We should review skis in the fall or at latest just before Christmas. So says conventional wisdom of the establishment ski press. Ever the contrarian, my take is that skis should be reviewed in spring, when folks are looking for sale bargains and they can file the information for early season shopping next fall.
To that end, I’ve picked seven skis we used (and liked) last winter, and will cover one pair every few days till we’ve got ’em all blogged. Some are current models, some a few years old but still available on the used market. Keep in mind that all our ski reviews are based on skiing with fixed heel, not telemark. Today’s pick: Black Diamond Verdict, 170 cm (mounted with Dynafit TLT).
|With a light weight of 59.6 ounces per ski (170 cm), the Verdict extracts little weight penalty for the platform it provides. (Though touring with fat skis can be tough when heavy wet snow builds up on top of the skis, and the wider skins add weight). I enjoy just about any ski in powder, but I like a wide ski for tough conditions such as breakable crust or bottomless mank, Verdict does not disapoint in that area. It skis powder nicely too — thus a good choice if you like a fatter ski for the fluff. In my tests I found the Verdict to have decent edgehold on hardpack, though it’s obviously a soft snow ski. The flex is supple — snappy but easily pressed into service for a soft snow arc.
As an experiment I mounted the Verdict with a Dynafit TLT, without a binding riser. In soft snow I didn’t feel any need for more stack height, but during test runs on tightly frozen resort snow it did seem that more stack would have helped. Using a Dynafit Comfort (with its added height) would probably have done the trick.
We’ve pulled in a few reports from friends using the Verdict, basic sentiment: “good choice for a fatter backcountry ski — without the added weight and inconvenience of twin tips.” That’s my take as well. Shop at will.
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.