Cy Whitling (see Bio)
I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?
Skiing primarily at Grand Targhee, I don’t feel like I need a super narrow ski, so, while some would probably put some sort of race-influenced carving ski, or jibby park ski on this list, I can’t honestly remember the last day I wished I was on something narrower than 106 mm underfoot.
I spend a little less than half my time touring, and I love seeking out natural hits and fresh snow when I am in the backcountry, so I don’t have any dire need for a super light touring ski in my quiver. So, the boxes I’m looking to check are as follows: (1) a do-everything 50/50 ski that I can put alpine or touring bindings on and take on trips, or take up to the hill without checking the snow report and know I’m going to have fun (106-112 mm underfoot); (2) a wider (116-118 mm underfoot) but similarly capable ski for deeper days; and finally (c) the ski that made me feel most like a professional skier last year (120 mm underfoot).
Ski #1: Moment Deathwish, 184 cm
The first ski that immediately springs to mind whenever I talk about “x-ski quivers” is the Moment Deathwish in a 184 cm. That’s a ski you’re going to hear me talk about a lot more in the 2- and 1-ski quiver sections in the coming weeks, so I won’t go into too much depth here, but it’s a pretty perfect ski in most conditions for me. I find it to be stable, very predictable, and easy to turn exactly when and how I want it to, and it’s playful enough that I can have fun on it even at mountains with smaller terrain features, or with terrible snow. It’s also light enough (~2000 g) that I wouldn’t mind it as my only touring ski. I’d love to compare it to the Deathwish 106 Tour, and I have a feeling that once I ski that ski, the regular Deathwish might lose its spot in my 3-ski-quiver list. But until then, the regular Deathwish mounted with inserts for the Tyrolia Attack 13 and Fritschi Tecton 12 is my top choice. I like having a ski that I can take out on any day, at any mountain, and know I’m going to have a great time. The Deathwish is that ski for me. If pushed, I could substitute the Sego Big Horn 106 here, and not really mind too much since it shares a lot of the Deathwish’s character.
These three skis are pretty similar, and what I feel comfortable saying for now is that I’d be happy skiing any one of them as a deeper-days inbounds ski. Personally, I’d probably go with the Bibby / Blister Pro, because I’m partial to the topsheets, but I’d need more time A/B/C-ing these skis to really get clear on their performance differences.
In any case, I’d drill this ski with inserts for Attack 13’s and Tectons as well. I really like having a fat, capable-in-variable-conditions touring ski for days when I just want to jump off stuff in the backcountry.
Ski #3: K2 Catamaran, 184 cm
My third ski makes the list simply because it makes me feel way cooler than I actually am. It is not a versatile ski — maybe the 190 cm version is moreso (I can’t wait to find out) — but in soft conditions, the Catamaran is the most fun thing I’ve ever had on my feet. It’s so playful, so jibby, so ready to smear and pop and tap and spin. I’ve never been on anything like it, and even though it wouldn’t see as much use as the other skis in my quiver, the days where it makes sense to take the Catamaran out are days worth remembering. And for reference, I’d mount the Catamaran with Tyrolia Attack 13’s.
II. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?
I think the Armada ARV 116 JJ is close for me, and a lot of skiers may like it more than the Bibby / Anima / Kartel option I mentioned above. It’s more playful and forgiving than those skis, but it also feels just a little less precise, and has a little lower top end.
Similarly, the Sego Big Horn 106 is a great ski that, if the Deathwish didn’t exist, would probably take that first spot, and it’s a great option for skiers looking for something narrower.
Finally, the Atomic Backland 109 FR is a great 50/50 ski. I’ll be writing a lot more about it, but for now I’ll just say that it’s not quite versatile enough in variable conditions that I’d want to ski it inbounds as much as I ski the Deathwish, but it’s a very poppy and playful option, and it’s a blast in the backcountry.
III. What skis do you imagine have the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski them, or get to ski them more?
I think there’s a decent chance the Deathwish Tour makes it onto this list, but I’m not sure. I’m such a huge fan of the regular Deathwish that I’m not confident I want any changes made, even as a touring ski.
Maybe the 190 Catamaran will be just as fun, but more stable? We shall see.
This year I’ll be skiing Snow King a lot more, and Targhee less, so maybe the J Skis Metal will win my heart — my biggest question is whether it feels “too” directional compared to the skis I’m typically most interested in.
IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?
This one’s hard. I could be very happy on a 3-ski Moment quiver (Deathwish, Deathwish Tour, Bibby), but I suspect that I could also get along fine on an ON3P quiver (Kartel 98, Kartel 108, Kartel 116), or a Sego Quiver (Big Horn 106, Tater Tot, Sloppy Joe). Chances are the Black Crows Atris, Anima Freebird, and Anima would also make a fun and capable quiver for me. So, I’d go Moment on this one, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world at all to go with another one of the brands mentioned here.
NEXT: Brian Lindahl’s 3-Ski Quiver Selections