G3 Synapse 109, 185cm
Available Lengths: 170, 175, 180, 185, 190 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): ~183.9cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 137-109-125
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1614 & 1618 g
Stated Sidecut Radius: 19.5 m
Core Construction: Poplar/Paulownia + Carbon Fiber Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~73mm / ~22mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm
Factory Recommended Line: – 7.45 from center; 84.5cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots: Salomon Mtn Lab, Fischer Transalp, K2 Pinnacle 130
Bindings: G3 Ion 12
Test Locations: Porters Ski Area, Crystal Valley, and Tarn Basin, Canterbury New Zealand; Taos Ski Valley (Kachina Peak)
Days Tested: 7
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Synapse 109, which was not changed for 16/17, apart from graphics and the dropping of “carbon” from its name.]
Earlier this year we reviewed the G3 Zenoxide 105, and found it to be one of the most capable touring skis we’ve been on for crap conditions: ice, steep ice, variable conditions, etc. The Zenoxide is a very stiff, pretty traditionally-shaped ski with just a bit of tip rocker.
Well G3 makes another ski of roughly the same width that is kind of the opposite of the Zenoxide. It’s called the Synapse 109, and for a very different type of skier looking for a ski for very different conditions, the Synapse 109 is equally as interesting.
G3 calls the Synapse their “ultralight freeride touring ski,” and their advice about the Synapse 109 is to “Go deep, real deep.”
And so far, Alex Adams and I think that G3 is positioning the Synapse 109 in just the right way.
First, this ski is light. The 185cm Synapse 109, mounted with G3 Ion 12 demo binding, weighs in at 2222 & 2231 grams.
By comparison, the 186cm G3 Zenoxide 105 with the same binding setup weighs 2543 & 2531 grams. And while I still love the Zenoxide 105, there is no question that the Synapse 109 feels noticeably lighter while touring.
The Synapse 109 also hand flexes much softer than the Zenoxide 105—though the Synapse 109 isn’t really a noodle, it’s just that the Zenoxide 105 is one of the stiffest skis we’ve ever tested.
As a rough approximation, we’d say the Synapse 109 has a medium+ / stiff- flex pattern, with a tip and tail that have a very similar flex.
This is a pretty interesting design. The Synapse 109 has very deep rocker lines (tip rocker line = 58.5; tail rocker line = 51.0), a decent amount of tip rocker (73mm is pretty common for a more soft-snow-oriented ski), and a subtle amount of tail rocker—subtle especially given that deep rocker line. (See the rocker profile pictures on the next page.)
Alex and I both have a few days on the Synapse 109, so here are some first impressions from Alex, and we’ll flesh these out a bit further as we get more time on these skis.
I’ve spent the last two days on the Synapse 109 at Porters Ski Area and Mt. Cheeseman, doing some inbounds skiing at both places, and touring in some large, open bowls that are adjacent to them (Crystal Valley, West Basin, and Tarn Basin). My initial impressions are very positive. I was able to make very big, high speed turns through soft, untracked snow in West Basin, and also make tighter turns in deeper, colder snow in Tarn Basin.
Granted, these were not difficult conditions, but the point still stands: in good snow—from shallow, warm, untracked, to deeper, colder, untracked—the Synapse 109 responded well to two very different types of skiing.
Freeride / Playfulness
I personally would categorize this as a serious freeride touring ski, but there is still an element of playfulness to this ski that I appreciate.
For the sake of a few (admittedly rather apples-to-oranges) comparisons, I’ve spent the most time recently on the 185cm Blizzard Cochise, the 181cm Rossignol Sickle, and the 186cm ON3P Jeffrey 114. While the Synapse 109 is a much lighter, touring-specific ski, in terms of playfulness, I’d locate the Synapse 109 between the Cochise and the Sickle. It’s not a Sickle or a Jeffrey, and it’s not as serious as a Cochise or the Zenoxide 105. But so far, this mix of stability and playfulness has been great.
Bottom Line (For Now)
If you’re looking for a touring ski that excels in firm and variable conditions, the G3 Zenoxide is a ski that you should consider.
But if instead you’re looking for a lightweight ski that excels in good conditions and deep conditions, Alex and I both would encourage you to check out the Synapse 109. Its rocker profile and flex pattern are optimized for those, and you’ll appreciate the low weight the farther you’re skinning to find those good / deep conditions.
We’re looking forward to getting more time on the G3 Synapse 109, and we’ll flesh out this review in a bit.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS