Folsom’s Spar 78, New ‘Rotor’ Pow Ski, & Jonathan’s Custom Touring Ski Project (Ep.275)

Folsom’s Spar 78, New ‘Rotor’ Pow Ski, & Jonathan’s Custom Touring Ski Project (Ep.275), BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Folsom G-Wagon at Chupach Powder Guides (photo by Charlie Renfro)

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I talk to Folsom Custom Ski’s Mike McCabe about the skinniest ski in the Folsom lineup, the Spar 78; a new huge pow ski, the Rotor; and then we discuss a new custom touring-ski project for yours truly, where we dive deep into the various layup & core combinations one would use to hit certain weight targets. Our fellow gear dorks, you’re going to dig this one.

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What’s going on at Folsom? (5:30)
Folsom Spar 78 (8:08)
New: Folsom Rotor (11:58)
Backstory: Folsom ‘Giver’ & ‘Primary’ (14:02)
Bag Balm x Blister x Folsom (20:55)
JE’s Custom Touring Ski Project (34:30)
Which Bindings? (38:36)
Which Boots? (42:21)
Ski Length (52:11)
Weight (54:44)
The Hammer (1:08:44)
Folsom’s Configurations (1:14:53)
Mount Point (1:16:44)
Camber Profile (1:19:03)
Mike’s ‘Crashes & Close Calls’ Story (1:30:26)

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11 comments on “Folsom’s Spar 78, New ‘Rotor’ Pow Ski, & Jonathan’s Custom Touring Ski Project (Ep.275)”

  1. Seriously, I bought a pair of Raptures late last season. So far I’ve only had them out on firmer snow to check the setup (I do my own work) but they’re beautiful skis and the process of working with Folsom was frictionless. I would definitely do it again.

    FWIW I went 90/10 Poplar/Maple/Bamboo, stiff flex (I weigh 100+ kg), and the deeper flavor of SRC (with that stiff flex I need reverse camber molded in to reduce the tip/tail loads needed to bend the ski). I would have gone softer if I were riding untracked powder, but realistically I need some added oomph in chop.

  2. Sorry for the string-replies here, but I think that the Tech vs Shift tradeoffs depend a lot on what you’re skiing. For softer snow or for tours with more uphill I use ATKs (which I absolutely adore, and I encourage everybody to listen carefully to your GEAR30 200-201), but for lift-serviced backcountry or simple up-and-down routes I love Shifts and Tectons.

    The Tecton represents an interesting midpoint to me, as it has (limited) lateral toe elasticity and (very good IMO) lateral release like an alpine binding but in a “pure tech” package. I have a pair of them on an old pair of SENDr 112s, and I really like that combo in chargier conditions. I also have Shifts on my Renegades, and love those as well.

    The idea that some rando in a comment section would dismiss the opinions of somebody like Giray baffles me. He skis differently (and far better) than most of us, and his preferences might not represent what’s optimal for us as a result. With that said you have to recognize that when somebody like that goes to the effort to create a product like Daymakers. they’re invariably doing so because they experienced an unmet need for their own riding (and in Giray’s case it’s not particularly difficult to see or understand what that need is). I would not want to ski like he does on pins, so I get why he doesn’t either.

  3. This was really great to hear the process they go through to build custom skis! I’m not sure if I’ll ever do it myself, unless I fail to find a replacement of something I own that has been discontinued.

  4. I’d love more of these conversations, I can’t get enough of this! As a bike framebuilder I obsess about the details while working with customers on bikes, so hearing about the differences in ski layup, camber profile, sidecut, all that goes into a custom ski and how it translates to its ride characteristics…freaking awesome!
    Would love to hear this as a Gear Therapy type conversation with other reviewers getting custom skis from Folsom, Wagner, and others! Makes me want to get custom skis now :)

  5. That was the best insider listen into the process, thank you!
    Jonathan, review boots aside do you personally have one crossover pair of boots like the Hawx vs two – resort and touring? Do most of your reviewers? Quivers are a blast but is having multiple boots common, beyond say skimo vs resort?

  6. In my experience, Folsom is a great company if you are looking for a semi custom ski with a cool graphic. If you are a gear nerd who knows exactly what, your mileage may vary. Folsom can’t put metal into skis which sets limits onto what they can make. Seems like they can make a great touring ski and they have some cool tech to make them ski well but it’s worth thinking twice before ordering.

  7. The talk about the different builds/weights of a ski, and how that effects -erfomance has me thinking of the article on saving weight in your b.c. set up.
    Specifically, as Mike mentions that the heavier build (say with more glass vs carbon) helps stabilize the ski, so it tracks better with less input from the skier.
    Could this mean you can get away with a lighter boot, that can’t quite drive the ski as hard, but it won’t need it?

    This would be a very cool experiment.

    • This subject is one I’m really interested in too. It’s be great to know or have advice on ski materials and shape and how they interact to make a more stable but lighter touring ski. I’m not an aggressive skier in the BC but it’s where we experience a lot of variable conditions. I don’t want a heavier ski to go super fast and blast through crud. Where is the sweet spot for the majority of touring we do (pow laps with variable up high and low). What rocker profile is better for this? Can shape and rocker profile mitigate the behavior of a lower weight ski with carbon construction?

  8. My biggest curiosity is the detail about sidewall. What is the tradeoff from a lighter core/more sidewall vs a heavier core/less sidewall? MMC said the sidewall helps smooth out the interface with the snow, but why? Is there a specific property of the UHM sidewall that makes it good for that use case? Ultimately JE ended up with the poplar/bamboo w/ full carbon, but it has the wider sidewall at the MMC’s suggestion (don’t worry I won’t argue, he obviously knows what he’s talking about). If you push that core and remove some plastic, would it make the ski lighter while still retaining everything else? Would it become too light? What about a wider bamboo stringer? What about keeping the plastic out but go up to the 70/30 carbon/glass? my inner scientist still has questions, this episode is not nearly nerdy enough…

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