Voile sent us some skis to run around on this spring and we did just that. The Charger model is an aptly named board as that is exactly what they like to do. While these Arabian stallions aren’t big and heavy enough to plow through resort crud like some of the larger horses out there, they still do a sufficient job. (Note, this is the same and well reviewed Charger ski that was available last season, but with new graphics.)
My test 2011/2012 Chargers came saddled with Dynafits, always welcome. Straight to the backcountry I galloped. (Editor’s note: Okay, enough of the horse metaphor from the editor, sorry about that Jordan, too many bratwurst in Leavenworth caused brain damage.)
After several days in Aspen’s surrounding lands of the wildsnow it became rather apparent that these skis were a pretty good all around backcountry ride. With dimensions for my ’11-’12 191 cm version sitting at 140-114-128, a big YES was voiced. Uh huh, just looking at the Chargers got me excited to see what they could do.
And when I picked them up, surprise surprise. For such a big ski, they really don’t weigh in at much. At 8 lbs 12 oz Chargers are not as light as some of the ounce fanatic setups out there, but in my view they float better on the deep days, and even hold an edge a bit better for someone as big as me.
The 191 version Charger comes with 39 cm of tip rocker and 16.5 cm of tail rise. Though this is more on the slight side of things compared to the monster bananas guys are running at the resorts or using when they get a heli lift, charging through pow conditions is still effortless and good old fashioned fun on the Charger. The rocker allows for super easy pivot turns and even easier jump turns. On hard snow the ski ends up skiing like a shorter 180 or so ski, making it seem effortless to get the beasts around, though once you get up to sonic speed levels you might find yourself wanting a few more centimeters.
The Charger top sheet is designed with a good choice of mostly white coloring; this means there are few times when you are carrying an extra 10 pounds of snow on top of your skis. Amazing a ski company would actually address this very real need, as most appear to ignore the icing issue in favor of graphics that look good at the trade shows.
After skiing the Chargers a couple of times on the front side I was ready to take them somewhere a bit more serious. The East Face of Castle Peak (14er outside of Aspen) was a thought? Powder conditions to boot? The Voiles were going to enjoy this, and so was I.
We spent a good “hard” day up on the Maroon Bells (yes, another 14,000 footer near here) that was rather suitable for testing this plank’s performance on hard pack. While not proving the quickness and extreme edgehold of a slalom ski, the Chargers met the scrappy challenge just fine.
To pull it all together, I have to say that the Chargers are a good all-around ski that loves the pow, but can handle the rest of the tricks mother nature likes to throw our way. If you’re shopping, check ’em out for next season. Now, if it would just start snowing again around here…
Shop for Voile backcountry skis here.
Jordan White is a strong alpinist who finished skiing all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks in 2009. He guides, tends bar, and lives the all-around perfect life in Aspen.