Finally, something other than powder conditions to test the G3 Synapse Carbon 101. I was beginning to think this was going to be a very limited review in scope. I spent two days touring on the Synapse after a spring storm when rain in our Colorado valley left 6″ of winter snow up high.
Synapse has 130/101/118 dimensions and 5 point geometry with a generous rocker up front, rockered tail and slight camber under foot. This package comes in at a stealth 6lbs for the 175cm test length. None of this is dramatically different than a number of skis out there (BD, DPS, etc.) but if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.
One nice thing I discovered when I picked them up after a remount for the new boots was a Titanal mounting plate under foot. I like that feeling of security.
My first day was the now classic Ski Hayden (Elk Mountains, Aspen) under blue skies with the storm having cleared out. There was wind up high so the first few turns had some minor wind effect. I thought this could be interesting with both new skis and boots.
G3 Synapse was very forgiving and smoothed out the variable snow which quickly morphed into powder. With powder comes consistency and confidence as I let the speed pick up and didn’t want to stop.
The upper pitches of Hayden funnel into a pair of parallel gullies where I was able to slash turns playing with the banked side and sparse, stubby trees before spilling out onto the flats below. The remaining distance to the road is mostly transportation reversing course along the skin track through the trees picking up the occasional gully or meadow shot. Sometimes the trees require quick little moves or a sudden bailout here and there. This is were I noticed that the Synapse doesn’t have that quick, darting little pop that comes in handy when you’re acting purely on split-second instinct.
The following day the same partner and I headed up to a series of broad, protected north facing gullies in the alpine where we suspected we would find lingering powder from the day before. We were not disappointed. Once again the wind was whipping on the ridge tops leaving the first few turns either a little thin or slightly variable though quickly turning into powder.
With a day on the Synapse, I had a much better feel for the ski and felt confident charging harder right out of the gate. The Synapse responded with more pop and energy than the day before. I let the skis run a little more and they were right there with me as the speed accelerated. We kept turning powder laps in this area pegging the fun meter and not for one second did I think about how much more fun I would be having if I were on any different ski. When it was time to turn towards home we reversed course down the steep access gully. Once again, when it came time to dart around a tree or make a quick move, the Synapse doesn’t have that in it’s bag of tricks.
Some say you can ski anything in powder but what about when the conditions are firm or less than ideal? A few days ago I ventured out behind Aspen Mountain (Ajax) on a windy, grey afternoon. Any semblance of powder was long gone and the corn that had taken it’s place was frozen granular. I started down a meadow listening to the sound of scraping below my feet thinking “What am I doing here”? I made slow, easy turns not sure if or when I was going to punch through the crust. I came to my senses and turned towards a north facing bowl hoping for remnants of soft snow. Not!
I traversed to a hoback with an East aspect and found solid snow I could lay into without penalty. Much to my surprise, I was able to whip off a series of quick fall line turns with better edge hold than I anticipated. I quit while I was ahead and ran with my tail between my legs for the shelter of the ski area and civilization. The upper parts of the mountain were still frozen but eventually that gave way to warm, softened snow and a chance for the Synapse to find home again.
The G3 Synapse Carbon 101 is a fun, smooth, and forgiving ride over a wide variety of powder and variable soft snow conditions. It handles firmer, wind effected and frozen snow better than originally anticipated but that is not its forte. While exhibiting pop and energy, it is not going to throw any unwanted surprises at you or put you in the back seat. It will suit a broad spectrum of abilities from the intermediate to the lighter weight, skilled skier. So get out and play but skip those cold, grey spring days without any fresh snow.
Bob Perlmutter and his wife Sue live in Aspen where Bob manages Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, a snowcat skiing operation. Bob has sought adventure skiing over the past thirty years, in the nearby Elk Mountains as well as numerous locales around the world. Presently, he is reeling it in close to home to embark on his biggest adventure yet, fatherhood.