After Monday off to recover from doing support at 24 Hours of Sunlight, the WildSnow crew hit a good week of backcountry skiing and gear testing. Results:
|Louie nails it in Marble, yesterday. On G3 Saints.|
So, Wednesday found us up in the western Elk Mountains south of here, working on finding some new terrain. We started that tour at fairly low elevation and encountered variable snow that could easily cause skin icing problems. My buddy on unnamed nylons got some nice heavy ice wads under his feet — even with glop stopper. My feet were fleet, however, because I was using the latest Alpinist skins from G3.
I’ve been testing the Alpinist skins for a few weeks now, and can honestly say I’m delighted. For starters, the G3s seem to respond really well to waxing. I did get some icing during some of my first tests, when I intentionally did not wax. But even then I got less ice than folks on other brands were getting. Now, I wax before any tour where icing is possible, and it’s been obvious that this skin is much more resistant to icing than anything else I’ve been using. On top of that, it glides better than any other nylon skin I’ve used, climbs great, has super sticky glue — and more. Honestly, these things are a step above. Six thumbs up from the WildSnow crew.
|Glide and anti-ice are the G3 skin’s best feature, but their tip attachment isn’t too shabby. Check out how these clips conform to just about any tip shape. More, they’re wear resistant compared to the shredded cables and chopped up wire that high mileage skins may end up with.|
G3 glue is so sticky we didn’t even leave the house till we’d installed a “wimp patch” in the tip area. Indeed, the G3 tip fix system lays the front of the skin so flat on the ski tip, snow doesn’t tend to work it’s way underneath as easily as other fix methods, so our “wimp patch” works super well. More, I’ll be adding a wimp strip down the length of the skin just as soon as I buy more nylon tape. G3’s tail fix system is nicely molded into the skin. But we find their system to be a bit fiddly in comparison to our own Rat Tail method, and to other systems that stay length adjusted and are easily clipped on after each lap, such as Black Diamond STS, or the Dynafit system.
Since we’re on the subjects of G3 and this weeks trips: Yep, we’ve been out a few other times. Marble area yesterday was exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised to find bouncy skiable powder was still persisting on most exposures. That’s about four days since the last percip, and with the solar cooking of late February. It’s said we have a “quiet sun” this winter that’s sending less heat our way. Could this make powder persist slightly longer before it gets sun damaged? More, if we have a hot summer and everyone blames it on global warming, when we have a cool winter does that mean we have global cooling? But that’s fodder for another blog… Meanwhile:
|Still feeling worked from 24 Hours, on Tuesday we did a cardio climb up one of our ski areas, then did some lift laps for ski testing. The runs had a nice coating of chopped pow. Louie and Dave gave the G3 Saints a good workout, then Louie used the Saints again yesterday in Marble. Conclusion so far: They’re a bit heavy, but state-of-art as a ski that eats hardpack but also dominates in the soft. Nice job G3! Louie also did more skiing on the BD Stigmas. Those guys are light weight and versatile, but when used in soft snow you end up wanting more width under your feet. (More Stigma feedback: Our team member Mike used the Stigma for his race ski at 24 Hours of Sunlight. He really liked them as a smooth hardpack ski.)
Also during our test day, I rode the K2 Bakers. At their short length and weight they were not the ideal ski for the chop rodeo, but that’s to be expected. In everything else this week they’ve been exceptional. Dave’s huge Kilowatts were of course the hands down winner for bucking the skied out pow, but that’s a given as well.
|More Marble, yesterday. Louie again enjoying global cooling on G3 Saint.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.