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Our blog contains useful news plus reviews of all of our products to help you decide on the right gear!
The Salomon X-Max X12 is an advanced carving ski, new for 2017, and is the most advanced, aggressive model in the X-Max range. If you live for going faster than everyone else on the pistes and humbling your friends and family with your uncanny pace, you will love it.
As an aggressive, charging but also relatively lightweight ski, the X-Max X12 is practically overflowing with features and technologies to cram it into that category. A full wood core with both carbon fibre and titanium reinforcements provides snappy, rigid power and stiffness without being too heavy, while ‘Oversized’ full ABS sidewall construction gives you the ultimate grip on hardpack, even when you’re pushing the limits, speed-wise.
Salomon’s Carve Rocker, a barely-there early early rise in the tip, reduces the length of the ski that comes in contact with the snow, but still provides grip when you’re hanging on your edges. This means you can make precision, split second edge transfers and navigate the groomers at high speeds with ease. Koroyd reinforcements in the tip mean it won’t flop around and chatter at high speeds either – that stiffness goes all the way through.
There are a lot more features that make the Salomon X-Max 12 so good, but we’ll leave off by reasserting what a fun, stable and nimble carving ski it is – all those technologies really pay off. And considering it comes with bindings, it’s pretty good value, too.
The Black Crows Orb is back in our lives with a bang – although the word ‘pop’ would probably be more appropriate. This already excellent all-round freeride ski has had a few well-thought out changes made to make it even more chargey, poppy and springy for intermediate to expert skiers.
Designed for equal amounts of jazz on piste and in powder, the Orb now has new titanal reinforcements along its entire length, which increase the torsional stiffness, pop and power. And since that’s generally what Black Crows skis are renowned for, we think the little extra oomph goes a long way.
The Orb has kept its camber underfoot, early rise tips and generous turn radius, which allow you to blast through crud, slice through hardpack and charge through powder with complete ease. Trees? No problem. Just cruising? No problem. Boot packs? All good. The 90mm waist is surprisingly floaty in fresh snow – that early rise tip will keep your noses above the surface however hard you’re charging – and is just skinny enough to carve like a beast on the groomers.
If you’re a confident resort skier who likes to dabble in everything the resort has to offer, the Orb is the ski for you. Whether it’s side-country powder, secret tree runs or piste charging you’re after, it’ll ensure you have fun and won’t let you down.
Named and developed for freeski legend, Candide Thovex, the Faction Candide range is designed to be super-versatile for all-mountain fun, whatever the snow conditions. The Candide CT 3.0 is the most versatile at 108mm underfoot; it’s the most popular ski of the bunch, with plenty of awards under its belt to prove it.
The latest incarnation of the 3.0 definitely doesn’t disappoint; it’s feather light, thanks to a balsa wood and flax core, taking it into further realms of ski touring and backcountry freestyle, while new titanal reinforcements in the mounting points improve the smoothness, dampness and power transfer on piste. These materials alone culminate in a ski that’s stiff and strong yet springy and buttery – a great combo if you like skiing fast and blasting though whatever the mountain has to offer. Elsewhere, traditional camber underfoot and a twin tip and tail rocker see to optimal float in powder, grip on piste and performance in the park.
There’s no doubt about it – if you’re an experienced skier and you’re looking for one ski that does everything, you won’t get much closer than the Candide CT 3.0. Whether you want to ride park, huck cliffs or just charge around the whole mountain, here’s a ski that’ll happily oblige – however hard you want to push it. Be sure to check it out if you’re doing a season in Europe this year.
OK, “surviving” might be a bit strong, but keeping warm on the slopes in the middle of winter can be a challenge, especially if it’s particularly cold. As well as the main clothing like jackets and trousers, there are other things that can make a big difference for people who struggle to stay warm:
Extremities get cold first. It is what the body does to protect itself from cold. So, if your hands or feet get cold, it might not be down to the gloves or boots, but because you haven’t got enough layers on. Wear good thermals, and if your hands and feet are still cold, wear another layer.
Helmet and Hat
Get your feet out
Particularly for skiers: if your feet have been cold and numb for more than an hour, you need to warm them up. Get inside, take off the boots and get the feet warm again. This will allow you to ski again afterwards, rather than developing serious cold injuries.
Dry your boots
Damp or wet boots are bad news. You need to dry your boots overnight, so if the hotel or apartment doesn’t have specific boot heaters, you need to make your own arrangements. Portable boot dryers work really well and are easier than balancing boots on radiators.
Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
www.tdcski.com #tdcski #basi #valdisere #dynastar #lange
Nordica claim that the Enforcer 93 is ‘one of the greatest all-mountain skis ever built.’ It’s a pretty bold claim, even with a host of awards to back it up, but skis must be sold and it is true that everyone was raving about it at last winter’s sneak-peak ski test. So how does the slimmer, 93mm-wide version, Enforcer 93 compare? Well for starters, it’s bagged more awards than its slightly fatter counterpart, meaning losing that extra 7mm was a step in the right direction – 93mm underfoot is nothing to be sniffed at, and gives the ski a bit more nimbleness without compromising on floatiness.
Built with exactly the same construction and shape as the original, the Enforcer 93 has all the characteristics that the Enforcer is renowned for: stiff, snappy dampness, powerful edging prowess and a meaty construction that blasts smoothly through anything from early morning freshies to late afternoon chop. It may well be because Nordica like to use ALL the materials; while a lot of companies nowadays are moving over to lighter carbon-fibre reinforcements, Nordica have gone for tip to tail titanal inserts AND carbon-fibre. Combine this with full ABS sidewalls and it’s easy to see how it’s such a smooth and powerful ski. The 7mm waist shrinkage might not make all the difference in the world, but if you like to spend most of your time charging the hardpack, this is a definite weapon of choice.
La Grave offers a lot of open space and fantastic tree skiing but what brings people to this mythical French village, is the big couloirs on both the north and south aspects of the big ridge, Girouse glacier.
So what should you be thinking about when tackling a couloir? Almost certainly, you will be with a group of friends, so it’s important to make sure you always communicate before you set off. Discuss where to regroup and how far it is to reach a safe spot in the couloir. This decision will be based on snow quality and the terrain around you.
It’s also wise to discuss the distance you want to leave between each skier, agreeing on a sensible gap will ensure everyone is safe.
When you arrive at the top of the couloirs, it’s a good idea to stop with your back to the couloir wall, so you can easily look up and downwards without having to twist your head too much, which can happen if you are stopping with your chest towards the couloir wall.
Remember when skiing, that your shoulders should be still and it’s your hips and legs that are making the turns. Your eyes on the other hand should be on the fall line and not looking at the flanking walls. To make your skiing as fluid as possible, always initiate the next turn with your wrist slightly towards the fall line.
When the snow is soft, always ski and rest in a sensible position, so as to avoid surface sluff created by your fellow skiers, as well as youself. ‘Sluff’ can easily grab your skis if you’re not fully under control. If the snow is firm, make sure to ski short distances between stops, to avoid large pieces of snow ‘taking out’ other skiers.
When traveling in mountainous terrain with couloirs, a lot of attention needs to be focused on whether or not the temperature is rising or falling. This will enable you to manage the risk of the couloir avalanching, but also to avoid skiing on refrozen snow where a hard, glazed layer has formed, making a couloir descent tricky or impossible.
When undertaken in the right conditions, by experienced skiers, couloir skiing is a reward that’s hard to match from any other type of skiing!
The Dynastar Cham 97 is the ultimate one ski to have. It is easily the most accessible freeride ski out there. On one hand it can easily manoeuvre itself with ease through the worst refrozen crud imaginable and on another hand sweep down wide open power fields with a huge amount of pleasure.
How versatile the ski was came as a real surprise to me as I did not think that a ski of this geometry could be that adaptable but also stable, strong and playful.
Dynastar have worked on this ski for the past 5 years , tweaking the flex and geometry each year ultimately working hard to arrive with a ski that is has received many awards in many different countries. It certainly gets my vote!
Lars Krantz – Freerider, La Grave
So good it doesn’t need a name, The Ski from Scott is the brand’s most versatile all-mountain ski that’s all about the details. One of its main features is Scott’s exclusive 3Dimensional sidecut, which means the tip, tail and underfoot areas of the ski all have their own separate radius. This makes for seriously good handling, edge control and stability, resulting in cruisy, effortless turns.
The Elliptical (curved on top) full wood core is specially shaped to direct power into the edges during turns for amazing grip and lively stiffness. This core also travels the length of the ski, providing a natural, stable flex that makes The Ski ultra-reliable and consistent in all conditions.
The Ski features Scott’s Pro Tip rocker, which is a slight early rise in the nose for a little extra float and manoeuvrability in the powder, with traditional camber in the rest of the ski for the best of both worlds. The same goes with waist widths, which range from 88 to 93mm. When you add this to the other features, you have a ski that doesn’t specialise in anything, but can handle all terrains with stability, agility and confidence – perfect for an intermediate or advanced skier who wants one ski for everything, that’s equally as at home cruising as it is charging.
Binding set-up: Flat deck, bindings not included but see our options here!
Terrain: 60% piste, 40% powder
If you like going up just as much as you like coming down, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 touring ski is definitely worth a look. It’s lightweight, sturdy and can hold an edge like nobody’s business. With a reputation for not only being super-light, but super-stable as well, it’s the one quiver touring ski that can handle everything from quick afternoon ascents to multi-day hut-stops. It even feels great on the piste.
Part of the reason the MTN Explore 95 is so light is thanks to the wood core with a carbon and flax laminate. The lightness and strength of these two materials combined provides optimal stability through everything from heavy powder to afternoon crud. In fact, a lot of features about this ski are purely stability-based, from the vibration-dampening pulse pad, to the lightweight, early rise Honeycomb Tip, the strong ABS sidewalls and stiff, reinforced edges.
For optimal manoeuvrability, the Mountain Explore 95 features a medium turn radius, a sweet-spot 95mm waist and a flat tail, which provides the best platform for hard charging, but also responsiveness when you need to pick your line carefully. It’s the ideal ski for a keen tourer who wants something that’ll perform just as well on a day of resort cruising as it will on a six-hour skin-up to a blustery peak.
Binding set-up: Flat deck, bindings not included
Terrain: 50% alpine touring, 25% powder, 25% piste
To learn more about the 2016 Salomon MTN Explore 95 and to make a purchase – click here.
The ThirtyTwo TM-Two has quickly become known for being one of the highest performing boots at a mid-range price. Its reputation has been helped along with the backing of some of the world’s best, and most creative professional snowboarders. The likes of over-the-Atlantic super talents, Scott Stevens, Dylan Thompson and Frank April, all have their own signature colour-ways of the boot.
Riders of this level need a boot to be 3 things: Lightweight, durable and supportive. The TM-Two is built to last, with a High Density Evolution outsole that is both lightweight and durable. The construction of the shell itself is also built to last all season long and beyond, with a tough webbed design to keep it as light as possible too. The back/heel of the boot has a performance backstay, a stiff backstop that provides rigidity and response for the boot, as well as helping it to hold its shape over time despite constant use.
For those who suffer with heel lift, this boot comes packed with features to combat the slippery heel! The Tongue Tension System helps pull the ankle back into the boot. The internal lacing system is also attached to the outer shell, rather than the liner. It is more expensive to make, but helps hold your heel to the liner, and the liner to the shell.
ThirtyTwo opted to fit the TM-Two with their Level 3 liner, their highest performing liner, which is made from 100% heat mouldable Intuition Foam for a totally custom fit to your foot. A neoprene toe cap reduces pressure on your toes at the end of the boot to maximise comfort, whilst internal anatomical foam overlays help further optimise heel hold. Dual power wrap Velcro straps help the internal liner adapt to any shaped calf muscle, big or small. This Level 3 liner even includes integrated pockets for their heel hold kit, which comes with the boot. This means rings of foam can be easily placed on the side of the liner, giving you some serious heel holding power. The TM-Two also has a Level 3 foot bed, again the highest performing of Thirty-Two’s range, providing the most support under the arch of your foot, and the most dampening under the heel.
Riding in the Tm-Two feels super responsive, thanks to the mammoth amount of support the level 3 liner provides. Power transmission from edge to edge feels instant, and when popping ollies, the feedback and snap is impressive! The flex is definitely towards the stiff side of things, allowing the boot to be used all over the mountain, but still has just enough flex to give it some freestyle flavour. I would say the TM-Two is around 8/10 stiffness. From a freestyle perspective, the boot offers a fantastic amount of support around the ankle when coming into landings. Getting a snug, tight fit was not uncomfortable either thanks to the neoprene toe piece.
On a personal note, I have some of the skinniest and therefore slipperiest ankles the snowboard industry has ever seen, but the TM-Two’s have done a stellar job at keeping them in place, even without the fit kit rings!
For riders looking for a powerful, long lasting all-mountain/freestyle boot, the Thirty Two TM-Two’s are certainly a great choice. Want to try some on for yourself? Click here to book an appointment with one of our experts!