Monday, 2 December 2013

Touring skis 2014 - the quiver

Its that time of year again - the first big autumn snowfalls have hit the Alps, I have already had my first week of ski work, and now its time to dust off the rest of the kit which has been sitting unused all summer. So, I hear you ask, what will I be skiing on this winter?

My main weapons of choice from last winter, the 191 Volkl Gotamas will be back in action again for lift-served offpiste and shorter tours. With double-rocker and a solid 107mm underfoot these skis have really won a place in my heart. Fantastic float in soft snow, they are equally good in chopped up or cruddy snow, and have surprised me no end on hard snow they are not a GS ski, and will never carve or feel like one, but when you tip them over enough, the curve created by the rocker shape gives a great high-speed ride! Currently mounted with Marker Barons, this is not a set-up for big days (though I have done 1000m + on them...), so for days when weight is a little more critical, the go-to ski will be the Volkl Mantra, paired with Dynafit Radical FT bindings. Another legendarily (is that a word?) beefy ski, the Mantra offers a good compromise between float and ease of edging on hardpack, along with a hint of tip rocker to make smearing a short turn easier in those tight spots.

This winter I will also be sporting a pair of Ranger Carbonlites, courtesy of those very nice folks at Whitedot Skis - roughly the same dimensions as the Gotama but with just the tiniest hint of traditional camber... Stay tuned for a review as soon as I can get them mounted and make some turns - it should be interesting to compare and contrast with the Gotamas.

Just waiting for me to decide which bindings will be gracing them: Dynafit or Plum...?

...and finally for the really big days there is still no seeing past the Dynastar Mythic Light - with Dynafit bindings this is the perfect lightweight set-up for me (I don't hang with the balsawood & carbon toothpick brigade much...). Combined with my modified TLT5 boots this feels like having feathers on my feet on the way uphill, and skis pretty damn well on the way down (though I still reckon a 3rd strap/buckle on the TLT5s would be the way to go...).


  1. Are the Mantras lighter than the Rangers?!

  2. Good point Matt... some last minute editing hadn't quite been put through the logic filter...
    The Mantras are heavier (approx 2.1Kg per ski) than the Ranger Carbonlites (approx 1.6 Kg per ski).
    Have now re-edited the post above so it makes more sense. Thanks for pointing that out!

  3. Hi Simon

    I'm thinking of the Gotamas (186) as well, so good to hear you like them. I'm thinking of mounting them with some dynafit to replace my Mantra. I love the Mantras, but want more float and actually started liking the Mantra the older they got -- they became more "smeary" and the camber is totally gone now. That's why I'm leaning towards the Gotama (especially if it can go through crud as well).

    Any specific reason you went for Marker bindings? Have you heard of problems mounting a dynafit on the Gotama, or you reckon your touring boot is not strong enough to steer a Gotama?

    Lastly, do you know whether there is much of a weight difference between the Gotama and the Mantra?


  4. Hey Simon

    Nice post. I'm thinking about the Gotamas (at 186) to replace my Mantra. I love the Mantras but I started really liking them more when they got older and they became much more smeary and swively (the traditional camber is gone basically). So given that Gotama can do crud (which is what I was worried about), I'm leaning towards a more "fun" touring ski, for shorter days, instead of a more traditional Mantra.

    Is there a specific reason you did not mount dynafit on the Gotamas? Have your heard of dyanfit delaminate the gotama? Or you think the ski might be a little too much for lightweight touring boots? Lastly, you have an idea of the weight difference between a Mantra and a Gotama? Any thoughts appreciated...


    1. Hi Philip,
      I mounted Barons on the Gotamas as I wanted a full-on beefy set-up... Weight not a consideration...
      Going to be mounting Plum Yaks on the Rangers which are as wide as the Gotamas so time will tell... I know a few folks with even wider skis mounted up with pin bindings - no complaints so far it would seem.
      Regarding weight, the difference between a 184 Mantra and a 186 Gotama is around 260g, so not massive. I have done 1000m+ days on Gotamas + Barons, and reckon with a pin binding on there you could happily do 1500m days no worries...

  5. Hey, did you get to ride the Rangers yet? Anxious to hear what you think of them... I´m getting a pair with Dynafits
    thx olli

  6. Hi Olli, yes have skied them a fair bit now (& very impressed) - review coming up very shortly...!