Choosing one pair of skis to do it all in the backcountry is a big ask. There’s no shortage of good skis. It’s finding the one ski that blends playful powder skiing with confident control while keeping it light underfoot that’s the hard part. I typically spend my winter on skis ranging from 100mm to 124mm under foot and routinely pack two pair for a week-long hut trip, so I can get the best of both worlds as conditions or destination demand. But I just spent a week touring on the Ogso Schwarztor, and it walks the do-it-all line like a pro. It’s blend of responsive, playful powder turns, confident stability when you need an edge and light-but-not-too-light build make it an easy choice as a quiver of one touring ski.
Named after the classic ski tour above Zermatt that crosses the narrow 3700 meter pass of the same name, the Schwaztor measures in at a modest 104mm underfoot (178cm). It part of the Ogso Ski ultralight line. Never heard of Ogso Skis? Read more about the Chamonix-based ski brand, Ogso.
At first glance, the Ogso Schwarztor shape echos the familar wide tip and tapered shape of the venerable DPS Wailer 112 among other similar five-point sidecut shapes. I have skied the 112 on and off for several seasons, and the Schwarztor shares many of the 112’s positive traits – lively, responsive and playful all come to mind. That said, the Schwarztor has its own distinct feel and flair. The 178cm model measures in at 135-104-120. It features nearly flat camber with a healthy rocker profile through the tip and tail. The shape is matched with a paulownia wood, carbon and aramid core layup. The result is an even flex with a smooth, damp feel that lets you carry speed, smear a quick turn or pick the turn shape of your choice and fall into a natural rhythm as you drop the fall line.
The Schwarztor brings the rocker and shape commonly found on wider skis to a narrower, all-mountain width. Although the ski’s 104mm waist may sound modest to the powder-spoiled North American backcountry skier, the Schwarztor skis with more versatility and float than its dimensions would lead you to believe it might. Like a wider ski, its healthy tip and round flex encourage loading it up and springing off features small and large. It carries speed and handles varied snow with surprising ease for its size.
The 178cm Schwarztor weighs in at a respectable 2.9 kg (6.4lbs) a pair. Its light swingweight gives it a responsive feel, while ABS sidewall construction and carbon aramid layers maintain solid edge control and a round flex.
The Ogso Schwarztor had me from first turn. It responds to input with playful energy and do-it-all confidence. Slashing powder arcs, popping through tight trees and letting it run are all within its bag of tricks. The Schwarztor is easily driven with a modest boot (I’ve been using the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0), and the ski never left me wanting or wondering what would happen next. Every turn is filled with energy, creating a livley ride that lets you pick any line you like. It’s light weight is inline with other comparable width touring skis and gives it an energetic feel underfoot and on the skin track.
Read more about Ogso skis at Ogso Mountain Essentials or check ’em out at the following Northwest shops: