Lou is ski touring around Europe drinking copious steins of beer and eating strudel religiously while we here at Wildsnow HQ North America are in the midst of putting the final touches on the ever growing mountain that is the “Ultimate Quiver.” The review below is from earlier this season, featuring a few similar skis to our Quiver project. Please do not stress as this is just a small preface to the multitude of ski and binding configurations to come!
The 2012 Outdoor Retailer All Mountain Demo kicked off at Solitude in the last year of the Mayan calendar without much celebration, no chants praising Ullr or anything of the sort, just plenty of eager testers running around like mad. Thankfully some homebrewed firestarter Insta-fire made for an interesting way to summon the gods and start some snow on fire for the day. While Lou and Lisa were out being harassed by the Solitude Ski Patrol, for skinning up resort slopes during the demo, I subjected my knees, and thankfully not my personal skis, to the Wasatch Range’s finest variable conditions; rocks, boulders, branches, stumps, rime, wind blown cat tracks and plentiful bumps all while avoiding fellow testers. Not as easy as you may think.
I was able to test eight skis throughout the day in various binding and boot combinations.
I would have taken a few more skis with tech bindings out for a run, and I really tried, but lots of struggles were had due to the limited demo mount range of bindings and worn hardware. I guess I missed the strict rule stating only “normal” sized feet are allowed in Utah. Since when is a 30 sized boot that abnormal? Then again where do you find beer with 3.2% alcohol content? Hmmm…
Atomic Atlas w/Atomic Tracker bindings & Dalbello Krypton Pro
Dynafit Baltoro w/Dynafit F 12 bindings & Dynafit TLT 5 Mountains
DPS Cassiar 80 w/Marker Tour 12 bindings & Dalbello Krypton Pro
Unfortunately I didn’t snap an image of this ski. Regardless, they rocked the terrain and were a perfect match for what Solitude had to offer. After talking to Philip at the DPS booth about the lack of a “fun” ski for today’s conditions from other manufacturers, he said I had to try their Cassiar 80. With dimensions of 120/78/108 in a 178 with a small amount of tip and tail rocker these were the narrowest skis I saw that day by far. Taken from their site: “It’s the dedicated frontside choice for the entire mountain when there isn’t new snow.” The quote was entirely true. Turns like a slalom ski with ease but felt like a flexible park ski when boosting over moguls and stumps. This was the perfect ski to match the day’s terrain without question.
G3 Zen Oxide w/G3 Onyx bindings & Dynafit TLT 5 Mountains
H2O Outdoor Gear Kodiak w/Rossignol 12 Demo bindings & Dalbello Krypton Pro (Not pictured)
I was interested to ski these planks after working alongside Dean for several years in Alaska and Utah on several projects. He is one of the most iconic, hard charging and few original skiers still alive pushing the limits in Alaska’s Chugach Range. I didn’t count any other 46 year-olds winning awards at the 2012 Powder Awards, in which he won for Best Line. The Kodiaks, Dean’s son Wyatt’s middle name, are handmade skis made out of Reno, NV and have an extremely detailed topsheet with a Kodiak bear in the Alaska wilderness. The feeling on the downhill was damp and solid construction with absolutely zero chatter while straightlining through the crud, and a moderate amount of sidecut made turns easy to initiate and exit. The sidewalls and edges were double the size compared to other makers. These skis will last through thick and thin for many seasons. His ski fleet will be coated with plenty of rotor wash come heli season in Valdez, where on last check there had accumulated over 40+ft of snow in the mountains and over 350+ inches in town. Bottom line: Solid feel, great graphics, bomber skis, awesome on the down. Not ideal for touring but if your pointing down 60 degree slopes these would be a top contender.
LaSportiva Hang 5 w/Marker Tour 12 bindings & Dalbello Krypton Pro
Salomon Rocker 122 w/Salomon Guardian bindings & Dalbello Krytpon Pro
Volkl Nunataq w/Marker Tour 12 bindings & Dalbello Krypton Pro
Previously reviewed: Check out (Anton’s Review w/Dynafit rig)
After ripping my pants in the bumps, rubbing shoulders with some of the industry’s finest and barely being able to stand the next four days at the OR Show, I came up with my top three skis from the All Mountain Demo; which were Volkl’s Nunataqs, DPS’s Cassiar 80’s and Dynafit’s Baltoro option. Hopefully the avi danger subsides and I get out on a few of these skis for a “real” test this season.