New, Light Touring & Backcountry Skis – Recent Tests (2014)

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Movement X-Logix (on epic ski tour from Pischahorn to Klosters)

The new season brought us some new skis that are worth mentioning. The trend to wider and lighter skis continues. Some magazines already published tests of new (and older) backcountry skis. It seems that the numbers of producers and the number of different models offered has increased quite a bit. Backcountry skies now range from very light (2 kgs per pair) to wide freeriders (up to 4kgs per pair). I here only cover some selected lighter (and wider) skis. Most ski tourers, and certainly women, want skis for touring that are not heavier than 3kgs per pair.

Online magazine Bergauf’s 2014/15 ski test covering most of the skis mentioned below can be found here (in German).  www.wildsnow.com also publishes a useful ski weight chart per surface area and length (all skis mentioned here are pretty high up in ranking, i.e. quite light).

Movement Response
Ski-XSeries-Response
The successor of the Movement Logic X is quite wide (128-89-116mm) with only about 2.3 kgs per pair. I have the Logic X and I am quite happy with it especially in powder (more here). The recent Outdoor Guide tested the Response X with good reviews (good grip in steep slopes, good in pwoder, recommended for good skiers). Movement has now a whole X Series collection (http://www.movementskis.com/de/ski-kollektion/x-series/) with the lighest (and narrowest) ski, the Rise Pro X weighing only 1.25 kgs per pair. The Bond X and the Random X are (together with the Response X) more suitable for touring.

La Sportiva Vapor Nano
Covet-Vapor-Nano_fe
This is a new wide and very light ski (130-103-120). The weight per pair is only 2.4kgs. While I have not skied this one, reviews have been favorable:
http://offpistemag.com/2015-ski-reviews-off-piste-magazine/ or
http://backcountrymagazine.com/gear/2015-editors-choice-awards-skis/

Hagan Y[way] Series
Hagan-Flow-Freeride-SkiI have already commented on the Y[way]-flow (here), which – in my opinion – is one of the best light and pretty wide touring ski (new design picture above). The Y[way]-flow has a very wide tip (130m) with a narrow tail (ski dimensions 130-87-100). For a weight per pair of only 2.4kgs the ski performs really well in powder and most other conditions. The shape looks a bit like a skinny fish.

Hagan has issued an even lighter and slightly narrower Y[way]-drive (125-83-98) weighing 2.2kg per pair. While I have not tried the Y[way]-drive, I doubt that saving another 100g per ski is worth it. German Outdoor Magazine recently gave theHagan Y-drive its “Kauf Tipp”. Quote: Light touring skis with crusing qualities, floats well in powder, turns easily, highly recommended.” Hagan now also offers a wider Y[way]-boost (got also very good marks by Outdoor Magazine) and the even wider Y[way]-king. Both skis are not really light anymore.

Fischer Transalp

08_tour_ski_bindung
Fischer offers the Transalp with classical dimensions (118-80-104mm). Alpin Magazine found the Tansalp to be a good ski for its weight. See also
https://www.wildsnow.com/14885/fischer-transalp-skis-hannibal/
http://www.testberichte.de/p/fischer-sports-tests/superlite-transalp-modell-2013-2014-testbericht.html

G3 Synapse Carbon 101
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G3, the Canadian backcountry ski equipment producer, also has light ski series called “Synapse”. The 101 (or the narrower 92) seem to be very good skis (weight per pair about 2.5kgs). Test here www.powdergangster.ca/reviews/g3-synapse-ski-series/. The 101 is e.g. available at Transa for CHF 999 (or little more than $1000). Most of the new, carbon-based skis are not cheap, unfortunately.

K2 Wayback Series

154635
The Wayback is a great backcountry ski. It has been around for a few years and K2 how has made the Wayback 88 (124-88-113) about 200g per pair lighter (now 2.7kgs per pair). The new Wayback (which is available also in 82mm and 96mm width) has kept its great performance (easy to ski, easy turning, good grip, good flow in powder). Here is a review in German (http://www.bergzeit.de/magazin/k2-wayback-2014-2015-tourenski-im-test/). German Outdoor magazine rated both the 88mm and the 96mm Wayback highly.

Dynafit Chu Oyu and Dynafit Denali
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Dynafit also has two interesting light skis to offer, the Chu Oyu and the Denali (seen above). The narrower Cho Oyu (124-89-111mm) is one the lighest touring ski at around 2.3kg per pair. Review are good www.wildsnow.com/9644/dynafit-cho-oyu-review/. I have not skied the Cho Oyu (nor do I know anybody who owns one).

PS: I personally have not been so happy with Dynafit skis, but I have not tried any of the new models.

Black Diamond (Carbon) Aspect and Convertblack_diamond_carbon_aspect__fit_670x112
Worth mentioning are further the carbon editions of Black Diamond’s Aspect (above) and the wider Convert. The Carbon Aspect (127-90-113mm) is quite light with 2.6kgs per pair. Turns easily and floats well. favorable review here. Outdoor Magazin also likes the Carbon Aspect (easy to ski, good flotation, not so good on hard surfaces). The wider Carbon Convert (133-105-177mm) has a tail and a tip rocker. Outdoor Magazine says: “Great in powder, less good in crud”. In depth review here.

I also like the Völkl touring skis (which in the past have received very good reviews). I have an older Nanuq model and and a Maya (not available anymore). However, these ski (overview here) are heavier as compared to skis from K2, Movement etc.

The Atomic Aspect (120-85-109mm, 2.7kg) also still consistently gets good ratings (such as in the recent Outdoor Magazine ski test) “Great allrounder, easy to turn, recommended also for intermediate skiers”. If you compare the Aspect to the Hagan Y[way]-flow, then the Y[way]-flow is quite a bit lighter even though the ski is wider.

As mentioned, there are many more models to chose from. I have just listed my “favorites” and the skis that were rated highly in recent tests.  My clear personal favourite currently is the Hagan Y[way]-flow (even though the name is a bit strange). This is a great, very easy to ski and very light ski for all conditions and especially in powder. I can even ski well with this one, see video from Andermatt (pretty heavy snow).

Note: Many of the narrower skis are not available in the US. And certain brands such as the Hagans are a not easy to find in Switzerland.

 

 

 

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