Recent Tests of Touring Skis and Backcountry Skis (2013)

SkisEach year outdoor and alpin magazines publish tests of new and older touring and backcountry skis. Here is a selection of skis recommended by “ALPIN”, “Bergsteiger”, “Bergauf” and the Swiss “Outdoor Guide”. The indicated weight is always per pair!

Most touring skis now have a  rocker for easy turning and better float in powder. The “revolution” this year are the wide and very light skis such as the Movement Response-X, the G3 Zenoxide G3 105mm (!) or the Hagan Chimera Y(wai)Flow which – by the way – has quite a new shape. These skis use lot’s of carbon fiber and are not cheap!

Austrian online magazine “Bergauf” has many of the new skis in test online:

1. Classic Touring Skis
These skis are usually around 80mm wide under the binding and weigh around 2.5 kg per pair.

  • Fischer Transalp Superlight (2410g at 174cm, 82mm under the binding, frontrocker)
    ALPIN comment: Light and agil ski, still good in difficult snow conditions
  • Head Nebula (2645g at 170cm, 78mm under the binding, tiprocker)
    ALPIN comment: Wide in the front (134mm!), easy to turn, good in difficult snow
  • Stöckli Stormrider Light (2715g at 174cm, 78mm under the binding, no rocker, the new model of the Pit Pro Light is a bit wide, but also a bit heavier)
    ALPIN comment: Classic touring ski, very good grip on hard and steep stuff, good on groomed slopes, still ok in (not so deep) powder
    Outdoor Guide comment: Excellent grip, great on groomed slopes, too norrow for deep powder, recommended for strng skiers
    My view: Great classic touring ski. I use the model mostly in spring. hard to get outside of Switzerland (and also in Switzerland only available in Stöckil stores)
  • Völkl Inuk and Amak (2700g at 175cm, 83mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    ALPIN and Bergsteiger comment: Great skis in all conditions, easy turning, light. The Amak is new and cheaper model with almost the same specifications as the Inuk. The Inuk has a wood core. If you check the Voelkl homepage nor much information is given about any difference of the two ski. Here is some information (in German) from Bergauf: “AMAK: Ein Ski mit sehr ausgewogenen Fahreigenschaften und spielerischer Schwungauslösung, unabhängig von der Schneebeschaffenheit. Wir würden ihn auch skitechnisch nicht ganz so versierten Fahrern empfehlen. Wenn’s also der Ski „für alles” sein soll – den AMAK ins Auge fassen. Das Modell INUK (identische Maße, aber mit Holzkern und 2.650 g/ Paar bei 170 cm) wurde gegenüber dem Vorjahresmodell nur leicht verändert und zählt nach wie vor zu den besten Allroundern im Tourensegment. Skitechnisch gute bis sehr gute Fahrer werden damit mehr Freude haben.”
    Völkl Inuk:
    My view: While I have not skied the Inuk nor the Amak, I have skied the skinnier Mauja and wider Nanuq Völkl models. Völkl touring skis are great and generally easy to handle. Recommended.

2. Wider, But Sill Light (under 3 kg) Skis

  • Movement Response (2720g at 177cm, 89mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    Outdoor Guide comment: Fantastic in powder and soft snow, agil, god on “piste”, grip moderate (The new model of Movement is highly reommended by Outdoor Guide!)
  • Movement Response-X (2200g at 177cm, 89mm, tip rocker) is the light version of the Response (and the succesor of the Logic-X). I found no test so far on the Response-X. The 88mm Logic-X is not produced anymore. I have one and I am quite happy with it in soft or powder conditions (see my review). Link to Movement webpage:
  • Fischer Discovery (2800g at 177cm, 92 under the binding, tip rocker)
    Outdoor Guide comment: Good in powder and soft snow, grip not good on hard or steep slopes
  • Hagan Chimera Y(wai)Flow (2400g, 87mm, rocker)
    Comment Bergauf: Great ski with new shape. Good in pwoder and difficult snow conditions.
    My view: I did buy this ski in early December 2013. It skis well in all conditions, especially considering the light weight. The only negative point I found is the short ski tip. Watch out in bumps and small creeks crossings or the like that the tip does not get stuck!
  • GE Zenoxide G3 105 (2800g, 105mm, rocker)
    Bergauf comment: Wide, but very light ski. Excellent performance for its weight. Also check out test here
    Also conder the lighter (and narrower) Zenoxide 88 and 93.

3. Wider and Heavier (+/- 3 kg) Skis

  • K2 WayBack (3220g at 174cm, 88mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    Outdoor Guide comment: Not the lightest ski (anymore), but still highly recommend. Good in all conditions, good grip.
    Bergsteiger comment: Great overall ski, stable at higher speeds.
    My view: The WayBack is not the most modern ski anymore, and a bit on the heavy side. The ski is very easy to turn and still has a good grip. I have (and several of my friends) are extremely happy with this ski.
  • Scott Crus’Air (3200g at 179cm, 95mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    ALPIN and Outdoor Guide comment: Good ski, espcially in powder. Not too stable at higher speeds, not easy to handle in crust. Recommended for advanced skiers.
  • Black Diamond Aspect (~3000g at 176mm, 90mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    ALPIN comment: Quite light for the width, great in powder, easy to handle, good grip, not too stable at higher speeds, good performance overal considering the light weight
    Bergsteiger comment: Easy turning, fine in powder, not so stable at high speed or in difficult conditions
    Also consider the new wider (105mm) Convert which is a bit heavier.
  • Atomic Aspect (~3000g at 170cm, 85mm under the binding, tip rocker)
    Comment ALPIN: Easy to ski, not great but ok, for “beginners” (past reviews in other magazine were a bit better)
    Comment Outdoor Guide: “No problem” ski, easy turning, a bit on the heavy side, recommended

Further recommended skis in this category (~3kg, 90mm to 100mm) were:

  • Blck Diamond Revert
  • Mountain Wave Personal Jesus (special new shape!)
  • Dynastar Cham 87

PS: Dynafit skis are not often found in ski tests (as Dynafit – according to one article – is not always providing test skis).

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