Ski: 2021-2022 WNDR Alpine Vital 100 (cambered edition), 183 cm
Days Skied: 11
Available Lengths: 169, 176, 183, 190 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.4 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1840 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1839 & 1840 grams
Stated Dimensions: 126-100-118 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 126.0-99.7-117.8 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (183 cm): 24 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 29 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4.5 mm
Core: aspen + algal-PU stringers + algal-PU sidewalls + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6.7 cm from center; 84.5 cm from tail
Bindings: Moment Voyager XIV & Marker Griffon
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 20/21 Vital 100, which returns unchanged for 21/22.]
This past season WNDR Alpine introduced a new ski to their lineup, the Vital 100.
You can watch our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video with WNDR’s Matt Sterbenz for the full story behind the Vital 100, the updated WNDR Alpine Intention, and all the new algae-derived materials they use:
But to summarize, the Vital 100 is the lighter and narrower complement to WNDR’s Intention 110, with the 100 being targeted more at shallower / firmer conditions, technical terrain, and longer days in the backcountry.
We got a pair of the Vital 100 and personally, I was quite excited about it. In the category of ~100mm-wide touring skis, there aren’t a whole lot out there that seem really similar to the Vital 100, and I thought that had the potential to be a good thing for certain skiers.
We’ve now had the chance to test the Vital 100 around the Crested Butte backcountry and at Mt. Crested Butte during the Blister Summit and have added our full review below. But first, let’s discuss the design of this ski:
What WNDR Alpine says about the Vital 100
“The ALL-NEW Vital 100 is your ski for alpine conquests – a precision tool for situations where edge hold is paramount. Featuring our proprietary AlgalTech™ ski materials platform.
Impressively stable for its weight, this ski charges intuitively in any condition, while remaining easy to pivot for technical maneuverability. The secret of the Vital 100’s unique performance characteristics lies in the integration of advanced biobased materials, which allow it to punch above its weight class in any terrain.”
This seems like a sensible description, based on the Vital 100’s design elements that we’ll get into below. Like most brand’s 100mm-wide skis, WNDR Alpine is emphasizing both the Vital 100’s versatility and its edge hold on firmer conditions. And while we’re always wary when any brand claims that their lightweight backcountry skis “charge in any condition,” I think WNDR has reason to make the claim when comparing the Vital 100 to the rest of the touring-ski market.
As for their “AlgalTech” materials, that warrants some more explanation:
Construction & WNDR Alpine AlgalTech
Since they launched just a little over a year ago, WNDR Alpine set themselves apart from the rest of the competition by using materials derived from algae in their skis. In their first iteration of the Intention 110, this was in the form of Polyurethane stringers in the core that were created from oils made by microalgae, rather than fossil fuels.
In their 20/21 lineup (Vital 100 & Intention 110), they’ve taken a few notable steps in terms of increasing the bio-based materials in their skis. The 20/21 Vital 100 and Intention 110 still feature a domestically sourced aspen wood core and those algal PU stringers, but they also now have liquid-poured, algal PU sidewalls.
In addition to being made from algae-derived oils, those PU sidewalls also reportedly bond to the wood core without any adhesive, and they also reduce waste since they can be poured into channels with little excess material needing to be trimmed away. (WNDR says they eliminate about 2 lbs / 907 g of waste per ski with their construction, relative to more traditional ski constructions.)
WNDR also started using a “bio-based resin” for the layup process. Dubbed “Super Sap” and produced by Entropy Resins, this resin has been used by some skateboard and surfboard companies, and it’s cool to see it entering the ski world.
So, what does that actually translate to when you’re out in the backcountry? Well, in addition to reducing the environmental impact of their skis, WNDR says their AlgalTech construction also improves their skis’ strength-to-weight ratio, torsional rigidity, and damping characteristics. I.e., they’re supposed to ski better than more traditional constructions.
Unique construction aside, let’s get into the more basic design elements of the Vital 100.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Vital 100 looks pretty similar to the Intention 110, but with a few tweaks that you’d expect when comparing skis of these different widths.
First, just like the Intention 110, you can get the Vital 100 with a rocker / camber / rocker profile, or with a fully reverse-camber profile. Apart from custom skis, I can’t think of any current, stock skis on the market in this class that give you that option.
Right now we have the cambered version of the Vital 100, and unsurprisingly, it has slightly shallower tip and tail rocker lines than the cambered Intention 110. The Vital 100 also has slightly lower tip and tail splay than its wider sibling.
Compared to other touring skis in roughly the same class, the Vital 100 has a deeper tip rocker line and higher tail splay than most (e.g., K2 Wayback 96, Armada Tracer 98, G3 FINDr 102). While this has nothing to do with what WNDR is claiming about the Vital 100, its rocker profile does make me really curious about how playful it will feel, given that the Intention 110 was a ski that catered well to a more playful skiing style (while also working just fine when skied with a more directional approach).
As for shape, again, the Vital 100 looks pretty similar to the Intention 110, but the narrower ski features a bit less tip and tail taper. Give that WNDR is highlighting the Vital’s edge hold, that makes sense.
I really like the look of the Vital 100’s shape. It’s not super tapered, which makes me think it should carve and hold and edge pretty well. But it also has some taper and doesn’t look like a shape that will feel hooky in weird snow conditions (which you’ll often encounter over the course of a full, spring touring day). We shall see…
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 183 cm Vital 100:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
Overall, the 183 cm Vital 100’s flex pattern feels very similar to the 185 cm Intention 110. The most notable difference is that the Vital 100’s tips start slightly softer, and its flex doesn’t ramp up quite as quickly as you move from the shovels to the middle of the ski. But this ski is still very strong around the bindings, and I love that its tail isn’t drastically stiffer than its tips.
In the world of ~100mm-wide touring skis, it seems like most of them feature pretty directional flex patterns (i.e., soft tips and much stiffer tails). So, along with skis like the Line Vision 98 and Armada Tracer 98, this is another area where the Vital 100 stands out.
Overall, the Vital 100’s flex pattern feels pretty moderate — I wouldn’t call this ski particularly soft, and I also wouldn’t call it super burly.
Like the Intention 110, the Vital 100 has a recommended mount point that’s a bit closer to center compared to the rest of the market.
At -6.7 cm from true center, the Vital 100’s mount point is fairly in line with skis like the Moment Wildcat Tour 108, Line Vision 98, and Atomic Bent Chetler 100, and notably closer to center than some more traditional skis like the G3 FINDr 102, Blizzard Zero G 105, and Line Sick Day 104. That said, the Vital 100’s mount point is still farther back than most freestyle skis.
We found the Intention 110 to be versatile in terms of allowing you to ski it with a pretty forward stance, or a fairly centered one, and I’d expect the same of the Vital 100, given its similarities to the Intention 110.
WNDR Alpine makes skis for backcountry touring, so it makes sense that their skis are generally lighter than most inbounds-oriented options.
With that said, the Intention 110 and Vital 100 are not the lightest skis out there. In a rare occurrence, the measured weight for our pair of the 183 cm Vital 100 is within a gram of WNDR’s stated weight: 1840 grams per ski.
So, looking at touring skis like the Salomon MTN Explore 95, G3 FINDr 102, and Armada Tracer 98, the Vital 100 is notably heavier. If you want the absolute lightest ski in this class, the Vital 100 isn’t going to be for you.
But for those who want to ski hard on their ~100mm-wide touring skis — or who just appreciate a ski that doesn’t feel super chattery and harsh on firm snow — I think the Vital 100’s weight is going to be very appealing.
Its weight is fairly similar to the Line Sick Day 104, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, and Liberty Origin 96, all of which are skis that we think ski really, really well for their weight — to the point that we’re happy using them for laps in the resort.
We also found that the 19/20 Intention 110 offered an excellent stability-to-weight ratio, and all of this makes WNDR’s claims about the Vital 100 being about to “charge in any condition” more reasonable (at least when comparing it to the touring-ski market).
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1446 & 1447 Line Vision 98, 179 cm (19/20–20/21)
1469 & 1477 K2 Wayback 96, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
1477 & 1481 Majesty Superwolf, 178 cm (20/21)
1489 & 1545 G3 FINDr 102, 179 cm (19/20–20/21)
1512 & 1523 Dynastar Mythic 97, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
1543 & 1565 Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm (16/17–19/20)
1632 & 1637 Armada Tracer 98, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s ROMP 100, 183 cm
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1839 & 1840 WNDR Alpine Vital 100, cambered, 183 cm (20/21)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1883 & 1898 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender, 178 cm (20/21)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
1973 & 2005 WNDR Alpine Intention 110, cambered, 185 cm (20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2042 & 2062 Dynastar M-Pro 99, 186 cm (20/21)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Given its construction and light-but-not-super-light weight, just how stable and damp will the Vital 100 feel?
(2) On that note, since so many inbounds-oriented skis are so light these days, could the Vital 100 serve as a 50/50 or even dedicated inbounds ski for folks who prefer a lighter setup in the resort?
(3) Most touring skis in this width are pretty directional, traditional designs, so will the Vital 100’s more progressive mount point, round flex pattern, and / or deeper rocker lines make it work well for those who prefer something slightly more playful and / or forgiving?
(4) WNDR is highlighting the Vital 100’s performance in steep, technical terrain. So just how well will it perform there compared to the competition, and how versatile will it feel outside of that particular end-use?
Bottom Line (For Now)
I’m itching to get on the new WNDR Alpine Vital 100. Its moderate shape, rocker profile, and flex pattern all make me think that this could be an intuitive, versatile ski. Add on its unique, algal-derived construction and slightly more progressive mount point, and it definitely stands out in the current touring-ski market.
We will be getting the Vital 100 mounted and on snow as soon as we can, so stay tuned for updates this season.
Since we first posted our First Look of the Vital 100, we’ve been able to ski it in a pretty wide range of conditions and terrain. From fast laps at Mt. Crested Butte during the Blister Summit, to long days in the surrounding backcountry, our pair of the Vital 100 has seen a bit of everything. So let’s dive in:
Spring Corn & Slush
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): WNDR Alpine says it’s currently “Vital Season,” so we might as well kick things off with what I generally hope to find in the backcountry during the spring: soft, sun-warmed snow.
Like most skis, the Vital 100 is a blast in good corn or the deeper slush you’d find later in the day or on more sun-baked aspects. This sort of snow is forgiving, though the slightly heavier weight (for a touring-oriented ski) of the Vital 100 makes for a much more predictable ride than lighter alternatives when you hit a patch of firmer snow or someone else’s tracks on a popular run (e.g., Red Lady Bowl above the town of Crested Butte). For a touring ski, the Vital 100 is quite capable at higher speeds and in variable snow.
That said, the Vital 100 does not require high speeds, and it’s easy to feather and modulate your speed and turn shapes as you see fit. With a big sweet spot and more tip and tail rocker than many skis in its class, the Vital 100 is happy to break free from a carve when needed, or rail big, high-speed carves in open bowls of spring corn.
Overall, I can’t find anything to complain about with the Vital 100 in slushy / corn conditions. It’s stable when I feel like opening it up, yet easy to slarve small turns, and it can even carve switch turns if you feel so inclined.
Tight, Steep, Technical Terrain
Luke: WNDR Alpine emphasizes that the Vital 100 is “a precision tool for situations where edge hold is paramount,” and I’ve used it on a few lines where that’s what I was looking for.
In steep, firm couloirs, I really like this ski. As someone who tends to get along with skis with mount points similar to the Vital 100 (around -6 cm from true center), I love its balanced, predictable platform when making hop turns. Yes, the Vital’s slightly more forward mount point means that there’s more tail to get around when jumping down steep pitches, but I personally prefer the more symmetrical design since I feel like I have more margin for error in terms of my stance. I don’t need to focus as much on driving the shovels through each hop turn, and I also feel like I can get a little bit more backseat without the ski shooting uphill (compared to skis with more rearward mount points). Your mileage may vary, depending on your skiing style / stance, but the Vital 100 has proven to be one of the more predictable touring skis I’ve used in this class for navigating high-consequence terrain.
On WNDR’s note about edge hold, despite its fairly deep tip and tail rocker lines, I’ve found the Vital 100 to be quite good. Particularly for hop-turning down steep sections, this ski’s fairly long sidecut radius and strong flex through the middle equate to a reliable platform that has dug in and held when I needed it to. And those fairly deep rocker lines also make it more forgiving and predictable when initiating and finishing turns in techy spots since it doesn’t feel like it wants to hook up until I want it to.
Firm, Smooth Snow
Luke: In more open terrain that’s still firm and relatively consistent, the Vital 100’s edge hold is still very good, though I wouldn’t say it’s the most exciting carver. This ski’s deeper rocker lines and relatively long sidecut radius that I love in tight terrain (since it creates a straighter section around the middle of the ski) also means that the Vital 100 isn’t the quickest to initiate carved turns. When you drive its shovels and have some speed going, the Vital 100 will hold an edge quite well on firm snow, but if you’re looking for a touring or 50/50 ski that’s also a really engaging, snappy carver, there are better options.
When skiing the Vital 100 at Mt. Crested Butte with alpine bindings, it was totally predictable on piste and fun when making big GS turns, but I would say this ski excels off piste.
Firm, Rough Snow
Luke: These sort of challenging, inconsistent, harsh snow conditions are where the Vital 100 really stands out among lighter touring skis of this width.
As we noted in our review of the WNDR Alpine Intention 110, the brand’s construction creates very nice suspension and stability for how much their skis weigh. That holds true with the Vital 100. Compared to the numerous lighter options in this class, the Vital 100 is clearly a step above when it comes to how well it smooths out the harsh vibration of rough, firm snow conditions. And even compared to skis around the same weight, I’d say the Vital 100 is still a bit better when it comes to suspension / damping.
That aside, I also really like the overall design of the Vital 100 in these conditions. Unlike some other skis in this class, the Vital 100 allows you to ski and control it from a more centered stance, whereas many skis with more rearward mount points require an aggressive, forward stance to be skied hard, and can feel very unpredictable and downright scary if you lay off the shovels or get backseat. And given that I’m not likely to be skiing particularly fast if I’m encountering these sort of difficult conditions, I also like that the Vital 100’s notable tip and tail rocker make it easy to pivot and slide at slower speeds, even in fairly grabby / punchy snow.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm, 79 kg): I very much agree with Luke’s take here. Lately, I’ve been doing a bunch of ‘sunset ski tours,’ where I’m sticking around at the top of the tour to enjoy the fantastic light show, but this means that by the time I’m skiing down, the conditions have very much started to firm up — sometimes quite a bit. And time after time, the Vital 100 has made for a predictable, drama-free downhill experience.
The other notable thing here is that, given its 4.5 mm of traditional camber underfoot, the Vital 100 doesn’t feel difficult to release — even when hitting refrozen patches of chopped-up snow that can really grab a ski.
So while I’m probably ready to give up my sunset summits for the sake of skiing down in softer, more forgiving conditions, the Vital 100 has really proven itself in these more challenging conditions. And then when you do get the Vital 100 in softer and / or deeper conditions…
Luke: For its width, the Vital 100 performs quite well in fresh snow.
While it can be driven quite hard through the shovels, I think deeper conditions are the one area where the Vital 100 has a stronger preference for a more upright, centered stance. I can lean into the front of the ski pretty hard when I’ve got enough speed to make GS turns through pow, but for smaller turns and slower speeds, I feel most comfortable steering this ski from the middle (but I don’t need to get as backseat to stay afloat, compared to more minimally rockered skis in this class).
While it’s not as loose and maneuverable in soft conditions as the Intention 110, I’d still call the Vital 100 a pretty surfy ski for its width.
Jonathan: Agreed. And obviously, the deeper the snow, the more sense a wider ski will make. But I’d also say that among skis of this width, the Vital 100 is among the skis I’d opt for the deeper the conditions get.
Luke: Not much to report here. The Vital 100 goes uphill just fine. I’ve never noticed a lack of grip on skin tracks, and despite having a somewhat higher-than-normal amount of tail splay, I never had a problem digging its tails into the snow when transitioning in steep terrain. And while it doesn’t have a skin-clip cutout at the tail, I haven’t had any problems with Black Diamond, Contour, or Pomoca skins falling off on the ascent.
I think some people coming from much more rearward-mounted skis might need to take some time to adjust to the Vital’s more forward mount point during kick turns, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I’m frequently switching between touring skis with mount points ranging all the way from -12 cm to -4 cm, and find that making my kick turns closer to 180° than 90° helps with the more forward-mounted ones — and I think makes for a more stable kick turn overall since you don’t end up bracing yourself with a super wide-legged, awkward stance.
In the Resort
Luke: I spent some time on the Vital 100 riding the lifts at Mt. Crested Butte and my main takeaway is that this could certainly function as a 50/50 ski you’d use in the resort and in the backcountry, or even a dedicated resort ski for those who want something lightweight and off-piste oriented.
As I noted above, the Vital 100’s suspension and stability are quite good for its weight, and these days, there are a number of skis coming in at a similar weight that are primarily targeted at lift-accessed skiing. There are better options for those who prioritize turn initiation and snappy turns on piste, but if you want a lightweight ski that’s maneuverable and allows for a variety of skiing stances, the Vital 100 would certainly warrant consideration.
Jonathan: Yeah, if someone knows that they get along well with skis of this weight inbounds, then I agree that this could be a pretty nice 50/50 option. At the Blister Summit, I spent a day on the Vital 100 that was mounted with an alpine binding, and we went and did multiple laps on Staircase, which is a steep run with a pretty techy entrance that then opens up to a steep, beautiful apron. (It’s also sometimes used as a comp line.) The Vital 100’s low weight and stable platform were nice for making hop turns at the entrance, and then I was quite surprised by how good the Vital 100 felt on the chalky apron. Granted, the chalk was really good that day, but the ski felt comfortable at higher speeds, and wasn’t sending me signals to really slow things down.
I didn’t spend much time on the ski really trying to see what it could do on groomers, but I can say that in moguled-up runs like Mt. CB’s Crystal, Jokerville, and Twister, the Vital 100 performed well. Conditions were not bulletproof and brutal, but were variable. Not hero snow. And the Vital 100 felt predictable, forgiving, quick enough, stable enough. The firmer and or more refrozen the conditions get, I’d personally just want to be on something heavier for inbounds use. But I got along well with this ski (mounted with an alpine binding) inbounds.
Who’s It For?
Luke: As a pure touring ski, the Vital 100 is ideal for those who (1) prioritize suspension and stability over minimum weight and / or (2) those who appreciate a ski that allows them to ski it both from a more traditional, forward stance and a more neutral, centered one.
There’s no hiding the fact that you can find alternatives to the Vital 100 that are a few hundred grams lighter. If you’ve tried heavier skis and found yourself still preferring lighter options, I don’t think the Vital 100 would change your mind. But if you’re coming from lighter skis and are looking to ski more confidently in the backcountry, particularly when conditions are challenging, the Vital 100’s heavier weight and smoother, more predictable ride make it worth a good look. As a touring ski, I think it pairs really well with a lightweight, but solid touring binding like the ATK R12 / Moment Voyager XIV or Marker Alpinist. Personally, I feel more confident skiing hard on that setup (Vital 100 + Voyager) than I do on an equivalent-weight setup that consists of a lighter ski and a heavier binding.
[Jonathan: And while I’ve only skied the Vital 100 with a Marker Griffon alpine binding and a Moment Voyager XIV, I wouldn’t discourage someone from pairing the Vital 100 with a Shift binding or Fritschi Tecton, etc. Point is, I guess, that we’ve gotten along well with and can recommend a broad range of bindings for this ski.]
Overall, the Vital 100 is a very versatile ski, and I think WNDR might actually be under-selling it with their line about it being a “precision tool or situations where edge hold is paramount.” While I personally love it in steep, tight, technical terrain, it’s also a blast in more open zones and performs really well in soft conditions for its width. I’d opt for the Intention 110 if I was going to ski a lot of deeper snow in tight trees, but other than that, the Vital 100 rarely feels out of place.
As a 50/50 or resort-specific ski, the Vital 100 makes sense for folks who prefer a slightly more forward-mounted platform and who prioritize off-piste maneuverability over achieving maximum edge angles on piste. It can be pushed quite hard in a directional manner, but compared to a lot of skis in its width and weight class, the Vital stands out because it also allows for a more neutral, playful skiing style.
With the Vital 100, WNDR Alpine has made a versatile ski that excels in technical terrain where you need a nice blend of both reliable edge hold and easy maneuverability, yet is still a lot of fun when you’ve got room to open it up and make big, fast turns.
While it’s not the best option for those looking for the lightest setup, it offers excellent suspension and stability compared to most touring-oriented skis, and WNDR accomplished this while also taking steps to decrease the ski’s environmental footprint.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Vital 100 to see how it compares to the WNDR Alpine Intention 110, 4FRNT Raven, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, Salomon MTN Explore 95, Line Sick Day 104, Armada Tracer 98, K2 Wayback 96, Line Vision 98, G3 FINDr 102, Fauna Pioneer, Blizzard Zero G 105, Volkl Blaze 106, Black Crows Camox, Liberty Origin 96, & Liberty Origin 101.