And this brings me to what I think is the curious, and potentially problematic, thing about the Scout in general. It’s straighter shape (which again is really the Cochise’s shape) promotes a big-mountain style of skiing that its own lightened-up core and softer flex can’t support very well – at least not for me, at 160 lbs.
I can’t say I was ever allowed to actually enjoy the Scout’s long sidecut radius inherited from the Cochise, because I didn’t find the ski to perform well through those longer turns that the Cochise’s shape encourages. Like the Cochise, the Scout is fairly maneuverable and has a predictable, balanced feel at slower speeds, but as mentioned above, here its straighter shape doesn’t yield much in the way of energy and response. I didn’t mind settling for this with the Cochise because, as a tradeoff, it offers great stability and intuitiveness at speed. But for me, the Scout doesn’t seem to offer a similar tradeoff.
Jason mentions that “bigger and more proficient skiers will prefer the Cochise, while lightweight skiers who prefer to take the mountain at slow-to-moderate speeds will have a better time on the Scout.” I think that’s fair to say.
But what is a very live question for me is the idea that lighter skiers, or, for that matter, anyone who skis at “slow-to-moderate” speeds will have much use for a ski with a 28.5m radius in the first place.
Personally, if I was just looking to make slower, more fluid, deliberate turns, and didn’t care so much about high-speed stability, then I’d probably look for a ski on the lighter side, like the Scout, but with a tighter sidecut – something more in the 19-20m radius range that would provide a little more pop and energy at those slower speeds.
The Armada TST comes to mind with its 103mm waist and an 18.9m radius in the 192cm length. Other skis I am curious about as potentially better-balanced alternatives to the Scout are the Rossignol Soul 7 (18m radius at 108mm underfoot), which Jason found to also be very light and quite intuitive, and the Nordica Vagabond. The Vagabond is also marketed as a lighter side-country touring ski, is 107mm underfoot and has a 25m radius, but is built with traditional camber through the tail which might make it more capable at speed while also feeling more energetic than the Scout does.
There seems to be two primary markets for the Scout:
First, there are a few readers about 20lbs lighter than Jason and me, weighing around 140, who have said that they really enjoy the balance in performance that the Scout provides. For them, the ski is quick in the trees and more forgiving in bumps, while still feeling damp and powerful in variable conditions— which pretty much exactly sums up my thoughts on the Cochise. For those people, the lighter weight and softer flex of the Scout provides a performance similar to that of the Cochise. They could use the ski happily in resort and out, in a wide variety of conditions.
Obviously in my own experience, I can’t say that I found the Scout to deliver the complete performance of the Cochise in a lighter, uphill package. But if you don’t fall into that ~140 lb group I’ve just described, there is still a chance that you’d like the Scout, but for different reasons.
Second, I can imagine anyone my weight or heavier who doesn’t like to make a ton of little turns down the mountain enjoying the bigger, longer sidecut radius of the Scout in fresh, soft, smooth and consistent snow—basically prime backcountry conditions. The Scout could still be a great touring ski for heavier people, in that it will offer the stable, predictable feel of the Cochise’s big-mountain shape, but only in fresh conditions. And that’s still pretty noteworthy.
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