Fischer Verticalp Ski
A Vertical skimo race is very simple: first one to the top wins. No transitions, no skiing. This is a racing classification designed to figure out who is the fittest alpine athlete that knows how to skin uphill. Although not many of such races are held stateside, it’s commonly featured for one day at World Cup events in Europe. The Verticalp ski is designed to win such races.
As you can imagine, weight is an important factor in uphill-only races. As such, the Verticalp tips the scales at a scant 580 grams. But mass isn’t the only factor in getting up hill fast; kick turn efficiency becomes very important. As such, Fischer installed a tuning system that allows you to adjust the center of gravity by sliding a weight fore or aft along the ski. This means you can make the tails drop during your kick turns so you can just pivot instead of potentially flailing. In short, the Verticalp is an uphill thoroughbred, not designed for the way back down.
- Weight Tuning system lets you control the pivot-point balance.
- Air-Tec Ti construction is a scored core with titanium reinforcements.
- Aeroshape topsheet sheds snow which can add weight to your ski.
- Vertical skimo race design means this ski is not intended for downhill travel.
|Weight (pair)||1230g |
||Aeroshape curved top, recessed tail|
||Cap w/ Air Tech channels|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Notes||Curved topsheet sheds snow|
|Bottom Line||Uphill MACHINE|
Questions & Reviews
I am now the second owner of Eric Carter’s pair. The impetus for this project of sorts was to use them for a weeknight crit-style series (i.e., max ~425’ vert laps, beginning the final ski > skin transition within an hour of the race start), remounted with bindings that are still functional yet too old and hence potentially suspect to mount on a new ski (i.e., so otherwise they’re just waiting to serve as spare parts for three other pairs of the same binding model). Or at least that’s how I’m rationalizing all this!
By removing the entire weight assembly, including the plastic tray, replaced by a single layer of duct tape (so as to prevent the rather sizable cutout from becoming a mobile loose snow repository), I reduced the weight to 2 lb 9.5 ounces (net of the missing core material from the previously drilled-out 14 holes). So that’s saving about a quarter-of-a-pound per foot over a normal race ski.
I reused Eric’s previous toe holes, filled the old heel holes with JB Weld, then redrilled the heel for my bsl, with Dynafit LTR 1.0 bindings. The internal mounting reinforcement plate is impressively strong, so no worries about bindings ripping out from the ski.
The excess camber compared to regular race ski is often noticeable when skinning, feels kind of bouncy almost. Any potential efficiency gain from that though is not immediately noticeable.
The tip notch for skins is deeper than usual, although did not seem to be a disadvantage. The narrower sidecut is noticeable though. So some 60mm Trab WC skins that would normally be an all-around skin became a max grip skin, although that’s exactly what I needed for some steeper-than-optimal skinning on the course. (Which is somewhat deliberate, so as to provide a bit of an edge to participants on regular touring gear, enhancing the appear of the weeknight series to “citizen” racers.)
Downhill performance on a groomed yet lower expert trail is competent yet poor. I definitely did not lose any time on the descents, but that’s b/c we can’t ski faster than typical ski patrol enforcement speeds (i.e., no straightline tucking). However, the minimal sidecut means it’s reluctant to turn, and not very stable once in the turn, so the fun factor is essentially missing. Brings back very old – yet not so fond – memories of my Atomic MX:20 race skis. By contrast, when using the same boot, La Sportiva Stratos V, on my Hagan Ultra 65 skis, I was having a blast skiing down that same groomer two days earlier.
Durability, despite the warnings, it sure just looks like a narrower and straighter version of the first generation Alp Attack (and the ratio of surface area to weight is almost identical). Which had a terrible durability reputation! So I doubt the Verticalp would last very long in moguls, chopped-up crud, etc. Then again, the Verticalp would probably ski so miserably – and slowly – in those conditions that you’d have other reasons not to use it for that!
So overall, if you have an extra pair of old semi-suspect race bindings sitting around, and have an opportunity to race on groomers, or want a setup for outings that are pretty much all long approaches culminating in some brief skiing, I’d say go for it!
That would certainly be a unique set up! In order to mount these skis like a traditional Nordic ski the toe piece pattern would overlap with the recessed area and the screws would most likely line up on the edge. Due to this, I would not recommend the pairing as I would worry that the screws might come apart from the ski, which would pose quite a danger! Hope this helps.
I'd like to see more camber in a newer version. A little more stride bounce, and less skin contact would be a good thing
And they do ski downhill carefully. I'm not advocating using these in individual races. But you can approach and descend from your vertical races just fine.
Super light. Easy to adjust the weight using their weight system. Actually, I was able to use an older, heavier binding that I normally wouldn't have used on a new race ski because I was able to just remove weights! That's definitely a plus. The tip notch is a bit deeper to make the skins stay on more securely. Mounting was no different than any other race ski but with more carbon.
I'd love to see an even straighter cut and more camber for better striding. White top-sheet to catch less snow would be ideal.
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