In advance of the season, we all need to get kitted up. I’m often asked what I’m skiing on, and while my choices may not suit everyone, here are my selections:
Skis and bindings: for off piste hooliganism, I’m on K2 Pinnacle 118’s. These beasts are fully rockered, flexible and manoeuvrable. A bit heavy, yes, but loads of fun. A big ski like this needs a binding to match, and the Marker Kingpin is up to the job.
For tours, I’m doing a second year on Blizzard Zero G 108’s. These are stiff, light and solid. They take some mastering, but once this is done, they do everything I need for ski touring, especially on steep terrain where the long radius and stiffness work well in high speed drift. I’m sticking with the reliable Dynafit FT Radicals that I’ve been on for many years.
If you want more advice on how to choose skis, please check out my blog post, The Agony of Choice.
Although technology has now moved on, the same principles apply.
One major innovation that is in increasing use these days are Quiver Killers. These threaded metal inserts allow you to swop bindings between skis. So you can keep on an old pair of skis for early season rock hopping and then, when you’re confident enough to take out your new babies, just swop bindings over and avoid shelling out for a completely new pair. The inserts need careful mounting by a qualified expert. I recommend using Jon Coster at The Piste Office.
On the safety front, I’m still using my trusty Mammut Pulse. If you’re thinking of upgrading from analogue technology ( and you should ) I can strongly recommend the intro version of the Pulse, the Mammut Element. I’ve been issuing these to my clients for several years now. They are simple and robust and have the capacity to handle multiple burials without getting complicated.
Finally, a new piece of technology on the market this season for skiers is the Petzl RAD System.
The acronym stands for Rescue And Descent and is in reality a rope in a bag with existing Petzl metal technology. But what a clever piece of rope technology it is. Super static and very light and very strong. When I’m on glacier terrain, I have 2 ropes: one in my pack and the other with one of the team. So a 30m rope that only weighs 660 grams is a total winner….
Happy shopping everyone!