How to choose a backcountry ski
As a core backcountry shop, all of the skis that we stock are made for the backcountry. Well... Maybe we spoke too soon. There is ONE ski in this collection that's not traditionally regarded as a BC ski, but has the weight profile that we look for in our touring skis. Can you guess which one?
Weight is the most important characteristic in a touring ski. As such, many skiers buy the lightest possible skis. Those same skiers seem to complain endlessly about their light, noodley skis. The question is, how light is too light? Generally speaking, an ultralight touring ski is 1,500 grams or lighter. Our heaviest ski is 2,100 grams.
How light is too light?
Our lightest ski is the Black Crows Orb Freebird, weighing in at 1450 grams at 179cm. Shipping and Receiving manager Liz recently decided to pick up a Orb which she described as her "East side" ski. We have our biggest days of the season in the Eastern Sierra, usually seeking corn in the spring. Those are the days that you want a sub-1500 gram ski with a narrow waist width(90mm). For daily use, look in the 1500-1800 gram range and try and get some more float!
The backcountry sweet spot
We think the Kaizen 105 is right in the backcountry sweet spot. Carbon construction keeps the ski light while allowing for a generous 105mm waist width. DPS skis allow you to go even lighter with 112, 106, and 100mm Pagoda Tour skis all weighing under 1,600 grams. In Tahoe, we ski pow. Our daily driver skis have floaty, rockered tips and generous underfoot widths thanks to ultralight construction which you will find throughout this collection.
More considerations for your touring skis
Sidecut Radius makes a huge difference in how a ski performs. Skis with a sidecut radius of 15-20 meters are "turney" skis that will feel right at home navigating tight trees on a West Shore classic. Go for 20-25 meters if your looking for a ski that charges above treeline. Profile also impacts how a ski performs with nearly 90% of our skis having tip and tail rocker with a smattering of full rocker and early rise skis to round out the collection.
Finding the perfect ski
The perfect ski is found by skiing a lot of different skis and determining what is most important for you. The best way to fast-track your understanding of how skis perform and who they are for is to ask others. We're fortunate to ski 30+ different boards each season and are stoked to share our experience. Stop in or give us a call at (530)583-6917. Let's talk skis!