2016-2017 Kitten Factory – Toors Lite, 184 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 184
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.88 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 124-108-119
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1601 & 1567 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 24.5 meters
Core Construction: Balsa/Flax core+ Carbon Stringers + Carbon Fiber laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 32 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3-4 mm
Recommended Line: 4 cm behind “ski center”; ~88.6 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Fischer TransAlp & Travers Carbon / Dynafit Speed Turn
Test Location: Glacier National Park, MT; Teton Pass & Togwotee Pass, WY
Days Skied: 8
[Editor’s Note: This review was conducted on the 15/16 version of the Toors Lite, which returns unchanged for 16/17 except for graphics.]
Before I ever saw the Toors Lite in person, I have to admit that its name made me nod with approval. Then after checking them out at SIA, we were intrigued enough that we gave them a “Dying to Try It” award at the show.
Because companies are racing to make the lightest ski they can with the best possible downhill performance, the Toors Lite is another entry in this contest, and it is beating out a lot of the competition on weight. (For example, the Blizzard Zero G 108 weighs in at 1750 grams, and the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109 is a stated 1740 grams per ski.)
So if the Toors Lite is winning on weight, how does it perform on the downhill? We’ll get to that in a minute…
Kitten Factory has this to say about the Toors Lite’s construction: “The combination of our flyweight cores, straight carbon layup and toors tail technologies allow us to create a full sidewall, durable, touring specific ski that is unbelievably light.”
At 1601 and 1567 grams per ski, the Toors Lite definitely delivers on that “unbelievably light” promise.
Kitten Factory’s flyweight cores are a balsa / flax mix and they’re reinforced for binding retention. This means that straying far from the recommended mount point is a bad idea.
The “toors tail” just means that the tail is less splayed than the rest of their skis, and has a blunter shape to help with skin clip retention. I’m used to touring on full twin tip skis with G3’s skin clips, and rarely have any issues with them, but the flatter tail is easier to clip skins to, and probably shaves a little weight in the process as well.
Like many other brands, Kitten Factory doesn’t use full-wrap edges on the Toors Lite. I have yet to run into problems with this on any ski, and don’t expect to with these. It’s worth noting that while some brands (including the ON3P Steeple I’ve been using) do include a short portion of edge on the tail for the skin clip to rest on, the Toors does not. But once again, I don’t anticipate any real durability issues here.
While I haven’t had enough time or seen enough truly horrific conditions to make a full durability assessment, I have been impressed so far. Initially the Toors Lite’s low weight scared me, and I kept expecting the ski to explode on every impact. But after some interesting low-tide trail skipping in Montana, and a couple of surprisingly rocky landings in the Tetons, I have not seen any damage other than some very minor topsheet chipping that I’d expect from any ski.
Flex Pattern and Rocker Profile
While it’s easy to expect a super light touring ski to be about as stiff as an overcooked spaghetti noodle, the flex is consistent throughout, the tips are a little softer than the tails, and the ski stiffens up even more underfoot. But there are no real hinge points in the flex pattern.
Overall, the Toors Lite is stiffer than the Kitten Factory All Mountain, and a touch softer than the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109.
The Toors Lite has a pretty traditional rocker / camber / rocker profile. The tail rocker line is subtle, starting about 23 cm from the tail of the ski. Its tip rocker is more pronounced, and is reminiscent of the Blizzard Zero G 108. The Toors Lite is much less rockered than the Volkl BMT 109, or the G3 Synapse 109.
On the Skin Track
The first thing I noticed about the Toors Lite is that it feels stupid light. I started out my first day with the skis on my back for a dry approach in Glacier National Park. I threw the skis on my pack, and I never noticed them over the next few miles.
Once skinning, that feeling remains. With the Fischer Travers Carbon boots, and Dynafit Speed Turn bindings, you’re looking at a svelte 3158 grams per foot, total (without skins), and I definitely noticed that lack of weight over both the ON3P Steeple 102 and the Kitten Factory All Mountain I’d been touring on earlier.
I’ve found that I actually prefer a more centered mount point while making kick turns—there is more tail to have to worry about, but the ski also pivots in a more balanced manner—so the -4 cm mount point was a nice change from some more traditionally mounted skis, like the BMT 109 (-10.4 cm), or the Zero G 108 (-11.1cm).
That centered stance also pays off when ripping skins; I had an easier time ripping the skin all the way off the tip of the ski with my boots still in the bindings.
NEXT: Powder, Firm Crud, Etc.