Despite the fact that it is snowing at elevation (again), the majority of our backcountry ski testing is now done. I get countless questions regarding what we liked during our testing, so thought I would share some notes from our highlights. The crop of truely touring-minded skis gets more diverse every season, and this year’s line up is especially flush in light, capable skis.
First up – the Dynafit Stoke
The Dynafit Stoke is a touring-minded freeride and soft snow ski with an early rise tip and inserts for Dynafit bindings. It measures in at 129-105-119. We were able to ski the Dynafit Stoke in everything from ideal deep and cold touring days to recycled groomers and spring goo. The Stoke moves Dynafit skis into the world of big mountain “freeride” feel, but it remains relatively lightweight at around seven pounds a pair.
On snow, the Stoke is a big radius, big mountain turner. Aggressive, big terrain skiing are its forte. It has its roots in Greg Hill’s pursuits around Revelstoke and it shows. The Stoke felt a little forced in boot top snow, smaller terrain, and tighter tree skiing. Sure, it can ski tight, technical, and treed lines too, but this requires more attention and skill from you, the driver. Its soft, early rise tip is relatively mild in its rise, but it rides out of the snow as you would expect while the ski’s solid platform and relatively stiff tail hold it steady when conditions require. I see the Stoke as a quiver ski – a premium midwinter big mountain touring stick, but not necessarily an all-mountain, all-conditions ski.
It skied well with a variety of three and four buckle boots. We mounted them in the forward-most binding location after skiing them in the second position and felt it became more responsive to varied input, but its sweet spot remains big radius turning. Dynafit recently sent out a note that the mounting position for the fall production run skis will be 3.3cm forward of the production run we skied. This move will make the ski more responsive and will likely make it more nimble when the going gets tight, but its overall personality should stay true to its big terrain, Revelstoke roots.
It is a premier player in the big mountain, touring-minded world for aggressive skiers.