If you don’t have time for my wordiness…. BUY THIS SKI. It’s fantastic and certainly a contender for the best mountaineering ski on the market.
In late winter, even though we were still skiing 1-2ft storms every couple of days, I knew I needed to find a mountaineering ski for the spring. As an employee of the store, the selection at Skimo Co wasn’t making it easy for me to decide. Constantly nagging my co-workers about their likes and dislikes of every ski on the wall wasn’t really getting me anywhere because each ski I asked about someone loved and someone else was lukewarm about. I happened to demo a ski with very very similar dimensions to the Ultimate 78, and realized that this was the dimension I was looking for but not the flex.
After hand flexing the Ultimate 78 and checking the price, I decided that I needed a ski and this one seemed decent. I purchased the 170cm length, mounted it, and headed out.
On the skin track, it felt as I would expect from a 1000g, 170cm ski. I barely noticed it. The one thing I guess I did notice was that even with a Hagan ZR race binding mounted on it, the weight distribution was such that the tail dropped very nicely enabling effortless kick turns.
My first descent with the ski was a 55+ entrance to a committing chute remaining above 45 until the apron. I side slipped in a couple feet until I was committed. I made a ski cut, stability assessed, I got to turning and was BLOWN AWAY. The first series of 5-6 hop turns above a rock rib were automatic. I needed no adjustment, the skis just did as I wished. With the technical difficulties behind me, I opened up into more flowing carves and the Ultimate 78 continued to respond. I felt like I had been skiing these skis for years.
When I cut across the apron, the aspect changed and the snow turned to buffed powder. I was sure that a ski so skinny and light was going to give me trouble. To my surprise, I was impressed. As long as I did my part by keeping the turns a little shorter the ski responded by staying on top. It bounced from turn to turn with tons of energy.
With many more days on the Ultimate 78 since that first run, my positive experience has continued. I’ve since skied every condition imaginable and had 100% positive experiences. On the occasional resort groomer heading back in from a tour I have pushed this ski very hard to see if I can find its limit. I have not. It stays engaged, stable, and energetic. In breakable crust, which no ski truly can excel, it’s the one I want to be on because the low swing weight keeps it from running away and enables me to muscle over the crust. It’s as fun in corn as anything I’ve ever skied, but light enough to give me a few more laps over the others. The same low swing weight and stable personality make it my #1 choice any time I know I’m skiing something steep.
This ski is a real keeper and is going to be staying in my quiver for as long as it lasts. Then I’ll probably buy it again!
Comment on this review: