Quiver Arrow of the Week — Dynafit Cho Oyu

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 17, 2013      
Dynafit Cho Oyu 2013/14 in the 'one kilo' weight class and yes they ski.

Dynafit Cho Oyu 2013/14 in the 'one kilo' weight class and yes they ski.

Notes from the workshop: Drilling the Cho Oyu for bindings reveals a thick metal binding mount plate. Say goodbye to unreliable inserts (they were a good idea, but ideas are sometimes different in the real). Overall feel of the Cho Oyu is yes, no mass. Flex is supple but not wimpy. Dark coloring is a disappointment due to topskin ice formation, but other brands and models are not immune to the style victim syndrome, so that’s a wash.

Uphill with skins the floaty weight of the Cho is obvious. Said to be accomplished via plentiful carbon fiber, mass of my 174 is a scanty 1,183 grams per ski. That places easily in what we’re calling the “one kilo weight class.” See our backcountry ski weight charts. The proprietary Dynafit skin attachment system is still my favorite, but I’d like to see the tip notches cut longer with a narrower entry since skins will sometimes stretch and creep in a way that causes the tip attachment tab to pop out of the notch if it’s not nestled in there nice and deep. Skis with large tips and lots of sidecut can sometimes feel a bit odd on the up, when they tend to hook out of your travel direction and need a slight correction during each stride. I didn’t notice much of this effect with the Cho; kudos to Dynafit for not going overboard with the wasp profile.

I skied the “Chodee” for more than 25 days last winter and spring, in everything from perfect powder to wind crust and frozen corn. Overall I like the ski — it is a top choice for touring. I did notice the 88 mm waist and “waspie” 124/88/110 profile and 16,11,15 variable radius sidecut, both of which made the ski less forgiving in difficult snow than wider planks with an easier radius. For full-on powder fests such as a Candian winter hut trip I’d pick a different ski, but as a quiver-of-one for traveling to unknown conditions, fully human powered, I’d be comfortable with the Chodee living in my ski luggage.

On the piste, Cho Oyu is smoother than some of the other lightweight “carbon” type skis I tested last winter, probably due to them still having some wood in the core. But I would not call them particularly damp, and wow are they noisy on frozen chowder — consider ear plugs in that situation. While the Chodee has what Dynafit calls “Scoop Rocker” in the tip area extending about 10cm into the running surface, I did not notice much of a rocker effect in this ski. It did feel easier to initiate a turn than with a fully non-rockered ski, but this is not the slarvy pow ski that I’ve found addictive when conditions welcome such a plank. Technician skiers should also note that this ski is cambered at about 2mm per.

Chodee tip rocker, Dynafit calls it 'Scoop Rocker.'

Chodee tip rocker, Dynafit calls it 'Scoop Rocker.' Pretty much what most of us call a 'slow rise' tip.

Cho Oyu tail profile, no rocker but a bit of smooth rise.

Cho Oyu tail profile, no rocker but a bit of smooth rise.

Dynafit ski fans should note that Cho Oyu appears to be a replacement for the Seven Summits, which has been incredibly popular in Europe and gained a modest following here in the New World. Having skied both planks extensively I’d say that’s a fair take, though I can’t say for certain that if you like 7 Summits you’ll like the Cho — though the concept is the same: narrower touring ski with some sidecut, built specifically for human powered skiing in all conditions, lack of weight a priority.

Rocker addicts might scoff, but a barrel stave ski is not always the ideal, mainly in terms of how long a ski you end up needing. In a fully rockered ski I’d want a longer length than the Chodee 174 I was on. Thus, the important point here is that for core ski alpinism, less rocker and a bit more sidecut can yield a short, low mass tool that carries nicely on your pack, feels like wings on your feet — and skis well. That is Cho Oyu. Definitely a WildSnow Ultimate Quiver pick for 2013/14. Shop for it.


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93 Responses to “Quiver Arrow of the Week — Dynafit Cho Oyu”

  1. jbo June 17th, 2013 10:46 am

    Interestingly the dealer book lists the 174 at 1080g (+/- 3%), a fairly sizeable difference from your measurement (but still an amazing weight for the width), which could be related to the beefed up binding inserts. The weights for other lengths were missing, likely indicating the ski was still under development to some degree. Note the tails have the same pintail shape found on the race skis that makes it easy to slip into pack loops. Also FYI, the retail price is set at $799.95, which is very reasonable given the amount of carbon fiber.

  2. Lou Dawson June 17th, 2013 12:13 pm

    JBO, thanks for chiming in, they have to get those book weights from proto skis, test skis we have are much closer to production version. Very common for dealer book weights to be off for just about any product, so we shouldn’t be surprised. That’s why we only use our verified weights for reviews and such (though even that can be off by the time production ver comes out). Tails are not really what I’d call a “pintail,” I’d save that moniker for skis such as the Hagan Wai flow, at 130/87/100 — or do you mean the cutaway at the tail corners? In that case, yeah. Lou

  3. Rodney June 17th, 2013 12:29 pm

    How would these compare to the Movement Logic X’s? My wife skiied these last season and found them fantastic – light and pretty good in all conditions.

  4. Lou Dawson June 17th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Rodney, my guess is they’d be pretty danged similar. Virtually the same weight, similar sidecut. If you’re trying to make the decision I’d think you’d have to ski both yourself, as the two skis are probably too similar to draw broad conclusions about differences that could be based more on the weight of the skier and their style. We’ve never heard anything negative about the Movement, so that’s something to consider as well. They’re not part of our test stable for our quiver project as we’ve simply not ever connected for test skis. Perhaps next year.

    Movement does make me laugh as they seem to be the DPS of 2013, with all sorts of fans chiming in from the congregation (grin)! But as long as they’re preaching the truth, happy to get everyone’s voice here as in the end all our ski reviews are as much the comments section as the original blog post.


  5. jbo June 17th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Good points Lou, I will be weighing final production versions as well. I will share weights for the 182 and 191 then.

    Regarding the tail, yes, Dynafit is calling the cutaway corners a pintail. Before the cutaway, the Cho Oyu is about a centimeter wider than the “Y” flow tail, making the radius much shorter. For comparison, the Hagan 173 has a 17m front and 21m rear radius.

  6. Charlie June 17th, 2013 1:32 pm

    Any perspectives on durability? What’s the most demanding thing you’ve yet done to the skis?

    When skis get light enough, they have to start breaking.

  7. Lou Dawson June 17th, 2013 1:44 pm

    Charlie, any ski can break, and sure, they could be poorly designed but these are fine. In terms of demanding? Not sure what you mean but I bridged some gaps during creek crossings and stuff like that, with no consequences. One kilo’s worth of material is still plenty to work with in 174 cm of not particularly wide of a ski.

    Also, your statement about weight is perhaps axiomatic to a degree, but they make airplanes pretty light and most of them don’t break (grin).


  8. Charlie June 17th, 2013 4:52 pm

    It’s precisely the creek-bridging problem that has me worried about the new crop of lightest skis. When I’m far from the world (the place you’re most apt to take your lightest skis), with a heavy pack, either stepping across logs, runnels, or creek crossings, I need to know that the probability that my skis will break is negligible. It’s a different standard from a lightweight race ski.

    A partner’s broken ski on a committing Cascade winter adventure was an eye-opener. Still have the ski in my office; topsheet, climbing skin, and cilogear straps kept it together to the car…

    Thanks for exactly the test I was looking for :)!

  9. AndyC June 17th, 2013 5:50 pm

    The Cho Oyu is very interesting to me; thanks for the review. I’d seriously consider buying it but there does seem some serious overlap with my 7 Summits which overlap considerably with my Volkl Snowwolfs LOL. Still, an 88-mm waist … . But would I get some overlap with my Manaslus (less than 10% wider, but less sidecut) LOL Those Manaslus overlap just a bit with my Stokes which is why, even tho I am intrigued, I am not considering the Huascaran. Now, Lou, what ever happened to the Baltoro. When it came out is seemed interesting (same 3-D deal as the Choyu, overlap with the 7-summit), but quickly was being sold off all over the place for much less than $400 and I never saw anybody with a pair. Similarly, it seems the Stoke is dead and the Grand Teton never got off the ground. Why so many ephemeral models, marketing? If I could cash out, I’d probably sell my Karhu Guides, Snowolfs, 7-summits, Manaslus, Stokes, S-7s, and Mantras and buy the Cho Oyu (or Movement Logic X) and put my Speed Radicals on them and the Huascaran and put my Radicals STs on them (and sell my Comforts, Vertical STs, 2 pair of PX12s) and put my Barons on my Kastle LX92. But you can’t give away last year’s skis and I’m on to biking now, adding a custom Gunnar Crosshairs to my Kona mtn bike and my Klein Q-Carbon road bike 🙂

  10. Lou Dawson June 17th, 2013 7:13 pm


    Seriously, like any ski brand, Dynafit has some real winners and some planks that are not particularly endorphin enhancing. The market eventually decides, not gear reviews, though we do try to help out a bit. Also, to be fair some of the Dynafit skis are attempts to be pretty specialized or break new ground, and that doesn’t always work out but deserves kudos since they try. Lou

  11. John June 17th, 2013 9:22 pm

    I have many pairs of tapered sidewall skis. No durability concerns, except rocks.

    As to the issue, any tapered sidewall ski is very susceptible to edge, and side wall compression damage, compared to a full laminate ski.

    Speaking from 4 seasons experience on the Logic X, I have one small sidewall/edge ding from a rock while descending the Dana Plateau. They have traveled to 3 continents without further damage. One of my sons was using them a few weeks ago descending from Castle peak and hit a rock hard enough to go over the bars. No damage.

    I destroyed a Manaslu one day on rocks. Major sidewall compression. Totally misjudged the snow cover.

    After 2 seasons on Volares, no damage even from travel or being thrown into heli baskets, thankfully. Have dropped lots of cliffs and skied lots of pillow runs on these in BC.

    All former skis have tapered sidewalls.

    My Kastles, Volkls,Stokes, and DPSs take rocks well.

    Never broken a carbon Mountain Bike in 20+ years of Cat 1 racing.

  12. David B June 17th, 2013 9:29 pm

    I’ve been playing around with the DPS Cassiar 85 this past week in sthrn hemisphere and they would sit in the same category as some of these more traditional touring skis. 1.4kg weight 122-85-109.
    DPS market the Cassiar 85 as a front side tool but they tour in marginal snow terrain exceptionally well and are great to ski on the down.
    Suggest you have a look at adding them to your “skinny” list. Have a look at them next season Lou. I’m sure you will enjoy them.

  13. stephen June 17th, 2013 11:16 pm

    FWIW, I have a little experience with the (169cm) Movement Logic X, but only a couple of days at the end of the season last year here in Oz; I weigh ~64kg/140 lbs. With TLT5Ps and La Sportiva bindings they are extremely light, however, I only got to ski at the resort. 🙁

    My impression was that they aren’t quite as effortless on powder (or what passes for it here) as are the (169cm) mark 1 Manaslus, but they are very noticeably lighter, and much, much better on anything firm. I found them a tad dead feeling, with not a lot of feedback compared with the (166cm) BD Stigmas I also skied on that trip. This was only feel though, and provided they were skied with a little conviction they always held their edge on firm snow – i.e., they do actually work. In heavy stuff they get knocked around a bit more than somewhat heavier skis, but this isn’t surprising.

    They are definitely more limited in hardpack speed potential compared with the heavier, stiffer Stigmas, but are perfectly fine at any vaguely reasonable speed which *I personally* would consider in the BC. For high speed resort skiing the Stigmas win hands down, but my experience has been that these are hard work in variable snow, and at slow speed. YMMV!

  14. Dane June 18th, 2013 2:03 pm

    Easy answer it they will replace the Seven Summit or Broad Peak for many. Lighter and wider. But they ski really, realy short by comparison. Rockered tip and tail and a pin tail thrown in. Stiff enough torsionally to handle spring ice well.

    Fun ski and super quick on your feet becasue fo the balance point and enhanced swing weights. Great Spring or lwt touring ski. I’ll likely buy a Nanga Parbat and drop a little more weight and width (100g and 8mm) for the same missions.

  15. Dane June 18th, 2013 2:07 pm

    BTW..btdt on the 7Summits. Ended up on the Broad Peak which I think is the definition of skis in that catagory and a pair of La Sportiva GTRs to bump them a bit and in love with a 177cm Hauscaran after hating the Stoke.

  16. AndyC June 18th, 2013 6:32 pm

    Lou, I agree with you on Dynafit; I appreciate their ingenuity and willingness to innovate and experiment–otherwise I wouidn’t own 3 pairs of their skis and 4 pairs of their boots LOL. Obviously there are major difference in the general outlook of US skiers and European skiers and that is why, perhaps, I have never seen a broad peak or Baltoro in the bc, even tho Dane is just around the corner from me. Americans, for the most part, seem to lust after skis more than 100 mm at the waist. What is remarkable, in my vicinity anyway, is the way the TLT5 has taken off; it is obviously the single most go-to boot in the bc I inhabit; quite a change from the emphasis on bigger is better just a very few years ago.

  17. Lou Dawson June 18th, 2013 7:06 pm

    The Dynafit TLT 5 and Scarpa Maestrale both just knocked it out of the park. They sold tens of thousands of the things. Now, TLT6 is just around the corner!!! It just gets better and better, albeit pricey if you try to stay with the latest latest… Lou

  18. Dane June 18th, 2013 7:37 pm

    I don’t get the comparison of Maestrale to TLT. IMO there really isn’t any although both are good boots. Different uses in my world. I have the TLT6 here now as well and not convinced it is a better boot than the TLT5….more in the direction of a Maestrale imo…and not for the better the way for how I use the boot. More comfy? Sure. Betetr boot for what it was originally designed for? Not convinced although I am happy to have them to ski in.

    I would have much prefered to ski a better “ski mountaineering boot” ratherr than a better ski boot which is what the TLT6 is. As is the Maestrale RS is as well.

    One rocky boot pack done back to back points all that out very clearly. I’m obviously not the only one to notice it.

    Hey Andy what size of boot sole are you on?

  19. John June 18th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Are you referring to the reduced cuff range in the RS? A modified walk bar fixes this problem.

    BTW, I received my Rebel Ultras. Thanks for the tip.

  20. Dane June 18th, 2013 8:38 pm

    Hey John, hope you like the Rebel Ultra. I’m really interested in what people will think of them compared to my original spew. I’m obviously a huge fan of that boot. Let me know when you get some time in them..good or bad.

    The RS cuff range? No just the cuff range, but buckle set up in general compared to the walk mode on a TLT. One buckel flip and you are striding on a TLT. Not so the other way around. Maestrale seems to me to be a better ski boot in general but not a better ski mountaineering boot.

    My definition is harsh. I want a a ski boot I can climb WI5 in. I can do that in a TLT with little extra effort. And have come to really like them in that situation. The Maestrale is a ski boot. It is not a climbing boot. Duh! He says 🙂 .

    My take is the comparisons is from folks that don’t really appreciate the original design of the TLT and how it might be used at the other end of the spectrum wit ha set of steel crampons on them. The TLT6 is a classic example imo of reverse engineering to make a better ski boot. More folks lining up for a $1000 lwt ski boot than $1000 lwt climbing boots I guess 😉

  21. Bar Barrique June 18th, 2013 9:11 pm

    Speaking from 6 years of experience with carbon fiber skis (Goode), and, skiing with others using various models of these skis; I think that they (carbon skis) can be above average in maintaining their performance during the life span of the ski.
    I am not trying to be a “missionary” for Goode, but simply pointing out that in my experience carbon fiber skis are perhaps more durable in some ways, rather than less durable.
    Yes; there are some trade offs with very light skis, but, they may be the best choice for many of us.
    The one area where light weight carbon fiber skis are vulnerable is to impact damage (Goode sells a padded ski bag).
    Personally; I am happy that more ski manufacturer’s are jumping on the carbon fiber ski “band wagon”. Light weight gear makes the back country much more accessible.
    These skis may be more specialized in their designed use, but, perhaps some of us are not looking for the ultimate multi use ski.

  22. Lou Dawson June 19th, 2013 5:26 am

    Dane, the comparison is, first, they both are super popular, and second, both are some of the best boots out there in combining walk comfort with downhill performance. Not a big deal, the market spoke and both boots sold incredibly well.

  23. Frame June 19th, 2013 8:19 am

    Put ‘rebel ultra’ into google and you get a few options I didn’t see coming from reading Wildsnow and not something that’s very PC when on the pc at work.

  24. AndyC June 19th, 2013 8:22 am

    @Dane, all my boots are 29 (the bsl differ markedly between the TLT5s, Zzeros, and Zzeus unfortunately). The TLT5s are 317 mm.

  25. Dane June 19th, 2013 11:16 am

    Andy if you are in the area my lwt skis are all drilled for a 29 TLT. If you are ever interested in skiing the skinny ski let me know.

    Lou, agreed the market has spoken. But..how many have actually used both the Maestrale and the TLT? I suspect not that many. For those that have the difference is obvious. No question both are good boots. Just surprised teh differences aren’t pointed out more often instead of lumping the two rather different style of boots together.

    I saw a number of lift/side country skiers running away from the TLT this winter and buying Scarpa……simply because they didn’t understand what a TLT was designed for and didn’t sue the boot as intended.

    Of course they are going to be happier in a better skiing boot. And no need for all the range of motion and climbing boot fit the TLT offers in spades.

  26. AndyC June 19th, 2013 12:51 pm

    A most generous offer, Dane! But I do presently ski waists of 68 (Madshus Epoch), 76 (Volkl Snowwolf), 78 (Karhu Guide), and 80 (original 7 summits); I don’t use my 84 (Atomic RE:X) anymore but I do ski my 92 Kastle, 95 Manaslu, 98 Mantra, 106 Stoke, and 115 S7. I have no doubt there is much to offer in the new designs such a Movement Random (a friend loves it), Broad Peak, new 7 summits, Baltoro, Movement Logic X, DPS Cassiar, and Cho Oyu but I think I’m getting too old and too decrepit to succumb to my weakness of always changing gear then having to adapt to it while my Septuagenerian wife laughs–having adapted to her new Women’s TLT5s and Manaslus without a hitch LOL

  27. Dane June 19th, 2013 1:13 pm

    Andy, it looks like you really do have the skinny ski side well covered! I don’t have anything you haven’t already skied. 7 summit and Broad Peak are very similar.

  28. Ian June 19th, 2013 6:56 pm

    Lou: Do you have any information on the base or edge thickness of the Cho Oyu.

  29. Lou Dawson June 19th, 2013 7:56 pm

    On my samps, might be pre-production, edges mic at 1.47 mm wide (left to right when standing on ski) and 1.42 mm thick. Base material where they cut the skin slot in tip is 1.27 mm thick.

    Um, are you guys going to start carrying digital calipers into the store when you shop, along with your scale (grin)!?


  30. ian June 20th, 2013 3:24 am

    Base and edge material is an area where manufacturers will skimp in order to save weight. A few base grinds later and you’re in for a new ski. In saying that I’ve had that happen with a not so light ski too – probably the last ski produced before beer o’clock.
    And it wasn’t a heavy base grind.

  31. Lou Dawson June 20th, 2013 6:09 am

    Cho appears to have edges of average thickness, not huge. Don’t know about the base. “Skimp” might be the wrong word, as the edges are indeed heavy and using less is a carefully calculated compromise between weight and durability. Is any lightweight ski durable enough? Depends on the user and their style, and how long they need their skis to last. Lou

  32. Bar Barrique June 20th, 2013 8:12 pm

    It’s true that bases, and, edges can be thinner on lighter weight skis. If you are a “do it yourself” tuner; flat filing will not take off a significant amount of edges or base material.
    Commercial tune ups are in my experience risky, usually (in my case at least) the skis are “railed”. I have had an excessive amounts of my base, and, edges removed as well.
    While I am sure that there are some very good shops out there, finding them can be challenging.
    Light weight ski gear in general; skis, poles, bindings, clothing etc may require a bit more care, so if you aren’t willing to give this gear the care it may need, buy the heavier duty stuff.
    One more thing; I was born, and, raised in the “east” where rocks, and, ice were a fact of life for skiers. Consequentially “do it your self” ski maintenance was necessary (at least for a teen with limited funds) to fill the scratches, and, keep the edges sharp for icy conditions.
    Most Western skiers I have met never “tune” their skis, and, can’t figure out why their oxidized bases are slowing them down ( I’m OK with it they are my friends).

    Off my soap box now, going skiing next week, hopefully the rain will let up!

  33. Harpo July 16th, 2013 10:22 am

    Lou, how much of a twin tip does the cho oyu have? It is hard to tell the scale in your pic of the tail. Will it impeded sticking the tails into the snow for anchors or other purposes?

    Dane, why do u say the tlt6 is less of a mountaineering boot than the tlt5? Because it lacks the proto bellows in the forefoot? Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t most light weight mountain boots designed for ice climbing have fully rigid soles also? For example the LS red Trango has a little flex but the more ice oriented LS silver bullet has a rigid sole.

  34. Dane July 18th, 2013 11:58 am

    Harpo, tail flip on the Cho Oyu is less than the Broad Peak..and much easier to set them in hard snow.

    Modern mtn boots are rockered and generally flex a good bit even the “rigid” ones. Bigger the boot the more they flex. TheTLT5s flex more than the TLT6. For climbing/walking the TLT5 is a better boot. For skiing the TLT6 is a better boot no question. Just depends on your own priorities.

  35. harpo July 27th, 2013 5:55 pm

    Thanks for that info Dane.

    Also, would I be a 174 or a 182 in the Cho Oyu? I am 5’11”, 185lbs. I ski 178-188 cm skis, longer for powder, shorter for spring conditions. I will be using the Cho Oyu in the spring/summer. Everyone says they ski short so I am guessing I should go 182, but I was wondering if I could go 174 to save weight.

  36. Dane July 27th, 2013 11:16 pm

    My Broad Peaks and 7Summits have been 160+. 6’1″ 190#. But I like the lwt skis. The Cho Oyu is a 174.

    I decided by weight. But am bumping up my GTRs to a 178 as a Spring ski from my 168s. 174 CO feels like my 167 Broad Peak on hard Spring snow.

  37. Daniel July 28th, 2013 1:49 am

    For a spring tool I would always go shortish in oder not to defy the purpose. 174 sounds right.

  38. Mike October 7th, 2013 6:10 pm

    Hey Lou,
    I bought a pair online and they sold me the demo one’s (ie the same dimensions) as the ones you have. Do you know what changes dynafit made to the final production ones? Should I keep the demo ones or insist they send me the production ones? I know its only a mm here and there but I wasnt sure if you heard of any other changes. Thanks

  39. Pierson Bourquin October 16th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Hi Lou,
    In large part based on past experience with Dynafit and your review, last season, I bought the Dynafit Women’s Manaslu in a 169cm (118/92/104). Overall, I was very pleased. I’m looking for something slightly beefier. The Manaslu was awesome in early and mid-winter conditions in the Sierra, but it was a bit too soft in manky Shasta snow in May. I’m 5’6″, 160lbs, a PSIA Level 3 Ski teacher at Heavenly and a guide for Shasta Mountain Guides. I am a finesse skier, not a power skier. I’m light on my equipment. Insights appreciated as to a good ski choice.
    Best regards,

  40. Lou Dawson October 16th, 2013 2:12 pm

    Which mount position did you use? They’re not known to be beefy skis, but the mount position changes how they ski… Let me know. Lou

  41. Pierson Bourquin October 16th, 2013 5:43 pm

    Hi Lou,
    I used the center mount position.
    The Manaslu was great in everything but really heavy, wet snow. I was even surprised how nicely it skied on hard snow.
    Insights appreciated on another ski for this coming season.

  42. Lou Dawson October 16th, 2013 5:53 pm

    Try the forward mount position, with a good sharp tune. Be super careful not to strip the inserts. Very sensitive in those skis.

    As for new skis for you, pick anything out of our two Ultimate Quiver reviews and you’ll be a happy camper.


  43. harpo October 17th, 2013 4:09 pm

    Hi Pierson, Tony from Tahoe here. I last saw you in the Fifth Season in Shasta. Please get in touch when you are in Tahoe, I would love to catch up as well as maybe do some skiing this winter! Feel free to hit me up if you need a place to stay for a few nights in SLT. anthonyrabinowitz at att dot net

  44. James November 8th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I’m 5’11” 190lbs and generaly ski longer skis (188 Super 7 etc) with longer turn radius. and am trying to decide between the 184 and the 191. can anyone comment on the 191 and it feels on snow? Should I go long or short for spring ski missions?

  45. Daniel November 8th, 2013 12:45 pm

    184 no doubt. this is a ski mountaineering tool.

  46. Dane November 8th, 2013 12:51 pm

    I generally ski 190+ on “real” ski. These I ski short just to save weight. And enjoy every turn on them ;-).

  47. Johanna November 19th, 2013 8:53 am

    Hi Lou!

    Thanks for the best overall review of the Cho oyu that I’ve seen on the net!
    Now a question:

    Would u choose the ski slightly longer for an enhanced feeling of stability at speed?
    I normally ski on lengths around 163-165cm and being a former alpine race competition skier, I like the stiffer feeling in skis. However, I will use the Cho on more technical grounds, steep couloirs and high alpine terrain. This means a lot of climbing and boot packing too. So a shorter ski would probably be more appropriate on the up-climb, but I am afraid I’ll loose float and versatility going for the 161cm instead of the 166cm.

    How do you think the difference in length will impact the skiing sensation?
    The rocker tip is probably giving a sensation of skiing on a shorter ski, no?
    But is the eventual (?) advantage of stability and floatation when choosing a longer ski weighing up the disadvantages of the length when climbing or skiing a narrower couloir? Or, maybe those 5cm of difference makes no change?

    Should i go for 161 or 166 cm?
    Thank you in advance!
    Johanna (norway)

  48. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 9:05 am

    Hi Joanna, since you mention you were a competition skier as well as wanting performance at speed, I’d say go for the slightly longer choice. A ski racer from Norway? I think you can handle the length (grin). Lou

  49. Jamokie December 2nd, 2013 8:21 pm

    I’ve heard rumor of a coming103mm waist ski using the same ultralight construction as the Cho Oyu. Anyone heard anything to corroborate this?

  50. Daniel December 3rd, 2013 12:22 am

    please not! I’d be in danger of wanting it.

  51. Lou Dawson December 3rd, 2013 9:04 am

    All shall be revealed from Europe… we’ll be over there in a few weeks drinking Dynafit Koolaid along with some other substances. Meanwhile, G3 C3, need we say more?

  52. GeorgeT December 22nd, 2013 7:07 pm

    My shallow end says Dynafit needs to improve the appearance to sell more Cho Oyu. The look is fugly according to some and great performance will only carry this ski so far.

  53. Dane December 22nd, 2013 7:25 pm

    Agreed. The Nanga red is much prettier. But Cho Oyu means “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan. Turquoise blue would seem to have done nicely!.

  54. Greg Louie December 22nd, 2013 11:14 pm

    “I’ve heard rumor of a coming103mm waist ski using the same ultralight construction as the Cho Oyu. Anyone heard anything to corroborate this?”

    My sources say it’s called the Denali, has a 99mm waist, and uses a Cho Oyu-esque all Paulownia core and 5 Point shape . . .

  55. Daniel December 23rd, 2013 12:17 am

    Oh no…I can feel a sharp pain in my wallet…

  56. Greg Louie December 23rd, 2013 9:55 am

    . . . 1390 grams per ski in a 177 . . .

  57. Dane December 23rd, 2013 12:39 pm

    1390 grams per ski in a 177 x 99 . .
    Me want..must have Precious………..

  58. Lou Dawson December 23rd, 2013 3:23 pm

    Oh man oh man, in just a few weeks we’ll be drinking the Koolaid and checking this stuff out!

  59. Dane January 8th, 2014 6:47 pm

    167 x 74mm Broad Peak 1320g
    171 x 80mm Nanga Parbat 1170g
    174 x 89mm Cho Oyu 1210g
    182 x 89mm Cho Oyu 1340g
    182 x 106mm Grand Teton 1800g

    actual weights on my skis. no binders.

    And gotta say the 182 Chos have just impressed the shit out of me recenty on anything from boiler plate water ice to ankle deep using a TLT6 P green tongue n ostrap with race bindings doing yoyos ON A LIFT! Crazy good ski IMO.

  60. Jamokie January 9th, 2014 8:31 pm

    Lou, as someone who has spent time on both the Manaslu & the Cho, can you give an idea of how long each ski feels relative to the other? I’m in between lengths. Does the 182 Cho ski shorter, longer or the same as the 178 Manaslu? Thanks.

  61. AndyC February 5th, 2014 5:59 pm

    Well I bit the bullet and bought Cho Oyus from Cripple Creek with Speed Radicals and the B&D 3 mm toe shim 🙂 sold my 7 Summits and my Manaslus after skiing them for several days on a variety of snow types; but kept my Stokes!

  62. Dane February 5th, 2014 6:36 pm

    @Andy…nice choice! Just be sure NOT to ski a Huascaran or the Stokes will be gone as well ;-).

  63. AndyC February 5th, 2014 8:17 pm

    OMG! I’ve had Huascaran on the brain! If I thought I could sell the Stokes, I’d take the money from the 7 Summits, Manaslus, and Stokes and buy them.

  64. Dane February 5th, 2014 9:09 pm

    I know, my bad. Just couldn’t help it, and thought you could relate to the difference on a very modern ski, going rorm the trad Mana/7 to the Cho. Bigger jump in a some what different way IMO from the trad Stoke/GT to the modernh ski design liek the Huascaran. New Denali is a even bigger Cho. But once on the Cho the obvious jump for me is the Huascaran. Huas is a really sweet ride at the width.

  65. Daniel February 6th, 2014 12:44 am

    Having the Huascaran and liking it a ton, I dare to speculate that CHO/HU might be a killer AT quiver.

  66. N-P February 6th, 2014 4:47 am

    Right now I’m on 178 cm Manaslu with Vertical ST with TLT5M but the Cho Oyu / Huascaran quiver is tempting for the next season.

    I’m now considering pairing 186 cm Huascaran with Beast 14 and the Mercury boot (One is probably stiff enough for me but I like the removable tongue for touring) for both touring and lift assisted skiing, while I’ll also either keep my Manaslus or upgrade to Cho Oyu.

    What I’m wondering is it worth the extra weight with Beast 14 to be able to ski Huascaran for those days while riding the lift, or should I just go with Speed Radical and maybe a whole other setup for the lift assisted days?

    I’ve previously skied with 188 cm Sidestash and FT12 without any problems in ski areas but since there now are other options for tech bindings it might be worth considering them.

    I’m 177 cm, 80 kg, not that agressive skier and almost only ski off-pist with about 10 days per season in ski areas and touring about 30 days per season.

    Is Huscaran still a great ski even for hauling up about ~400 grams extra per ski (Beast 14 vs Speed Radical) when touring and should I even consider using the Huascaran in ski areas?

  67. Daniel February 6th, 2014 4:57 am

    The 177 HU might be enough ski. Very stable platform. I am the same weight an 188cm and like the 177.

    Bindings, I threw Speeds on them and thats plenty. So Radicals should be all you need. Beast is Overkill and defeats the lightweight advantage.

    Anyone who actually takes advantage of the benefits of the beast needs a heavier ski than the HU imho.

  68. Daniel February 6th, 2014 5:03 am

    HU works as a resort board but will be plrnty of work on hard groomers and feel rather unsubstantial in hard crud, icy bums etc…

    For frontside riding, I still prefer my metal laminate Backlash.

    Any amount of fresh or slushy though, and the HU cant be beat, considering the weight.

  69. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2014 6:39 am

    I’ll chime in and say that the Cho Oyu proved to be a go-to during our recent European trip. It’s not the big fattie, but rather the all-arounder that’s still fun in the pow but also handles piste as well as being in the modern “one kilo” weight class so it’s perfect when you’re travel-tired and jet lagged, but still want to go human powered. Lou

  70. N-P February 6th, 2014 7:02 am

    Thanks for the advice! I think I’ll pass on the Beast and get either the 177 cm Huascaran or the 174 cm Cho Oyu with Speed Radicals, the Cho Oyu seem perfect to replace my Manaslus and the Huascaran would add something new. Or wait another year for the verdict of the Denali ski..

  71. Dane February 6th, 2014 10:10 am

    Wouldn’t use the Beast on any of these skis…it really is a “beast” in person. Speed Super light, Low Tech or a Speed works well on any of these ski.

    Agree with Lou..Cho is a go to for any condition short of deep snow and even then it works well enough that it won’t ruin your day.

  72. Daniel February 6th, 2014 10:36 am

    Lou, which length CHO do you ski?
    Have you given the new Nanga Parbat a try yet?

  73. Martin April 14th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Lou —
    Did you ever have the chance to ski the Hagan Wai Flow? I think you mentioned getting a pair to try, but have not found a review in my searches of the site.

  74. Lou Dawson April 14th, 2014 2:33 pm

    Hi Martin, yes, I did ski last year’s. Didn’t review. I have the new versions here, will try to find time to ski them and perhaps do some reviews. Remember that as we are not a gear review website, we are quite selective about what we spend time testing and reviewing. Usually we only review stuff we quite like and subsequently recommend, though we make exceptions. Lou

  75. Juergen May 13th, 2014 4:14 pm

    Hi Lou, since some years i am following your great blog.
    I like to upgrade from my old nonrockered Waybacks to some more modern shaped, turnier and lighter skis. I was looking at the Cho oyu, Movement Resonse or the Hagan Y Flow. At the moment it is possible to get the Hagan at the end of season sale for less than half the price of the other two here in europe, but it seems from the other comments before , that you tried them , but don´t like? Is it so much different than the others? ( i only had the chance to try the Movement and it skied and skinned great and i thought they were all quite simmilar?
    Also i like to use my favored mohairskins from te Waybacks on one of these.
    Do you think it could be a problem if they do not cover the entire wider showel/ tip?

  76. Lou Dawson May 13th, 2014 5:02 pm

    Juergen, I often fit my skins so they are parallel shape in the tip area, for better glide. Especially with rockered skis this is perfect.

    As for ski advice, I like the Cho Oyu quite a bit, more than I liked Hagan, but I’ve gotten good reports on Hagan from other folks. My style of skiing might not be yours. Can you demo?


  77. Juergen May 14th, 2014 3:32 pm

    Lou, thanks for the info about cutting the skins. Could not demo the Oyu or the Hagan, but found another review where he liked the Y-Flow more than the Response, so i will go for it. Half the price for second best( i allready liked the Response) will pay my next trip to the mountains.


  78. Enrique May 16th, 2014 4:00 am

    Hi there,

    Juergen, I am exactly at the same point as you are: I have not tried any of the three skis that you mentioned and although I have been able to read good reviews for the Oyus (like this one, Lou, thank you so much for this amazing site, I always learn a lot from the reviews and from the forum) and the Response I do not have a reference for the Wai Flows. If you get to ski them before the end of the season, please let me know!!!

    Lou (and other testers of the Wai Flows and Response), could you what you preferred from the Cho Oyus when compared to the other two?

    Also regarding bindings to pair with these skis, I was thinking about ATK Raider 12’s. What do you think of these when compared to Radicals for these skis? Or the Speed Radicals? Because the pair will be my one-ski quiver for everything including lifts (no more money to spend) I like the bindings to have brakes, but I read here that the Speed Radicals actually are a good compromise… Or should I consider the Vipecs (thank you for your re3view on these too, btw)?

    Sorry for asking too many questions, but I am still learning 🙂

  79. Lou Dawson May 16th, 2014 3:14 pm

    Juergen and Enrique, Wai Flow is a very different ski due to narrow tail geometry. It is not comparable to the Cho Oyu or Response. If you like the price of the Wai Flow that’s fine, only it is illogical to try and get opinions that will justify buying Wai Flow in comparison to two skis that are very much not the same. It’s like buying an apple that costs less because two oranges are more expensive and can be chewed just like the apple yet have totally different taste and contents. No logic to it.

    I thought the Wai Flow (2013/2014) was ok, but I didn’t prefer the narrow tail geometry. It was said by Hagan that perhaps a different binding mount position would have made the ski work better for me. Due to traveling and WildSnow not being a ski review website with a staff of 20 technicians (sorry to destroy the myth), I did not have time to remount the bindings and try again. Instead, I now have the 2014/2015 version of the Wai Flow and hope to get out on it for a few days once we have easy drive-to access for spring skiing in the alpine. I hope to file a report soon after that.

    BTW, I attempted to remove the ATK Demo bindings (Raider 12 on an adjustment plate) from my Wai Flow demos for a weight evaluation in comparison to previous model but the phillips bit cammed out of the rear heel unit adjustment screws. Have to say this is a glaring weakness of the otherwise beautiful ATK bindings, and something that is starting to piss me off as I seem to keep having to deal with it. The ATK screws should be grade 8 metric hex set screws, or something like that, not phillips head! Working on phillips screws in this situation is like trying to do open heart surgery using a dinosaur bone for a scalpel. Lou

  80. Bar Barrique May 16th, 2014 8:45 pm

    Hmmmm; ATK raider 12’s at Wildsnow HQ !
    I have to agree that phillips head screws are possibly the worst screw out there. Any fastener that is designed to be used for adjustment etc. , should be something like hex head. I was working on our bikes today, lots of crappy phillips screws of varying sizes.

  81. Jim May 21st, 2014 10:05 am

    Lou, I’ve skiied the Cho’s 25 days, pow, corn, slush, and am wondering if mounting the bindings forward of center might help. I’m 160, 5-6, 288 boot, square race stance. I feel the turns are a bit hard to initiate, and feel in the back seat. My DPS really benefitied from +2 mounting. Used to ski Manaslus which seems to carve better. Can the plate in the Cho handle a +1 remount?

    Thanks for your advice.

  82. Lou Dawson May 21st, 2014 10:18 am

    Hi Jim, in my experience being mounted on the mark has been perfect, and I’ve got a lot of days on the Cho’s. A 288 boot is already placing you somewhat forward as compared to a longer boot, so I’d look at boot fitting angles and ski tuning first. But yes, with a 288 BSL you can go a centimeter forward from where you are, to the best of my knowledge. You’ll know when you drill the first hole, as you should feel the resistance of the reinforcement plate.

    Are you switching back and forth between Cho and an alpine setup? If so, that’s the red flag.



  83. Dane May 21st, 2014 11:40 am

    Ski the Cho (two different pair) a lot myself and don’t mind moving bindings when required. Cho hasn’t been one of them. Dynafit in general hasn’t been one to miss the mark.

  84. Enrique November 3rd, 2014 1:50 am

    Hi there,

    First of all, thank you for the website. I most definitely know a lot more than before I discovered wildsnow.

    I am not sure where to ask this question in wildsnow, but here I go: Is it possible and reliable is it to re-drill a new set of new holes for these ultra-light skis (Cho Oyus, Denalis, the X-series from Movement)?

    I want to buy a pair of second-hand light skis. I have found both Cho Oyus and Movement Response-X in the right length, but in both cases the binding that is installed does not fit my boots’ soles, so there is no way around re-drilling new holes (done by a professional skiman, no doubt about it). Will this compromise the durability of the skis?

    Thanks for the help!!!


  85. Lou Dawson 2 November 3rd, 2014 4:43 am

    Enrique, if the holes are drilled at least a few millimeters or more from the original holes and you use epoxy in all the holes, it’s fine. The work should be done well. See:


  86. Enrique November 3rd, 2014 10:17 am

    Thanks Lou! Both for the info and for the incredibly fast answer 🙂

    Certainly interesting. My plan is to let a professional do the job. My concern was due to the apparent lack of material in these skis (they weight almost like a race ski 🙂

  87. Chris November 7th, 2014 2:55 am

    Hey Lou,
    i bought myself an 182 Cho oyu last year – i’m 183 cm tall and 83 kg “light” ;). Normally i go with my 7summits in 170 cm – and i decided to by the longer cho for bigger days. I feel really good in open fields and soft snow – but when there are trees and packed snow, i have problems coming around (shoe: tlt6 perf cr).
    Last winter i saw the g3 synapse carbon the first time – i’m totally surprised about the rocker profile and the weight. I think about to sell my cho and by the g3 – and hope to get an “one for all” ski – what do you think? can you compare these two skis?
    thx a lot,

  88. Lou Dawson 2 November 7th, 2014 6:21 am

    Hi Chris, those are two very different skis, no way to do apples/apples comparo.

    Synapse is 137/109/125 with rocker

    Cho is 124/88/110 with just the “scoop rocker” slow rise tip

    The Cho is designed to ski more traditionally and at your length probably requires more leverage and turn initiation to come around quickly, while a more rockered ski can skid around in a sort of “swivel” effect. If the Cho isn’t quick enough, I’d say you should try some other skis but it’s impossible to say that Synapse would or wouldn’t be the proper replacement.


  89. Chris November 7th, 2014 11:48 am

    Hey Lou, this is the reason, why i read your site everyday – thx a lot …

    So – there are 3 different synapses – 92, 101 and 109. definitely – the 109 would or would’t be the proper replacement ;). But what about the 92 model? Is it true, that the g3 skies are very stiff? more than the cho?

    when it’s time for freeriding in my region, i go with my armada jj’s or the praxis protest – both rockered skis – and i love them. i really miss that feeling in touring at the moment …


  90. Lou Dawson 2 November 7th, 2014 12:21 pm

    If you’re used to rockered skis, use them for touring as well… G3 skis do tend to be somewhat stiff, in my opinion. Some folks like, some don’t… sorry I flew at the fingers with the width… Lou

  91. hairymountainbeast February 13th, 2015 10:26 am

    I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a wildsnow review of those synapse skis. Throw in reviews of the new chugach and Hokkaido skis and perhaps I’ll be able to decide which powder boards to add to the collection next year!

  92. Thomas White May 14th, 2015 5:19 pm

    I’ve got the Wayback 96 in a 177cm size which I’ve used as my quiver of one backcountry for the past season; The Wayback is a well mannered and very versatile ski for most of my Rocky Mountain use.

    I’m thinking about a Cho Oyo for late spring ski mountaineering use or travel to regions with denser snowpack, probably the 174cm size. My goals are lighter weight and more compact on my pack. A shorter ski that cold snap quick turns in tight spots would be nice too.

    Would the Cho Oyo ski be different enough from my Wayback to justify expanding my quiver to two skis?

  93. Thomas White October 13th, 2015 10:00 pm

    Still thinking about adding the Cho Oyo to my 15/16 quiver. Any comments?

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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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