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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    19

    CO Backcountry Ski Advice

    Hi all,

    Looking at two set-ups at the moment. Some Black Crow Orb Freebirds (91 waist) or some first-year G3 Carbon Synapses (101 underfoot, black with white lightning graphics).

    As a new BC skier in Colorado, anyone have any advice? They come with Rotations (Black Crows) or Radical 2.0s (G3), so bindings are very similar.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
    Posts
    1,675
    Praxis Rx
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
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    1,079
    Quote Originally Posted by cjohns716 View Post
    Hi all,

    Looking at two set-ups at the moment. Some Black Crow Orb Freebirds (91 waist) or some first-year G3 Carbon Synapses (101 underfoot, black with white lightning graphics).

    As a new BC skier in Colorado, anyone have any advice? They come with Rotations (Black Crows) or Radical 2.0s (G3), so bindings are very similar.

    Thanks!
    Great skis your looking at there, there are a couple members who can help out.

    Id PM @flowingalpy he has numerous skis he tours on and can tell you more about them.

    If you really want to buy simply THE BEST ski to date Id sent @nwskier a PM he can shed light on the Soul 7.

    Good luck on your endeavor - this is a topic that really has not been covered on here so Im sure others will chime in.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    320
    I think generally the 100ish waist will be easier in CO vs 90ish. Synapse 101 is a super fun lightweight soft-snow ski. I have a pair to sell in Boulder too. With Salomon MTNs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    3,735
    Sorry i didn't get back to you re:Praxis freerides. I went to get them tuned up and found a couple of the inserts pulled out when i went to check bindings. I need to fix them up before they are sellable.

    I'd got 100-ish waist in CO. It'll cover all but the (rare) deepest days assuming its got a medium flex and nice tip rocker.

    MTNs >> Radicals.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    19
    No problem my man.

    From what I've read on the Synapses, they're pretty stiff. That's really my biggest hesitation is stiffness and reviews saying they can be a bit skittery at speed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    28
    I skied the Synapse 101s for a couple of seasons in BC. They're light, stiff, and have a lot of rocker/tip taper. Lots of fun for meadow-skipping in light pow or skiing good corn, but very skittish at speed or in conditions that are anything less than ideal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In the swamp
    Posts
    6,509
    Be sure to lap Loveland Pass without your beacon. Its the cool thing to do there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central VT
    Posts
    133
    It's been a while since I've been in CO. I imagine RAX would be too hair-trigger for Rocky Mt snowpack, touching off buried layers.

    Too bad...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jongle View Post
    I skied the Synapse 101s for a couple of seasons in BC. They're light, stiff, and have a lot of rocker/tip taper. Lots of fun for meadow-skipping in light pow or skiing good corn, but very skittish at speed or in conditions that are anything less than ideal.
    Do you think they're passable as an all-around ski, or is the skittery-ness enough to turn people off from going out in less than ideal conditions? Assuming that if the ski performs better in mank and crust, they're heavier and that's the trade off?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    28
    If you're only skiing in pretty smooth conditions, I think the Synapse 101s would be fine. For me personally, the jitteriness is enough to put me off because I ski a lot of shitty snow over the course of a season. It's mainly the combination of lightness and stiffness that makes them skittish, and maybe also the heavy taper, not purely the weight per se. For example, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is actually a lighter construction but light years better in variable snow (and nowhere near as fun in powder).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jongle View Post
    If you're only skiing in pretty smooth conditions, I think the Synapse 101s would be fine. For me personally, the jitteriness is enough to put me off because I ski a lot of shitty snow over the course of a season. It's mainly the combination of lightness and stiffness that makes them skittish, and maybe also the heavy taper, not purely the weight per se. For example, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is actually a lighter construction but light years better in variable snow (and nowhere near as fun in powder).
    Hahaha you're not making this any easier.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    6,088
    There is no right answer. Buy a cheap setup (that you can unload for not much of a loss if you don't like it) that is similar to what you like inbounds. Maybe a bit shorter/lighter/softer. Then ski a bunch, decide what you like/ don't like and upgrade when you find a good deal.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    556
    I’m in CO. If I were to buy a general purpose, CO bc ski tomorrow, it would be: Moment Wildcat Tour 108. Worth a look, probs.

    IMO you don’t need anything wider than that, but do want at least 100.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    2,984
    Just buy the 107 Backlands that @1000oaks has on gear swap and call it done.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    556
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post

    ...all but the (rare) deepest days...
    I definitely wouldn't say deep days are rare in CO. What is quite rare (but does happen ocasionally), however, are deep days in CO where it makes any sense to ski the bc (because either you're going to get killed, or be limited to terrain where it's not steep enough to turn). So yeah, generally you don't need super fat skis in the CO bc.

    Since the OP is new to the CO bc, it should be stated: the CO snowpack is some of the most dangerous on the continent. Be aware and do not fuck about!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Mostly the Elks, mostly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skizix View Post
    I definitely wouldn't say deep days are rare in CO. What is quite rare (but does happen ocasionally), however, are deep days in CO where it makes any sense to ski the bc (because either you're going to get killed, or be limited to terrain where it's not steep enough to turn). So yeah, generally you don't need super fat skis in the CO bc.
    Bigger skis can make less steep 'safer' terrain more skiable, and certainly more fun. I think there is a lot more overlap in conditions than the picture you paint - A big rocker, larger waist ski in deep snow 28 degrees is more fun than a skinny ski on the same IMO. The trade off is versatility - variable snow is the norm, so something that makes most conditions reasonably enjoyable is where I'd aim.

    Quote Originally Posted by skizix View Post
    Be aware and do not fuck about!
    agree. please be safe.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Colorado Front Range
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    Bigger skis can make less steep 'safer' terrain more skiable, and certainly more fun. I think there is a lot more overlap in conditions than the picture you paint - A big rocker, larger waist ski in deep snow 28 degrees is more fun than a skinny ski on the same IMO. The trade off is versatility - variable snow is the norm, so something that makes most conditions reasonably enjoyable is where I'd aim.
    ^^^ QFT ^^^

    This is why I invariably reach for my 116 underfoot GPOs, for Winter tours.

    The good news is their versatility - they handle less deep snow just fine.

    Whenever I decide to leave them home in favor of a skinnier ski, I regret it.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    19
    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    variable snow is the norm, so something that makes most conditions reasonably enjoyable is where I'd aim.
    Yep, this is what I'm aiming for. If after a season or two, I want to get a powder pair, great. For now, focused on getting something that will work passably whenever I have the opportunity and desire to get out into the BC.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    agree. please be safe.
    Yep, have heard this all over. As soon as I have skis, signing up for AIARE 1 and getting BSP.

  20. #20
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    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohns716 View Post
    Yep, this is what I'm aiming for. If after a season or two, I want to get a powder pair, great. For now, focused on getting something that will work passably whenever I have the opportunity and desire to get out into the BC.



    Yep, have heard this all over. As soon as I have skis, signing up for AIARE 1 and getting BSP.
    So are these skis serving mostly inbounds duty? Is that why you're hesitant to go wider?

    If not, you'll be touring in 3D snow in the Winter, so a GPO, Helio 116, Wildcat Tour 116 will serve you well.

    I mentioned @1000oaks Backland 107s (Gear Swap), thinking that was as wide as you'd go (and it's nicely balanced), but for all the reasons stated above, your main Colorado Winter touring ski would be in the 11x width category.

    Buying used is always an option to reduce buyers remorse risk. Some of the above mentioned skis pop up.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Mostly the Elks, mostly.
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    346
    Quote Originally Posted by galibier_numero_un View Post
    Whenever I decide to leave them home in favor of a skinnier ski, I regret it.
    Yea +1 on that, my thinnest sticks are 119.
    Good rocker, a little camber, some sidecut, solid drive-ability and a decent underfoot will keep me in smiles, even on 'safer' terrain on high risk days. I feel like decently wide sticks with those parameters open way more doors than they close.. ymmv.

    I don't worry too much about weight in this game. I just start slow and taper anyway.

    I shoulda said in full disclosure, frontside skiing factors zero in my decisions .. so that probably changes everything.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    19
    Quote Originally Posted by galibier_numero_un View Post
    So are these skis serving mostly inbounds duty? Is that why you're hesitant to go wider?

    If not, you'll be touring in 3D snow in the Winter, so a GPO, Helio 116, Wildcat Tour 116 will serve you well.

    I mentioned @1000oaks Backland 107s (Gear Swap), thinking that was as wide as you'd go (and it's nicely balanced), but for all the reasons stated above, your main Colorado Winter touring ski would be in the 11x width category.

    Buying used is always an option to reduce buyers remorse risk. Some of the above mentioned skis pop up.

    ... Thom
    No these will be a dedicated touring setup. And that's interesting. I've gotten advice to stick around 100mm waist for an all-around, mid-winter and spring ski.

    And yep, only looking at used to keep costs down. Found a pair of Atomic Backland 95's with matching skins. Ski seems to get good reviews for being solid no matter conditions, damp enough to soak up some of the worst stuff. Obviously, giving up some float for the super deep days.

    And unfortunately those backlands got got! I went and looked when you mentioned them last time!

  23. #23
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    Nov 2018
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    Yea +1 on that, my thinnest sticks are 119.
    Holy cow!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,099

    CO Backcountry Ski Advice

    I try to stay out of these conversations, but I think youd be well served listening to Thoms advice. I also tour on GPOs (as well as another 11+ ski), coming from something just about 100 underfoot for touring, these sticks have vastly improved 98% of my bc experiences. I personally dont get all the you need skinny sticks for couli season, and refrozen upside down what the fuck ever shit but whatever, everyone has their opinions and preferences. Im also 200ish but do ski CO so YMMV....

    FWIW, this is exactly why I stay out of these conversations, just meant to say Thom knows what hes talking about and if I were you Id put some serious consideration into what he says.
    Fear, Doubt, Disbelief, you have to let it all go. Free your mind!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    2,984
    Quote Originally Posted by eskido View Post
    I try to stay out of these conversations, but I think youd be well served listening to Thoms advice. I also tour on GPOs (as well as another 11+ ski), coming from something just about 100 underfoot for touring, these sticks have vastly improved 98% of my bc experiences. I personally dont get all the you need skinny sticks for couli season, and refrozen upside down what the fuck ever shit but whatever, everyone has their opinions and preferences. Im also 200ish but do ski CO so YMMV....

    FWIW, this is exactly why I stay out of these conversations, just meant to say Thom knows what hes talking about and if I were you Id put some serious consideration into what he says.
    The lightbulb went off for me two years ago.

    I picked up a pair of 95mm skis and did some on hill testing at A-basin in Spring (slushy) conditions.

    Well, my GPOs did everything better that day - handle uneven snow, turn more quickly, etc. The only advantage the narrower skis had was weight. I encountered very little early morning scratchy stuff that day, but I know the GPOs enough to be comfortable with them in those conditions. They were my daily driver before I mounted touring bindings on them.

    Now the design of these narrower skis was somewhat traditional (minimal tip rocker, nearly flat tail), so I don't want this to come off as an absolute statement about narrower skis. I eventually filled in this slot with a much more capable ski - Down CD 104s.

    What this boils down to for me is that I'm making a decision in the morning and the question I always ask is which ski would have the least down side if I chose the "wrong" ski for that day?

    Invariably, I take the GPOs and have yet to regret it.

    I think a good example of this approach is Brittany's comparison between the BD Helio 105 & 114 in 14-ers.com

    It's that deflecto, wind-fucked snow where having a bit more under foot that's a lifesaver for me. We've already covered the better float factor on lower angle terrain. Getting out on 25 degree hills and actually having safe fun in our sketchy Winter Snowpack was a game changer.

    I'm still trying to figure out the Spring ski scenario - where you know you'll encounter everything from bulletproof to slush. The Praxis EXPs I picked up last Spring (88mm) may be the ticket.

    It'll be interesting to see if I reach for the wider Downs when choosing between the two. I got the EXPs too late in the Spring to gather enough data.

    ... Thom
    Last edited by galibier_numero_un; 10-05-2019 at 11:08 PM.
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

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