2016-2017 G3 Synapse 109

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the G3 Synapse 109 for Blister Gear Review
G3 Synapse 109

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.

Flex Pattern

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.

Rocker Profile

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.)

On-Snow Performance

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.

Alex Adams reviews the 2015-2016 G3 Synapse carbon 109 for Blister Gear Review
Alex Adams on the G3 Synapse Carbon 109.

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.

Alex Adams reviews the 2015-2016 G3 Synapse carbon 109 for Blister Gear Review
Alex Adams on the G3 Synapse Carbon 109, Porters Ski Area, NZ.

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.

Alex Adams reviews the 2015-2016 G3 Synapse carbon 109 for Blister Gear Review
Alex Adams on the G3 Synapse Carbon 109, Porters Ski Area, NZ.

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.




9 comments on “2016-2017 G3 Synapse 109”

  1. Jonathan, thanks for sharing your thoughts on skiing the 109. I’m currently trying to decide between the Synapse 101 and 109 — with the deciding factor being the profile. Both appear to be great options for a light touring ski that can excel in a bunch of snow types. I’m wondering if you have experience on the 101 and can chime in on the main differences that it’s camber provides vs. the rockered out 109? I imagine the 109 packs the fun and the 101 may be less exciting but a better all-arounder…

  2. Hi, Ive been checking your reviews for a couple of years now. Its great, thanks!
    Are you going to review the Carbon Empire 115 ?


  3. Hi, I see you have used the Pinnacle 130 boots with the G3 ION 12 as part of this review. I have heard one report of the DIN soles not properly retracting the brake when using this combo. Are you able to confirm this? I own the Pinnacle 130, and am thinking about buying some ION 12 bindings, but would like to confirm compatibility in advance.


  4. I know this is an older review but…
    Do you feel the Synapse would work for a 1 ski for all touring in Colorado?
    I know the soft snow / powder capability will be great…but will the hard snow / crud capability be so lacking that it can’t really be used for spring conditions? I have never used a full rocker touring ski before and am wary of this…

  5. I’ve had a few days on these now – to respond to some comments, no, not a good 1 ski. Killer in soft snow but rocker is much, much too much on hardpack or variable snow. Whenever bases are flattish, you might as well be on snowblades.

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