November 23, 2008:
. . . that I'm not planning on touring much, if at all, on these skis.
Maybe this doesn't really qualify as "randonnée" fodder, but there are people who tour on rigs like this all the time. I was looking for an effortless ski for lift-served days in deep and/or crappy snow, something with 100mm or more underfoot and with a smooth and not-too-stiff flex.
I had skied and liked Kevin's first generation Black Diamond Verdicts (the orange and black ones), but waited a bit too long and wasn't able to find a pair after Telemark Pyrenees sold out of 180's in the spring. The new blue Verdicts were a little too stiff and plank-like for my tastes, while the Gotamas were a little too long at 183cm (I was looking to stay around 180).
I settled on the Head Supermojo 105, actually 104mm wide in my size (181) with an abstract brown and orange topsheet and a "friendly" flex. Forum reports of the ski being super stiff seem untrue; it's right in the ballpark with the Gotama with less stiffness in the forebody and perhaps a little more in the tail. Other dimensions bear much similarity to other wide skis I had been considering - 129mm at the tip and 119mm at the tail (measured).
The scary thing about these boards is the weight - I chose Marker Dukes for bindings, since the brakes went to 110mm wide and the toe had ample adjustment for AT boots (which I wear all the time), but the combination of huge ski and heavy binding add up to a total of 3575 grams per ski. I might have to start on a weight program to carry these things from the car. Compare this to one of my normal light skis, my Trab Duo Sint Aeros with Dynafit TLT's at 1419 grams per ski, and you get the picture.
The Markers look (and feel) bombproof. They are probably a good choice for people who only plan to tour a few times a year, and only for a short time when they do. The wide footprint of the binding, the burly toe that completely surrounds the boot toe, and a really smooth AFD that should work flawlessly with a rubber AT boot sole should provide a measure of control that goes a ways beyond a Fritschi or Naxo. Plus you can dial the DIN up to 16 if you so choose. On the minus side, the things weigh a ton, the tour/ski lever is really clunky to work (though foolproof - you won't accidentally find yourself in skinning mode with these babies), and the touring lift is a basic wire thingy that has only one level and looks like it may be prone to flipping out of position easily if hooked by a branch or something. Like I said earlier, if you're planning on skinning for more than an hour or so, you'll probably want to look for another binding.
Needless to say, I'm not planning to go uphill much with these, and don't even plan on buying a set of skins for them, but I'm looking forward to blowing through some of that ugly-wet Alpental "pow" on them soon . . .
Previous Incoming Pages:
"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2008 Gregory C. Louie