Not long ago Dynafit was best known for their lightweight alpine touring bindings and a quiver of rando-racer skis with, literally, narrow appeal. With the launch of the Manaslu a few years ago and then the Stoke, Dynafit began turning heads in the broader North American backcountry ski market. The Manaslu is still one of our top picks for a quiver-of-one backcountry ski. Dynafit's latest ski, the Huascaran, is their widest ski to date and measures in at 134/115/125mm (186cm). It also features generous tip rocker, mild tail rocker and camber under foot. Construction is a blend of bamboo, paulownia, and synthetic core material just like the Manaslu and Stoke, and it'll be available in 167,177,186 and 196cm lengths.
Although our organized ski testing has yet to begin, I had the chance to actually tour on the new Dynafit Huascaran on a recent trip to visit the crew at North Cascade Heli and North Cascades Mountain Guides. We used the heli to bump out in the morning, but filled our days with touring (more on that shortly). As a big fan of the Manaslu but less so of the Stoke, I was not sure what to expect from the Huascaran. It's significantly wider than the Manaslu and has far more rocker than the Stoke.
Turns out, the Huascaran skis great. Its personality is much closer to the Manaslu than it is to the Stoke, in my estimation. It initiates turns easily and proved happy to mix up the radius size. You'd expect it to ride nicely in big open terrain, but the surprise was how well it noodled through treed terrain with very little effort or change in driver style. It has a great natural feel to it, regardless of what type of terrain or turn comes its way. I was really pleased with its performance. Sometimes you get on a ski that just turns down the hill the way you want it to without any get-aquainted period. The Huascaran did just that; it responded happily to all terrain and turns.
Given the Huascaran's 115mm waist, I still see it as a deep snow quiver ski. Yeah, yeah, I know that plenty of skiers choose 115 (or bigger) as daily drivers, but I still advocate 90's and low 100's for all-mountain skis.
A couple of other points worth mentioning include that the Huascaran weighs in at a svelt (for its width) 8 lb/pair (3.65 kg). You can compare that to other backcountry ski weights here. A final point of interest is the Huascaran will not include the Dynafit binding inserts like the Manaslu or Stoke. It will have a traditional deck to accomodate any binding, freeheel or fixed. In fact, Dynafit will be phasing out the insert technology in 2012-13.
Shop for the Dynafit Huascaran AT ski
Nice write-up, Dave. These sound like a great compliment to the Manaslus for deeeep days.
I skied 'em in 186cm. I weigh in at 135 lb and stand a whopping 5' 6". Ideally, I'd run the 177, but right now, they only have one size available. Nonetheless, they skied great, not something I'd say about many skis 10cm+ too big for me.
Thanks for the review. Also appreciate the ski weight list - so helpful. As a humble suggestion, it would be great to see the atomic atlas on there at some point since it is very close in dimensions and weight with the Huascaran. Though I understand there are lots of skis to consider. Thanks,
Heavenly smooth ride on the 177 in the Whistler Backcountry. Great ski for the powder queens.