What makes a true coastal touring ski? It is hard to satisfy the needs of skiers on the coast with just one setup. The challenge here, are the long approaches and variable snow conditions. On the same run your may need a stiff crud-busting ski, and a powder surfing wide plank. Most serious skiers on the coast have more than one set of skis, a late spring/early season ski, and a wide powder ski for the rest of the time.
One of the major challenges with most powder skis is that they are heavy for lugging around all day. I will have to admit I lug a pretty burly ski around for the bulk of my winter. What can I say, I love the feeling of a big ski that loves to be ridden hard, and fast. Ski manufacturers seem to be on the same wave length, they all are producing powerful, playful, wide and light skis’ for 2013. I am always a advocate of supporting local and small businesses when possible. When someone is testing their product in the same conditions you ski every week the skis will tend to fit your tastes.
138/108/128 – 4.3 lbs
This has been my go to powder ski for this year. It is confident in all conditions and has enough stiffness to handle anything from backcountry powder to resort chop. For 2013 the Manhattan has evolved with a little more rocker in the tip and tail and reduced camber underfoot. The changes should make this ski float even better and rip through the tree’s with confidence.
140/112/130 – 4.0lbs
The district is a new school touring ski. Aggressive early rise tip, rockered tail and minimal camber will allow you to rail turns at high speed but its construction will allow it to surf in the trees with confidence. Three years ago a ski like this would have been only considered for slack country or resort skiing, but its weight says otherwise. This might be the quiver killer, one ski for everything except those long spring corn missions. If it skis anywhere as good as the Manhattan, the District could find its way into my gear locker.
If you haven’t heard of DPS let this be your introduction to one of the fastest up and coming ski brands out there. Their success has been a result of progressive thinking in terms of ski design, pushing the limits of materials and in the processes redefining skis as we know them. I first saw a pair two years ago and was struck by the strange banana looking device on the skiers foot. Since then there has been much hype about the overall quality and skiabilty of all their skis.[/one_third]
DPS Wailer 112
140/112/128 Pure – 3.7lbs and Hybrid 4.4lbs
Pure $1199 Hybrid $799
It seems that 112 underfoot is the new standard for a powder ski. The real kicker with DPS is that most of their skis are available as a Pure (carbon fiber construction) or Hybrid (combination of carbon and traditional construction). Going with a Pure model will give you lighter weight, and increased torsion stiffness and a lighter bank account to boot. The Wailer 112 is really a mesh. of two types of skis. The first being a powder ski with rockered tips and tails. The second is a progressively sidecut ski that will give you bite on groomers. Putting this whole package together you have a ski that is equally at home inbounds but its weight may make it a leader in the fat touring market as well.
DPS Wailer 99
121/99/111 – Pure 1.7lbs
Pure $1199 Hybrid $799
Imagine a ski that was light, railed turns like a GS ski, floats in powder like a surfboard. Well that is the Wailer 99 in a nutshell featuring an 18m radius you will can rip turns with confidence but when it starts dumping you won’t run for the big powder board with the very aggressive rocker. In the pure version this is likely one of the best all around touring skis out there. For those who can only really fit one ski in their closet (I do stress how nice it is to have a BIG FAT ski for those bottomless days. Proper tools for the trade after all right?) you could do a whole lot worse than the Wailer 99. The only problem may be finding them… cause all your buddies bought them before you did.
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