You guys might wonder what I do for days at the Outdoor Retailer show. Do I start at dawn and party till the sun rises again? Do I spend the whole time smoking cigars and making big advertising deals (not necessarily in that order)? Actually, I spend most of the time simply getting a sense of what’s new in the backcountry skiing gear world, as well as doing general business networking. The cigars happen as well, but I can’t tell you where as that’s a trade secret. To that former goal, check out my take on G3’s new stuff:
First, one has to admit it was a bit disappointing a few years ago when G3 came up with a revamped ski line that apparently had lead cores. G3 does work hard on providing skis that go downhill well, so perhaps we’ll give them a pass on that weighty episode of the past in view of the R&D process they’ve no doubt been doing so they can have a ski line that competes with the big boys. This especially now that G3 is riding the avalanche of wide/light plank offerings you can suddenly find across the industry. On the scale, G3 says their Zenoxide in 178cm, 131/105/123 weighs 60 ounces per ski.That favorable of a width/weight/length ratio is top notch and worth looking at if you’re shopping. Ditto for the G3 Saint model, which in 08/09 was one of the heaviest skis we’ve ever tested, and is now leaned down (and no doubt the same ski in name only) at 53.5 ounces per ski at 177 cm, 122/93/112. Both skis have early rise tip which no doubt contributes to soft snow performance.
G3 Onyx tech compatible binding continues micro evolution in the tech clampage category. We’re still recommending Onyx to hard charging skiers who rock big skis with concrete-hard boots and high speeds. To support those individuals, new model will have stronger toe pins and wings as well as tightened tolerances all around for less system play. New areas of color indicate areas where you use a ski pole to activate binding functions. Perhaps most importantly, the (in our opinion) difficult Onyx binding entry system continues incremental improvement: the toe wings are now easier to hold open while you get your boot positioned for the click in. Other tech bindings are attempting to improve entry methods as well (e.g., Dynafit with their Power Towers) — it’ll be interesting at some point to have a shoot-out between the different brands/models. I know you guys are going to ask, so I’ll add that brakes for Onyx will be available in 85mm, 95mm, 110mm, 130mm.
What else? To me the other most interesting G3 ‘new’ offering is their ‘Speed Tech’ avalanche probes with an optimized single pull quick deployment mechanism. The 190 Carbon speed tech is said to weigh in at 180 grams, while the 300 comes in light as well with more length. Both probes are said to be plenty stiff, and are marked with 5mm increment gradations. Several people I spoke with at the Outdoor Retailer show emphasized that some of the lighter weight probes out there may be too flexible to do an effective fine-grid probe, meaning deflection of the probe could cause you to miss a buried avalanche victim. This sounds reasonable. Thus, we’ll be watching this issue a bit more than we used to — and we’ll get more probes for testing.
There you go ye WildSnowers. Look for this stuff to be available by next fall (if it’s not already.)
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.