WildSnow Quiver Arrow of the Week – La Sportiva Lo5 188 cm

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 7, 2013      

Tony Nitti

The do-everything backcountry ski is as sought after — and elusive — as sasquatch. But lo(5) and behold, from longtime mountaineering giant La Sportiva: the 1,678 grams per ski (188), 95-mm underfoot Lo5. This could be what many human powered skiers are searching for.

La Sportiva Lo5 backcountry ski for mountaineering.

La Sportiva Lo5. Slightly below average in weight according to an ongoing study we're doing. Well liked in our testing, could be a desirable tool for backcountry skiers wanting a do-it-all plank in the 95 mm waist width range. We're not big fans of the left-right dedicated graphics, but how skis look is not our focus. On the other hand, as always we'd like to see them in a lighter color to prevent top icing. Click image to enlarge.

First, my background: I’m 6’0”, 175 lbs and do the majority of my backcountry skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado, with a few rando races thrown in. I ski the Dynafit One boot for quiver testing.

La Sportiva Lo5

Length tested: 188
Other lengths: 168, 178
Dimensions: 125/95/115 (actual measured on the 188 tester, 123/93/113)
Turn radius: 17m (168), 18m (178), 19m (188)
Weight (in grams, per ski): 1530 (168, unverified), 1635 (178 unverified), 1678 (188 verified)

In recent years, it appears many ski manufactures are narrowing the gap between their alpine and off-piste offerings; with backcountry ski models luring powder-hungry consumers with ever-expanding waists and substantial tip and tail rocker. And while those attributes certainly have their place in the backcountry, there is something to be said for a ski that pursues utility.

That is what’s refreshing about the La Sportiva Lo5; it is truly built with a backcountry tour — and all of its ancillary considerations — in mind. To wit, the Lo5 eschews a rockered rear for a traditional flat tail, which makes for easier kick-turns when ascending steep switchbacks and provides a sturdy surface for a snow anchor, two advantages you likely won’t fully appreciate until you most need them.

And while the 95-mm underfoot width of the Lo5 provides ample girth, La Sportiva understood that in order to ski from a summit, you’ve got to get there first. By pairing carbon fiber and fiberglass laminates with a karuba paulownia wood core, the Lo5 provides a below average weight (according to a study we’re doing here at WildSnow).

Lastly, the Lo5 offers an often under appreciated feature: holes in the tip and tail that serve two purposes: they can be used to affix La Sportiva’s custom HiGlide pre-cut skins, and should the need arise, can also aid in the construction of a rescue sled.

Before we move on, one brief comment on the La Sportiva pre-cut skins you can buy along with La Sportiva skis: If it seems as though every ski manufacturer now offers its own skin option, it’s because they nearly do. And while some are a long way from dialing it in, I absolutely loved the HiGlide skins (Swiss made, sourced from Pomoca). HiGlides are light in weight, securely attach via the same system used by K2, and the nylon-mohair mix material glides and climbs as needed.

Having said all of that, how does the Lo5 actually ski?

First, in full disclosure, I don’t have an affinity for skis with 90 to 100-mm underfoot. To me, that range represents a bit of a dead zone: on hard-pack or spring corn, I prefer something with an 88-mm waist or narrower, and when there’s powder to be skied, I like my skis fat, with a minimum waist of 105 mm. In that 90 to 100 mm nether region, I find that many skis struggle with their identity; are they best served as hard snow or soft snow skis?

Specific to the Lo5, while the comparatively narrow waist and traditional camber underfoot would appear to signify a ski that’s a tool for firm snow conditions, the 354 mm of rocker under its 125 mm wide tip told me differently: this is a ski that wants to float.

And that’s precisely what the Lo5 did best. In half a dozen tours ranging from ankle to knee-deep power, I never longed for a fatter ski. While it’s not impossible to bury the shovel of the Lo5 as it is with some of the more dramatically-rockered skis on the market, the soft, wide, early rise tips provided substantial float and made for effortless powder turns.

Those light weight, early-rise tips do come with a price, however. While the Lo5 confidently lays an edge in early morning ski resort corduroy, on hard-pack or frozen snow you will likely experience a bit of tip chatter that can be unnerving at high speeds. Some have questioned whether moving the recommended mounting point of the ski forward a centimeter or so may change the contact point of the ski and eliminate the chatter. We haven’t had a chance to give that a try at Wildsnow HQ just yet, but it would be worth some tinkering, because this is the only downside I experienced in all my time driving the Lo5.

In this review I echo a concern voiced by many about the unnerving chatter in the Lo5 early-rise tips when skiing on hard-pack, and questioned whether a small move forward from the factory-recommended mounting point would solve the issue. Well, as you might imagine, my conjuncture wasn’t good enough for Lou, and he went through the trouble to remount the skis for additional testing.

As suspected, a slightly more forward position greatly reduced the disconcerting rattle, and it did not appear to negatively impact the soft-snow performance of the skis. This is likely due to the rockered nature of the shovel, which prevents tip dive even with the more aggressive mounting position. Something to consider if you’d like to improve the hard-snow performance of your Lo5s.

(Note that Lo5 was introduced last season, and will continue retailing for next season so it’s a contender for our next Ultimate Quiver. Hence our review. LaSportiva will also retail a new ski with the same Lo5 dimensions but beefier construction, the Mega Lo5. We evaluated the Mega and found it to be too heavy for inclusion in our Ultimate Quiver of skis for human powered riders, but it’ll be worth looking at if you want a combo resort and sidecountry board.)

Our verdict? We’re not sure a how likely Lo5 is for inclusion is in our new Ultimate Quiver (we don’t decide till most of our testing is done), but can say with confidence that the Lo5 will make the overwhelming majority of backcountry users very happy, as it performs well in all aspects. Lo5 climbs easily and with pace, leaving plenty in the legs for a second lap. Its flat tail and tip and tail holes — while a departure from recent trends — are wonderfully functional. And most importantly, when you drop into a slope of virgin powder, the Lo5 will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Shop for Lo5, may be out of stock.

(Guest blogger Tony Nitti is a CPA specializing in tax planning. He lives in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado with his wife and two children. When he’s not skiing or rando racing, he has fun writing about tax policy at Forbes.com, so he’s uniquely prepared for battering at the hands of extremely passionate commenters and talk show hosts such as he-who-shall-not-be-named.)


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67 Responses to “WildSnow Quiver Arrow of the Week – La Sportiva Lo5 188 cm”

  1. Samuel Savard March 7th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the review, I’ve seen those at the store last week, and I was wondering… too bad for the tip chatter…..

  2. Pavel March 7th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I’m somewhat new to backcountry and got these boards as the only arrow in my quiver 3 months ago. Have about 12 days on them and like them a whole lot. They seem really versatile as I found they do well in all sorts of conditions. It’s no surprise the tip gets a little chattery as it’s a) an early rise tip and b) a fairly wide shovel in the front. It’s just the nature of the beast – can’t have the early riser and also have it stick to the snow (one or the other 😉

    Couple questions I’d like to ask this friendly community:

    1) Have anyone skied these boards and the Manaslu? Would love to compare these two. Logically, it seems the Lo5 would ski better the hard stuff and crud but there’s a weight penalty (not much but some nevertheless) so I’m wondering if the better performance is worth it. We could debate all day based on reviews etc. but I’m wondering if anyone has a real life experience with both.

    2) I had mine mounted for a Black Diamond 28 size boots and have bought the Dynafit TLT5 Performance, which have a significantly shorter sole length. I’m now debating if I should remount the heel piece or the toe piece … when I click the TLT5 boot in the toe piece, it now sits about .5 mm in front of the ski center mark. Some recommend to mount the boot a bit behind the mark to improve floating in pow while others (e.g. the review above) would suggest mounting it slightly forward to improve performance on hard pack.

    Decisions, decisions.

  3. Lou Dawson March 7th, 2013 1:02 pm

    Pavel, are you joking, .5 mm? Don’t remount for that! Even a few millimeters will make no difference. Has to be at least a centimeter to really make a difference. Lou

  4. Charlie March 7th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Agreed – 0.5 mm, or even 5 mm, isn’t worth a remount. On a 180 cm ski, 5 mm is 0.2% of the length of the ski, and perhaps 0.5% of the distance between the contact points.

    Furthermore, shifting the toepiece (which is the only way to move boot center with respect to the ski) by less than a centimeter will run into trouble with screw hole overlap. Any change in performance you’ve felt is more likely to be from a difference in boots than in a small boot center shift, IMHO.

    “Have about 12 days on them and like them a whole lot. They seem really versatile as I found they do well in all sorts of conditions.” sounds like exactly what you want from a ski. Enjoy them, don’t perforate them :)!

  5. Pavel March 7th, 2013 1:33 pm

    Hey guys… you’re indeed correct but the boot is too short so I have to remount either the toe or the heel so am deciding between which one to move. I have to move it at least 10 mm.

    And I don’t like to “perforate” skis (I know, Lou, you’re fine with redrilling a couple times) … anyway, I don’t mind re-drilling but was thinking with all the sales going on right now, hey, might be a good excuse to pick up something either lighter (spring season is upon us) or better performing. That’s why I was asking about the Manaslus.

    So what do you, guys, think… pull the boot backwards or leave it forward? (again, I have to do this unless I want to ski the telemark style ;- )

  6. tony nitti March 7th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Pavel, while you work out your remount issue, in additional to getting the chance to review the Lo 5, I ski the Manaslu as my regular spring bc ski, albeit in a 178 as opposed to the 188 Lo 5 I played around on.

    My general observations trend towards the obvious; the Lo 5 was a better powder plank courtesy of its early rise, wide tip. The Manaslu was lighter for the commute uphill.

    Surprisingly, however, I found that I enjoyed the Lo 5 a bit more than the Manaslu on the hardpack BECAUSE their was a bit more girth to the ski, even with the tip chatter.

    If I could only pick one, I would perfer the Lo 5.

  7. Pavel March 7th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Thank you, Tony, for sharing your experience – it’s hard to find folks who ski the Lo5 (guess that makes us special ;- ) and even harder who ski also the Manaslu.

  8. vildeke March 7th, 2013 1:49 pm

    on remounting … I’ve got some 11/12 Atomic Freedream’s (171cm, me being 172cm) … where I’ve got the feeling I’ve got way to much ski in front of my boots. Did some research on the web and found similar findings … would it be possible to move my boot (and bindings) like 2 cmd to the front? or what is the limiting factor for remounting? [if there is a post on this … let me know … just jumped the (off Lo5 ski) topic here

    thanks in advance,

  9. Charlie March 7th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Pavel, Which bindings do you have?

    Are they out of adjustment range, so the heel pins can’t engage? What was the change in boot sole length? Googling, TLT5 in a 28 looks like 307 mm, BD in a 28 looks like 328 mm. Sounds like boot center moved by 10.5 mm, not 0.5 mm.

    In general I’d prefer to remount the heel, not the toe. The strength of the toe mount is more important, in my opinion. If boot center did move by 10 mm, then you could remount on the ski’s boot center mark by moving the toepiece. G’luck!

  10. Stano March 7th, 2013 2:39 pm

    Pavel, I ski the Manaslus for last 2 seasons and recently picked up Broad Peaks. I recommend you give those a good look for a spring/summer ski, I really like them (mine are 176cm at 112-74-96). They ski quite well even in powder.

  11. Pavel March 7th, 2013 3:05 pm

    I’ve got the Dynafit Vertical ST bindings and if I push the heel all the way forward, the space between the boot heal/rim and the binding wall is about 8 mm, which is about 4 mm too short.The pins only engage by 3 mm or so (I’m doing this a little bit by memory and estimation).
    The shop mounted the bindings in a way that they have more leeway to be pulled backwards and only about 10 mm to be pulled forward.
    The boot sole lengths are 307 for the TLT5P’s and 320 for the BD Prime’s BUT… the boots are both different so you can’t just simply subtract the sole lengths.

    Long-short, the question is more generic – is it better to be more forward on these skis than backwards … thinking through this… I prefer being more forward in general but I’m not a stellar powder rider so I thought being a bit more backwards would make it easier for me to make the tips float.

    It’s really 10 mm of a difference we’re talking about so I’ll just probably flip the coin 😉

    Thanks, guys, for all the input.

  12. Pavel March 7th, 2013 3:07 pm

    Thank you for the reco – I’ll check out the Broad Peaks (have been considering some of the narrower Dynafit boards for spring/summer but was hoping I could make it easier on my wallet if I picked the Manaslus as my quiver of one … hey, I know it’s a Utopia idea but better one arrow in the quiver than none ;- )

  13. Brian March 7th, 2013 10:48 pm

    Timely review. I’ll be penning one soon, as well.

    I have a pair of these in a 168. I wanted a mountaineering ski, short and capable for the long way in here in AK but with the early rise that could handle some tricky snow conditions. The Lo5 delivers in that way. However, these are relatively heavy compared to my other ski of similar dimensions, the Manaslu. I ski it in a 178 and with Plum 165s each ski weighs in at 1617 gms. My Lo5 in a 168 (10 cm shorter) and the same Plum binding tips the scales at 1755 gms.

    It’s hard for me to justify carrying more weight for less ski in this situation. With Dynafit raising the bar with the Cho Oyu next fall, it will be interesting to see what the others do to keep up.

  14. Lou Dawson March 8th, 2013 7:23 am

    Brian, thanks for your take. Had a few people drop by with the “come to my party down the block” types of comments. Yours is a good example of the “my party is down the block, but I’ll hang out here as well” type of comment. Go ahead and drop in a link to your review when you get it done.

    As for weight, yes, according to our weight scoring system (figures surface area of ski vs weight), here is where the Lo5 stacks in with a few examples (edited to reflect the latest iteration of our spreadsheet):

    Coomback score 94
    Lo5 score 86
    Manaslu (mens) score 78
    Goode score 70
    Dynafit Cho Oyu 69 !!! The lightest ski we’ve ever evaluated per our surface area calcs, bear in mind that skis in our weight scoring are virtually the same when within 2 points of each other or so.

    I’m still building our weight scoring system, but can say that while Lo5 is not a “heavy” ski, it is above our present running average of weight score 82 for a dozen various skis I’ve done the math on. This is typical, actually, as it would be unusual for a ski company to do something revolutionary on their first try with getting an amazing performance/weight ratio.(Making a revolutionary ski requires a huge amount of on-snow prototype testing, something most ski companies simply are not geared up for and/or don’t have the money for.) Last I heard, the Sportivas were made by Tua. He’s a good ski maker, but appears pretty traditional in terms of construction so due to that we’re going to get average weight with perhaps some tweaked geometry.

    Bear in mind our weight scoring system is not a simple comparison, it tries to include the skis girth. In terms of outright comparison of one ski to another in weight, compensated for length (weight/length with length being true unrolled length) the Lo5 is just average at score 9, compared to our mean of score 8. Best for length vs weight is the Goode, with Dynaift Manaslu womens a close runner up (but not as wide as the Goode). Current Manaslu men’s is still light, but not the same construction as the womens which shows as the weight calcs out as more per centimeter of length than the women’s. Men’s version ‘Slu skis better on hardpack, but for a dedicated powder board I’ve been using the women’s Manaslu, the white ones, and am very happy with that ski for what it is, though when I’ve feeling like hauling them around I’ve been enjoying something wider. More on this later when I get more skis into the spreadsheet.

    ‘best, Lou

  15. Colin Lantz March 8th, 2013 10:51 am

    Hi All, Just an FYI from sportiva – the boards pictured here are actually pre-production. The production graphics got a minor tweak – better IMO – writing is yellow instead of white with the Lo5 hand on the top sheet also. There were no changes to the construction or performance – production models should ski just as reviewed here . You can see the final production graphics here if you like – http://www.sportiva.com/products/ski/skis/lo5

    Also, Tony provided a “Shop for Lo5, may be out of stock” link at the end of the review. The link goes to backcountry.com. They are indeed out of stock but we just recently got replenished on Lo5’s and bc.com should have some in stock in a day or two. If anybody is interested to get the LO5 and has trouble finding them feel free to call our cust serv at 303-443-8710 and they can direct to a dealer or online source that has them.

  16. Lou Dawson March 8th, 2013 11:02 am

    Thanks Colin!

  17. Rob Coppolillo March 8th, 2013 7:53 pm

    Indeed, skied the Mega Lo5 at a test last week…and enjoyed it, but thought the weight would preclude it being a mostly-touring ski. That said, I agree with the review here–super versatile, great construction, and a worthy ski. Wish I’d skied the lighter version, too!

  18. Lou Dawson March 9th, 2013 6:15 am

    Hi Rob, yeah, the Mega didn’t make our weight cut for a human powered ski so we didn’t waste time testing it. In fact, it was surprisingly heavy for a ski with a mountaineering brand. Lo5 is light enough to make our cut for testing and we’re skiing it quite a bit (even experimenting with boot position on ski), but is still above average in weight according to how we’re evaluating here at wildsnow.

  19. Rob Coppolillo March 9th, 2013 4:10 pm

    Yeah, indeed Lou…I didn’t quite know which version I had when I pulled it off the rack…and was immediately struck by its weight. It’d be cool to do a side-by-side comparison, see what the additional mass does for its skiing. Anyway, fun reading all the stuff and keep up the good work…love the info! RC

  20. Pavel March 11th, 2013 5:33 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing the surface-to-weight calculator. I implemented the formula Jonathan posted in Nov 2011 (http://www.wildsnow.com/6270/ski-surface-to-weight-rati/) and am getting quite different results than what you listed in your comment above … so that tells me you’ve got something new up your sleeve (can’t wait).

    Would you consider reviewing the lighter La Sportiva models? E.g. the GT seems like a very viable candidate weight- and dimension-wise and the few reviews I’ve seen speak favorably of them. Or the RST?

    Thank you for your awesome website, and also to the friendly community here for all the input.

  21. Lou Dawson March 11th, 2013 8:34 pm

    Pavel, I’m not going to go into much detail on it. My method does use two trapezoids like what Jonathan was doing but involves at least as much if not more estimating, rounding and averaging. I have some skis in several different lengths with same construction, and used those as controls while experimenting with different methods. Like what Jonathan was working on, we simply calculated with two imaginary trapezoids, with some compensation for tip shape, and a percentage for where the trapezoids are located in relation to length of ski. I did NOT attempt to get an exact weight per square mm, instead, I attempted to fit all the skis on chart that relates them to each other. Someone else can do the exact weight thing, which would involve calculating with the sidecut curves and all.

    What I did do was measure the skis accurately in terms of unrolled length and tip/waist/tail, and weighed them accurately. I found those things to be very important, and slight variations would throw things off. So having skis physically in hand for measurement is the only meaningful way to do this. Catalog weights and dimensions have no use.

    Like Jonathan, our scoring system picks out weight “categories.” When two skis are within a few points of each other, they’re virtually the same. Unlike Jonathan, I didn’t use percentages but rather a numeric scale that starts with a number for the lightest ski tested, and goes up from there. I’ll get into a bit more detail, but my only intention is to group the skis into weight categories, not quibble about grams or how the tip shape was measured. The method seems to work for that.

    One interesting finding is that while shorter skis are of course overall lighter, long skis give more bang for the buck when it comes to surface area per gram. In our spreadsheet, I also included a simple weight per centimeter length score, that’s heavily rounded and averaged, again so we can place the skis in a series of categories.

    Along with all this, I kept in mind that the same ski model can vary in weight from ski to ski, so it’s important to average and round the results rather than nit picking.


  22. Charlie March 11th, 2013 9:05 pm

    Wow, as Lou was typing, I’d been plotting surface area (instead of girth and weight per unit length, as I’ve done in the past) from Off Piste data to add context to whatever Lou turns out in the future.

    Without any compensation for tip shape, for skis from 2004-2012, I have a plot here: http://measuredmass.com/2013/03/11/ski-density/

    It’s quite clear that a generation of skis like the Cho Oyu really are quite light in comparison to even this season’s present offerings / construction methods. Let’s hope they’re strong enough to stand up to real usage (creek crossings, heavy packs, and the like).

    Unrolled length really should matter; as will the location of the widest parts of the ski along the ski’s length. The pintailed Cho Oyu, 5-point sidecuts like the RMU Apostle, and the clever Icelantic Shamans all need different approximations.

    Any indirect method of capturing ski area (using dimensions) will always have caveats. Direct methods might include cutting out butcher paper templates that match the ski’s base and weighing them or photographically summing up their base area.

  23. Lou Dawson March 12th, 2013 7:20 am

    Charlie, my method is only intended to give the skis a weight score and compare them to each other. It’s not intended to split hairs. Your scatter chart is similar in that it ends up giving a nice view of skis in relationship to one another.

    In my system it does make a difference to pick an average percentage of total length for the ski sidecut midpoint used in the calculations. But moving that a bit makes no difference in my system as the difference in the amount of material ending up in the calculations is very small. So I just used one split in my formula, for an imaginary midpoint forming the ends of the two trapezoids I ended up using 42 and 58 percent of the unrolled length.

    Main thing I found is that for meaningful comparison in terms of scoring the skis on a weight scale it’s necessary to have the ski physically present, so it can be weighed and measured. The unrolled lengths are super important as the published lengths of skis are all over the map, but some widths are nearly 2 mm different in width than catalog dimensions, as catalog dimensions are usually not the “finished” dimensions after the final factory tune, but rather the dimensions the ski is manufactured at. The shape of the tip and tail are not that big a deal, but since they’re a percentage of the whole I found I had to compensate somewhat for tip and tail shape due to us working with various lengths of skis. If all our test skis were nearly the same length, there would be no need for tip and tail shape compensation.

    For your type of comparo I think just basic dimensions are fine, but in our case we needed it a bit tighter, as some of our skis were ending up in the wrong place on our scale until I measured with care as well as introducing a bit of compensation for tip shape.

    At any rate, we have something useful for our ski reviews, and I’ll probably not go any farther with it. As you allude to, getting it closer to perfect would require a method to calculate with the exact dimensions of the ski, which at the least would require a lot of work per ski and some heavy math.

  24. Charlie March 12th, 2013 10:37 am

    Agreed all around – ski length is hard to assess, and actual measurement is the arbiter of truth!

    Kudos for measuring the actual widths of skis too – as skis are pushed to be both light and wide, it’s easy to hedge downward in actual width vs claimed width. 1% in width (1 mm) is enough to pull a ski’s weight down from 1510 to 1495 g (half a carabiner’s mass!), which will make marketing a little easier…

  25. Lou Dawson March 12th, 2013 11:27 am

    Charlie, indeed! Thanks for the feedback. Hardly any of the skis I measured had the same girth widths as published. They’re usually at least 1 mm narrower. Annoying. And yes, I experimented and it did change the results a bit, but usually not enough to shift the skis around on the chart. Thus, not a big deal just something to get right to compensate for other stuff we have to estimate or average. Lou

  26. Dane March 15th, 2013 3:37 pm

    All kinds of parties going on, up and down the block. And different uses for skis. Looking forward to that review Brian.

  27. Dane March 24th, 2013 6:29 pm

    My 188cm Lo5s are *1780g* per ski on a certified scale. Heavier than quoted by La Sportiva. My Hi5s were heavier as well. Disappointing at best both times.

    I am questioning the rational of a suggested mounting point so far back on this ski? It is a full 6mm+ forward compared to a similar DPS or Dynafit. Anyone care to explain the reasoning behind that decision? The tips are nicely rockered but no wonder the Lo5 does well in pow…you are so far in the back seat why wouldn’t they?

  28. Lou Dawson March 24th, 2013 6:44 pm

    Our testers are 1678 grams per ski, so that’s right in there with your finding (skis rarely weigh exactly the same, and the bigger and heavier they are, sometimes the bigger the weight differences). Let’s just say they weigh an average of 1729 grams.

    They are not particularly lightweight skis, and neither are the Hi5, which I agree is disappointing.


  29. Dane March 24th, 2013 7:07 pm

    Thanks Lou. Dissappointing because the La Sportiva spec says 188cm are suppose to be 1550g. @ 1700g+ there are likely other 100mm skis as options. You’ve played with this stuff and much as anyone. Care to comment about the factory mide sole mark being so far to the rear. Had mine mounted this week and was a little shocked when I set them next to a DPS-Dynafit quiver. I immediatly went looking for the ski mark. If I had known (or paid attention) to that suggestion early on I seriously doubt I would have mounted the boots on the factory suggested mark. I’d haev coem here first to see what others have done. Guess I’ll just ski them tomorrow and see aht I think then.

    But I’d really like to hear others educated opinions on this one.

  30. Lou Dawson March 24th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Dane, one of the most bogus things you can do is just put different brands/models of skis side-by-side to compare boot position. Too many variables. It’s about how they ski, not how they look leaned against a wall. If the mark doesn’t look right to you, contact the company’s customer service first, and be sure they recommend using their marked position. If so, mount there and see how they ski. Fiddling around with boot position is a good way to end up with a ski full of binding screw holes. Fine for us here at WildSnow as that’s our job and they are usually not our skis (he he he).

    It is true that sometimes you’ll want to mount a ski slightly different than the factory mark, a centimeter or two. But you’d only do this after careful research and either consumer consensus, or recommendation from the company.

    ‘best, Lou

  31. Lou Dawson March 24th, 2013 8:11 pm

    BTW, the catalog for next year says the 188 Lo5 weighs 1780, which appears to be honest as it’s the exact weight you got, and close to ours (and is heavy). Where did you get your “quoted” weight? I only have the 2013/14 catalog. Lou

  32. Pavel March 24th, 2013 8:59 pm

    I’ve got mine mounted on the mount mark and I like the way they ski in powder, chopped up mess and hardpack as well. I think the farther back mount is a better option for this versatile ski. At least I personally find it easier to lean forward to make my skis engage better on hard pack (or ice) rather than having my bindings further forward and burn my thighs while trying to stay in the back seat in powder (or worse, in deep heavy snow).
    It’s definitely personal, though…

    Also, up above I was also asking folks about their opinion on the mounting position and have looked into this a bit since. There are a couple reasons why it may seem more backward: 1) The tails are completely flat (so you get the benefit of the full tail length unlike the slightly lifted tails on many current skis); 2) the tips are really long and pointy (while some other skis have more boxy/shorter tip shape).

    Lastly, the weight of my 178cm version is 1650g, which is only a hair from the now advertised 1635g. BUT… Sportiva used to advertise these as 1450g, which quite frankly was one of the key selling points I made my purchase decision on (so you could say I was tricked). But just so you know, I found this a common theme among most manufacturers as most skis I had a chance to weigh on scales were about 4 ounces heavier than what the OEM listed in their materials. On the other hand, using the mass-to-weight calculator found here on Wildsnow and other places around the Web, the Lo5’s are comparable with the Wayback and other skis considered fairly light for skimo.

  33. Dane March 24th, 2013 11:03 pm

    I am hoping Colin will chime in shortly on the mount location. I believe he helped design the ski.

    “one of the most bogus things you can do is just put different brands/models of skis side-by-side to compare boot position. Too many variables. It’s about how they ski, not how they look leaned against a wall.”

    It is all about how the skis ski..But I wouldn’t call it bogus. I’ve seen too many mistakes by everyone in the industry to stop asking some of the most obvious questions. Eliminate the rockered tip and you have a 160cm running base on a matched pair of 188cm skis. Mount point is at 77cm. And that is being generious by dropping all the rocker. No wonder the ski does well in Pow. And the tips get floppy at speed. The Hi5 does the same on both ccounts. I need to take a closer look at y Hi5s I guess.

    I have a number of buddies skiing the Lo5 and all have thought it much more ski than expected…..everywhere. Rave reviews for the most part. I just want to know what was left on the take by the rear mount. I suspect there was some, “left on the table”.

    Thanks Pavel. I went back and reread your comments. What did you settle on for a mount point? I am mounting a short pair of GTRs up this week with a Tech race binding. I’ll be sure to talk with Colin before I do. But I was looking for just a little more soft snow performance than what I get from my Broad Peaks.

    Lou, the weights are straight off the published La Sportiva sticker for the Lo5.
    168/1350, 178/1450, 188 1550. My GTRs came in 100g+/- heavy as well. Just as my Hi5s did.

    I like the LS ski designs of rockered tip and flat tail in the mtns and how they ski.
    I test gear and write it up as well. Just not a lot of ski gear. Weight is important and you need to be able to make purchases off the factory specs. Lots of 100mm under foot ski available. If you are looking for the lightest for a skimo rig it matters. As much as how they might ski. I got a pair of DPS 99s in last week that had the mid line a good 10+mm off from one ski to the other. As a tech..if you failed to measure both skis before dropping on the jig you’d be screwed. Or the customer would be. That was on a $1200 ski. So nice we have places like Wild Snow to make comparisons and ask questions.

    Some times it is the “bogus” ones that need to be asked…and then asked again. Till sxoemone comes up with a believable answer based on actual experience..


  34. Lou Dawson March 25th, 2013 6:32 am

    Dane, I didn’t say it was bogus to question where a boot position was, only that it was bogus to do so by comparing to other brands and models of skis.

    As for weight, stick around here and you’ll find we take it so seriously that sometimes people think we go to far.

    As for manufacturer stated weights in the outdoor sports industries, especially skiing, they are often wrong. That’s why we go to great effort to publish “real world” weights.

    Yes, this situation with weights is indeed bogus (grin), but for some reason under stating (lying, or mistakes, who knows) about weight is part of the culture and rarely does anyone make a real effort to change it. Why? Because when you’re honest in stating the ski’s weight, instead of buying your ski, someone will buy another brand of ski with a sticker that states a lighter weight, and trust that to be true.

    I’ve been dealing with this issue for years. Best I can tell, what often happens with ski weights is the spec you see in a catalog or on a sticker is a combination of wishful thinking, P.R. person optimism, and the weight of prototype skis that where made and weighed at the time they produced the printed materials. At that time, they didn’t have the production skis to weigh.

    Also, remember that skis vary in weight for a given model/length, so any stated weight is an average or a sample weight. But that variation should be minimal, not the type of difference we sometimes see in printed spec vs reality.

    This syndrome of wrong specified weight used to be more understandable given lengthy manufacturing cycles and such. But today’s technology and tight manufacturing make it less forgivable, in my opinion. If I was a consumer, I would feel totally justified in calling it a “trick.”


  35. Colin Lantz March 25th, 2013 11:08 am

    Lou – Pavel – Dane: Just caught up with these posts about weight and mounting location. Regarding the weights, Lou pretty much has it correct. For a new ski model we use the first skiable prototypes (which are also the salesman samples) to get the weight. Typically only one or two sizes is created at this early development stage and so we calculate the remaining sizes using a formula that is more or less 10g for each 1 cm in length adjusted for different width skis.

    When we went to press with our W12/13 dealer workbook the weights were based on these prototype/salesman samples. For the Lo5 this took place in about October of 2011. The POP product stickers that Dane mentions are produced in the early spring to be ready in time for the bulk production of the skis at the factory. In this case, that would have been about April 2012. The bulk production of the skis takes place in May/June. When we receive the skis in our warehouse the first thing we do is QC everything from graphics, to flex, to weights. We spot check 10% of the skis and if everything is in spec then we OK them to be shipped out to dealers. If something is out of spec then we start ratcheting up the spot check percentage and if we keep seeing issues then we check 100% of the production. In the case of the Lo5 we immediately saw that the weights were heavier than the protos and we duly changed the weights of the web site to what we found in the actual production and of course put the updated weight specs in the next (W13/14) dealer workbook. This was the first year we put the POP stickers on the skis. In hindsight, it probably would be safer to not print the weights on these.

    The product development cycle I’ve described above is pretty standard in the industry and is surely the cause of many weight inaccuracies published by ski manufacturers. It is what it is and we do our best to be accurate and transparent when it comes to technical specs on any piece of gear we put our name on. We understand that our customers are very technical and we feel that they deserve and require accurate product specs. It is not our intention to “trick” anyone.

    As for why the Lo5 came out heavier than the original protos, we are still investigating and trying to understand what happened. Weight variations of plus or minus 30 to 50 grams is not out of the ordinary for ski production. For typical traditional wet layup ski productions it is just impossible to 100% control the weight of the ski down to the gram. Wood is a natural material and it is practically impossible to verify that every ski core is exactly the same weight. The other big factor in weight variations is the amount of glue/resin applied and the amount that is squeezed out of the mold when it goes into the hydraulic press. It’s like building hundreds of paninis (Italian sandwiches) and expecting everyone to weigh exactly the same. Like I stated above +/- 30 or even +/-50 grams is OK, but in the case of the Lo5 we were seeing weights heavier by 180-200 grams. It’s not the weight we targeted for the ski but after getting tester and customer feedback we were very pleased with the performance of the ski at the production weight.

    Regarding the mounting location – here’s the how our process works to set the boot center. When we produce the protos/samples we set the boot center with the technical assistance of Mr. Tua. We then ski and check these “theoretical” boot centers using a set of the prototypes with a rental binding that allows you to move both the toe piece and the heel piece for and aft. Our test team does this here in Colorado and we duplicate the process with a test team in Italy at La Sportiva HQ in Ziano. Each test team is typically 3-4 people and we try to test in different conditions to make sure we are not soft snow or hard snow biased in the boot center location preference. Typically the theoretical bc is pretty damn close, e.g., the LO5 188 proto/sample was marked at 78cm from the tail and after checking/testing with the above method we moved it forward 1.5cm to 79.5cm. The boot center indicator on our skis is an arrow and this is stamped on the ski along with the serial number. Each ski is measured and the bc mark stamped according to our spec. For the Lo5 (measuring from the tail) the bc marks should be @70cm for the 168, @74.5cm for the 178, and @79.5 for the 188. So, that’s the skinny on how we set boot center. In the end this is a very personal preference as many experienced know and understand. Boot center should always be looked upon as a recommendation by the manufacturer and one that is chosen to best serve the largest part of the customer base.

    Hope that helps. My apologies for the weight discrepancies. We’ll try and control this on next years production and get the weight back in the target window originally spec’d in the Lo5 product brief. Based on the feedback we’ve been getting in other venues we’re pretty pleased with the way the Lo5 turned out. It seems to have hit a good balance between weight, surface area, and performance, with the latter being particularly praised. Peace out. — Colin

  36. Dane March 25th, 2013 11:40 am

    Colin, Lou,
    Your comments are much appreciated. No need to apologise for such a good ski. No doubt the Lo5 is a winner on performance. It is the reason I bought a pair 🙂

    Couple of short comments on the Lo5 performance here:



  37. Charlie March 25th, 2013 11:57 am

    Colin – please consider putting an errorbar on the weights of your skis. 1678±50 g will accurately signal your manufacturing control and set consumer expectations that you can meet or exceed. Elan’s current lineup has errorbars on their claimed weights.

    At the risk of link-spamming wildsnow, this post contains an easy algorithm for defining errorbars: http://measuredmass.com/about/ . With 10% of your production run randomly spot-checked, you should be able to determine the scatter in your output very well.


  38. Colin Lantz March 25th, 2013 12:07 pm

    Well noted Charlie — looked at the web page. Nice formula for calculating +/- standard deviations.

  39. Lou Dawson March 25th, 2013 12:22 pm

    Colin, we all owe you a big THANKS for taking the time to write that! Very informative and reflects well on you guys as a company. Lou

  40. Dane March 30th, 2013 12:22 am

    I got on the Lo5s for the first time myself today. No wonder this ski has gotten rave reviews! I knew it was good already after skiing (trying to catch) with a buddy all day in a huge storm while he was ripping hi Lo5ss. I went for a 188 and gotta say I am loving it. We went from 3 feet of new pow last week to almost instant spring conditions and a ton of corn today. It wasn’t the fastest snow I have ever seen but I was hitting the speed limit on every venue I tried and the ski still had plenty left. It is quick, it is solid and it is stable. And a perfect width for an all around ski here in the PNW these days. Enough tip rocker to get them to plane out of the slop/pow and turn with ease. The extra few grams that were missed first time around were never even a question after first run. The lo5 is a very well balanced and behaved ski. Easy to make this one a daily driver from mid winter powder to spring slush and the corn harvest. And the mid pount mount seems just fine 🙂 I’m in a 28 Dynafir One shell. FWIW the DPS 112RPC 192cm has almost the same mount point for BSL.

  41. Lou Dawson April 3rd, 2013 11:08 am

    In the review above, Tony mentions some tip chatter he experienced with his tester Lo5 pair. We re-mounted the bindings 1 cm forward and the chatter was greatly reduced. See addendum we added to the review above.

    While we have no way of knowing if going forward on the mount is something for everyone, it worked for Tony.


  42. Ian April 26th, 2013 5:48 pm

    Some of the Lo5 skis came with a sticker indicating that the center mark should be moved 1.5cm for 178 ans 2cm for 188 skis. I wonder if those skis are out of the pipeline or if they’re still around on shelves? I assume if you got a pair direct from LS they would be a corrected version.

  43. Dane April 28th, 2013 8:37 pm

    Interesting Ian. I am convinced the 188s and the 178s we own are both marked incorrectly and way too far back. In fact exactly we came up with exactly what you have quoted from the original info. 1.5cm for the 178 and a full 2cm on the 188s is where we remounted. The 188 visual reference was so clearly obvious. The sking even more so.

  44. Ian April 28th, 2013 8:59 pm

    Dane, my Lo5’s came directly from LS recently. I mounted bindings based on LS’ markings and the bindings are pretty far to the rear. However, moving the bindings forward 1.5cm wouldn’t change the appearance. I’m curious if LS can confirm if they have moved the indicator since they released the Lo5 in 2011 because my skis did not come with a sticker.

  45. Dane April 28th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Ian, I first noticed the lack of ski out front on my 188 Lo5s skiing them. And how the ski performed..or in this case didn’t as well as I thought it might. I made a mental note and then with a dozen pairs of similar style skis lined up against the wall and two obviously mounted to the rear (both Lo5s) caught my eye again. Again a 2nd mental note. Then I started asking around on wat others had done and thought of their Lo5s. Lou scoofed at the idea of a visual comparison. But they also made the effort to remount the Wild Snow Lo5s after skiing them and wondering if a forward mount would make a difference.

    I too would like to know what the story is of the sticker you mention compared to the current ski top skin mark. My skis came from La Sportiva rather recently as well. Hopefully Colin can chime in and give us some detail.

  46. Ian April 28th, 2013 9:25 pm
  47. Erik Erikson April 29th, 2013 1:12 am

    Still wondering if a change in mounting position of only one cm generally really makes a difference one can feell. I for myself have no experience in that matter, always mounted my skis to the factory mark. But now my boot position will move about one cm forward due to a boot change (toe piece will stay in the same place, but rear part of the binding will be moved forward) – can this really become a problem?
    I think in back country skiing the pack you usually wear should also play a quite big role. A pack of lets say 20 pounds on your back should distribute your weight much more to the rear as wearing no pack, so the binding in this case should be mounted a little more forward – am I right? And the factory reccomandations are probably made for skiers who do not wear a pack?!

  48. Lou Dawson April 29th, 2013 5:24 am

    Erik, as to if a person can feel a 1 cm difference in mount position, depends on the person and the situation. If your situation doesn’t involved remounting the bindings, carpe skium. Lou

  49. Art Judson April 29th, 2013 8:19 am

    Correction: The 1948 avalanche in Sheep Creek occurred on January 25, not January 30 as reported in my earlier post. The date of the article in the Summit County Journal was January 30.

  50. Lou Dawson April 29th, 2013 8:21 am

    Art, I already corrected your post (grin). Lou

  51. Erik Erikson April 29th, 2013 8:46 am

    Thanks, Lou. I just considered it to be strange, that some people see a dramatically changed performance (though not on this thread) by moving the binding by about one cm, but never talk about the change in weight distribution that should occur when wearing packs of different weight (or no pack). There are even some ski-manufacturers who recommend to mount the binding more forward for women, as women “have a more rearward center of gravity” (not my words, that´s what manufaturers say…)

  52. Lou Dawson April 29th, 2013 9:04 am

    Life is sometimes strange (grin).

    The theory about women’s position on skis is just that, theory. But moving your foot position on a ski does have results.


  53. Erik Erikson April 29th, 2013 9:24 am

    As to life beeing strange sometimes: Yes, indeed… 🙂
    Concerning the position of the foot on the ski: Probably it is not mainly or only about weight distribution itself, but about where exactly on the ski your foot / heel initiates a turn.

  54. Colin Lantz April 29th, 2013 4:20 pm

    Ciao a tutti (trying to keep some Italian in the La Sportiva). Love it. You guys really keep us honest. The skis with the boot center change stickers were pre-production sales samples. These sales samples were produced in the summer of 2011 and used in the Fall/Winter of 2011 and Winter/Spring of 2012 (W11/12) sales effort by sales reps, in-house staff, at trade shows, etc. The Lo5 debuted at retail ski shops in W12/13. Please see my earlier post March 25 explaining the process we use to test for the proper boot center location. Often we donate these pre-production sales samples to events and causes. In the case of the Lo5’s we donated many of these pre-production sales samples for events that were raffling or auctioning items to raise money for worthy non-profit causes like avalanche information centers (e.g. CAIC, WAC, NWAC), USSMA, or other local/regional ski industry causes. We also use these pre-production skis for ski testing with magazines and bloggers (like wildsnow). In any case, we always explain that these samples are not production. Sometimes, as in the case of a raffle or auction, we cannot control who finally gets them and whether or not they get the “pre-production sample message” or whether or not the sticker and the plastic shrink wrap stay in place. If you have a pair of Lo5’s and you are not positive of their origin just contact our customer service and we can give you the boot center spec so you can check it yourself before drilling.

  55. Ian April 29th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Thanks Colin, can’t wait to ski them…damn work is in the way.

  56. Ian May 5th, 2013 5:46 pm

    Well put me in the very annoyed category. After some clarification my bindings are mounted dead on with the center mark but are at least an inch rearward of the measurement Colin gave above. So, not only are my skis 250 grams heavier per ski than advertised but also have bindings in the wrong place to no fault of my own.

    Maybe LS would like to make this right?

  57. Colin Lantz May 6th, 2013 8:30 am

    Hi Ian, of course, I’d like to talk to you. Please call me @LS 3034438710. JUst connect to customer service and ask for me.

  58. Stano May 6th, 2013 11:05 am

    Great to see a brand to take such an active role in customer service/communication on these internet forums! Kudos to La Sportiva.

    On the topic here:
    I think the mounting point for Dynafit Manaslus should also be a bit more forward (1-2 cm) to improve control over the rockered tip on harder/crusty snow.

  59. Lou Dawson May 6th, 2013 11:11 am

    Stano, which model Manaslu? Latest does have position change farther forward…

  60. Stano May 6th, 2013 11:26 am

    Lou, I bought mine in Jan 2012 or so, thus, they are likely the 2011-12 model. They have the red writing on them. They are 187cm and my boots are 28MP.

    The tips are mounted in the first holes (pre-drilled) but when I compared with friend’s 186 cm Huascaran’s my tips were about 2 cm farther back! So lot’s of shovel, not much tail.

  61. XXX_er May 6th, 2013 2:14 pm

    ” Still wondering if a change in mounting position of only one cm generally really makes a difference one can feell ”

    I have felt the difference 1 cm makes BUT it was a demo binding on the DPS 112 so a ski with a pretty short running length on which I could easily change boot center for back to back runs on the same day in the same conditions

    I don’t think many people do that, they usually just say “I mounted my blah blahs at yada yada and its great ! “

  62. Dane May 6th, 2013 2:55 pm

    I’d bet most people not only don’t care but would have a hard time feeling the difference on the ski of 1cm. But it will also depend on the snow conditions. 2cm off and any decent skier will generally recognise the error or much more likely, just not like the ski.

    And a well fited and performance based boot will make up for a lot of ski sins. When the skis performace doesn’t match the numbers on the ski’s design effort it pays to look at what else is happening.

  63. Ian May 6th, 2013 3:02 pm

    I spoke with Colin and he was very willing to do whatever it took to make me happy. It’s good to know that LS stands behind their skis. I decided to just ski them, I’m not crazy about the weight and will likely change binding locations after a few more uses but I’m going to give them more of a chance.

  64. Ian December 1st, 2013 8:13 pm

    I remounted my bindings 2.5cm forward and skied them on hardpack. They ski remarkably better but I don’t know what the soft snow penalty will be, if any. I used inserts so I can easily go back.

  65. louis dawson December 2nd, 2013 7:57 am

    Ian, I doubt you’ll have much problem, but if so consider adjustng binding ramp slightly.

  66. jurek January 3rd, 2014 4:11 am

    Did anyone test these ski with telemark NTN bindings? I would like to know, thank you.

  67. Peter March 30th, 2014 3:16 pm

    Great skis, just mounted 188cm with radical FT and had two powder days at the local hill. Mine were mounted 1.5 cm forward from the boot center on the ski as recommended by a sticker that came on the skis. I also used 4mm custom cutting board shims under the toepiece to reduce ramp angle. No issues with chatter (but it was very soft out there) and flotation was great.

    Verdict: I also own a pair of manaslus which are now going for sale after skiing on the Lo5. The Lo5 are stiffer and more stable at speed than the manaslu, for me the weight penalty is minor.

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