Alpin Magazine Ski Reviews 2012/2013 — 95mm +

Post by blogger | August 23, 2013      

Editor’s note:

Bringing this post up to the top page today. Looking for deals on skis? Check out Alpin Magazine’s wide board review from last winter and browse the shopping links.

Germany based Alpin does one of the best overview ski tests out there, with permission from Alpin Magazine we offer this translation and online presentation. (See German version here.)

Thanks David Gerrard for the translation work. It’s interesting to see that while Alpin has three general verbal ratings for skis (Satisfactory, Good, Very Good) very few of the skis in the this wider category were rated less than Good. Note that some companies choose not to provide Alpin with test skis–as always a scold from WildSnow for those companies not stepping up. Also, Alpin does review narrower skis. After all, this is European! We’ll cover the skinny planks briefly at the bottom of this post, and in another blog post. Nearly all these skis are available via etail; we provide shopping links where we can. We’re noticing excellent prices on many of these skis — might be a good time to pick up another arrow for your quiver. Please know the shopping links are added by us here at WildSnow The Backcountry Skiing Blog and were not part of the original printed review.

One of two pages, Alpin freeride touring ski test. Click to enlarge.

One of two pages, Alpin freeride touring ski test. Click to enlarge.

Two of two pages, Alpin freeride touring ski test. Click to enlarge.

Number 2 of two pages, Alpin freeride touring ski test. Click to enlarge.

Alpin Review follows, translated from German:
This year (2013) everything wider than 95mm underfoot has been classed as a “Free-Touring Ski.” Up to now we have used the classifications of the manufacturer, but strict categories are now ever more blurred, so we’ve updated our usual method of classification. We’ve also adapted our terminology with the times: no longer are these skis the “touring suitable Freeride skis,” but “Free-touring” skis.” At last we’ve got the ski we’ve been waiting years for” was often the reaction this season. Not that skis used to be poor, but for our target group: skiers and ski-tourers who not only take the lift, but also ascend under their own steam; the modern, wide skis are a blessing.

There are more skis on offer, the skis are more varied and there’s a greater choice. There’s also a new trend in rocker-technology, itself now well established in powder-ski design, the inverted waist. Here the widest part of the ski is set noticeably further back from the tip to where the ski makes first real contact with the surface of the snow. With a rockered ski, this contact point is far further back than usual. Of course not every ski needs this type of design and there are good skis with other geometries, but it’s an evolution in ski-design which is likely to stay with us for some time.

Amongst the Free-Tourers the Dynastar High Mountain Cham 97 has the same construction as its smaller brother: the Cham 87, which took the title in the category ”Touring-Skis (narrower boards)” against some stiff competition. That a design can perform superbly at a certain width, but doesn’t translate to wider skis was demonstrated several times in this test. It’s true for the Cham 97, which scores well but not as good as its narrower counterpart and it’s also true for the Kaestle models TX97 and TX107. Here too, the smallest sibling, the TX87, performed brilliantly (last year it was the Test Winner!), creating a lot of expectation for the fatter models, which unfortunately wasn’t realized.

Wide skis can become quickly unstable and nervous if they don’t reach a critical minimum weight. A similar fate as the Kaestle-models befell a few other “lightweight” competitors: the Ski-Logik Yeti and Trab Volare are wide and light, and struggle in any other conditions than pure powder. The Voelkl Nanuq is perhaps not a super-lightweight ski anymore, but has superb performance for its weight (2995g / 170cm). For this it was given our “Lightweight-Tip” award.

So, just how light can a Free-Tourer ski be? Naturally the sky’s the limit: it all depends upon the skier’s individual requirements and preferences. Similarly the Voelkl Nunataq (3565g / 178cm) offers spectacular fun at a fully acceptable weight, far below four kilos. It’s not just a ski for off-piste, as you can quite happily spend half a day on the piste as long as the conditions are not too hard or icy. Off the piste the Nunataq will take anything you throw at it: fast or slow, tracked or fresh, short swings or long, open turns. With a perfectly acceptable weight, its superb performance earned the ski the title of Test Winner.

In certain situations the Diplomat from Mountain Wave proved somewhat stronger than the Nunataq: the ski isn’t as skittish as some of its narrower brothers, but nicely responsive. Its strength was clearly tracked snow, but it was fun to ski in nearly all snow conditions, which is why it was the favorite ski for many testers. Diplomat was just too heavy to take the main prize, as it easily exceeded the four kilo limit, but still earned our Tip for Downhill Performance. The Carbon Megawatt from Black Diamond brought a broad smile to all our testers’ faces, at least as long as the terrain was open and snow and visibility were good. Good visibility is a prerequisite for this ski, as you’re inclined to find yourself traveling at surprising speed.

The Free-Touring skis have become wider and lighter, which is a tricky compromise, as it can quickly result in a ski which is only really any good in powder. The Voelkl Nanuq is a relatively light ski in our group, which still delivers a lot of fun. The heaviest ski in the test, the Mountain Wave Diplomat, is a terrific ski and is fun to ski even when snow conditions are far from optimal, but our Test Winner, the Voelkl Nunataq, was gifted with a superb compromise between downhill performance and acceptable weight: fat, but not too heavy, a ski with which you can still clock up 1000m of ascent in a day.

Editor’s note: Capsule reviews follow, translated from the image above. The double numbers after the name are the Alpin weight index. The larger the number, the heavier the ski per unit surface area, or something like that anyway.

Skilogik Yeti
(-) Poor grip on ice
With 105mm under the binding and a weight of only 3170g (183cm) the Yeti is light. Good when you want to ascend 2000m in top conditions. Otherwise the Yeti is rather unstable.
138 – 105 – 124
Shop for Skilogic skis.

Black Diamond Drift
(+) Very good in powder
(+) Light
(-) Unstable on the piste
The Drift is very good in powder, no wonder with those dimensions, but even the Drift shows weaknesses on hard or deep chopped-up snow. Off-piste the Drift is easy to control.
136 – 100 – 122
Shop for Black Diamond Drift

Ski Trab Volare
(+) Light
(+) top finish
(-) poor grip
A ski from Trab with almost 100mm under the binding – not bad! Ski Trab is more a specialist for light racing or touring skis. The Volare is good in powder, but shows weaknesses on hard snow. Very good finish!
129 – 99 – 116
Shop for Trab Volare

Völkl Nanuq
ALPIN Weight Tip!
(+) Stable at speed
(+) Relatively light
(+) Responsive
The Nanuq is an old friend – which doesn’t make it any poorer. With not even 3kg at 170cm the ski is light, but still convinces with good, well-balanced skiing-characteristics.
131 – 96 – 114
It’s pretty funny seeing call this a “telemark ski.” Whatever the case, here is the link.

Elan Himalaya
(+) Responsive
(-) somewhat unstable or nervous
We’ve never tested a ski with such a soft tip. It’s strengths are seen in powder, in other snow types the ski proves to be well balanced and responsive.
125 – 96 – 98
Head over to the Elan Website, where Plake will give you his sales pitch.

La Sportiva Lo 5
The Lo 5 from La Sportiva is a ski with character. For a Free-Tourer the ski is still relatively light, but still manages to be stable. The ski is easy to maneuver, especially in powder or flat terrain.
125 – 95 – 115
Available online.

Kästle TX97
The TX97 from Kästle is an identical construction to the TX87, only 10mm wider. The TX97 doesn’t convince to the same degree that one would expect from the TX87. Has no particular weaknesses, or strengths.
128 – 97 – 117
Shop for it.

Dynastar High Mountain Cham 97
The Cham High Mountain 97 is the big brother of the Cham High Mountain 87, which was top in the Tour-Ski test for narrower skis. On piste the ski is agile, but becomes quickly unstable at higher speeds.
133 – 97 – 113
If you insist, it’s available at

Atomic Drifter
The Drifter certainly doesn’t honour its name, as one doesn’t have to drift the ski at all. This rather stable ski takes its turns (if you want to make them) cleanly on its edges. In powder this rockered ski is convincing.
132 – 95 – 121
We’re not sure where to get this online, check here.

Kästle TX107
(+) good in powder
(-) weakness on the piste
The TX107 also has its construction based on the TX87: but it shows that although one ski in the range comes out top, it doesn’t have to hold true for the other models. Because of its width the TX107 is especially convincing in powder.
135 – 107 – 127
Take a look.

Völkl NunataqTEST WINNER!!
(+) top skiing characteristics
(+) still light
The Nunataq from Völkl shows no weaknesses, neither in its statistics (weight, dimensions etc) or its inner qualities. Whether flat or steep, powder or tracked: nothing worries the Nunataq. —
139 – 107 – 123
Very good
Shop for Volkl Nunataq

Blizzard Kabookie
(+) stable
(+) good in difficult conditions
(-) somewhat unbalanced
The Kabookie from Blizzard shows definite strengths: it is especially strong in tracked snow. On the other hand, it’s not particularly light. For this weight it could have shown more stability on the piste.
131 – 98 – 116
Check out Blizzard Kabookie

Scott Powd’Air
(+) in powder well balanced
(-) unstable for the weight
(-) expensive
The Powd’Air is an old acquaintance, it’s already been tested a couple of times. A couple of years ago it was unique, now less so. This year the Scott proves to be be good and well balanced.
134 – 100 – 123
Find a Scott dealer.

Kessler Odysee
(+) well balanced
(-) expensive
The Odysee from Kessler is an exotic addition to the selection. The exclusiveness is reflected in the price (MSRP $1,799). Its characteristics make the ski fun, but it doesn’t bowl you over. Well balanced, with no particular strengths or weaknesses.
132 – 98 – 122
If you have this kind of money for an average ski, we’re sure you can find a shopping source.

K2 Backdrop
(+) Very stable
(+) Good in tracked snow
(-) Somewhat sluggish
The K2 Backdrop at 118mm is pretty wide. Considering this it proved to have good grip and stable at speed. Whoever’s looking for a really wide Free-Tourer – here it is!
142 – 112 – 131 (note, these are the K2 published dimensisons, number in graphic above appears to be a typo)
Very Good
Shop for K2 Backdrop

Black Diamond Carbon Megawatt
(+) invincible in powder
(+) relatively stable
(-) average edge grip
The widest ski in the test was the Carbon Megawatt. Whenever we left the piste a smile appeared on the face of the tester. That the smile disappeared when conditions became firmer is also clear.
153 – 125 – 131
Shop for Megawatt

Mountain Wave Diplomat
ALPIN Downhill Tip!
(+) relatively stable
(+) very well balanced
(-) relatively heavy
The Diplomat from Mountain Wave convinced both the male and the female testers. It’s well-balanced, makes controlled turns, even in tracked snow and is also good on the piste.
140 – 104 – 128
Very Good
Not sure where to shop for this, suggestions welcome.

Editor’s note: As promised, what skis won Alpin’s extensive touring ski review (planks at 93 mm or less at the waist)?

See the complete Alpine sub-93 skis review for 2012=13 here.

Overall sub-93 winners go to K2 Backup (124/82/105) for their narrower class, and Dynastar Cham (127/87/103) for their wider/narrow touring class. Honrable mention for the do-everything ski again goes to K2 for the venerable Wayback, a ski with lots of fans around WildSnow HQ. For a wider do-it-all, Kastle 87 got the honors. Black Diamond gets kudos for their women’s specific Crescent model. If you’re looking for new skis, you can not go wrong with any of these if they fit your needs in terms of gender, weight and dimensions. We’re working on presenting the review of the narrower skis. More planks, so somewhat more involved.

In terms of shopping, the K2 Backup will not be part of the K2 lineup in 2014 and it’s on some deep discounts. For example, check out this K2 Backup deal at GearX.

Shop for the now famous Dynastar Cham 87, and they’ve also got Kastle skis as well as Wayback and BD Crescent.



Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


40 Responses to “Alpin Magazine Ski Reviews 2012/2013 — 95mm +”

  1. John Iltis February 21st, 2013 10:25 am

    Okay, that didn’t appear to work. Maybe this will:

  2. Scott Allen February 21st, 2013 10:33 am

    Anyone care to compare the DPS 112 Wailer with the Vokl Nunatak?
    Looking for mostly a resort ski, with only about 15% off piste.

  3. Lou Dawson February 21st, 2013 10:35 am

    John, I have the K2 catalog right here, 2013/14, no more Backup. That’s one reason the ski is easy to find on a deal. It’s an excellent ski and is current for this model year, 2012/13. We will not know what the real replacement is, if any, until they are actually tested on-snow. Lou

  4. Rob S February 21st, 2013 10:55 am

    Scott – the DPS 112 is an amazingly fun ski in powder, but if you are only planning to spend 15% of time off piste, it’s not the ski I’d focus on. They can be fun on groomers as they are very, very agile, but they are a bit sketchy if it’s the least bit icy….with all that rocker, you just don’t have as much edge underfoot. Can’t speak to the Nunatuk, I’m afraid.

  5. John Iltis February 21st, 2013 12:07 pm

    Yup, you’re right. It looks like the link is to 13/14 k2 euro catalog. And if that catalog is to be believed, In addition to keeping the backup, the euro’s get a new ski in the Backlite: 118/74/103 @ 1150gr.

  6. Phil Miller February 21st, 2013 2:06 pm

    I just got a 2012 K2 Backup from for 150 bucks a couple of weeks ago. Skied on ’em last Monday for the first time. Great skis! They will definitely be my go to spring skis. The 2012 has rocker, previous years do not. They had really good deals on Shuksan’s too if someone isn’t all that crazy about width.
    I like a little width, but for California skier who does more than half of my skiing on spring snow, 90 is about all I can use, and having to beef up boots to handle wider skis, and beefier tele bindings to handle the beefier boots and bindings, and… it just all spirals out of control to solve a problem I don’t have. And I’m light enough that I floated pretty easily on 70mm underfoot, if they were long enough.

  7. Tim K February 21st, 2013 2:56 pm

    That Evo deal is done.. scored a set for the g-friend(on Lou’s recommendation) … she loves her’s (shorter) I tried to get a set and the were back up to a real #….

  8. Lou Dawson February 21st, 2013 3:37 pm

    Phil, you have to be kidding! That is incredible. Good shopping chops there guy.

  9. Bill February 21st, 2013 3:40 pm

    @ Scott,
    The Nunataq is very fun inside the resort, it can carve a wide fast one and did have pretty good edge hold (at least when it still had a tune the first week or so they were out of the box, I’m lazy on taking care of edges). Because its soft and has a very low profile rocker (looks almost flat) you can intentionally wash it out really easily at high speed and move from a long to short-radius turn in a very short distance. Quick enough in the trees, not particularly fun in the bumps, fine enough all around but probably not as fun on-piste as some other narrower models with traditional tails but some early rise like many K2s currently feature. I’m light (130lbs) and ski the 177, its plenty stable in crud for me, but because its so soft (compared to for instance, the regular Volkl Gotama) maybe a heavier skier would disagre on stability? Overall, I think its a great ski and enjoy skiing it on inside-the-rope days just fine

  10. Tom Gos February 21st, 2013 4:41 pm

    Lou, do you know if this is the complete group of skis that Alpin tested in these categories, or if these are only the mostly highly ranked? There are some skis I’m surprised not to see here such as the Dynastar Cham HM 107, just wondering if they didn’t like these skis or didn’t test them.

  11. Lou Dawson February 21st, 2013 5:35 pm

    Tom, Olaf (editor) told me some time ago that indeed they only publish the best. Also, some companies don’t choose to supply skis, or a given ski is not available at the time. This sort of ski review will never include everything, it’s sort of an extended version of our Ultimate Quiver review. If you’re convinced a ski is good, and it gets good reviews elsewhere, I wouldn’t be concerned about whether Alpin covers it or not. We think Alpin completely tests a broad enough base of skis to be valid, which is why we publish.

    Others will notice no DPS, no Dynafit, etc.

    Olaf told me one reason some companies don’t supply skis is they don’t like the way Alpin picks just a few overall winners. We quite like that, so we do everything we can to support Olaf and Alpin.

  12. Lou Dawson February 21st, 2013 6:59 pm

    P.S., as we keep getting accusations of being Dynafit biased, naysayers might note the we just published a ski review with no Dynafit skis (sadly, I might add with a grin).

  13. Mark Worley February 21st, 2013 9:31 pm

    Weird, as the did include some odd ski that retails for $1700 dollars.

  14. Lou Dawson February 22nd, 2013 5:23 am

    Could have been they wanted to show how paying a ton of money doesn’t necessarily result in an exceptional ski, just an empty wallet.

  15. coastranger February 22nd, 2013 7:13 am

    K2 Backdrop 142/112/131 NOT 142/118?/ 131 like the review says. Come on guys get it right if you are gonna right a review. I have lots of miles on mine and am very pleased with it in all conditions. I dont find the ski sluggish like the review says at all. K2 is not changing a thing for this ski for 2014.

  16. Lou Dawson February 22nd, 2013 8:39 am

    Coast, thanks, we indeed try to get it right, with your help that’s possible. Looks like that was just a typo in the Alpin graphic. I can’t fix there but will do so in the text if it needs it. Lou

  17. Dave February 22nd, 2013 9:37 am

    Mountain Wave skis available in Deutschland and the UK. (

    I’m liking the “Personal Jesus” model.

  18. JonM February 22nd, 2013 10:20 am

    Always enjoy Alpin’s reviews. Thanks Lou.
    Some comparison data is very handy such as ski performance in difficult conditions, edging, turn size, steep slopes, etc…

    Some data is humorous such as suitability for distance touring. The TX97 only gets one star and the fat/heavy Carbon Megawatt beats it. Hmm.
    Of course I think using tech bindings would improve the distance touring capability of any of those skis rather than using the bindings pictured.

    Translation fix regarding the Himalaya: They have never tested a ski with a tip that yields (soft) ever before, not ‘broad’ .

  19. David Gerrard February 23rd, 2013 4:57 am

    Quite right re translation, guilty as charged. 20 lashes administered, miscreant obliged to ascend his next 1000m of vertical with skins attached in reverse. Recent purchase of varifocal spectacles remedy for future incidents. Apologies to all seeking a ski with the broadest tip out there.

  20. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 7:34 am

    I edited the translation. Thanks Jon and David!!!

  21. Matt Kinney February 23rd, 2013 11:15 am

    Beating up my second pair of BD Drifts so am glad to see it very high on the above list. I’m on the new “cam0” colored top sheet 2013 version. I think the skis dimensions are perfect. Not to much,not too little. I really enjoy reading this review sheet. Thanks lou. It shows some skis may be overrated or hyped on the US side of the ocean.
    I am so amazed with the ski in powder.

    BTW the Drift handles the hard pack ok as long as you got one foot forward. 🙂

  22. PeteH February 24th, 2013 10:06 am

    I’ve been skiing the Nunataq as my powder / all-around touring ski this year and have been happy with them. I wouldn’t say they are soft at all, they just have very minimal camber.

    I recently ordered a pair of Nanuqs as my spring / summer / mountain ski. I waffled between these and the Elan Himalayas but was eventually scared off the Himalayas because of the ridiculously soft tip. The review appears flawed though in citing the Himalaya as having a higher weight index as the Nanuq or Drift. The Himalaya is incredibly light – under 7 lbs in the 184.

  23. Lou Dawson February 24th, 2013 11:33 am

    Pete, thanks for chiming in. I was on the Nunataq yesterday for a few test runs at resort (chopped up powder and some groom). They continue to amaze, perhaps the most “natural” ski for my own technique I’ve been on in a while. In other words, I didn’t find myself adjusting my technique for the ski. Everyone is different, so shopper beware, but they’re sure still worth looking at and I’m totally not surprised at their top spot in the review.

    I’m not clear on how Alpin does their weight index, it’s probably just a general guideline.


  24. msulkers February 24th, 2013 11:51 pm

    Matt, I find this year’s Drift handles our hard pack very well and was surprised that it was panned for hard snow performance. It isn’t a stable at high speed ski, but I find it carves very well on piste. Certainly shines in the soft stuff, however.

  25. Dan February 25th, 2013 9:24 am

    Nunataqs: For anyone thinking about purchasing a pair of Nunataqs, or for those skiers who have yet to check out any of the “fatter” skis for touring, I first tried the Nunataqs in Dec. on deep N. Cascades powder. My Aspects, which I love, simply could not handle those conditions. I have shied away from the fatter skis because of the weight. However, after those first 6 turns or so (it was very deep, moderately steep and a little drier than our typically relatively high moisture POW) I stopped to watch my partner, who was behind me on her DPS 112 Wailers for the first time in such conditions. All either of us could manage to get out of our mouths was “Holy S—t”. Briefly, except for long tours, the Aspects have been relegated to second position. A couple more points: We both thought that breaking trail was noticeably easier with the Nunataqs and the Wailers than with the Aspects (we both ski the Aspects) in spite of the extra weight. However, when skinning on an existing skin track, we both agree that the extra weight is noticeable. Also, we ski in trees a lot and we thought the Nunataqs and Wailers are every bit as nimble as the Aspects, at least in soft snow conditions. Additionally, we frequently ski the Whistler back-country. Those days can be long tours and I dread skiing out on the long, hard, usually icy cat track and Olympic run (green)…my knees hurt, I’m tired and generally it is dark or near dark. While the Nunataqs and Wailers do not turn that ski-out into fresh roy joy, they most definitely make it easier and more pleaseant. For reference, skiing skill-wise, we are both basic middle-of-the-pack back-country skiers. In an effort to compensate for the extra weight, lately I have been skiing the Nunataqs in my TLT5s and that combo seems to work fine. Although, my feet are warmer in the Dynafit ONEs. One last item. I was offered the Nunataqs at a very low price. I did not want them and I thought that i did not need them. Still, at $350…So, thanks to the Wildsnow Nunataq review, which I usually take with a grain of salt because the usual Wildsnow ski testers are folks that could probably ski with rock shoes duct-taped to barrel staves, I bought those suckers and have been smiling every time I ski them.

  26. Steeplechase February 25th, 2013 10:12 am

    Looking forward to part two, the 95mm – reviews.

  27. Lou Dawson February 25th, 2013 2:03 pm

    Some of the WildSnow testers are indeed pretty good skiers. Me, I do ok when I’m on it but past my prime so I make a good tester for the everyman. This year’s Ultimate Quiver will be even more refined, but one thing for sure is the Nunataq will be in there since it will be retailed next winter. Lou

  28. Mike K February 26th, 2013 3:45 pm

    K2 Back drop is an awesome ski, I love mine!!

  29. Lou Dawson February 26th, 2013 5:33 pm

    I heard from a K2 spokesperson about the mystery of the Back Up ski.

    “The Back Up (Backup) is only going to be offered in the European distribution for 13/14, not the US.”

    Backdrop is in the 2013-14 North America catalog.

    So, if you Backup and you’re somewhere other than Europe, it’ll be time for Telemark Pyrenees.

  30. Chase Harrison February 27th, 2013 8:48 am

    Mini ski review from reader Chase Harrison

    A few days ago I skied on the BD Warrant (130/95/118) in nine inches of powder. I know this ski probably falls into Alpin’s narrower ski category (please bring us your translation of that). But with a monster shovel and no rocker, this ski is incredibly versatile. I have been skiing on both the Kilowatt and Verdict for the past several years — my take is the Warrant is the Kilowatt on steroids. The other thing I liked about this ski is with the more defined side cut you have better edge control, it holds really well on hard snow and it has a tighter turning radius. I don’t think I would totally give up my Verdicts for touring but with the bigger shovel this ski could handle any thing the side country or back country can dish out. If I can come up with a pair, it’ll probably be the top ski in my quiver.

  31. jonah August 20th, 2013 9:14 pm

    Hi Lou,
    i’m looking for a pair of rando race skis this season. i am not a racer. but have been on race gear multiple times. i really like the ski trab world cup.
    but with all the choices, and not being in the know with the race circles. would you please suggest a few brands? i would greatly appreciate it. thank you for your time

  32. TimZ August 27th, 2013 9:55 am

    All due respect for Lou, et al, you might find a better answer over at
    Look here:

  33. Lou Dawson August 27th, 2013 11:30 am

    Jonah, with all due respect to those who would point to our betters (grin), I’d say you can’t go wrong looking at Trab or Voile for “citizen” skimo race skis. Lou

  34. Ty Sorensen August 28th, 2013 10:33 am

    Great conversations going on and an even better concise review. We constantly have the age old discussion of weight vs. performance. Personally for me, I am young and in great shape so I will carry a heavier ski for increased performance. Where as some value the weight savings that allow for conserved energy for the ride down. It all comes down to personal preferences. I would like to see twin rocker skis thrown into the category for free-touring like the Armada JJ or Line Sir Francis Bacon for example. they are much heavier than a traditional touring ski but allow a skier to hit much bigger lines and stomp bigger landings, even switch. This type of ski allows you to butter and slash through turns like you’re riding a wave, which is an emerging trend and style for younger skiers. So, just some more to chew on and I guess like I said in the beginning that it all boils down to user preference and riding style. It will be interesting to see where free-touring goes in the next 10 years. Thanks!

  35. Lou Dawson August 28th, 2013 10:46 am

    Ty, your point is well taken, but some skis are lighter and perform just as well as equivalent brands/models that are heavier. There is no reason to always equate weight with performance. The two things can interrelate, but not always. Keep an open mind — it sounds like you are. Lou

  36. jonah September 3rd, 2013 9:50 pm

    ok, thank you!

  37. Thomas September 26th, 2013 8:13 am

    Hi Lou, i like the ski Hagan Daemon 184 cm / 124-93-114, rocker 35 cm, 5D profil, very low weight 3,2 kg/177. Stable freeride-touring skis.. Actually test ( tester weight 260lb /118 kg) , look here:

  38. Michel December 13th, 2013 5:16 am

    You can order the Mountain Wave Diplomat on–mountain_wave_ski.html

  39. xav December 17th, 2013 8:24 am

    Just got myself a pair of K2 Backups with Verticals. Can’t believe how good they ski! Relatively light, damp and forgiving with a decent edge hold. A great ski for European nonpowdery & unstable conditions.

  40. Ryan December 9th, 2014 2:54 pm

    Great website and review. I am seriously interested in the Volkl Nanuq. I am just a little intrigued but the sentence, “It’s pretty funny seeing call this a “telemark ski” in the capsule review. I was hoping to use this for telemark and although I know you guys aren’t huge tele fans would love to know your opinions on whether it would suit that purpose. I intend to do 50/50 on/off piste, all tele, west coast, probably 22 designs axel bindings or similar (toe pivot system).
    Thanks in advance,

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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