For the 2022 ski touring season, I’ll be skiing on Movement Alp Tracks 100 supplied by the Concept Pro Shop in Chamonix.
Here’s a preliminary review of them written just over 12 months ago for those of you interested in looking at possible options for 2022.
In a “normal” year, I work on skis from mid December through to mid May in a variety of locations in the European Alps and Arctic latitudes. I do some lift served off-piste but the majority of my work involves ski touring in some form: side country with lift assistance, day touring from hotels or boats and classic hut to hut touring up to 6 days at a time.
In the 20/21 season, I’ve only done 6 days of lift served off-piste (including 2 Vallée Blanches) and all other days out have been human-powered. In total I’ve worked 18 days up to the end of February and another 19 days of skiing for fun. Of these 37 days, 12 have been with the Movement Alp Tracks 100. My season was cut short on March 8 when I tested positive for Covid after some nights in huts.
My preferred ski style is medium to long radius turns when I can, though clearly that needs adapting, whether that’s for speed control on steeps or to demo the kind of turn I would like my clients to emulate. I’m comfortable at 45 degrees in normal snow conditions (whatever that means!).
Last season I was using a pair of Fischer Ranger 108. These are clearly a very different kind of ski, so it has taken me a little bit of time to adapt, especially as it’s not been possible to get used to the Alp Tracks with plenty of lift served on and off-piste, my normal approach to ski testing.
First Impressions Before Use
The first impression is a super light ski. The total weight for a pair mounted with Marker Alpinist is 3.4 kg as opposed to 5 kg for the Fischers. Everyone I’ve handed them to has been very jealous, especially with the lifts being closed in France this year. I wasn’t at all sure about the 19m turn radius, given I normally prefer something nearer 24m, but was certainly prepared to take the risk for such a massive weight gain. For such a light ski, it gives an impression of being robust and stiff when being handled in the shop.
First impressions In Use
I first got to use these skis on 3 January when there was enough snow to risk not scratching them. The snow conditions were 30cm of light cold snow on a grassy base. The first impressions were
- VERY fast
- A bit twitchy – I guess we would say nervous in French.
- My wife was impressed with the short radius turns I was making. Normally she’s the short swing queen in our household!
Impressions after 2 months use
As mentioned above, I’ve skied on the Movement Alp Tracks for 12 days.
The snow conditions have been as varied as:
- Thigh deep powder on a firm base (sometimes even rocks) at up to 50 degrees
- Light cold snow on grassy meadows with clients
- Spring snow including the famous sand layer of February 6
I had to work very hard to eliminate chatter and oversteer of the downhill ski in the last 25% of the turn. Three techniques worked well for me:
- Cross under turns which helped me to back the pressure off in that last 25% by just reducing or stopping leg extension. This was especially good in a shallow snow pack where I would hit an unseen firm base
- Backing off the edge angle massively. Especially on the down hill ski.
- Adding deliberate extra knee flexion in the last 25% of the turn.
There’s still some chatter, especially on steep firm terrain, but maybe that’s something I just have to get accustomed to. Looking at GoPro videos from skiers like Bruchez, it happens even to the best people!
On the plus side, the light weight of the ski means that rotation in jump turns is much quicker and more precise. In addition, the comparatively low turn radius means that swift entry into heavy turns is much more effective as a technique, so there’s less time in the air and more time in contact with the snow.
The skis have coped with a couple of shark attacks without significant damage.
The Movement Alp Tracks 100 is phenomenally light for such a high performance ski.
It takes some adjustment, but has a lot of potential as a ski to long climbs and steep tight descents.
Thanks to the team at Concept Pro Shop for their excellent advice and service