by our definition, though Dynafit word is that they use a “ski touring specific rockered tip,” which simply means a nice long slow-rise tip. I’ve always felt this type of tip is a terrific way to build a powder ski that has some of the performance advantage of a true rockered ski, while still the quick engagement and liveliness of non-rockered edges. This type of construction still works with the new model Manaslu, though with the forward mount position I found myself wondering if a bit of true rocker just behind the tip would have lengthened the sweet spot.)

Previous Manaslu backcountry skiing review.

Shop for Dynafit Manaslu Ski


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66 Responses to “Dog Fight — New, Old Dynafit Manaslu Skis Gnash Their Teeth”

  1. Lee Lau April 11th, 2011 11:07 am

    Lou – that’s good to know the differences. I thought the old Manaslu was a dog… period. For me anyhow, the metaphors worked

  2. Lou April 11th, 2011 11:21 am

    LOL, I didn’t intend for it to be taken that way, but each to his own.

  3. MM April 11th, 2011 11:23 am

    Years ago I had three pairs of alpine skis mounted with ESS VAR bindings. You could easily change them to center, back or forward. After playing with that gimmick I decided center was the only place for me, in all conditions. I really hated being back of center, it turned all skis into dogs.

  4. Lou April 11th, 2011 11:44 am

    Nowdays, lots of alpine bindings will have for-aft adjustment in both toe and heel units so you can keep your boot where you want it no matter your BSL. Those types of bindings are the ticket for ski demos and testing if you don’t have an average foot. Put a guy with a short boot on a longer Dynafit ski with inserts and Dynafit bindings, and he’s going to automatically be forward of the sweet spot and thus getting a read on the ski that might be a bit off, though general impressions would still apply as a good skier can adjust somewhat to boot position on ski.

  5. Jim April 11th, 2011 2:33 pm

    Dynafit has got to get rid of the black snow sticking/melting top skin and get something like K2’s that shed the snow. What’s the use of a lightweight ski with 3 pounds of snow stuck to the top. I love the ski, but the sticking snow really irks me on the up in almost every kind of snow. My daughters K2’s don’t stick on top, neither do my wife’s BD’s. I love the ski for pow, but its a killer on the hard at any speed at all.

  6. Lou April 11th, 2011 3:09 pm

    Jim, I am with you 110%. Out this weekend, Lisa’s K2 Gotbacks, even with dark top, shed snow much better. I kept scraping ice of the black Manaslus while walking. If the Gotbacks were white, they would be amazing at resiting icing on top — and the Manaslus would be much better as well.

    What’s really bothering me about the black skis is they get so warm that it even exacerbates icing on the bottoms!

    The new women’s Manaslu is white, and I plan on rocking them at some point since I’m a man (grin). Also, I’m definitely going to paint one ski white as a comparo test. Stay tuned.

  7. mc April 11th, 2011 5:09 pm

    I have never warmed up to my original Manaslu’s for the skiing part of my day and have been replaced with Rossi S7’s until I can get my hands on the DPS 112’s. I know, not exactly apples to apples.

  8. SteveG April 11th, 2011 6:39 pm

    Snow on the Manaslu tops like thick icing on a cake. Found that out on my last BC trip. What’s the use of having a Comfort/Manaslu/Megaride set up if you’re toting what came out of the skin track up with you. Next year I’ll try covering the top sheet with white vinyl shelf paper as a test.

  9. Glenn Sliva April 11th, 2011 9:02 pm

    Stokes. Now do you want to hear my problems?

  10. Lee Lau April 11th, 2011 9:10 pm

    Stokes cake up with snow worse then my roof after a 100cm dump! I hear your pain

  11. See April 11th, 2011 10:08 pm

    I would be really interested in learning how, exactly, inserts save weight, and if simply having competent techs doing the mounting wouldn’t yield equally good results without having to resort to inserts.

    Perhaps when the old insert skis wear out, you (Lou) could treat us to some cutaway views of the actual construction, with an explanation of how the insert ties the binding to both deck and base laminates of a light density core ski, or whatever?

    Also, does the fore/aft mounting position issue have anything to do with an early rise ski having a longer apparent tip when in powder than when on firm snow?



  12. Peter April 12th, 2011 12:05 am

    Doesn’t anyone do a teflon or silicone spray that could be applied to the top of skis to stop the snow sticking to them? I have Stokes and yes, for sure, the snow caked up on them even in -10C temperatures.

  13. Lou April 12th, 2011 6:45 am

    See, the operative word is “competent.” With the ever increasing instance of home mounting, as well as hand skills going the way of the dinosaur, I’m certain that eventually all skis will have some sort of factory installed binding mount system that eliminates craft work. What’s more, attaching a binding to a $1,000+ high tech composite ski with wood screws is archaic, if not criminal.

  14. Lou April 12th, 2011 6:52 am

    Peter, water ice is an amazing adhesive, the key is to keep it from forming in the first place, hence the need for light colored skis.

    I’ll add that I’ve thought a lot about this issue and it’s been a mystery to me why European ski alpinists would constantly design dark colored skis that build ice on top. My only theory is that when you’re in a place where a lot of people ski tour, you don’t break trail that often, so the occasional bout with ice on top of skis is trumped by how they look leaning against the hut while you’re having a beer. In western US and Canada, we tend to end up more often on trails that we’re breaking through powder, or else have not been beat down and thus we get snow on top of skis quite frequently.

    I’m thinking paint is the key. There are better things to look at than skis while having a beer.

  15. Randonnee April 12th, 2011 7:21 am

    The Manaslu has been an excellent tool-*lightweight* and *easy* turning with 3-buckle boots. Such a pleasure to ski tour. When I want to ski hard, I use my piste skis for hard-carving.

    It is what it is, a light and fun touring ski.My skis for hard-charging are not as fun for walking around the mountains. The Manaslu is a delight to tour and to make turns in soft snow. I prefer the Manaslu / Zzero 3 over the Stoke/ Zzero 4 for ski touring,.

    I am pondering whether i will want the new Manaslu…Well, being a boy with many toys, yeah, I probably will have the new Manaslu!

  16. Ben W April 12th, 2011 8:46 am

    I agree with Lee about the Manaslu being a dog. And a noodle. They’re great in dry, untracked powder. So is every other ski. But they’re gutless everywhere else. Sold mine after a couple days. For deep powder I’ll usually choose my skis with a 105 or 120 waist, but my new lightweight ski of choice the is Trab Stelvio light XL. Mounted with Speeds they weigh less than my Manaslus did, and they don’t rattle on ice or get pushed around in slop nearly as much. They certainly have a speed limit, but I don’t feel like I’ve borrowed my fiancee’s 153 Choguri’s either.

    Oh, and the anti-spam quiz doesn’t know that I’ll be skiing on corn this week.

  17. Lou April 12th, 2011 8:57 am

    Sorry about the spam quiz, anything else a problem we can help you with this morning?

  18. Ben W April 12th, 2011 10:21 am

    Did I ruffle a feather? That certainly wasn’t my intent, Lou, as you’re one of my ski heroes. Perhaps too much time on TGR has colored my tone. You have my apology.

  19. Lou April 12th, 2011 10:51 am

    He he, the TGR voice invades! No worries, you just sounded like something was in a bunch (grin) and the response flew from my fingers like the espresso flows…

  20. Lou April 12th, 2011 10:54 am

    I’ve been doing some detailed binding analysis this morning, and realized that if your binding has ramp angle as Dynafits do, the shorter your boot, the more angle you get. Thus, short feet combined with the fixed positioning of inserts could result in not only the foot being mounted a bit forward on the ski, but that position being exacerbated by extra ramp angle…

  21. AndyC April 12th, 2011 10:06 pm

    Luv my 187 Manaslus. Liked them even more when I had to move the rear binding forward one notch from my MP29 Zzeros to fit my MP29 TLT5s; felt more centered on the ski. I love the way they stay above the snow while skinning (tip rising up) and the way they bring my 230 lbs up out of the deep snow, wet or dry. They bust crud and crust better than my 184 cm Atomic REX.

    Yes, they collect snow on top, so do my white and light blue Karhu Guides, and every other ski I’ve had. I use Armor-all to keep the snow shedding. Also found Rain-X works too. Now I’m going to try Plexus plastic cleaner, protectant, and polish. I use it on my motorcycle helmet face shield. It actually fills in small scratches and is more slippery than either Armor-all or Rain-X and seems to be long lasting even with rain head on at 60 mph. I’m hoping it might help snow build up on the lowest heel rest–that’s my biggest complaint.

  22. BJØRNAR JULIUSSEN April 13th, 2011 5:41 am

    Ski: Black Diamond Kilowatt 123-95-111

    Binding: Dynafit TLT vertical ST

    Shoe : Dynafit ZZERO4

    can anyone help me with that?

  23. BJØRNAR JULIUSSEN April 13th, 2011 5:42 am

    can anyone help me with that?

  24. Lou April 13th, 2011 6:22 am

    Um, I don’t think we understand the question…

  25. Sean April 13th, 2011 9:01 am


    I have an older pair of Manaslus, and do love them, but have experienced the frozen snow downside. I am looking for something with a similar profile and weight but with better edgehold. As you said:
    “For unknown conditions or springtime ski mountaineering, I’d prefer something that was more a compromise between hard snow and soft.”

    What would you recommend?

  26. Jonathan Shefftz April 13th, 2011 9:09 am

    Granted I’ve used my 169cm Manaslu setup only for soft snow, so I have no idea how versatile they are (or are not), but I’ve found them absolutely perfect for 145lb me. (I used for fore set of holes for both toe & heel — barely fits for a 287mm bsl.)

  27. stephen April 15th, 2011 11:17 am

    ^ Agreed. I’m the same weight and ski size but bigger feet, so no adjustment for position possible. I don’t think they’re really all *that* bad on firmer snow. As long as the edges are sharp, the ice isn’t too glass-like and you’re not trying to go fast on piste they’re okay. That said I would use something else for firm snow, given the choice. And IMHO skiing the Manaslus on firm snow is much less frustrating than skiing narrow, too-stiff-at-the-tip skis in soft snow. One can always go a bit slower if need be…

  28. Njord April 16th, 2011 4:45 pm

    I’ve had pretty good luck with using spray silicon on my skis to keep the snow from sticking to the top sheets. The only issue is that it does not seem to last long… I’ve got to reapply it everytime I go out.

  29. Kirk Turner September 30th, 2011 11:55 am

    Hey Lou, do you know if the New Manaslus hole pattering will accept the TLT Speed radicals that also just came out? I know the new toe pieces forward hole set is 6mm forward, but I haven’t heard a good description as to weather the old st pattern is comparable with the new skis and new bindings and vice versa?

  30. Matt October 23rd, 2011 9:38 pm

    From what I’ve read, the Radicals would be compatible with the Manaslu inserts, but I’d love for a Dynafit expert to confirm that. My girlfriend is interested in the women’s Manaslu. Would use them with the Radical STs. She wears a 27.5 Zzero and I think the BSL is 309. I was intrigued by Lou’s discussion about mounting points and how a guy having smaller than average feet might end up in an awkward position on the ski. What about having a longer than average foot (for a woman) on the 169cm women’s ski?

    (Funny how people joke about women’s gear being about the looks, but here the men’s ski gets the non-function color and the women’s ski gets the more functional white color!)

  31. stephen October 23rd, 2011 10:52 pm

    I wouldn’t worry too much; my “old” Manaslus are 169cm and I’m using these with 28.0 Scarpa F3s. There was only one option for binding location but the skis work extremely well, nonetheless. I doubt there’ll be a problem unless you have preconceived ideas that won’t agree with what is mandated by the inserts.

  32. Matt October 24th, 2011 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the input Stephen. Part of the good of being a noob at BC skiing is I don’t have any preconceived notions! Just trying to make a reasonable decision.

  33. Kerry November 8th, 2011 5:13 pm

    Other than topsheet, are there differences between the woman’s 178 ‘Slu and the men’s 178 ‘Slu? I see 20-grams difference in weight on Dynafit tech data; could that just be in the topsheet? Ever ski the womans?
    I’ve used the women’s bathroom a few times and it didn’t cause any lifestyle altering change. Are the guys going to simply ask, “Hey, how did you get a white pair?”
    More seriously, I’m 6’, 168-lbs, mondo 30, will the 178 ‘Slu feel as short as my 170 7Summits?

  34. Dimi November 17th, 2011 8:26 am

    this stuff is brand new and i’m going to do my best to source some ASAP, should be a million time better than anything on the market just now. tons of applications I can hardly wait!

  35. Randy December 1st, 2011 1:23 pm

    What are your favorite skis for springtime ski mountineering?

  36. Randy December 13th, 2011 2:09 pm

    what would you use for spring ski mountaineering.

  37. Lou December 13th, 2011 2:18 pm

    I have few favorites as my job is to ski a lot of different skis and life is short. But I tend to use my short k2 Waybacks for spring ski mountaineering. They ski fine and are very light. If I know I’ll be out all day and the snow isn’t totally consolidated, I bring a fatter/longer ski sometimes. Lou

  38. Phil December 13th, 2011 7:00 pm


    Hmmmm. Where would we get a download of ‘this ski is better than this ski for [put in your snow description] for the following reasons’?

    I realize that ski function is very subjective and each skier uses the tool differently in different conditions but the tidbits of subjective evaluations do eventually paint a picture. But I would like a head-to-head no holds barred shoot out.

    My Manaslu skis [2010] with TLTs are my quiver. Probably for sometime to come. Having said that if I can identify a successor to the throne which will increase my learning curve and skills, then I will jump on it. Mine is all about BC fun; not accomplishments but only the production of big ass grins.

    Soooooo, if there is a place for unmitigated comparisons and productive name calling that describes and contrasts BC skis performance please point me that way.

    I do learn from this forum, thanks.


  39. Tyler Beck January 25th, 2012 10:47 am

    Hey Lou,

    I need some comforting. I purchased the Manaslu last year, installed in the standard holes and got a spinner. Tried basic gorilla glue but still spun. Put them in the other holes that only worked for my larger shell size. Skied them 5-6 times and they were fun.

    Called Dynafit and they provided excellent customer service. They sent me new skis, in fact the newer version of the Manaslu. Dynafit Rocks!

    I guess I have let the internet get to me with all the reviews here in there dumping on the inserts and people knowing someone that pulled out.

    So here is the question… sell the skis while they are new? Or, just mount them up and enjoy them. Also, a few techs that I spoke to said they had spinners and just dropped in a super heavy duty two part epoxy. If you were looking for a burly dynafit mount would you consider somthing like that? Which epoxy?

  40. Lou January 25th, 2012 10:55 am

    Jeez, don’t let the internet get to you! Carpe skium!

    And if you do get a spinner, deal with it then, no need for theory.

    (Speaking of spinners, they’re frequently caused by over zealous torquing of screws, or else the screw “double threading” in the plastic binding base plate and being aggressively rotated by a power driver to try and overcome that.)


  41. Tyler Beck January 25th, 2012 10:58 am

    Any epoxies that you like?

  42. CF February 6th, 2012 6:17 pm

    Does the womens 2011/2012 ski have the same mounting point as the 2010/2011 mens ski? I understand the mounting point was farther back on the mens 2010/2011 version vs. the mens 2011/2012 version.


  43. Lou February 6th, 2012 6:37 pm

    Tyler, I just use plastic enabled epoxy from the hardware store. I just mounted some new Manaslus, and we just used a tiny dab of Gorilla Glue to seal the holes, epoxy would have been overkill. If you do use epoxy in good inserts that are not spinners, be sure to heat screws while removing so you don’t create a spinner. Lou

  44. Lou February 6th, 2012 6:38 pm

    CF, true about the men’s, I don’t know what the deal is with the women’s model, call Dynafit NA and ask, or perhaps someone else can chime in here. Lou

  45. Kerry February 23rd, 2012 7:14 pm

    Just skied the 14th day on the new ‘Slu. I can’t compare with the old version, but will say I really like this ski for pow & manky conditions. I am actually looking forward to seeing some breakable crust this year to see how they perform there. (We’ve been lucky in NM this year!)
    I mounted the TLT Speed Radical on them and had to drill a pair of holes forward of the toe inserts to accomodate my mondo 30 ZZeros due to the new hole pattern on the Radical binding. My other boot is a TLT-5 P, which has a 9-mm shorter sole size than the same mondo size ZZero. I could have mounted the bindings by only using the inserts, if I’d limited myself to using only the TLT-5 boot.
    I really like how smoothly this ski loads…as you bend it, the stiffness increases smoothly. It also has decent dampning when skiing rough chopped-up pow. No chatter at speed on packed/groomed surface (I’m no speed racer though). I had concerns over whether the ski was too big to drive with the superlight TLT-5 P–no problem!

  46. Scott February 25th, 2012 12:33 am

    I am in the market for some new AT skis, and I like what I’m hearing about these.

    I’m a pretty small dude: 125 lbs, 5’6″, so it seems like the 169 cm would be perfect for me. Any suggestions?

    Also, I’ve got Dynafit Titan Ultralight TF-X boots, size 26, and the new La Sportiva RT Tech bindings. Will these bindings be compatible with the insert positions? (Sorry, I haven’t done my research yet)

  47. Jon Moceri February 25th, 2012 3:02 pm


    I’m 5′-5″ and 145lbs. Ok, I need to lose a few pounds.

    My current BC setup is the DPS 112 Wailer RP carbon at 168cm, with the ATK RT (La Sportiva) binding and drive them with Dynafit TLT5 Mountain boots.

    I’ve been super happy with the setup. Easy uphill, fantastic downhill performance especially in powder snow.

    Your LaSportiva binding toe has the old dynafit toe mounting pattern and would work in older Manaslu ski mounting inserts. However, the heel pattern is entirely different. I have matched up my binding heel with an original Manaslu binding pattern and it does NOT match up. However, you could mount them with care by drilling new holes.

    But the new Manaslu’s have a new mounting pattern to fit the new Dynafit bindings and so neither the LaSportiva toe or heel would fit. You just have to custom drill the skis to accept the LaSportiva bindings.

    I mounted ATK RT bindings with quiver killer inserts in my DPS skis and haven’t had any problems.


  48. Alan Millar February 28th, 2012 6:17 pm

    My wife just got a used pair of 169 Manaslus. She is 5’6 155- (don’t tell her I put that out there) Suggestion on which set of insert holes to use? I assume rearward setting but not totally sure. Intermediate skier 24.0 mondo boot size.

  49. trevor Jones April 12th, 2012 7:11 pm

    Yep, tried out the old for the first day in a early otober or “early april” chilean day. Had been great powder for a month but the whole mountain was washed the day before and I was humbled as spanish ski team girls happily wized by… theses are not concrete jungle sticks.. but in later year corn they were as advertized easily skied with any style ….. thanks for the review.

  50. Jim Milstein October 5th, 2013 8:40 pm

    Snow & Ice on Top Sheet

    Just got a pair of Manaslus cheap from REI, which are apparently being discontinued. I expect they will serve well as backcountry skis, but I am concerned by the remarks many have made about the top sheet icing. I resent snow hitching a ride while I’m climbing!

    Today, I studied the spray paint cans at the local hardware store and bought gray primer (suitable for plastic), glossy chrome paint (not exterior), and clear glossy exterior top coat. I’m going to practice on an old ski from my museum. If the results are good, I’ll “chrome-plate” the new Manaslus. It is sad, since the graphics, so dark, are good-looking. I’m hoping “chrome” skis will be easier to find in the snow than white skis. They should resist solar heating at least as well as white skis.

    Next step will be to ski on them. If they shed snow and ice, great! Nothing more to be done. If they don’t, then some medicine (topical) will be applied as a hydrophobic coating. There are a number of new products available calling themselves super-hydrophobic, and they feature nano-particles. Not all the problems have been worked out for these. The problems include high price, short life, and lack of optical clarity (i.e., milkiness). Surely something will work. Maybe just paraffin.

    Will report back. (Need snow.)

  51. Jim adds: October 6th, 2013 1:04 pm

    I mentioned yesterday my intent to test reflective paint on skis to reduce icing and snow load. I’m attaching a photo showing what the “polished chrome” paint looks like on a ski. There is a gray plastic primer coat, the chrome coat, and a clear glossy top coat on the test ski. Rather than polished chrome, the finish looks like brushed stainless steel. One photo shows the ski without featuring much sun reflection. The other shows big glare from the sun. It’s not clear to me whether this paint is better than bright white at resisting solar heating or whether it would be easier to find when buried in snow.

    I went out with a pointing infra-red thermometer and checked the temperature of the ski on its original surface and the newly painted surface. The ski is supported horizontally on a saw horse. The portion with the Tua Mito graphics averaged 30ºF warmer than the metallic paint portion — mid sixties versus mid nineties. The air temperature is 60ºF. This is encouraging. Up in the high country, with the ski chilled from below, its top surface should remain below freezing most of the time. Hydrophobic treatment may be overkill.

    I’m thinking that painting the ski sidewalls with a bright florescent color may ease the lost-in-snow problem.

    Ski paint

  52. Lou October 6th, 2013 1:21 pm

    Jim, strong work!

  53. Jim adds October 11th, 2013 12:03 pm

    I gave a pair of 145 cm Altai Hoks the metal paint treatment for a field test of the tactic that reducing solar heating on the top of the skis will reduce or eliminate ice and snow buildup. Here included is a photo of the test setup. I installed some QuiverKiller inserts to allow direct mounting of Salomon SNS bindings in a location that optimizes skiability (for me, anyway), which is about three inches back of where Altai puts the boot with their inserts. This ski setup is best for knocking around in the brushy foothills of the San Juan Mountains where I live. The Hoks have builtin skins. Total weight of skis, bindings, and boots, for both feet, is 10.4 lb. Similar to snowshoes, but less pedestrian.

    If the experiment is successful, I will cover the dark Dynafit Manaslu graphics with this same metallic treatment for non-icing adventures in the high country.

    Metal paint test

  54. Scott October 11th, 2013 12:13 pm

    I’m the same Scott as above (February 25th, 2012 12:33 am). Ended up going with the women’s 169cm Manaslus. The women’s version is lighter and more flexy (works for my tiny frame), with a white topsheet – so I haven’t experienced any icing.

    I love these skis. I’ve used ’em in New Hampshire’s White Mountains (icy ski trails) and Utah’s Wasatch range, where they excelled going up and floated on the pow going down.

  55. Lou Dawson October 11th, 2013 12:25 pm

    Scott, thanks for getting back. I did the same thing. One of the skis in my quiver continues to be Manaslu, in the white, women’s version, mounted with lightweight old TLT bindings. When I’m doing a lot of vert in good Colorado powder, they are still a go-to. Long live the Manaslu!

  56. Phil Buttolph October 11th, 2013 3:49 pm

    Lou…yes I also love my older Manaslus but have been toying with the idea of buying a pair of Cham HM 97….perhaps apples and oranges, but what would be the differences in performance? Also is sharpening the edges on the Cham HM 97 difficult…given shape. Thanks.

  57. Lou Dawson October 12th, 2013 7:27 am

    Jim, thanks for your continued work on the ski icing problem. Nearly everyone I’ve ever spoken with who’s aware of this and has experience with different skis has said that lighter colored skis are better, and white is best. But of course most had never gone metallic! Your idea of the colored sidewalls is a good one, to compensate for the less visible ski.

    Another solution I’ve seen is to paint with a light grey. Stays much cooler than black and dark, yet is a bit more visible in the snow.

    It is a continued disappointment that most ski makers don’t seem to even be aware of the snow/ice buildup problem, and even build skis with depressions in the top that fill up with puddles of water or ice.

    Frankly, I’m thinking when we score skis next year for our quiver, we might add an “icing” evaluation. Anything black or with depressions in the top would of course fail. The scores would go up from there (grin).


  58. Jim Milstein October 12th, 2013 8:53 pm

    I recall, Lou, that in the early days of Head and Hart skis, all were black, though they were mostly used for resort skiing. My little sister got a pair of Hart skis that were snow white. Those were the first “modern construction” skis I saw that were not black.

    But not all of those old Head skis were used for the lifts. I still have in my ski museum a pair of 6′ 9″ Head Standard Soft skis with Northland cable bindings that I used to try to tour with in Molitor laced boots. Pathetic, in retrospect. Top sheet icing was the least of the problems.

  59. Jim adds November 1st, 2013 7:20 am

    I went out today with the metallic painted Altai Hoks to Wolf Creek Pass and skied, very carefully, in the trees on north-facing slopes. The snow cover was thin, but the quality was good. Anyway, did the reflective metallic paint job solve the snow accumulation problem? Not that I could tell. One ski was treated with Rain-X. Can you tell which?


  60. Jim Milstein November 15th, 2013 11:24 am

    Ok, so metallic paint may not have solved the top deck snow accumulation problem.

    I now remember an encounter with Paul Ramer many years ago in Boulder. I had a pair of his telescoping poles with the claw-like “terminator” baskets. They retained great gobs of snow on their undersides. Paul said this problem is easily fixed by spraying with a dry Teflon product, which he also said was pretty much permanent. It worked with that single application for the year or so that I continued using those poles and baskets. (Actually, they were a bad idea.)

    Could a dry Teflon spray work similarly on skis? A little poking around on the Web turned up Dupont Teflon Non-Stick Dry-Film Lubricant, which Midway Auto Supply will deliver to your door for $10.56.

    Done. Storms are coming in today and tomorrow. Sunday, I field test the hypothesis that sprayed Teflon can keep snow from sticking to the tops of skis.

    Stay tuned!

    By the way, I am newly converted from telemark to AT and have been out on the AT equipped Manaslus several times this season. It feels like cheating, both uphill and down.

  61. Jim Milstein November 18th, 2013 7:36 pm

    Well, dry teflon spray is not a miracle cure for snow sticking to the tops of skis. At least, it did no harm.

    I was skiing the Lobo region above Wolf Creek Pass yesterday and today. Some snow was sticking early in the day, but less so later on. Not a big problem.

    However, a scientist is not deterred by failure. We will try something else as soon as we think of something else. Or until we are deterred by boredom, which is not the same as failure.

  62. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2013 8:16 pm


    I skied a plank the other day that was part black and part a more reflective color. The black got all iced up. Easy tell.


  63. Wayne February 18th, 2015 10:16 am

    I’m going to try wd-40 on the top skins to prevent ice build up. I know I might hear environmental issue feedback but it will be such a small amount it won’t be an I’ll let you know how it goes.

  64. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2015 11:04 am

    Wayne, WD-40 is just light petroleum oil mixed with some kerosene and a tiny bit of silicon, it has almost zero lasting effect as a de-icer and can ruin your clothing and skins. Just use hard, cold temperature alpine wax rubbed on the ski tops, that’s as effective as anything, which is why it’s used by ski racers… I have found nothing else that is any better. Pure silicon does work as well, but only for a few minutes until it gets mechanically removed by the ice and snow going on and off the ski. Lou

  65. Al t November 17th, 2015 8:56 pm

    Hi lou- I just got some unmounted 178 manaslu skis. They do not have the binding inserts of earlier models. I will be using tlt 6 size 27 boots. I ski almost exclusively soft snow while touring in the Rockies along w some spring corn tours. Do u have any advice as to where I should mount these skis? Thanks al

  66. Mike December 21st, 2017 4:10 am

    Haven’t found any reliable reference for the new 2017 Manaslu 2.0, so I’m trying to post here.
    Does anyone has any feedback or review for the new Manaslu 2.0 ?
    How does it perform in terms of stiffness, on hardpack or wind packed snow ?
    Thank you

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