Black Diamond Kilowatt – Backcountry Ski Review

Post by blogger | December 19, 2006      

I got zapped by a pair of killowatts, and it hurt good. After a few days skiing on Black Diamond’s new wood core fattie backcountry ski, I’m convinced the Kilowatt would make a fine addition to any quiver.

Backcountry Skiing

I got zapped by a Kilowatt and it hurt good. (09/10 graphics shown above, early models had a red theme.)

Specifics: I didn’t get edgehold from the Kilowatt that a more dedicated hardpack ski provides, but after making sure the ski was tuned flat with recommended bevel, they had enough bite to dial up the fun meter. Overall feeling on the groom was a silky smooth forgiving sensation, like settling back in a recliner with a good book. Once in the chop and unbroken powder, I enjoyed the usual solid feel of a fat waisted ski, along with smooth and predictable transition between turns that’s a trademark of wood core skis. My 165 cm test skis were a bit short to iron out the bumpy stuff, so I got thrown around a bit, but the “shock” wasn’t as bad as stiffer foam core shortie would have done me. Comparatively, in soft snow I like this ski better than the Black Diamond Verdict and better than most of my other narrower planks. I like skis without twintip tail, so that’s a plus for me as well. In all, thumbs up!

Factory spec dimensions: 125/95/112 real world weight, one 165 cm ski (07/08 red model): 59.6 oz, 1692 grams.

Shop for Black Diamond skis here.


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137 Responses to “Black Diamond Kilowatt – Backcountry Ski Review”

  1. Mike December 19th, 2006 1:27 pm

    What kind of bindings did you try the Kilowatts with? I am thinking of mounting a pair with Dynafits…Any thoughts? I ski with a Laser boot. A good combo? Thanks for your thoughts and insights. Mike?

  2. Lou December 19th, 2006 2:31 pm

    I skied them with Freeride Plus, they would have been fine with Dyanfits. If I get a pair of my own I’ll mount ’em with Dynafits.

  3. Kevin December 19th, 2006 7:05 pm

    165 seems kinda short. How tall are you? Are you planning on trying the 175?

  4. Kevin December 19th, 2006 7:07 pm

    Sorry forgot to ask in the last post. What about them do you like better than the verdict? What size Verdict have you tried?

  5. Lou December 19th, 2006 7:45 pm

    Kevin, I’ll try the 175 eventually, but one of my missions is to use skis that are cheek height and that’s what the 165 is. With modern skis, that’s a totally adequate length for me if ski is well designed. They felt easier to turn than the Verdict, less skitish, smoother. Did not have as much snap as the Verdict. Overall they felt better on hardpack than Verdict, smoother.

  6. Mark Worley December 20th, 2006 6:21 am

    Cool “zap” graphic. Is that done with an applet? By the way, sounds like the Kilowatt is going to be a hit.

  7. Lou December 20th, 2006 8:32 am

    Graphic is just an animated GIF file with Photoshop motion blur. Fun.

  8. Erme Catino December 21st, 2006 6:38 am

    I have heard that the Verdicts wash out at the end of turns, did this ski do that? Comparative stiffness to an alpine or telemark ski other than the Verdict? Thinking of getting some with nx21.

  9. Mark February 5th, 2007 1:35 pm

    Lou or Mike:

    I’m thinking about picking up a pair of Kilowatts and I’d like to put a set of Dynafit bindings on them. Was happy to hear Lou’s advice to Mike but am wondering how this combination is actually skiing? Mike (or anyone else who has done this): Do you have any additional beta? Are the Kilowatts too much for those bindings?


  10. Lou February 5th, 2007 6:55 pm

    Mark, it’s more about what style skiing you want to do. Dynafits are not a wimpy binding and actually have a more solid boot/ski connection than any other touring binding. The only time I don’t recommend Dynafits is for doing super agressive skiing such as large cliff drops or ultra high speed, simply because the vertical release elasticity is a bit less than other bindings.

  11. Lisandro April 20th, 2007 6:38 am

    Hey Lou.
    Iam new on this, I am Argentinian and I ski in Las leñas, Portillo and Bariloche. Here is not developed Alpine touring or telemark ski yet. I always skied on resorts but I like to ski off-piste (las leñas is really great for that, lift acces to off-piste). My old Salomon Equipeaxe are not wide enough and I would like to buy a pair of skis and bindings and try alpine touring. I checked review and I though Verdict o kilowatt, maybe Havoc with a diamir freeride (fits my boots). I am climber also and I love Black Diamond gear.
    What do you recommend for me?????

  12. Lou April 20th, 2007 9:00 am

    Hi Lisandro, I’d go wide and try the Kilowatt!

  13. Lisandro June 1st, 2007 7:14 am

    Thanks Lou!!! I´ll try Kilowats…
    Wich size do you recomend me. I´m 1.80 mts tall and I weight 86 kg. Will they work well with explore bindings (maybe freeride)?????
    Thanks again…!!!

  14. Blas July 30th, 2007 8:37 am

    Im 1.91 height and riding for some time on a dynastar 4×4 but for carring around and walking AT are pretty heavy plus dont float really well on the snow we have around here (Chile). I also feel to big (185) Can you recomend buying the kilowatt with my actual bindings silveretta easy go, wich one would be best for me 175?


  15. Lou July 30th, 2007 8:48 am

    The 175 Kilowatt is a BIG ski, so I’d downsize if the focus is climbing and touring, but stick with the 175 if making turns is the focus.

    Blas, I’d try the 175, but it’s hard for me to recommend ski lengths when I’ve never skied with a person and seen their style. So don’t take my word for it.

    Lisandro, the Kilowatt will work fine with any binding, with your weight I’d consider the 175.

  16. Phil September 13th, 2007 7:52 pm

    Just found this post…I’m looking into a pair of kilowatts mounted with fritschi freerides. I’m coming back to alpine skiing from a several year telemark hiatus. I am 6ft and weigh ~185. I’ve been skiing BD havocs with a G3 for two years which I love for both parallel and tele turns. I picked up a pair of scarpa denalis on the cheap this fall and I’m wondering what you think of a 185 cm for me in the kilowatt?

  17. Lou September 14th, 2007 6:04 am

    Hi Phil, that would be a big ski but if you like to ski fairly fast and agro they would work great.

  18. brandon September 14th, 2007 11:48 pm

    I have heard great things about the Kilowatt, and this forum seems to confirm everything. I hav ebeen resort skiing for quite some time now, but am looking to make the move to AT. i will still most likely be resort skiing and slowly getting into the backcountry (my end goal is to be 50/50). I’m 140lbs and 5’8″, what size would you recommend? I know it’s hard to recommend length without seeing skiing style, but any info you had would be great. Thanks!

  19. Lou September 15th, 2007 7:06 am

    Bandon, if you’re not into big air or high speed, go shorter. Many people ski too long of a ski in this type of plank. I’d say the 165 cm would be perfect.

  20. Jordan September 24th, 2007 8:40 am

    What’s up Lou,
    Just picked up a pair of the kilo’s in the big 185’s, and have a pair of freeride plus’s sitting in a box here. Now we just need the snow to fly. I was down in the Wilson’s yesterday and it was snowing above 12000 ft it looked like….We gotta get back down there, whadya think?


  21. Jaime September 30th, 2007 9:32 pm

    just wondering if you have any comparisons to the joule (women’s ski) – I can’t seem to find much info other than it is a bit softer. I am a fairly aggressive skier….so sometimes a bit leery of women specific skis. Do you think a 165cm Kilowatt would work for a 110 lb girl? Or is the Joule built for girls that really want to ski?

  22. Lou October 1st, 2007 8:08 am

    Jaime, if men’s skis have worked fine for you in the past, I’d just go with the Kilowatt, the two skis are very similar though the Joule is said to be slightly softer. We’ve used them both but in different lengths so tough to make a side-by-side comparo…

  23. ladski October 12th, 2007 7:24 pm

    hi lou. i see that you have tested kilowatts well. can u please help me decide what ski to get ? I know it is gonna be either kilowatt or joule. I am 32 years old female, 5’3 (162cm) and 140 pound (62kg). because I am havier then normal girls my height (heheh) I am thinking about kilowatts because they are stiffer and I am also quite aggresive skier – is there any logic in what I am thinking? I also am not sure about length. So far I skied hagans, mid fats 163cm and i always had feeling they were a bit long for me. think 155 kilowatts would be good for me? thanks for any advice, i appreciate it. just to be complete- i ski alaskan backcountry, no big drops or jumps though, mostly glaciers some tree skiing. peace!!!

  24. Lou October 12th, 2007 7:39 pm

    ladski, go for the Killowatt, it’s probably perfect for you!

  25. ladski October 12th, 2007 9:48 pm

    thanks lou, i take it you meant 155s ? i don’t think i wanna go longer than that, i was just looking for some kind of insight as i never had such short skis. happy skiing! peace.

  26. Lou October 13th, 2007 7:08 am

    Yeah, I’d go for the 155s

  27. Lisandro October 22nd, 2007 12:55 pm

    Thanks lou for the advice.
    About the binding a found one diamir explore in a sale, but they are XL. My boots sole says 328 mm and the bindings are 325-365.
    What do you think…???

  28. Marion VARNER October 27th, 2007 10:21 am

    Hi Lisandro,
    Using Diamir freeride for many years, I have been told to choose the shorter one for the lenght of my sole. Maybe the “L” size will be long enough. It will reduce the overhanging of the binding. You should check on the instructions or on Fritschi website. Good slopes.

  29. Lou October 27th, 2007 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the good advice Marion, it is indeed important to use the shortest Diamir possible with your boot size.

  30. Marion VARNER November 6th, 2007 2:40 am

    Hi Lisandro,
    After having check with Diamir, I can confirm that the Medium size will be the best for your sole length.
    Small : 245-305 mm
    Medium : 280-335 mm
    Large : 330-370 mm
    Good slopes.

  31. Molly November 13th, 2007 8:59 pm

    Hi Lou, you seem to be giving great advice, and I like everything you have said so far…I just can’t seem to make up my mind for would work best for me. I am an intermediate skier who has only skiied resorts but will be doing some backcountry this winter for the first time (and hopefully for many more years), so I need an AT set-up. I can be aggressive at times, but also wimpy at times. It seems like the kilowatt would be perfect for good resort skiing (think tetons or sierras) with some backcountry skiing. But, I am 5’11” and 200lbs – reaaallllly big for a girl (or, anyone), only an intermediate skiier. Should I go for a women’s ski (joule or lyric) or the men’s, and if I go for the men’s (kilowatt or havoc or something), do I need a 175? Thanks, you’ll save me many more days of endless internet searching…

  32. Lou November 13th, 2007 10:02 pm

    Hi Molly, I’d definitely not worry about using a women’s ski. In a wide ski, I’d still try something shorter than the 175 if you’re in intermediate skier. But this depends on the type of conditions you’ll be in as well. In Colorado you might want to go longer in length if you’ll be out breaking trail going uphill, but in climates such as northwest U.S. that’s not a much of a factor. Main thing to realize is no one ski is perfect for everything. Just make a choice, pull the trigger, then run what you brung with a smile on your face knowing in a year or two you’ll be shopping for skis all over again (grin). And demo it possible.

  33. Jeff November 16th, 2007 5:52 pm

    Lou, picking up my first set of AT skis to progress into backcountry after having skied Colorado resorts for years. I’m sold on the kilowatts…I’ve been skiing 178cm (K2) skis, how will the same length in the fatter kilo’s effect the feel of my ride? I just want to know what to expect so I can overcome the differences faster. thanks.

  34. Lou November 16th, 2007 5:59 pm

    Hi Jeff, they’ll probably feel fairly solid and stable, perhaps more than something with less width. You might also notice the difference in swing weight. It’s quite a bit of ski in that length, in my opinion.

  35. Jeff November 16th, 2007 6:01 pm

    i’ve not skied anything shorter…about 5’10”, 187…am I not outfitting myself appropriately? I’m reluctant to try a size that I haven’t been able to demo or rent…thanks to my finances right now, i’m a one-quiver skier. thanks.

  36. Daniel November 16th, 2007 7:08 pm

    I’m asking here because I’m not sure where else. I’m from Argentina and I’ll be moving back soon, I”m going to buy my first AT setup, and is going to be the only set I own so I’ll need them to be good on hardpack as well. I’m almost 6 feet and 150lb. I’m was looking at a crossbow 171 or 163 or an Ethic 167.
    In all honesty I wont be pushing this skis through chutes and couloirs I really need them to get to the base of climbs and also use inbounds.
    Sorry if this is not the place to post this,
    Thank you everybody.

  37. Daniel November 17th, 2007 5:39 pm

    Hey guys!
    Is anybody out there with an idea on bd’s crossbow skis?
    I’m 5.11 plus and I was thinking on a 171cm???
    What do you guys reckon???
    some help or some direction would very apreciated.

  38. Matt November 18th, 2007 6:17 pm

    I’ve skied the 181 crossbows with Dynafits and old scarpa lasers for a few years now as my BC setup and have absolutely loved them..light,swift and nimble but with just enough pop. The weight savings on this set up is amazing and they are surprisingly stable for a foam core ski. A solid 10 in my book for longer tours or even slack country. Although I am now in the market for a bigger platform to float on, possibly the kilowatt or the verdict. But if fast and light is what you want, in my opinion you cant go wrong with the crossbow.

  39. Marion VARNER November 21st, 2007 2:27 am

    Hello to everybody,
    I have tried the Kilowatt 185 during “Le Mondial du Ski” in Les 2 Alpes, the first week end of november 2007. There we only found iced snow, but even on this hard pack the skis felt very good, holding thight turns and carving well according to the conditions, even wedeln was possible. So I completely share Lou advice on these skis. I am 52 years young, started skiing when I was 3 years old, weighting 120 kg, sizing 1,85 m.
    Good slopes. Marion.

  40. Lou November 21st, 2007 7:28 am

    Thanks Marion, nice to get confirmation.

  41. Seth November 22nd, 2007 8:20 pm

    I’m 5’11 about 180 lbs. I skied 178 cm Dynastar 8800 last year, but am upgrading to the Kilowatt this year. I was going to go with the 185 cm length. I would consider myself an expert skier, but am afraid this ski might be a little too big for me. I will hit the resorts when it’s dumping or too sketchy in the backcountry, otherwise, I will be out touring. Any thoughts?

  42. Michael December 2nd, 2007 10:51 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Since we are talking ski advice I was wondering what length you would recommend in the Kilowatt. I am 6’4″ and ~180. I ski agressively but do not huck cliffs or anything like that. I live in the mountains outside of Seattle so I am used to a lot of snow, dense snow, and tight trees.

    I also would like to use this ski for winter ski mountaineering with overnight packs (think Spearhead traverse, etc).

    I like the idea of going short with the 175 but I am afraid it will not be enough ski with a pack on my back.

    Thanks, Michael

  43. Lou December 3rd, 2007 6:38 am

    Michael, at your height and weight I’d say you’re a good candidate for the longest length, the 185.

  44. Tom December 30th, 2007 6:21 pm

    I live in Norway and ski a lot backcountry and off-piste. I used to have the BD Crossbow and Havoc, but want to move up to a bigger ski. How is the BD Kilowatt compared to these? Is Armada ARV a good alternative? (i know it’s more of a park ski). You also described it as not being a twin-tip ski. Is it totally flat at the end, or is it comparable to Havoc in shape? (I want the abilty to ride backwards)
    thanks 🙂

  45. Dave January 2nd, 2008 7:17 pm

    Sweet Lou, I’ve alpined for 40+ years and recently began telemarking about a year and a half ago. I’m 53 yo, 140#’s, lucky to live in Stbt, ski in Crispis and am a moderately aggressive athlete (play ice hockey, bike, etc). I demoed a pair of 165 Joules with active bindings and had a blast compared to my neutral bindings on an ole pair of snowrangers. I’d like to buy either joules or kilowatts in 165 with some hammerheads though am a bit leary of the reported “stiffer tail” with kilos. What do you think and thanks?

  46. Luke January 7th, 2008 9:42 am


    I’m looking to pick up a set of Kilowatts (175) and was wondering if they would work well with a regular alpine set of marker piston bindings. I’m a huge fan of Black Diamond and would like to try their skis. I ski 90% in bounds and 10% back country. Will this work or should I look for another ski? Thanks

  47. Lou January 7th, 2008 9:59 am

    Hi Luke, they would work fine with alpine bindings, but keep in mind they are more an all-around ski than a hardpack carving ski, so using them would depend on what type of skiing you do.

  48. Dave Brown February 15th, 2008 3:43 pm

    I’m trying the Kilowatts next week – have you compared them to the K2 Work Stinx? I’m new to telemark skiing this year (around 8x out so far) and leaning toward either one based on the local ski shops recommendation.



  49. Dave Brown February 15th, 2008 3:45 pm

    Forgot to mention- I ski all in bounds currently in Colorado. Backcountry one day…..


  50. BruceP February 24th, 2008 12:33 pm

    Kilowatt ski weight

    OK so I just bought the BD Kilowatt size 175 and weighed them for fun and was shocked to find the skis weighed 1 lb more than advertised and was even more shocked to find 1 ski weighed 1/2 lb (7.6 oz to be exact) than the other!

    I would expect some variation, but not 1lb and certainly not 1/2 between skis – is this normal or should I return them for another pair that are hopefully closer to spec?

  51. Jan Wellford February 24th, 2008 7:05 pm


    I see discrepancies like that all the time at the shop where I work (and I weigh every ski we carry). Some companies are usually pretty close between each ski, others are often way off. The advertised weight means nothing (I rarely see advertised weights that are correct), so you certainly shouldn’t be concerned about that. As for whether the 1/2 lb weight difference is important, that’s up to you. I promise you won’t notice it in the real world, though.


  52. BruceP February 25th, 2008 1:12 am

    Jan thanks for your feedback.

    I wish I had never weighed them … I’m use to skining/carrying a much lighter ski (BD Mira) so I hope this ski is worth the extra weight when it comes to the downhill!


  53. Matus (Euro) February 25th, 2008 6:26 am

    I think that the weight diff. between skis is due to the character of the natural material inside – the density of wood is variable from tree to tree.

  54. BruceP February 25th, 2008 1:51 pm


    Official response from BD:

    “The overall weight does vary sometimes considerably from published time to actual production. However, I spoke with our ski line manager and the difference between the two is way out of spec. You should return those to us and we will replace with skis more evenly matched. Please see below for information on returning the skis to us.”

  55. brucep March 1st, 2008 2:09 pm

    BD Warranty Dept – great service

    Replaced the skis – approximately 1/2lb over published weight and nearly identical between skis – less than 1/2 ounce.

  56. Nathan Rice March 9th, 2008 2:58 pm

    Hello Lou,

    Thanks for the great advice on your website. I’m wondering if you might be able to help me decide between the BC Havoc and the Kilowatt. I skiied the Havocs and really enjoyed the stiff, snappy feel. Do the Kilowatts have the same feel, or are they significantly softer? I am an intermediate telemark skiier who is new to the “fat” ski phenomenon, so I’m a little wary of the width of the Kilowatt (even though it is considered a midfat). Also, I ski in the Northwest, where the pow is not quite so deep, so I wonder if a fatter ski is really all that necessary. I prefer the backcountry, but find myself in the slackcountry/resort as well. I weigh 195 lbs, 6’1”.


  57. Lou March 9th, 2008 3:40 pm

    Well Nathan, I don’t telemark so this is just a guess, but how about going with the Havoc?

  58. Christopher Johnson April 7th, 2008 4:37 pm

    Lou, I am looking at the BD kilowatt and the K2 Mt. Baker. I ski aggressive but don’t do any hucking (it just hurts to much the next day anymore!). I weigh 200#. I will be a 50/50 skier. I plan to mount the Fritschi Free Ride Plus on which ever pair I get. Any advice?

  59. Lou April 7th, 2008 5:52 pm

    I’d find the best price and go for it, after you demo both skis.

  60. Scott July 7th, 2008 2:23 pm

    Coming in a little late, but: I’m considering the Kilowatt for an all-purpose ski. I’m a big guy — 6’3, 240 lb. plus usually ski with a pack — so I’m always completely off the weight-length charts. I’m an old school skier — was expert back in the zero-sidecut days, still pretty competent, but younger friends keep telling me I’m not skiing the new skis correctly! Mainly ski the Cascades, more frequently on piste BUT I’m a mountain rescue volunteer so when I’m off piste, I really, really need my skis to work for me. I’m a little worried that the Kilowatts may be too soft for my weight, and also concerned about reports of chatter on hardpack due to softness — but in all other ways the Kilos sound like a perfect ski for me. Advice? Alternatives? Prefer to stick with BD if possible. Thanks!

  61. Lou July 7th, 2008 4:28 pm

    I’d go for it!

  62. Dean August 16th, 2008 10:39 am

    6’1″ and 140lbs! Slightly better than average skier. 80% skinning for turns, 20% lift service. Living in the Rockies. Im new to fat skis. Would you suggest the 175 or the 165 Kilowatt? All of the weight charts seem to think i’d be right for the 165. It just seems so short. Any advice?

  63. Lou August 16th, 2008 11:19 am

    Dean, what style skiing do you do and how old are you?

  64. Dean August 16th, 2008 2:04 pm

    Lou –

    Age 33. Will mount the skis with Freerides. Using Garmont Adrenalin boots. Some tree skiing but mostly open powder slopes in western Wyoming/eastern Idaho. Athletic and adventurous. I like skiing varied terrain and varied snow conditions. Somewhat agressive, but not a shredder. I’m not so much into speed and really enjoy control and manuverability in steep terrain.

    I’ve been skiing the Atomic TM22 in a 170cm with AT bindings. It’s been good for me, but really excited to use a fat ski this season.

  65. Lou August 16th, 2008 6:59 pm

    I’d go for the longer ones… ride ’em cowboy!

  66. Evan August 19th, 2008 12:50 pm

    since you seem to be the kilo guru, is a 165 kilowatt ideal for a 5’8 135 lb east coast skier who finds most of his time on the bumps and in the occasional foot or two of fresh days, due to lack of glades or big dumps in PA, but also finds his way to vermont or out west at least 10 days a year where i spend most of my time in the glades and manageable powder because of my lack of availability on my home mountain. i am an aggressive turner at home and i am improving my pow floatin skills.

    help me out brotha!

  67. Lou August 19th, 2008 5:00 pm

    Evan, are you using those with alpine bindings or rando?

  68. Evan August 19th, 2008 5:32 pm


  69. Shelagh September 8th, 2008 4:23 pm

    Not sure if you are still responding to mail but thought I would ask anyway. We are having a bumper winter here in NZ and I am trying to decide between Lyrics or Joules. I think the Lyric is an older version of the Velvet but not sure. I am 65 kilos and have been skiing for a long time mostly off piste, I intend to mount freerides on them and do mostly touring these days but still ride on piste occasionally so I was planning to get the 165 length, would really appreciate your advice. Thanks

  70. Lou September 8th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Go for the Joule.

  71. Todd Beck October 21st, 2008 7:02 pm

    I will add my two cents. Picked up a pair of Killawatts at the end of the
    Season out of the rental fleet. The size was 165 with tele hamer head bindings. I found them to be very stiff and hard to turn in the trees.
    I have to say I hate the skis and would not try another B,D ski.
    It would probably be a good ski for the resorts and spring skiing.
    I did not have too much powder experience with them.
    I normally ski on softer K2 anti Piste and Scotty Bobs both at 167.
    I weigh 130 and I’m 5-3. I ski in Summit CO.
    Lou —whats your take on this

  72. Mike November 5th, 2008 9:46 pm

    I just purchased a pair of Kilowatts (185cm) to go with the Fritschi Freeride Plus binding and BD Factor boot. I’m 6’2″ and 190 lbs, and a good skier. I’ll spend most of the time skiing backcountry powder with them. I think I made the best decision on the skis, but wonder how they’d compare to the Verdict? Any thoughts?

  73. Lou November 5th, 2008 9:58 pm

    I think the Kilowat is a better powder ski than the Verdict. My two cents, anyhow/…

  74. Tom Child December 23rd, 2008 6:58 am

    Hi Lou, I ski the JayPeak Vt glades which are very tight, full of trees and powder. Considering this type of skiing would you reccomend the BD Kilowatt (155)?
    I am 5-6 145 lbs Thanks in advance

  75. Lou December 23rd, 2008 8:23 am

    Tom, sure, the Killowatt has turned out to be a classic that really works well for tons of people.

  76. Cynthia January 10th, 2009 8:01 pm

    Hi – I am 5’5″, 135 lbs. I plan to mount the Joule with Alpine bindings. I’m an expert skier, but enjoy knocking around in the bumps and trees more than speed. I like a ski right around 160cm. Should I go 155 or 165?
    The BD weight chart recommends 155 for persons under 140lbs, but the 165 for 130 lbs. on up . . . . I don’t want to fall all over myself with instability on a too-short set of skis, but I don’t want to get the tails hooked up on bumps or trees if they’re too long.

  77. Lou January 10th, 2009 9:41 pm

    I’d go with the 155 but demo first.

  78. weston January 12th, 2009 11:00 am

    Hey Lou – thx for the great advice – I am 6ft 180 and am looking at 175 kilowatt (used) and wanted to know if it is too short. I ski a B4 (Rossi) 185 in bounds and will be touring for powder with dynafit setup on the BD 175. Is 175 too short for me? I am an expert skier and will ski powder and steeps in the BC with no hucking. thx weston

  79. Lou January 12th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Weston, I’d give them a try. If you’re anything like most backcountry skiers you’ll be fine on a shorter rig when you’re earnin’ .

  80. Andy January 20th, 2009 9:17 am

    Hi Lou,

    I’ve been reading your recomendations for the kilowatt and it seems too me you like short skis. I’m 5’8′ and weigh almost 150lb and I have just bought a pair of mythic riders in 165 for touring. Do you think this is way too short? I’ve heard that from the rest of the world…

    I this is about the kilowatt, but still…


  81. Lou January 20th, 2009 9:37 am

    Andy, give ’em a shot., I’m not the only one who likes shorter skis for touring…

  82. JIm January 26th, 2009 9:14 pm

    AT is bringing me back into skiing at age 49. Skied during college days and a few resorts since and took an intro course with CMS and I am hooked. Back in the day I skied no sidecut rossi sts’s @182 but younger, more aggresive (dumber lol) and 10 lbs lighter than my current 175, 5’11”. Are the KIlowatt 175’s too long? 70% backcountry, no coulairs, jumps etc., but powder and trees.

  83. Lou January 27th, 2009 6:28 am

    Jim, I’d say just go for the 165, the things have got the width so length is not a big issue.

  84. Charles McCash January 27th, 2009 8:53 am

    Lou – I’m trying to pull the trigger today on a pair of BDs, but am still torn. Due to a mid-season sale, I’m looking at two options: BD Verdict 180’s or Kilowatt 185s. I am 6′-3″ and 195lbs. Will ski 50/50 inbounds and w/ daytrip tours of 10 miles or so. Looking to ski steep and fast, but in a variety of conditions. Not hucking any huge cliffs (only little sub-10ft’ers). Will mount with Dynafits and use Garmont Axons.

    p.s. No Verdict 190’s are available.

    Verdicts or Kilos? What do you think??? Thanks!!!

  85. Lou January 27th, 2009 9:26 am

    I’d think you’d be more on the Verdict side of things.

  86. Chris February 13th, 2009 12:47 am

    I’m really interested in getting a pair of Kilowattss but am unsure what size. I’m 6ft tall so the 175 fits there, but I only weigh 130# so that seems to mean 165s. I live in Alaska so I get plenty of powder, but will be 50/50 resort/backcountry. I’d say I’m a type 7 skier (scale of 1-10). Also how do they compare to the Havocs? I know Havocs are better on hardpack, moguls, etc. I don’t want to sacrifice too much manuverabilty for the wider ski.


  87. Mark February 13th, 2009 7:37 am

    Chris, the new Kilowatts ski great–tried ’em at Keystone a couple days ago. They’re something like17% stiffer than prior incarnation with birch around the margins for a bit more snap. I’d say they’re easily the most maneuverable of the bigger (88+mm waist) BD skis. As to the assertion that Havocs are better on hardpack, moguls, etc., I’d venture a guess that’s perhaps a stretch–but you have to make that judgment. Kilowatts have more sidecut which might be better on hardpack???

  88. Lou February 13th, 2009 7:42 am

    Chris, the shorter is probably better for you as a backcountry ski but the longer might be a bit more comfortable at the resort. Myself, I always bias for the backcountry, but each to his own.

  89. Stan B March 1st, 2009 6:01 pm

    Hi Lou, great thread! I am 5?-10?, 185lbs, advanced skier, skiing 95% in the Sierras, skiing 10/90 BC/resort. I ski all terrain. I am really starting to get into BC skiing with goal of getting to at least 50/50.

    I currently own 2005 176 Gotamas. While I am leaning toward the Kilowatt, which one would you suggest between Havoc, Kilowat, and Verdict? For the kilowatt I am thinking getting 175. In either case I am thinking of mounting baron/duke bindings.

    Your time is appreciated!

  90. Lou March 2nd, 2009 6:50 am

    Hi Stan, we favor the Kilowatt around here, and for Sierra resort skiing that would seem like a good choice if you go off piste much. If you stay in the groomers and bumps then perhaps something else is better. A 175 would work fine, that’ll give you enough ski for that 90% resort skiing.

    BTW, the reason why we draw a distinction between resort skiing and backcountry skiing is not so much conditions, but rather the amount of vertical skied in a day. Lighter boots and less ski require better technique, coordination and strength. One or two laps in the backcountry using that type of gear may feel fine, but put in five or six hours riding high speed cable, and more beef can be greatly appreciated as muscles fatigue or you just want to kick back and ride ’em.

    In the case of skiers who’s style in the backcountry is highly aggressive, the distinction between backcountry and resort gear becomes blurred. Still, even the most agro resort skiers will be smart to at least make an effort at lightening up their gear a bit. For example, the new crop of boots such as Dynfit ZZero, Garmont Radium and Scarpa Skookum offer surprising beef/weight ratio — and are all tech compatible if you want to include a lightweight binding rig in your quiver.

  91. Stan B March 2nd, 2009 9:29 am

    Lou – Thanks for you reply. I see what you saying. For the rest of this season and next I am planning of doing at least 40% BC. I will keep my current gear for resort days. I am using DB Factor boots which are pretty bulky compared to other AT boots but I find them extremely comfortable (I have an embarrassingly wide feet).

    I am still thinking between fritschi freestyle or dukes but I will consider dynafit as well (I think they sell dynafit soles for the factor boot).

    Thanks again for you insight! As always, your time is appreciated!

  92. Bryce March 2nd, 2009 11:04 am

    I think the BD Factors are sweet boots. And yes, you can get AT blocks for them. $40 if you want to go with Dynafit bindings for your backcountry setup. Sounds to me like it might be a good way to go if you’re going to keep your resort skis and use this only in the backcountry.

  93. Alex March 5th, 2009 1:30 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I’m 5′ 8″, 215lbs with legs strong like tree trunks. 30″ inseam.

    I’m a intermidiate/advance resort skier looking for his first AT setup for BC only.

    I’m looking at the Kilowatts. I’m torn on the length due to my heavy weight and short height. The BD charts recommends the 185’s for my weight but traditional sizing methods are saying 165’s due to my height. Throw in a pack and I’ll be closer to 230lbs.

    Any opinion?


  94. Lou March 5th, 2009 4:22 pm

    175 cm would work fine, 185 seems a bit long. It’s true that weight is a more important determining factor of ski length than your height is, but you have to take height into consideration at least a bit. If you ski fast and huck cliffs, you might still want the 185, but that’s a lot of ski…

  95. Dean (deanafit) March 5th, 2009 9:54 pm

    Stan, my thought is what is your bc boot of choice. You are clearly a good skier, and the boot will affect you more than the ski, I think. The length of your skin matters but moreso the challenge of your descent, no? My new Radiums…mmm. Strong like bull. With dynafit bindings….on….whatchout…BD Crossbows, is a sweet setup, without a latest bigest ski focus. But that setup relates to where and what I ski. What boots? Good luck, Dean

  96. Tom March 9th, 2009 3:45 pm


    I’m trying to introduce my spouse to skiing and I’m in the process of looking for a pair of skis for her. I’ve spotted a couple of good deals at my local shop, but unfortunately, we can’t demo them. The skis are BD Velvet (165cm) and G3 Nectar (156 cm). My spouse is 5’2″ and 140lbs. She’s not an aggressive skier. The intended use is resort skiing and easy touring. I’m leaning towards the Velvet, but I’m concerned that they may be too long for a beginner. Can you offer any thoughts on this? Thank you.


  97. Lou March 9th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Ah, let me see if I can break the great Louskini out of his 10 year long stint of meditation on the cosmic powder that connects all things seen and unseen….

    Hey, it worked when I told him the recommendation was for a female of the species.

    He said go for the shorter ski, then closed his eyes, chanted the word “whiteroom” and got this big grin on his face. I wish I could ski powder while sitting in the lotus position like he does. Way beyond telemarking, that’s for sure!

  98. Tom March 9th, 2009 4:07 pm

    thank you Great One.

  99. Lou March 9th, 2009 4:31 pm

    I told Louskini thanks for you, but he just kept chanting “whiteroom.”

  100. Michael March 9th, 2009 7:38 pm


    I’ve been reading some good vibe about the BD kilowatt … I’m thinking about buying this ski as my “quiver of one” ski and something I can grow with … I’m 5’10”, 150 lbs … intermediate skier (Snowboard convert). Would be used at 90% resort / 10% sidecountry (Continental snowpack) … I would be mounting these with Marker Baron (or Duke) … Obviously, with my skill level, Mach One speed or cliff hucking is not my type … LOL !!! First, you think that would be a good choice ? and if yes, what size would you recommend. If no, any other ski or ski type I should be looking for ?

    Thanks so much !!!

  101. Lou March 10th, 2009 7:52 am

    I had to wait for Guru Louskini to break from his latest meditation, and visit him in his cave up on Mount Rainier. Whew, now that that’s done, he says get a pair of 165s and enjoy.

  102. Michael March 10th, 2009 6:25 pm

    Great Louskini …. as usual, your help and “spiritual advice” on ski related issues are always appreciated :)) …. thx !!!!!!

  103. Kelly March 17th, 2009 8:01 pm

    I am transitioning from resort skiing to Randonee and am having difficulties determining what ski is best for a women who is an intermediate skier. I demo-ed K2 phat luvs even though they are not AT skis to get a feel for fat skis. I hated them, they were chattery and didn’t carve well. I was told that they were not designed for an intermediate skier and that you had to go hard and fast to fully enjoy the ski. What do you recommend for an intermediate women wanting to ski the backcountry in UT?

    Thanks : )

  104. Lou March 18th, 2009 6:47 am

    Hi Kelly,
    First, skiing the backcountry in Utah is all about powder and soft snow. Frequently, skis that are good for that will feel less than perfect on hardpack, and may exhibit behavior such as chattering. This is especially true if you go a bit shorter in length for backcountry, but take the skis to a resort and do hard snow groomers at high speed. Chattering can also be caused by your own reaction to an unfamiliar tune or binding. I’ve seen this many times, when people ski freshly tuned skis.

    For a really great Utah setup I’d recommend either a Dynafit Manaslu, K2 Baker Superlight, or Black Diamond Kilowatt. In my experience the Manaslu is terrific in mank and powder, while the Baker might be slightly more forgiving on hardpack, and the Kilowatt is kind of a combination of the two, though somewhat heavy in comparison. No matter what your choice, keep your chosen length short to save weight and make the skis easy to carry on your pack.

    Also know that for most people, trying to use one set of skis/bindings/boots for both resort and backcountry will lead to some compromises one way or the other.

  105. kirk Turner March 24th, 2009 8:36 pm

    Hi lou.

    I feel dumb asking this question because every one else seems to be asking the same, but I do a bunch of back country and a bit of ski mountaineering, I have the option of getting a 165 or a 185, live in Utah but moving to Bellingham WA. 160lbs very agressive skier, 5″10 20yrs old. I was leaning toward the 185’s even though the 165’s would be easier in tight places and lighter on the pack. Any thoughts? I will prob mount these with freeride pluses. I have a dedicated pow ski with dukes, and a bd cult with dynafits, this is going to be my middle ski. On occasion I have dropped cliffs in the 25ft range but only with good snow and prob would never go that big on these skis…
    Thanks for your time, I know you are swamped!

  106. Lou March 24th, 2009 8:45 pm

    Kirk, tough call, if you’re using the ski aggressively I’d go for the 185.

  107. Leslie Vreeland March 31st, 2009 10:50 am

    Hi Lou,

    Any thoughts on which bindings for a pair of 167 K2 Mount Bakers w/Scarpa boots? Height: 6’0, weight 160. Avid backcountry skier, trees, powder, couloirs, no hucking (except under duress). Can go all day, and usually do. Thanks!


  108. Brian April 1st, 2009 10:59 am


    Picked up some used 185 Kilowatts and mounted them with my med. Fri. Freeride +’s. I mounted them in exisiting holes in the ski. I don’t know what bsl they were mounted for, but the skis were drilled for the med. +’s. It looks to me like when I adjusted the bindings for my 317 bsl Endorphins that it put the center of boot 1-2 cm behind the recommend mounting line on the ski.

    I skied them for the first time early this week @ Bridger Bowl in 8-14″ powder conditions and they felt especially sloppy/squirrely. I’m not sure if it was the skis weight, length or the mounting point. I’m 6’2″ 195 and ski fairly agressively. I primarily ride inbounds ridge terrain and slackcountry @ Bridger and am looking for a ski to do more touring on, mostly only in powder conditions. Do you think I should try and move the bindings and mount them up on the line before I move to a 190 Verdict or similar ski? My typical powder boards are 06 190 Gotamas with alpine bindings. I also ski 186 Mojo 90’s with alpine bindings that are similar dimensions to the Kilo and they feel far more stable in similar conditions. But, they are obviously much, much heavier. I know in a previous response you stated the Kilo was a better powder ski than the Verdict even though it has much narrower dimensions. What to do?

  109. Chris Marney August 10th, 2009 12:47 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I would like your advice please.

    I am looking to update my 4 year old Black Diamond Ethic 175 cm skis with Frischi Diamir Explore bindings used for 80 percent backcountry use in the past with long (over 5 miles) touring, 20 percent resort, use this coming 2009-2010 season.

    I consider myself beginner to intermediate level BC skier looking for more float in powder with increased stability when dropping into steeper stuff (not couloirs though). I am 6 feet tall and 155 pounds, and am considering the BD Joule skis from last season (white boards with orange) in the 176 cm length with Dynafit bindings instead of getting the Kilowatts.

    What do you think about my choice for this new setup to help me improve my all-around skiing opportunities in the BC here in Bend, OR?

    Thank you in advance for providing your expertise,

  110. Lou August 10th, 2009 7:11 pm

    Chris, run the dimensions of both skis by us… don’t have time to look them up and we should make sure the ones in this blog post are correct…

  111. Sean October 28th, 2009 10:00 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I would like your advice.

    I want enough float in powder so I am looking at either the 175 or 185 Kilowatts because of my weight. (6’1″ 255) I’m an advanced skier and will use these 90% of the time in the backcountry. Should I go with the 185’s?

    Thanks for helping me out.


  112. Lou October 29th, 2009 7:21 am

    Sean, if I were you I’d go with the big guns. Let us know how they do.


  113. Christian October 29th, 2009 8:37 am

    Just a comment regarding Kelly’s comment on k2 Phat Luvs. My wife skis these and love them. She is the opposite of an aggressive skier, but has learnt to love off piste skiing on these. The one mantra I keep telling her is to get her weight forward. Keeping the weight forward forces the tip to engage.

    I am skiing the same ski myself (apache coomba). I have a race background, so I guess I am an agressive skier. On wide skis like this you have to get the ski on edge quickly and release quickly as keeping the ski on edge on the hardpack will make it twist. I find the ski very predictable, but it lacks a little feedback. Compared to a ski like K2 Obsethed the Coomba is very traditional, and skis in very much the same way you would ski a slimmer ski such as volkl snowwolf.

    I have read that the coomba/phat luv aren’t really well suited to bindings with a lot of build-up (.e.g. duke). If that is the case, I cannot tell as we both ski with dynafit.

  114. Greg Eaton November 15th, 2009 8:02 pm

    Hey Lou…

    I’m 183lbs and 6ft. I resort ski Colorado (Vail, Breck, Keystone etc) and am torn between the 2008 Kilowatt (175cm) and the 2008 Verdict (180cm). I am coming off of skinnyish Rossingol tele skis (182cm). I ski fast, and love to carve big sweeping turns, whether in powder or on cord. But I’ve been warned the Verdict is ‘beefy.’

    I will be mounting G3 Targas on the new ski.

    Any help would be really great!


  115. Lou November 16th, 2009 7:27 am

    Greg, I’d go for the Verdict if you’re big and ski fast at resorts.

  116. Jason November 22nd, 2009 2:53 pm

    I’m getting into backcountry (BC Interior and BC Coastal Mountains), but will primarily ski at resorts (90%) off-piste/sidecountry in the pacific northwest. As an AT rig I’m looking at Fritschi Freeride Plus binding, Dynafit Zzeus boots, but uncertain about the ski. So far I’ve looked at the G3 Zenoxide (136-105-124) or Rapid Transit (128-92-116), K2 Wayback (124-88-108), and now the Black Diamond Kilowatt (125-95-112) seems like a good choice.

    I’m 5’9, 148lbs., intermediate to advanced skier, I don’t catch a lot of big air, but ski fairly aggressively. The advantage of the Kilowatt is that I can go shorter 165, rather than smallest 170 on the ZenOxide. Any suggestions?


  117. Lou November 22nd, 2009 3:13 pm

    Man, where is your pride? Canuck = G3?

  118. Tony December 4th, 2009 2:42 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Fantastic thread here! I’ve been tele skiing for 9 years in CO, 20ish days a year 90% lift serve in-bounds, all mountain, trees, steeps and a little side-country. Basin and Jane mostly with a little CB and Vail thrown in. Technically competent in a variety of conditions and terrain but not hucking cliffs or anything. I’m 5’9″ 165 and have been skiing K2 World Piste in a 173 for the last 7 years through two different models. SO sad to see that line die, but I demo’d some BD Kilos a year or two ago b/c I thought they might be my next quiver of one ski. Glad to see you and the other folks on this thread think so as well. I’m planning on mounting them with the 22 Designs Hammerhead or Axl when available. Thoughts on 165 vs 175. I feel like I could go either way…

  119. Lou December 4th, 2009 4:30 pm

    I’d say go longer if you’re lift served and ski aggressively…

  120. harrison January 4th, 2010 12:01 am

    I’ve never skiied anything over 175…mostly ski east coast and rocky mtn backcountry with some fresher days inbounds…I’m 5-9 and 145lbs soaking wet…I’m leaning towards a 165 but am considering the longer ski…usually make shorter turns OB. thanks for any ideas.

  121. Lou January 4th, 2010 7:37 am

    Harrison, sounds like the 165 might be perfect.

  122. Fred January 12th, 2010 2:54 pm


    I’m 5’9″ 175lb. Expert on Alpines. Intermediate on Teles. Planning on purchasing an AT set-up for a trip to the Selkirk’s later this winter (Fairy Meadows/Bill Putnam Hut). I’m on the fence between a pair of BD Voodoos or Kilowatts. I’m leaning toward 165cm in either case. I like the Voodoos for the light-weight with all the skinning-up we’ll be doing. I like the Kilowatts for the extra float and performance I’ll likely get on the down. Although this trip is the primary reason for my purchase – I live in Vermont and will be using them in the trees a lot back East – making me think I might like the Voodoos for the quick edge to edge.

    Any wisdom you want to share will be warmly received.



  123. Lou January 12th, 2010 2:55 pm


  124. Chris March 15th, 2010 10:29 am

    Hey Lou –
    Can you beleive this thread is 2 years old? Sheeesh!
    I just blew the bindings out of my foam-core Havocs (163 cm) and liked the dimensions so much I replace them with wood-core 165 Havocs. Great ski on the hardpack but much slower edge-to-edge and not fun at all in the B/C. And I LIKE TO HAVE FUN! Thinking Voodoo 165 or Joule 155, something softer and more playful. I ski 50% B/C, 25% Highlands Bowl or eq and 25% groomers with my 5-year old or the Wednesday Night Boys. I like BD but not married to them; skied good K2s in the past, so I’m open to anything. 5′-3″, 130 lbs, male, 20-yr tele skier. Mounting BD 01s. Man enough to ski a woman’s ski.

  125. DanJ March 29th, 2010 8:18 pm

    I purchased the 2009 version of the Kilowatts 175 and mounted freeride bindings. I am 6’1″ at 180. I have 25 days out this year and only 3 at the resorts. I toured all winter on these planks and couldn’t be happier. Through light powder to hard packed to wet spring snow these skies handled everything that the Vermont winter threw at me. The one thing I did notice is that the faster you ski the more fun you will have with theses skis. Being a Vermont skier I was really surprised how well theses perform in any powder condition. Even 4 inches of powder was a blast on these skis. I would recommend them to anyone who skis fast and hard. These skis aren’t all that fun on the groomers, bring your thin waisted wide shovels if you get stuck in bounds. Otherwise make sure to have a pair of Kilowatts in your car at all times!

  126. Poppie March 30th, 2010 12:39 am

    Hey Lou,

    Have just read the whole post and looks great! Am an intermediate-advanced skiier who is planning to get a lot better this winter doing 50/50 bc and on piste. At the moment I am tossing up between the joule 155/165 and the kilowatt 155. I’m a 5’6 female and around 130 lbs. Is a 155 ski too short for me? Also have a pair of 167 mystics and they do feel a little long at times… Planning to mount with fritschi freeride, using a scarpa denali boot. What do you think of this set up? Thanks a bunch all the way from Kiwiland! 🙂

  127. Sean April 9th, 2010 10:39 pm

    Hey Lou,

    I took your advice and went with the 185’s – and I’m so glad I did. Except for real steep groomers these are a perfect all-condition ski and worked great in the backcountry as well.


  128. Allen October 24th, 2010 9:32 am

    Hi Lou,

    I am currently in the market to get a pair of touring skis. I am 5′ 8 and 145 lbs. I was wondering what your thoughts where about getting the 165 Kilowatts or 170 Verdicts. I found an awesome deal for the kilowatts 50% off but was wondering what your thoughts were as you seem to be the right person to ask. I was thinking about mounting them with the Marker Baron or Duke.


  129. Lou October 24th, 2010 10:20 am

    Hi Allen, how much lift served?

  130. Bill November 18th, 2010 9:58 am

    Hi Lou, Need some advise. I’m 5’9″ and weigh 175-180. I ski the Utah backcountry exclusively. Was looking at some ’08-’09 kilowatts (tan ones) and was thinking of going with 175’s. I see you tend to recommend smaller skis in the BC. What is your advise between 165’s or 175’s for me if I don’t have the luxury of a demo with each one? Thanks…Bill

  131. Marie December 20th, 2010 9:34 am

    I’m deciding between the 175 BD Velvet and the 175 BD Joule. I ski everywhere and would like a ski that will handle well in the bumps and trees, but will also float well in deeper snow. I’m used to skiing in Colorado, but will be relocating to the Pacific Northwest this winter. Which would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

  132. Lou December 20th, 2010 9:41 am

    Tough choice, Joule is slightly wider underfoot (95 vs 88 for Velvet), but Velvet is a later ski and BDs skis are constantly improving. Have you skied on them both at demo? If I had to choose blind, I’d probably go for the Velvet just because of the vintage, but would probably want to see something wider on any lady I was picking all-around skis for. Lou

  133. pete December 25th, 2010 2:48 pm

    hi Lou
    is using kilowatt with dukes mostly for BC too brutal?:)
    if terrain is steeper i just put those skis on my backpack and keep walking:)
    in a way down i can be sure i can rely on this binding
    i dont do any huge clif drops but ski agressivelly.. well i enjoy slow riding aswell
    but why is the dynafit tlt vertical ft 12 so expensive?:)

  134. Rich April 5th, 2011 11:35 pm

    I am deciding between Verdicts 190 or Kilowats 185. I am 6 foot and 190-195…I have a resort set up, but now I want to get into AT. I ski fast and aggressive in the resort, but never been in the BC. Which ski would you go with, since they will be purely used for powder BC. I’d rather have a the more proper ski than the one easier to learn on…

  135. Lou April 6th, 2011 6:53 am

    If this is a “purely” powder backcountry ski, for human powered skiing, I’d suggest Kilowatt.

  136. Davis April 17th, 2011 10:47 pm

    Lou, great answers…
    Quick question…. I’m all backcountry, many laps and steep. Can a 175 Justice handle some 10-15 foot drops and also alot of aggressive skiing. I can get a good deal on 175’s but don’t want to make a hasty decision.

  137. Lou April 18th, 2011 7:03 am

    Davis, if you’re of average size in stature and weight, sure. But depending on what you mean by “aggressive” you might want to size up.

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