Elan Himalaya by Glenn Plake

“The Himalaya is big brother to Triglav and Alaska, designed to answer the needs of a new generation of ski touring. It is the latest ski to use Bridge Technology, which allows us to make strong but ultralite wood cores, therefore allowing the ski to weigh 1600gr.  95mm underfoot, kind of “old school” sidecut, with early tip/tail rise, but full camber under foot to make striding easy. Mount up with some ‘Low Tech’ style bindings and head out. The Himalaya is “my” bc ski, light but skis great due to the wood core.”

In Brief: Legend Glenn Plake’s latest tools for back country big mountain skiing feature one of the best power to weight ratios around thanks to Elan’s ‘Bridge’ technology fibreglass over lightweight woodcore construction. With ‘mountain rocker’ – moderate in tip plus low camber, they drive a decent charging turn anywhere.

l 163-170-177-184 p 128-98-115 @ 184 r 24.5 @ 184

Black Diamond Aspect by Tim Macartney-Snape

“Quite a smooth operator and quite effortless to turn. They execute both long and short radius turns very competently and as long as there was not too much ice around they loved going fast (a beefier ski like the Verdict busts through crud better). From any conditions in softer snow – from firm spring snow to deep powder – the sort of snow variations and conditions you’ll find on many a mountain these would be my current ski of choice. A great touring ski.”

Black Diamond are the original back-country brand and the experience shows in the classic Aspect, which blends superlight tourability with an agressive sidecut and semi-rocker fat tip that lets them perform on trail or off. Perfect for downunder lines on the main runs or Main Range at just 3kg a pair (176cm).

l 156-166-176-186 p 130-90-117 @ 176 r 19 @ 176

 
K2 Coomback by Tom Langtry

“Ankle to thigh deep powder and choppy light crud is where they really shine. The all terrain rocker helps make these conditions easy and fun. Extremely light for the size with a very low swing weight makes them agile in the trees, but crud with death cookies and heavier snow seems to bash them around. Hard pack riding is surprisingly easy, they hold an edge and carve better than most similar sized pow skis. A great all rounder for someone who likes powder but doesn’t want to be stuck on a boat of a ski when battling variable terrain. Add a set of Marker Duke’s for a perfect touring ski, especially to tackle different conditions on the way down.”

In Brief: Legendary pro rider and guide Doug Coomb’s legacy model continues to set a high standard in powerful powder touring boards, and these are capable of handling truly gnarly descents with a pack on, and long hikes. Adding early rise in the shovel helps pow and crud performance. Team with K2’s pre-fit skins.

l 167-174-181-188 p 138-102-121 r 22m @ 174

 
K2 Talkback by Nozomi Langtry

“Finds the balance between resort riding and back country shredding. These lightweight skis with all terrain tip rocker and 88mm waist kept me afloat even in the deepest snow – though taller or heavier women may need a little more length and waist width than me. On groomers they hold an edge well for an all mountain weapon, and even perform in the bumps due to the soft flex pattern. It handles different snow conditions well and even though it doesn’t do everything perfectly, it’s definitely a good all rounder. The skis handled the hike up really well teamed with the k2 matching skins and Tour 10 Marker bindings.”

In Brief: Lady version of the Walkback, with same full easy fit pre-cut K2 skins set up (as shown) for easy hiking, they’re super light, lively, with a tip rocker/camber combo versatile enough for in-bounds if you’re too lazy to hike. But it’s when you do hike they really excel, except for taller girls needing more than 167cm.

l 153-160-167  p 124-88-111 r 20m @ 167 w 1440gm

 
K2 Wayback by Tom Mitten

“Even if you haven’t got hero snow, K2’s Wayback lets you make hero turns. Designed as the do everything weapon in the backcountry ‘Adventure’ series, they power through knee-deep powder and junky, unpredictable crud like a ski twice its girth. Back in the resort they’re so light and whippy they almost float over bumps. The All-Terrain Rocker made them a little on the soft side when pushed harder, and occasionally folded a little in deeper powder, but these are minor quibbles considering they’re built for making missions up mountains easy and the ride down buttery smooth. The featherweight means you can throw them over your shoulder at day’s end and still walk through town with a bit of a swagger.”

In Brief: K2’s lightweight ‘Bio Core’ blends wood and bamboo with a carbon web wrap for torsional stability in a versatile all rounder shape and rocker tip/camber profile that works equally ripping at home or in deeper o/s. Great one ski quiver buying for anyone wanting to add some side and backcountry to their daily diet.

l 160-167-174-181 p 124-88-108 r 22m @ 174

Tom Mitten road testing the Waybacks in Myoko
photo themattimage.com