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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    369

    Ideal 2 Ski Quiver for PNW Backcountry?

    After a gear explosion on my most recent outing, some hard introspection about what I need in a touring setup, and some advice from trusted friends that have many more days under their belts I'm starting to think about completely reworking my BC Quiver. This is for PNW touring mainly around Stevens with some volcanoes thrown in and a once a year hut trip. No real multi-day usage, no need for massive outings, and not typically skiing deep powder unless the stars align.

    What I am settling on are two skis as the basis and go from there.

    Ski #1 - Hard snow, spring skiing, lightweight (~1300-1400g per ski) but firm enough to handle hard snow and crud. Quick turning for navigating trees and steeps. Thinking 85-95 underfoot with a lightweight and dead simple race style binding. Skis in this category I'm digitally fondling include SCOTT Superguide 95, Salmon MTN Explore 88, DPS Pagona Tour 87.

    Ski #2 - Most days, soft snow, but can handle the deeper stuff. 105ish underfoot and ~1600g or so per ski. Mounted with a slightly more feature rich binding (G3 Ion). Digital sleuthing has be looking at the Atomic Backland 107, Navis Freebird, and the Helio 105.

    What are other mags running for their quiver in the PNW? Am I on the right track for a quiver of 2, or are there any skis I should seriously eyeball?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    3,135
    Iíd go:

    Salomon MTN Explore 95 with a G3 Ion 12

    K2 Mindbender 116c with Kingpin 13 or CAST

    That for me would be a good volcano/corn ski, and a good soft snow ski. Not sure what length you are looking for but the MB116C is very light for itís size.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    1,110
    Corvus Freebird and a zeroG 85, both with alpinists or atks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    11,563
    Corvus Freebird would work but I think something like the Prior Husume or similar would be better in our maritime snow around the passes. Stiff with lots of taper and minimal sidecut


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    6,744
    Quote Originally Posted by ey_allen View Post

    What are other mags running for their quiver in the PNW? Am I on the right track for a quiver of 2, or are there any skis I should seriously eyeball?

    For the 2 main BC rigs in the PNW, I use:

    *Volkl BMT 94 with Dynafit SSL2
    *ON3P BillyGoat 108 Tour with ATK FR14

    For fringe use:

    *Lightweight custom fishscales w ATK Trofeo and carbonated bewts
    *full core BG118 w Cast and Lange XT3 140

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    406
    I run

    Line Vision 98 with MTN's
    Corvus Freebird 108 with tectons

    Probably going sell the Corvus Freebirds and go wider to 116. Not a huge fan of Corvus's right now.
    90% of skiing is just looking cool

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    voting in seattle
    Posts
    4,910
    ZeroG 95
    ZeroG 105 or Billy Goat 110 tour

    Honestly plenty of great 105-112mm touring sticks out there. Hard to go wrong with many of them. ZeroG 95 is IMO a significant step above all the others so long as you posses a significant and sincere appreciate for camber.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1,455
    I canít imagine only having 10mm between your two pairs is the best use of a 2-ski quiver. The 105 wonít be that much better than the 95 when you want it to be.

    ZG95 is good.

    Step up to BGT110 or Deathwish Tour at 112 for your bigger ski.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    445

    Ideal 2 Ski Quiver for PNW Backcountry?

    In my experience youíre gonna want a slightly heavier second option, thinking ON3P Billy Goat/tour. Volcano skis will mostly ski the same across hardback conditions but not all mid fats are built to deal with our heavy and often wind buffed snow like an ON3P

    For skinny volcano option Iím happy with my camox Freebird but like other have said. Plenty of good skis in that category.

    If you have room for a third, a 118mm+ is really nice to have for those few days a year

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    PDX
    Posts
    307
    I live in the PNW too. I think something like the Zero G 95 or Black Crows Camox FB are awesome skis for this region. Zero G is more directional, Camox is a little easier to pivot, and floats better. Iíve skied both extensively. Used to have zero g, now have Camox. I like how the Camox ski more, but zero g is a fair bit lighter.

    I have a Navis FB too,and really like it for most PNW skiing, especially in the alpine or when itís steep. In low-medium angle tight trees, theyíre not that much fun compared to other options. I have not skied the Helio 105, but my impression from reading other opinions is theyíre not great in variable snow, so unlikely to be a good pnw ski (but entirely defer to those with experience). I used to have Corvus Freebird; I didnít think they floated meaningfully better than the Navis and were a chore to ski in variable snow and tight trees or terrain. Stupid fun if you can get them up to speed.

    Something like the 4frnt raven could also be good if you like reverse camber.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Cascades
    Posts
    711
    For a two-ski quiver, I would look for either:

    (1) a 10x ski that is competent on long spring tours with the possibility of steep and firm snow + a fun-shape 12x ski, or
    (2) a 9x ski that is really competent on steep/firm/etc + a fun-shape 11x ski

    Basically you want to cover your bases between big objectives, big storms (potentially with high avy danger), and the many days where you will experience amazing bottomless powder on some aspects and elevations but very different snow on others. You then end up deciding if your variable-conditions day ski is the more powder-oriented ski in your quiver, or the more firm-snow-oriented ski.

    My touring quiver consists of Meridian Tours (107mm, reverse-camber, almost symmetrical), ZeroG 85s, and Lotus 138s. Last season I skied the Meridian Tours for almost all of my touring days (including volcanos and various big days), the 138s maybe twice, and the ZeroGs zero times. It was pretty nice having a somewhat more substantial ski at the end of long spring days when you have the great pleasure of skiing sticky glop, and the Meridian Tours are good enough on firm snow to make that tradeoff worth it to me.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    444
    For your "lightweight" touring ski (although 1300g is not that light), the Aski Verglas could be really fun depending on your ski style. For steeps, I imagine you're just jump turning, which it would be good at, but not great in tight trees. Better for open volcano faces with a lot of fall line ahead of you - that's where it would come alive.

    Another good ski in the 1300g range could be the Ski Trab Stelvio. Bombproof construction and a 3 yr warranty. The skis keep the traditional trab ski shape which is very stable at speed w/ the nice split tail but bump up the core which adds weight, reduces cost, and improves dampness. Very damp ski for the weight - damper than the zero g for sure. Not to shill my own stuff, but I have a Ski Trab Maximo (90mm wide; stelvio is 85mm wide) for sale in a 171.

    The last ski to consider if you want something easier skiing than the Aski or Trab would be the Atomic Backland 85 or 95. Easy to ski, big sweet spot, very well-liked.

    Lots of people are telling you to get a zero g without asking you what kind of skier you are. Maybe they know you well already. But the zero g is a very demanding ski, so if you aren't a very good & aggressive skier, it's probably not the right ski for you. Additionally, depending on width and length, it's a bit lighter than your 1300g preference. The zero g is moderately damp, but it's still light, i.e. it gets bucked around. If you know that you don't want to ski a light ski, it might be better to stick in the 1300g range.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    11,563
    Quote Originally Posted by CirqueScaler View Post
    For your "lightweight" touring ski (although 1300g is not that light), the Aski Verglas could be really fun depending on your ski style. For steeps, I imagine you're just jump turning, which it would be good at, but not great in tight trees. Better for open volcano faces with a lot of fall line ahead of you - that's where it would come alive.

    Another good ski in the 1300g range could be the Ski Trab Stelvio. Bombproof construction and a 3 yr warranty. The skis keep the traditional trab ski shape which is very stable at speed w/ the nice split tail but bump up the core which adds weight, reduces cost, and improves dampness. Very damp ski for the weight - damper than the zero g for sure. Not to shill my own stuff, but I have a Ski Trab Maximo (90mm wide; stelvio is 85mm wide) for sale in a 171.

    The last ski to consider if you want something easier skiing than the Aski or Trab would be the Atomic Backland 85 or 95. Easy to ski, big sweet spot, very well-liked.

    Lots of people are telling you to get a zero g without asking you what kind of skier you are. Maybe they know you well already. But the zero g is a very demanding ski, so if you aren't a very good & aggressive skier, it's probably not the right ski for you. Additionally, depending on width and length, it's a bit lighter than your 1300g preference. The zero g is moderately damp, but it's still light, i.e. it gets bucked around. If you know that you don't want to ski a light ski, it might be better to stick in the 1300g range.
    Your suggestions are great for the Wasatch but not really appropriate for the area that the op is posting about


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    330
    When I lived in the region I had Volkl 108's and Navis Freebird. I went back and forth between camox freebird, mtn 95, bmt 94 and zero-g 95...ended up with Navis freebird/ G3 Ion LT because thats what I could get a deal on. I would've preferred a mid 90 ski to it.
    My wife had Volkl 108's too and Fischer Hannibal 96.
    I think the OP has the right idea.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    50
    Toddball, what binding do you have on the L138s? I have the same but am deciding on between beefier bindings (think Kingpins) or simpler/lighter ones (Alpinists, ATKs, etc.).


    Quote Originally Posted by Toddball View Post
    For a two-ski quiver, I would look for either:

    (1) a 10x ski that is competent on long spring tours with the possibility of steep and firm snow + a fun-shape 12x ski, or
    (2) a 9x ski that is really competent on steep/firm/etc + a fun-shape 11x ski

    Basically you want to cover your bases between big objectives, big storms (potentially with high avy danger), and the many days where you will experience amazing bottomless powder on some aspects and elevations but very different snow on others. You then end up deciding if your variable-conditions day ski is the more powder-oriented ski in your quiver, or the more firm-snow-oriented ski.

    My touring quiver consists of Meridian Tours (107mm, reverse-camber, almost symmetrical), ZeroG 85s, and Lotus 138s. Last season I skied the Meridian Tours for almost all of my touring days (including volcanos and various big days), the 138s maybe twice, and the ZeroGs zero times. It was pretty nice having a somewhat more substantial ski at the end of long spring days when you have the great pleasure of skiing sticky glop, and the Meridian Tours are good enough on firm snow to make that tradeoff worth it to me.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    961
    Quote Originally Posted by Toddball View Post
    It was pretty nice having a somewhat more substantial ski at the end of long spring days when you have the great pleasure of skiing sticky glop, and the Meridian Tours are good enough on firm snow to make that tradeoff worth it to me.
    This is where the ďpre vs post consolidationĒ point gets made. Pre, Iím right there with you- go 105-110 for the inevitable glop sequence. Post, glop is rarer, and 85-95 is sweet. In a 2-ski setup, keep trucking on the wider ski pre.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Fairhaven
    Posts
    122
    This year I’ve been spinning laps on a pair of Lib Wunderstick 106s that I really like. I also have a pair of Hagan Boost 94s with Hagan Core 12 Pros. I spent the afternoon skiing groomers on the Boosts to feel them out before I commit to any touring on them. If I wanted a daily driver touring ski I think it would be the Wundersticks with Core 12 bindings on them. I also have a pair of Bentchetler 120s for deep days.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Mid-tomahawk
    Posts
    1,535
    Quote Originally Posted by Pins and Skins View Post
    Toddball, what binding do you have on the L138s? I have the same but am deciding on between beefier bindings (think Kingpins) or simpler/lighter ones (Alpinists, ATKs, etc.).
    I'm not Toddball but I'm also in the PNW and tour (sometimes) on L138s.

    Mine are inserted for both CAST and G3 Zeds. Zeds work, but but I've found that I tend to grab the L138s when it's nuked, avy danger is high, and I'm doing smaller days in lower angle terrain and looking for mini golf lines and the like, and CAST feels more appropriate for that use. YMMV.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
    Posts
    5,009
    BMT109
    BMT90


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Cascades
    Posts
    711
    Quote Originally Posted by Pins and Skins View Post
    Toddball, what binding do you have on the L138s? I have the same but am deciding on between beefier bindings (think Kingpins) or simpler/lighter ones (Alpinists, ATKs, etc.).
    I have Dynalook plates with SSL 2.0s, which have the B&D adjustment plate so the heel matches the Radical pattern, and then a shim under the toe to fix the delta. Don't do that, unless you need to get around an old mount like I did. I'd go for a light pin binding. I've skied my 138s inbounds with PX14s a few times, and while they're fun on untracked snow, my other inbounds skis are fun when it gets tracked out, too. My 138s are pretty light (old Pure construction), so they get bounced around in variable snow.

    But, I've never tried a burly touring binding. Sounds like HAB has a setup that works for him.
    Last edited by Toddball; 01-28-2022 at 10:20 AM.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    296
    BG Tours with Shifts, 96 Woodsman Tour with Dyna Speed Rads

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    50
    Thanks a lot and thanks to HAB as well. Yah I'm leaning towards a lighter pin binding as well, will only use them in the deep stuff so a burly binding may not be necessary


    Quote Originally Posted by Toddball View Post
    I have Dynalook plates with SSL 2.0s, which have the B&D adjustment plate so the heel matches the Radical pattern, and then a shim under the toe to fix the delta. Don't do that, unless you need to get around an old mount like I did. I'd go for light pin binding. I've skied my 138s inbounds with PX14s a few times, and while they're fun on untracked snow, my other inbounds skis are fun when it gets tracked out, too. My 138s are pretty light (old Pure construction), so they get bounced around in variable snow.

    But, I've never tried a burly touring binding. Sounds like HAB has a setup that works for him

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winthrop, WA.
    Posts
    1,237
    For me it's a BMT 109 and 94 with Zeds. Both skis cover a surprisingly wide range of condition with ease and float better than they should. 94's do just fine on refrozen and wind scoured then don't miss a beat in the deeper goop. For the heavy and funky snow in the PNW, especially more toward the westside, I would avoid skis with a wide, stiff, flat tail. I've found them to be a real pain in dense or crusty snow when you can't keep it pinned on the fall line. Also, I'm starting to get all wrapped around the axle thinking about an L138 in the touring role, could open up a whole new world and significantly expand the low country touring season on both ends

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    7B Selkirks USA
    Posts
    846
    Another vote for BG tour/Steeple 108

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    396
    I'm not in the PNW exactly, but in the Sierra I have been extremely happy with the zero g 95/bgt 108 combo.

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