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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    89

    Spring/summer backcountry ski recs?

    Iím thinking of adding a second backcountry ski to the quiver. Current one is a 4FRNT Raven (104 waist) - love it in winter and soft snow, but the reverse camber on spring/early summer icy ups and steeps is frustrating and sometimes terrifying. So Iím venturing into the world of light 90ish waist stiff tailed cambered skis. This seems to fit the bill for spring/summer (and also a light winter recon ski). I was originally thinking Solly Mtn Explore 95, but aside from adding camber, it seems too close to the Raven. So Iím looking for any recs on an 80-90 mm waist stiff cambered ski thatís sub 1500 g and ideally in a mid 180 length (some max out around 182) - so I'm around the likes of the Zero G 85, Findr 86, Superguide 88, Wayback 88. I'm willing to give up speed stability (and float obviously) for low weight, but need strong edge and tail. Iíve searched around, but this category doesnít get as much TGR or review attention - there are some compare threads but mostly 3+ years old. And maybe not much has changed since then.
    Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Whistler, BC
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    1,391
    Explore 88?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Whelk View Post
    a more stupid motherfuck does not exist.
    Big Balls is worst asshat kind.
    kind that wear bukkake from above.
    with warm drown he gurgles final death, for one time not worried about his misplaced import known of african american social standing and prominent community members. for he is only drown, as is the way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    321
    My spring skis have been Zero G 85s for the last 3 years. Thereís not much to add from the old threads. They rail. With XTD 130s, theyíll do super-g turns down the Muir snowfield.

    Iím small and I got 178s. If I was doing it over, I would have gone shorter, because theyíre a handful with my Syborg boots.
    U.P.: up

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    89
    Good point on the Explore 88's... I somehow didn't know that they made an 88 version. Maybe the 95 just dominates on Blister, etc.
    And good to hear re the ZG 85s too - that they're stiff and rail even with that light weight.
    I guess having been on bigger/heavier skis for some time, I'm just wary that something skinny and light can be strong and stiff enough - but that is what this whole category is made for! And that most of these would likely do the trick.
    Maybe best is to just find the best deal. Used would be great as long as not too banged up on late season rocks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    643
    Iím on ZG 85s as well and love them. Went with a miniature size (171) for me given Iím 5í11Ē, 160lbs, and they honestly ski fine with my XTD 130s. Iíd say speed limit is somewhere around 30mph, so you can be the judge of whether thatís enough for you. They weigh just over 1000 grams each.

    Mine have basically zero camber after being skied for 10 days which I think is perfectóthey still grip well on the steeps but the tails release quite easily and Iíve had no issue skiing thick, sticky snow with them, or ~3 inches of heavy powder.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Swiss alps
    Posts
    568
    I own the zeroG 95 (older/ OG) and they are great for what you describe. I assume the 85 would be as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Aspen
    Posts
    920
    Ova Freebirds in 175, for $225 shipped after a coupon - https://www.sierra.com/black-crows-o...prod-prod744MR

    Should be similar skiing to ZG85 or Explore 88; lots of camber on these. My 180cm weigh 1450g with Helio 200s. I probably should have stepped down to 175cm for this sort of intention, but 180cm are manageable enough and nice for a bit more stability


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    6,493
    Ive skied skinny Fischer's, Findr's and Zero G's in recent years, mostly with Scarpa F1's. Strongly prefer the Zero G's. I've heard some say they are "demanding" but I don't think that's the case if you have solid technique. I have 85's but would recommend the 95's unless your doing long days with a lot of sidehilling/ steep kick turns. That extra centimeter makes them better in slop and crusts.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Cascades
    Posts
    539
    Another big fan of the ZeroG 85s here. I'm 5'9" 135lbs, ski ~185cm skis in the resort, and 171cm ZeroGs are good. I believe the 171 has about the same amount of ski in front of the binding as my 187cm Hojis did.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    89
    More good stuff, thanks. And good point re Hojis! I just sold my Hojis since just too close to my Ravens and EHPs. Plus they were sooo rockered. I'm big (6'1 185) and was thinking I needed to be well into the mid 180's, but maybe +/- 180 would work great here.
    One follow up question - I've heard different things on the Zero G camber, from traditional 5mm to flat. Flat would surprise me. Is low camber-long edge the best takeaway here?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Cascades
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    539
    Quote Originally Posted by m104da View Post
    One follow up question - I've heard different things on the Zero G camber, from traditional 5mm to flat. Flat would surprise me. Is low camber-long edge the best takeaway here?
    Mine are like Skeeze's, almost no camber. They do have a pretty long effective edge. I really like mine on deep corn and anything firmer than that; once things get sloppy and sticky they aren't great. Of course no lightweight, narrow ski is going to handle egresses in isothermal muck all that well.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    605
    My ZG85s (185 length) also lost their camber but I cant tell a difference...might even be an improvement

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
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    My 85's gain and lose camber as temps change.

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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Montrose, CO
    Posts
    670
    I just went through this process. I stumbled across a pair of Kastle TX90s w/Plum Guides in a 184. I found them on KSL classifieds... I've not skied them yet but, all things point to a positive future experience.

    Here in the San Juans we've had an unprecedented number of "green" avy days and I plan to use these soon on some more remote, steep lines...

    I was kind of honed in on the Black Diamond Helio 95s, but I'd heard they were kind of too carbon-y and the deal on the Kastles materialized...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winthrop, WA. Methow valley
    Posts
    862
    I've done some demoing on an array of touring skis in bulletproof conditions and have to corroborate the general consensus, ZG's are strong and solid on edge. The two others that stood out are the Backland 95's (lot's of camber and really light) and the VTA 98...I'm sure the BMT 90 would also be great. All of the previous were surprisingly strong on edge for me. As a bigger guy in the 210-220lb range I was not impressed at all with the icy surface edge grip of the Mtn 95's, Hannibal 96, or any of the G3's, others have had very different experiences so there ya go. Consider this just a data point.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,702
    Like my Camox freebird early season and imagine late season will be good also. They are light and stable


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    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16

    2018/2019 (24/32)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    1,502
    Someone should really take a look at Kastle FX 85s for spring touring skis. Sierra blew out a bunch of them 2 years back for $199. I got 2 pairs. My kid rips on his 165s as a "no new snow" ski in the resort. We're keeping those. But I got a pair of 181s that have been skied for only a few hours that I don't need. I think Kastle knows the spring touring quiver potential of these considering the light weight, excellent flex profile, torsional rigidity, and skin clips. Biggest issue is that no one knows about them or has skied them. As such, if anyone buys mine and hates them, I'll buy em back and pay for return shipping.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    141
    STP has some DPS Cassiar powderworks 87s right now that are 1400-ish that Iíve been curious about as theyíre not Tour1 construction. Anyone toured on those? I assume itís not unethical to buy DPS skis from previous years on close out? jk


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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    89
    Thx again all. mattig, on those kastle 181 fx85s, do you know how much they weigh? My quick search has em at 3750/pair. Are they the ones with the metal around the tips?
    And not to totally derail things, but I put dps in the "no" column - if anything, just to simply narrow things down some!
    ZG 85s seem like a no-brainer if I can find a decent deal. But now some others here to look into as well

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    141
    Previous yearís ZG 85 on skimo.co for $420 right now.


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  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    SLC
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    Quote Originally Posted by dub_xion View Post
    Previous yearís ZG 85 on skimo.co for $420 right now.


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    Or about $370 USD on Corbetts (idk about shipping)

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  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    89
    Thanks all. Gonna go ZG 85 route. 178 seems short, but for this application I guess is the way to go - lighter, quicker in tight spaces, not solving for float or high speeds. I'll prob put speed radicals on em. Will be great! No more excuses on the ups I guess...

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    1,502
    Quote Originally Posted by m104da View Post
    Thx again all. mattig, on those kastle 181 fx85s, do you know how much they weigh? My quick search has em at 3750/pair. Are they the ones with the metal around the tips?
    And not to totally derail things, but I put dps in the "no" column - if anything, just to simply narrow things down some!
    ZG 85s seem like a no-brainer if I can find a decent deal. But now some others here to look into as well
    I will weigh them in the morning, for posterity. Sorry was out all day today. They're the black and red ones. Metal tip thingy, yes.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winthrop, WA. Methow valley
    Posts
    862
    Just to throw this out there, it looks like the new Volkl Rise is a slightly updated VTA, which were outstanding skis, and the Blaze 94 looks like it might be an outstanding spring ski in that slightly heavier (+/- 1,600 gram) but much more damp and stable category. Might try to grab a pair this spring and will report results if I do.

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