Brian Lindahl (see Bio)
I. Which currently available skis would you pick for your own 3-ski quiver?
I primarily ski at Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, as well as the Colorado backcountry. However, I also spend at least a few weeks per season traveling to chase powder during our dry spells — usually to places like Wyoming, Utah, Washington, or British Columbia.
Ski #1: ~105 mm directional resort ski
I’ve spent a lot of years skiing resort powder on 115-124 mm skis and have slowly begun to face the reality that these wider skis are a lot of work after the first 3-4 untracked runs on a powder day. In addition, many of today’s 100-110 mm skis seem to work really well in just about any condition. Sure, they aren’t super surfy in deep snow through trees, but my favorite skiing at Colorado resorts is the opposite of that — big, fast turns on wind-buffed soft snow in the high alpine. My pick for this sort of skiing is the 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 (I skied the 16/17 version, and Kastle says they tweaked the core for 17/18, so I’m hoping to get on the new version very soon). Not only does it ski wind-buffed powder very well (even on deeper days), it also has that damp, smooth feel on firm variable snow during dry spells. I’d mount the BMX 105 with the CAST Freetour system, since I always want the option of being able to responsibly and efficiently go out the sidecountry gates.
Ski #2: ~120 mm directional powder ski
It’s always fun to find interesting features to play on in deeper snow, so when conditions are right, either in the backcountry or at the resort, I want the right tool for the job. Over the years, I’ve found that a wider platform and stiff flex help avoid augering in too deep on landings. I also really enjoy the loose feeling you get with flat or reverse camber skis. So, while I haven’t had it out in deep mid-winter conditions yet, the 190 cm Whitedot Ragnarok is my pick, because it’s the only ski currently on the market that I’ve been on that meets all the above criteria. I’d mount the Ragnarok with the Fritschi Vipec. I haven’t had any pre-releases in these conditions over the last 2 years with the Vipec, even when getting stupid. The Vipec also offers tech-touring weight and efficiency with a level of potential safety (in my opinion) above all other options. This season, I’m looking forward to seeing if I’ll end up preferring the alpine-style heel of the Tecton 12, or lower weight and ease of use of the Vipec.
Ski #3: ~105 mm directional touring ski
This was a tough choice. As much as I wanted to pick a narrow ~88 mm ski for firm snow days, I spend too much time touring to do so. Any time there’s 6+ inches of fresh snow, I’ll usually start off the day with a few hours of early morning touring on mellow terrain. And, later in the season, from May through July, I do a fair amount of longer tours. For this ski, I chose the 179 cm LINE Sick Day 104. It has a level of poppiness and playfulness that really increases the amount of fun I have when meadow skipping in powder conditions. It also comes in under 1800 grams, while still providing enough stability to feel comfortable at speed in more variable conditions. I’d mount the Sick Day 104 with Salomon MTN bindings, or perhaps even consider some lighter options that are rarely seen outside of rando-races, as the lighter binding options haven’t given me any problems over the past 3 years.
II. What skis were the most difficult to leave off your list?
For ski #1, I really wanted this to be the Head Monster 108, but I’ve only skied the 184 cm, which is too short for me in powder, and the 191 cm still has barely any tip rocker, so I’m a bit hesitant.
For ski #3, it was REALLY hard to leave off the 184 cm Head Monster 88. I love that ski in firm conditions, but ultimately, I had to go with a touring ski — something that’s a bit more practical for the majority of my skiing for a good chunk of the year.
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’m looking forward to trying out lighter options for ski #2. A number of options pique my interest, such as the Head Kore 117, Faction Prime 4.0, Volkl BMT 122, 4FRNT Renegade (the newest, lighter version), and the Whitedot Ragnarok Carbonlite.
For ski #1, I’d be really curious to try a custom 189 cm ON3P Wrenegade 108 with one of their stiffer layups, the 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 HP (hoping for a stiffer tip?), and the 190 cm Stockli Stormrider 105.
IV. If you had to choose a single brand from which to build your 3-ski quiver, which company would you pick?
This is really difficult. I’m pretty picky about ski #2, and not many people are making a ski with that design (stiff and reverse camber), and of those that do, they don’t really make ski #1 (heavy, smooth and stable in firm conditions with good powder performance). As a consolation, I’m less picky about ski #3, and most companies make something close enough. One last caveat is that I’m unable to make up a single-company quiver from the current-season skis I’ve been on, so I’ll have to make some educated guesses based on what other Blister reviewers have found.
Ideally, my first pick would be:
Ski #1: 191 cm Volkl Mantra
Ski #2: 186 cm Volkl BMT 122
Ski #3: 176 cm Volkl BMT 109
However, the Volkl BMT 122 isn’t supposed to be mounted with the Vipec, so my second pick would be:
Ski #1: 191 cm Head Monster 108 (powder performance is a big question mark)
Ski #2: 189 cm Head Kore 117
Ski #3: 180 cm Head Kore 105
NEXT: Paul Forward’s 3-Ski Quiver Selections