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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Posts
    21

    Forgiving mid-90s touring ski

    I've been touring on the BC Camox Freebird for a few seasons and really dislike it. I find it's great on the uphill but (for me) skis terribly on anything except perfect powder or corn. I find it's unforgiving, requires a very forward stance, can be tough to initiate a turn (if not always driving those shovels), and it's tails are quite hooky and punishing of any imperfect form. Maybe good for some, but I'm often not skiing with tiptop from after a long tour uphill...

    So, I'd like to replace these with a new mid-90s underfoot ski exclusively for touring (ATK Raider, Atomic Hawx XTD) I'm totally fine with taking on an added few hundred grams for a better downhill experience. Id like a ski that's versatile. I mostly tour in Rockies and PNW and love long spring missions (e.g. PNW volcanos). The ski should also be forgiving, tolerate a centered or even occasional backseat stance, and initiate turns pretty easily. I've been thinking about the following skis:

    Elan Ripstick 96 (non-touring model): seems like a good weight (~1625 in 172cm) and versatile but not surprisingly I haven't seen many reviews of people using it as a touring ski since Elan makes a lighter touring specific model.

    Atomic Bent 100: this one surprised me when I read the Blister review, which was quite positive and suggested the ski is way more versatile than I'd have expected.

    Volkl Blaze 94: don't know too much about it but similar to the two above seems like a tourable ski that's typically marketed for downhill use.

    Others? I've been gravitating toward lighter alpine skis (in the 1600g/ski @ ~170cm) rather than AT skis based on my experience with the Camox Freebird, but I'm open to other suggestions too. Thanks so much.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    124
    I too skied the Camox FB for a while, but found it underwhelming.

    Can fully endorse Majesty Superwolf. Fantastic touring ski, meets all your criteria. You can go the lighter carbon version if you wanna save grams, or the Adventure GT ti (same ski, just a bit beefier construction).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Alta
    Posts
    2,979
    No real specific suggestions. But super light and stiff is the perfect combination to make an absolutely horrible ski. As you look at lighter skis look for something with a softer flex that won’t get deflected off of every little snow imperfection. I really wish ski companies would figure this out, but so many skiers buy skis based on an in store hand flex.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    14,921
    Consider the Heritage Lab BC90. Pretty much what you are describing. Initial impressions for me are that they are very intuitive, very stable for their weight, pretty forgiving. I’m going to get more time on them this week.

    The Bent 100 gets favorable reviews from people that are lighter it seems


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Posts
    21
    Thanks! I should have mentioned, I am on the lighter side (5'9", 130)

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,210
    I skied a 170 Dynastar M-Tour 99 and was so impressed with it's ease of use that I bought a 178. I'm 5'10" 170lbs. I could ski it much much harder than I was expecting.

    I currently ski a K2 Wayback 96 and it is too stiff. I've heard good things about the Salomon MTN 96 as well.

    I also have an ON3P Woodsman 102 Tour. Very forgiving ski, although I love the shape, I found the flex in the touring layup a little too round for the weight of it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,379
    Line Vision 98 might work

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    Line Vision 98 might work
    I had thought of this one..not too soft for more challenging, steeper, firmer stuff (eg spring couloirs)?

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Posts
    3
    I had the Camox freebirds and I didn’t really like them either. For a similar ski on paper but much better execution in my opinion check out the Voile Hypervector (or ultravector). I like them alot.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    331
    The 2024 model Black Crows Solis in the 173cm (about 1650g). I've skied the prior generation which is the same shape, just slightly heavier. It's night and day to all the Freebird skis. Very easy to pivot and has a backbone for steeper/techy runs.

    https://the-high-route.com/black-crows-solis/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,379
    Quote Originally Posted by skiNphish View Post
    I had thought of this one..not too soft for more challenging, steeper, firmer stuff (eg spring couloirs)?
    I'd say that the skis that I think are good on firm steeps generally aren't very tolerant of backseat skiing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    778
    Bmt 94 if you can find one

    Or HL BC 90. It doesn't feel exactly the same but definitely has the BMT 94 DNA

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    265
    I got the new Wayback 98 this season. Very pleased with it. Nice smooth arcs on good snow, and easy to turn in slush and powder, and most of all, forgiving if I get backseat.
    Note that actual width is 97mm.
    As far as stiff, where? Which axis? check soothski for that.

    I way much more than you, at 175 lbs, but, I am also 6”5” so I am skiing the 186cm, so if you size down for your height, I bet you have the same experience.

    It is lighter than many of the skis you mention, so, it’s not stable, and gets knocked or pushed around by funky snow. But, it’s not hooky, and so it’s easy to recover.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Alta
    Posts
    2,979
    I would say that k2 is probably the company that makes the most damp lightweight skis on the market, besides the praxis yeti but that isn’t really light. But their mount points are 80s style and way too far back.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    West Side WA
    Posts
    498
    I dunno, I think the Wayback 96 is fairly forgiving in the PNW for volcanoes etc. It is stiff enough to edge but also smearable and with the pintail it does ok in pow. The 98 is more of a "beginner" ski from my understanding.

    From what you're describing wanting, though, I think the Vision would be okay. More of a center-mounted rockered ski. Some of my buddies use it for volcanoes and like it. It's not my style, personally, I prefer a traditional mount (never have got along great with Line's offerings).

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    2,492
    I put a lot of time on the Voile Hyper V6 and Volkl BMT 94. The Voile is lighter and floatier, the Volkl is damper, has better edge hold and is much more predictable in bad snow. I try to avoid using the Voile in no-fall terrain and it would not be my choice for a volcano, but it gets a lot of use as a daily driver in the Wasatch.

    If I had to replace the BMTs and get a touring ski I can rely on in all conditions in all terrain, I would go Heritage Labs and get the BC90 or BC105. The 105 weight penalty over the 90 isn't that big so if you're OK with ~1600g then its worth considering. This would normally be the end of my post, but they are sold out for the season and you might want something shorter than 177.

    Another option worth considering is the Dynafit Beast/Free ski. I owned the Beast 108 (the yellow ones with a kiss of camber), used them on everything from 10k pow days to PNW volcanoes in summer. They meet all of your criteria, and are probably the most backseat friendly skis I have ever used. I only got rid of them because of quiver overlap, and as I got better at skiing started to prefer longer skis (I had the 173, they ski short and I'm taller than you). They replaced the Beast skis with the Free and Radical skis but they share a lot of design characteristics and I would expect them to ski similarly. A bonus is they can be found dirt cheap, here's an example: https://www.powder7.com/Dynafit-Free...4aAplLEALw_wcB

    I've heard great things about the Faction La Machine Mini, worth looking into those as end-of-season closeout sales start.

    I briefly owned the Atomic Backland 100 and demoed the Bent 100 and think they are both very over rated. Despite sharing the same shape, the Backland has a super stiff punishing tail that requires a forward stance, and the Bent 100 is much friendlier. My issue with the Bent 100 is that it has some of the worst edge hold of any ski I've used. Maybe it was just an issue with the pair I had, curious about others experiences.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,210
    Quote Originally Posted by kamtron View Post
    I dunno, I think the Wayback 96 is fairly forgiving in the PNW for volcanoes etc. It is stiff enough to edge but also smearable and with the pintail it does ok in pow. The 98 is more of a "beginner" ski from my understanding.

    From what you're describing wanting, though, I think the Vision would be okay. More of a center-mounted rockered ski. Some of my buddies use it for volcanoes and like it. It's not my style, personally, I prefer a traditional mount (never have got along great with Line's offerings).
    You’re right, I guess I should caveat. I don’t think the Wayback 96 needs to be as stiff as it is. It’s a fine ski, but it just feels plain boring to me is all. And the mount is so far back.

    The tail is so flat which is nice for kick turns but skiing out through heinous trees just isn’t as fun as it could be with a little tail splay. But…I know that’s the whole point of the ski design.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    485
    I would go with the Volkl blaze 94 or rise 96. I have the rise 98s, and they are forgiving and very fun. Of course, if you can find BMTs, then there you go. But, the other two are attainable.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Posts
    21
    Anyone have thoughts on the Ripstick 96 for this use case??


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    55
    Slightly wider than you're asking for, but 4FRNT Raven hits all your other requirements pretty bang on.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Location
    Seattle Area
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by altacoup View Post
    No real specific suggestions. But super light and stiff is the perfect combination to make an absolutely horrible ski. As you look at lighter skis look for something with a softer flex that won’t get deflected off of every little snow imperfection. I really wish ski companies would figure this out, but so many skiers buy skis based on an in store hand flex.
    Agree with this.
    You can get a very forgiving ski while still being very light by not having something overly stiff. I skied the Fischer Hannibal 94 for a number of years and I still somewhat regret not getting the 96 when I replaced it a couple years ago. Its very light (~1300g) ski and extremely forgiving partly because it has a fairly soft flex. I am fairly light at 165lb @6'2" though...someone a fair bit heavier might find it to easy to overpower something like that.

    The reason reason to go to the heavier end of the touring is to get something that handles variable and poor snow more aggressively...which still might be what you want, but you don't have to go there to get something pretty forgiving.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by Perlhammered View Post
    Slightly wider than you're asking for, but 4FRNT Raven hits all your other requirements pretty bang on.
    Yeah have thought about that one. Definitely interesting. A little weary of the forward mount (though could mount -1 from recommended). Anyone tried the WNDR Vital 100 (or 98). Blister seems to equate even the cambered version of the Vital and being somewhat similar to the Raven. Intriguing ski that seems to check most of these boxes too. Just don't know anyone who's been on them.

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  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    612
    I have owned the Raven, and I currently own the Line Vision 98 in a 179 and the older Vital 100 (reverse cambered) in a 183.

    The Vision is crazy light for me at about 1400gm per ski. Noticeably lighter than anything else I own, both on the way up and the way down. The softer flex and rocker profile helps it feel less jarring on variable snow on the way down. But the extra 400 gms of mass and slightly stiffer flex of the Vital makes them more confidence inspiring at speed or in bad snow when descending. Both are very easy to ski at slow speeds, easy to pivot, and forgiving of centered stances (although the Vision almost requires it, can’t get too far forward on it).

    If I had to choose one, I’d sell the Visions and keep the Vitals. But for a truly long spring mission without scary terrain, I will still ski the Visions. I just don’t do many days like that.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Last Best City in the Last Best Place
    Posts
    7,411
    Quote Originally Posted by skiNphish View Post
    Anyone have thoughts on the Ripstick 96 for this use case??


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    I think that would be an good option. Ripsticks are very light and the only conditions they don't handle well are shitfuck and deep chop, not a big concern when touring. However if Salomon decides to make an Echo 96 then that might be a better choice.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    1,068
    Huh, I find the Camox FBs to be pretty predictable in all but breakable crust. Anyway, a friend has the Dynastar M-tours and loves them for a do-everything mid-waist ski.

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