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2020 Skis - A Deep Dive into our Selection
With over 30 models of skis to choose from (without counting our skimo ski selection) this Winter, you can be assured that we have the right ski for your next adventure. All that variety can be confusing, so here’s our selection in more detail to help you figure things out.
When we think Dynastar, we think nimble, quick and floaty planks that ski wider than they are. Looking for a ski that will help you progress as a backcountry skier and that will do great in a broad variety of conditions? The Mythic 97 and Mythic 87 are great choices for backcountry skiers who spend time East of the Divide but who don’t want to be let down when it gets deeper. We especially like the Mythic’s liveliness, playful nature and their powerful edge hold.
During our time on the Dynastar Mythic 97 so far, it has performed quite well for a ~1500 gram ski. It’s not as demanding as the flex pattern may lead one to believe, but it is still impressively stable for its weight. The generously rockered shovel design is very much not hooky, which is great in crust and on firm snow, and it also helps the Mythic 97 float very well for its width. However, the tail won’t break free as easily as softer, more tail rockered skis and will want to finish the turn in firm snow. So overall, if you like to carve on firm snow in the backcountry and are looking for a mild-mannered yet-stable ski for a broad range of conditions, you should definitely consider the Mythic 97. Blister Gear Review
For icy couloirs and long missions, this year’s Dynastar Vertical F-Team is your technical skiing weapon. It truly is a beautiful, refined, clean and stable ski that will gain surgical precision in the hands of the highly skilled. The F-Team is best skied by excellent mountaineers and demanding skiers looking for a lightweight ski for big days and committing descents. A great option for the lighter skier in the same category is the Vertical Pro, an easier but stable and predictable ski designed to be fun and confidence-inspiring in ski-mountaineering situations.
Those who have skied K2 before will say it; their skis are always comfortable, predictable and confidence inspiring. More tools than toys, the touring-specific Wayback/Talkback line makes dampness and even flex its signature. With a lighter construction that tips the scale at 1300 gram per ski in all models but the Wayback 106 (1500 gram in 179 cm), rest assured that these skis will take you up the skintrack in minimal time. We really like the Wayback’s easy character that still can harnesses all the power you need to open it up in the alpine or to get through tricky situations. These are true workhorses designed to be comfortable anywhere on the mountain. The Wayback 106, Wayback 96, Wayback 88 and Talkback 96 have the same construction and feel similar, allowing you to easily find the perfect width for your program. For the weight-conscious, the Wayback 80 features a Paulownia/Balsa core and comes in around the 1 kilo mark!
"The Wayback lived up to its name. With a surfy, floaty feel, these boys instantly plane on top of the pow and hold their course." Backcountry Magazine
New for 2020, the women’s Mindbender 106 C Alliance isn’t your typical backcountry ski. Its aspen core makes it damp and lively while its carbon layer gives it a powerful shovel, a solid underfoot feel and a super playful tail. If the Wayback is a tool, this is definitely a toy. Starting at 159 cm and weighing just over 1500 gram per ski, the Mindbender 106 C Alliance won’t hold you back wherever you take it.
A pedigree from decades of alpine racing, the Austrians at Fischer have been dipping toes into alpine touring for a few years. Fischer’s touring skis are known to be responsive and snappy, and they come to life the more they are pushed. Both the Hannibal and the Transalp lines have this thing that makes them a favourite for beginners and experts alike. A great blend of smooth and easy, but stiff and hard-charging when needed.
“For [being] less than 100 underfoot, these felt and skied fat and they charged through the mank. The carbon’s stiffness appeared to pay off; testers reveled in the Transalp 90’s ability to smoothly accelerate. They come to life the harder they’re pushed.” Backcountry Magazine
New this year, Fischer is adding a deep snow ski, the Hannibal 106, to their line-up. While we haven’t skied it yet (you’ll see Joel on the 185 cm this Winter), this ski just won Backcountry Magazine’s Editor’s choice award! Those who are looking for a powder charger that won’t beat them up when their quads get tired will be delighted. Here’s what the folks at Backcountry Magazine had to say:
A ski good enough to pass even a guide’s level of scrutiny? Fischer seems to have done it with their new Hannibal 106.“Light, yet incredibly drivable and pretty darn stable in that cruddy, variable stuff.” The titanal reinforcements underfoot and carbon stringers running the length of the ski offer enough rigidity to balance out the ski’s softer side—a gram-conscious paulownia core to keep weight at a minimum for long slogs. This no-brainer option for the guide in the group also appealed to the recreational set, who noted its multipurpose practicality and an aggressive amount of rocker that produced floaty results. “This ski is a hard-charging, stiff quiver of one. Everything felt smooth and easy, though they’re hardly underpowered.” one said. Minimal sidecut enables smooth and effortless long-radius turns. Testers were hard pressed to find the Hannibal’s speed limit, and, per one, “Their soul is revealed the harder they are pushed.”
The iconic American ski and telemark brand (and inventor of the splitboard) made a big splash last Winter when it introduced its new Hyper series. Paulownia cores and carbon-infused constructions took perennial designs known for their versatility to the next level. Who said you couldn’t have it all? Voilé Hyper skis are approachable all-around skis that have great applicability in deep and shallow conditions alike. Voilé skis let you enjoy skiing without having to worry about making them turn. Look for the Hyper V8 and Hyper V6 if you like a surfy and pivoty ski, or look for the Hypercharger or the Hypervector if you like a stiffer ski that can rail turns. As a matter of fact, the Hyper V6 also won a Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice award this Winter.
Better known on the other side of the pond, Movement has been specializing in freeride and backcountry skis since the early 2000s. As soon as we got to test their Session 89, we noticed its excellent stability at higher speeds and its beautiful floatation for a sub-90 mm underfoot width. Movement skis all pack a punch when skiing aggressively but their character stays gentle and easy at lower speeds or on less technical terrain. The Session 89 will satisfy the most demanding skiers, while the softer and wider Session 98 is a super-versatile ski for a broad audience and an even broader program.
For the die-hard backcountry skier, Movement’s beautiful and equally physical Alp Tracks 100 (1245 g in 177 cm) and Alp Tracks 106 (1300 g in 177 cm) are the lightest chargers out there. Both these skis need good technical ability to reveal themselves, but once understood they become precise and powerful tools to crush those high speed powder turns. Unique high-level skis for performance backcountry skiing! The Alp Tracks 106 won one of last year’s Backcountry Magazine Editor’s choice award.
If the Alp Tracks sounds exciting to you but the lighter weight scares you, expect from the GO 100, GO 100 W and GO 106 added stiffness and inertia. At around 1600 grams per ski, expect a true backcountry charger that will confidently take you from big open slopes and high speed to icy and tight couloirs and everything in between.
“Pronounced shovels surf above, keeping you afloat,” one tester said. The Go’s titanal plates, and perhaps the unidirectional carbon sandwiching the titanal and karuba, also led her to demarcate the Go as “stiff and thoughtfully engineered.” Backcountry Magazine
Ski Trab is nonetheless one of the pioneers of ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing in Italy. If you follow skimo racing, you probably noticed that most top world cup athletes are on Ski Trab skis, whether it is the original ski or the La Sportiva branded version. From 64 mm to 95 mm underfoot, Ski Trab skis are second to none when it comes to construction quality and durability. Forget about pressuring tips and bending skis, the Magico 2, Maximo, Altavia and Sintesi give their best when they are skied with finesse. In those instances, nothing beats their performance on hard snow and technical terrain. The Maximo, Altavia and Sintesi are all fully cambered skis to maximize edge contact in tricky situation, yet their soft tip and tail keep them agile and floaty. Those won’t be your deep day powder boards, but in everything shallower (hint: Canadian Rockies) and even snow, it doesn’t get much more interesting than a Ski Trab. The Italian mastery for those who are looking for new sensations on the skis.
For 2020, Ski Trab has updated the skis that made their reputation. The new Maestro 2 and Magico 2 feature Ski Trab’s fantastic 14-layer construction and an updated shape to improve their skiability in a wide variety of conditions. Imagine a super easy and precise turn initiation, followed by a rock solid feel once on edge, all for just over 1 kg per foot. Meet the ultimate ski-mountaineering weapon.
Stop into the shop to grab a coffee or message us if you have questions :)