In other backcountry ski gear news, Voile announced a new ski at the show, the Vector BC. The Vector BC adds a waxless pattern base to the Vector. At 94mm underfoot, The Vector BC is the widest, most downhill oriented waxless ski yet to be offered by anyone. I have always been an advocate of wide waxless skis and find them (i have some prototypes from past years) super fun for light touring, long approaches and general ski fun.
In other subtle changes, the Dynafit Manaslu will change for 2011. The 2011 Manaslu drops the synthetic stringer construction in favor of the all-wood construction of the Dynafit Stoke. The result is a slightly stiffer tip on the ski. Overall, the 2011 Manaslu seemed to have a damper ride than the original, but was not dramatically different. I am a big fan of the original Manaslu ski, and the new version is a nice evolution without reinventing the wheel. The Stoke comes in with the same construction as before, but with the new binding mount locations (further forward).
G3 showed several new skis at OR. The new G3 HighBall (140-116-127) and the G3 Infidel (128-97-119) feature tip and tail rocker and are flat underfoot, what G3 calls Progressive SweetRise. G3 also updated the ZenOxide (131-105-123, 7.5lbs) and the G3 Saint (122-93-112) to include early rise tips. The Saint now weighs in at an impressive 6.7lbs/pair and features anew semi-cap construction.
In other interesting ski news, DPS announced a radical, new ski design call the Spoon. There are a couple of standout characteristics that set the new spoon apart from other skis. First, the base is convex. Second, there are four points called cleats, where the base is shaped to allow contact with firm snow (and thus allow you to stop, if need be). I was not able to ski the new board, but it is truly a new take on powder skiing. Can’t say that convex bases will take off like rocker just yet, but it will be interesting to learn more about the ski. In the meantime, for a true description that does the new spoon ski design justice, visit the DPS Spoon Ski information page.
We will have a chance to ski just about all of these skis, and lots more, during our annual ski testing in March and will post updates at that time.