New (Wider and Lighter) Touring & Backcountry Skis – Test Update 2015

Salomon MTN Explore 95Touring and backcountry skis have become lighter and wider every year. The width of traditional (European) backcountry skis has moved from around 80mm waist to about 90mm. And, more and more ski producers now offer good touring skis with a width between 85mm and 90mm that are lighter than 2.5kg per pair. This was not the case 2-3 years ago when just very few skis (such as the Movement Logic X, my test here) could be found in that width/weight category.

I consider 85-90mm at waist as ideal for (Swiss) Alpine ski touring. This waist width was “pioneered” by the highly successful K2 Wayback (88mm) which was – and still is – a great ski (at a bit heavier than 3kg per pair). The newer K2 Wayback 88 is a bit lighter  (2.7kg per pair at 174cm), but not as light as some other skis presented in my posts. Narrower skis (not included in my test reviews) are also fine for serious ski touring, especially in hard snowpack or in spring.

In separate posts I summarize recent tests (and my personal experience) on most light and 85mm to 95mm wide backcountry skis. There are, of course, further makers of wide and light skis such as, Sportiva, G3 or Black Diamond (the latter two are targeting mainly  powder skiers). Wide (and light) backcountry skis from US manufacturers (such as Black Diamond or G3) are great for powder, but generally less suitable for hard or difficult snow conditions.  Please note that the prices for skis vary quite a bit from around EUR/USD 500 to EUR/USD 900.

The best new entries into the wide and light backcountry ski category are probably the Fischer Hannibal 94 (or 100), the Blizzard Zero G 85 (or 95) and the Salomon MTN 88 and 95

The Austrian Alpine Clubs has an excellent online magazine that includes many test (in German, sorry) of backcountry skis: 2015 edition, 2014 edition. Highly recommended.


One comment on ski lengths: Some of the skis (such as the Hagan Y[wai] flow) are heavily rockered or quite soft. Such skis can be a bit longer as the turn very easy. I personally prefer touring skis that are about 5cm to 10cm shorter than my height (178cm, 76 kg). Heavier skiers probably should shoot for ski length >= height.

I personally prefer shorter skis because they are a bit lighter and turn very easy (downhill and also uphill at switchbacks) than longer skis. Shorter skis, however, have less edge grip and do not float as well in powder.

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