Touring equipment that won't weigh you down or wear you out
Written by Mark Jones (ICE Director, Val d'Isère), April 2012.
We've taken a look at some of the best touring equipment available in Britain that won't leave you feeling as though you've climbed Mount Everest after one run.
Dynafit Manaslu - £550
An easy and very attractive wood core touring ski. With less sidecut than others in this genre, the men's version has been stiffened up with bamboo stringers for a really smooth downhill experience. Pre-drilled to take the popular touring binding choice with a rubber-tipped super quick and easy skin-fixing mechanism.
Sidecut - 118-92-104
Weight - 2.58kg
Trab Polvere - £630
Hand made in their factory in Bormio, this ski is a work of art, with its lightweight 14-layer wood core construction that uses carbon reinforcement. Beautifully made, with more than average width underfoot, it offers superb response for such a lightweight ski and great grip on the downhill. The unique skin-attaching system protects the ski tip.
Sidecut - 123-88-109
Weight - 2.9kg
Scott Cruisair - £640
For those still wanting to keep the all-mountain experience with shorter hikes off-piste and even more power downhill (on or off piste), the revamped Cruisair, although heavier, is a great choice for the day-tourer. This ski is wider underfoot, with an increased rocker in the tip. Also with an improved 'hole in the tip' skin fixing system.
Sidecut - 128-90-115
Weight - 3.3kg
Touring boots are no longer awful for the downhill experience as components get lighter and more durable.
Scarpa Men's Maestrale - £440
The lightest 4-buckle boot on the market was launched last year with resounding success. Stiff, with a low-volume fit, it has great power transfer, whilst being a real energy saver on the hike up with its lightweight construction and easy central ankle buckle.
Weight - 1.53kg
Dalbello Virus Tour - £475
First seen last year and endorsed by Glen Plake, this is an outstanding high-volume boot that performs superbly up and down hill. It has lots of innovative extras: a clever hinging tongue for improved forward and backward stride while hiking, a rigid lower shell for precise support and flush mounted buckles. The beacon-bright colour is the final unique feature in a long list!
Dynafit TLT5 Mountain TF-X - £490
New this year, they say it's a game changer! Light and agile, it has an ultra-lock system that allows simultaneous opening and closing of the cuff whilst changing between ski and walk mode. There's a flex zone in the toe, and a removable tongue - the uphill should be a dream! Quick step-in inserts make getting into the Dynafit pin bindings up to 70% easier!
Weight - 1.3kg
Touring bindings have made great strides in the last few years, with the Marker Duke, Baron and Fritschi Freeride Pro - and more recently the easy-to-use Fritschi Eagle. But there's only one player in the truly lightweight touring binding area, and that's Dynafit. This year it's launched the new TLT Radical range, and taken the touring market by storm.
Dynafit TLT (Tour Lite Tech) Radical ST binding - £390
The new benchmark for lightweight touring bindings - and every guide and serious ski tourer will want them. Stronger, and only 10gsm heavier than the older Vertical ST, it has a DIN of 4-10. A simple flip lever system (previously it was a somewhat awkward twisting motion) changes the climbing heel height with a choice of three positions, whilst the toe piece has a much easier entry system for pin bindings. Watch out for this one, it's a winner!
As a Ski Club member, you can get a 10% discount off touring equipment in Ellis Brigham www.ellis-brigham.com/skiclub.htm