When Salomon's X-Alp ski hit the market back in 2017, it immediately garnered a loyal following for its ability to sprint up the skintrack at near-race speeds, while keeping the descents more fun and playful than we'd assume from a hard-snow-oriented mountaineering ski. Rarely had a ski appealed so well to efficiency-conscious skimo athletes and avid tourers alike, and the X-Alp proved to be an easy-skiing, fast-ascending option for racers looking for a wider touring ski and non-racers wanting a tool for spring conditions. Not much has changed for Salomon's goldilocks low-fat ski, with the MTN Summit 79 making minor tweaks to keep torsional stiffness and hard-snow performance at a maximum. While the original X-Alp received high marks for its easy-turning feel and great performance in powder, the ski could also feel noodly when conditions firmed up, especially for bigger or less balanced skiers. With the move from a basalt/fiberglass cap construction to a monocoque-carbon, partial-sidewall construction, the MTN Summit gains some of the bulldozing stability of its older siblings in the MTN Explore line while maintaining the technical precision that makes it a great choice for difficult skiing at high altitudes. Pair the MTN Summit with race boots and mohair skins and watch full-day tours turn into dawn-patrol laps, fueling the fire for bigger peaks and more ambitious objectives.
- Not as demanding as other mountaineering skis, the MTN Summit 79 brings tons of fun to the low-fat category.
- Karuba wood-core adds damping to a precise monocoque carbon chassis.
- Pairs well with race boots for speed, race-plus boots for versatility, and even standard touring boots for daily-driving.
- While the X-Alp branched off from Salomon's race-ski lineage, the MTN Summit 79 is more in line with their touring skis, the MTN Explore 88 and 95.
- Rockered tip with race-skin notch means the MTN Summit goes from weeknight racecourse to weekend powder lapping and back again.
- Glossy topsheet goes well with Capilene sun-hoodies and midsummer trips to the glacier.
|Lengths (cm)||158, 164, 170|
|Weight (pair)||1950g 
||Tip notch, flat tail|
||Rockered tip and camber underfoot|
||Rounded tip, squared tail, short radius|
||Salomon's trademark carbon/flax blend w/partial sidewall|
||Karuba wood with carbon wrap|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Going fast while having fun in all conditions|
|Notes||Improved stability on hard snow|
|Bottom Line||Freerider's race ski, or racer's powder board? You decide|
|Compare to other Low-fat Skis|
Questions & Reviews
The Backland UL 78 is quite similar to the MTN Summit 79. The Summit is slightly stiffer in hand flex but still quite easy going. It also has a slightly higher material quality with Salomon's flax layup. They are both on the "fun" side of things as opposed to a high-performance, need-to-drive-it type of ski. As always, we recommend choosing based on color in situations like these.
I'm picking between MNT 80 Carbon and Atomic Backland 78 UL. Which one is stiffer and better for technical/steep skiing?
Thanks in advance for any advice. ;)
The Backland UL will be unchanged. In comparison, the MTN Summit will be slightly longer turning and have a damper feel with the flax construction.
The Summit 79 is a great ski for spring conditions and couloir skiing. Nice and quick edge to edge and the partial sidewall is going to give good edge hold on the steeps.
The Hagan 77 is one of my favorite skis, but it's not as stiff as the MTN Summit and has a more rounded out flex as opposed to the flex of the MTN Summit which is soft at the tips and tails while more rigid underfoot (allowing for stiffer-ski performance without compromising float). I would say the Hagan is more fun and playful while the Salomon is more adapted for technical skiing (though both have a lot of overlap in these areas).
The Blacklight Pro would be the closest of the Blacklight series to the MTN Summit 79. The Blacklight Pro is very much a mountaineering ski that was born and bred for the steep and narrow. It likes to be skied more deliberately than the other options and is less forgiving if your technique falters. That said, when skied the right way, the Blacklight Pro is a powerful and optimized mountaineering tool. It has the shortest radius of the three and is very maneuverable even in steep terrain. I think the Blacklight would be a great choice for you unless you'd prefer something a little more forgiving and playful in which case the MTN Summit 79 is an excellent choice.
Here on Skimo.co I can only find the Atomic Backland UL 78. Is there a reason the 80 SL are not available?
Warm regards and thanks for any info!
Salomon uses its flax construction on the MTN, which offers a damper feel and rounder flex, coupled with a longer radius (esp. in the shorter sizes).
Which of those three is the easiest and safest on difficult snow or steep/icy sections (up to around 45°)? I don't go fast on such terrain. I'm 5'11'' and I lean towards the 170 cm sizes.
By the way: I love your website and all the information you're putting out there! Recommending it to all my skiing friends.
Cheers and thank you!
The MTN Summit 79 is an awesome ski! Lightweight, with enough camber underfoot to hold an edge in firm snow, while also being a pretty forgiving ski with a rounder feel. I do not see your weight with gear being an issue with these skis in the backcountry. However, if you are spending time on piste, I may recommend a heavier and damper ski, as riding lifts is generally more demanding on a ski.
For a ski mountaineering ski that is more equipped for inbounds freeriding, I would look at either the Salomon MTN Explore 88, or the Elan Ripstick Tour 88.
You have honed in on two great skis! The ski that is best for you will depend a little on your application. Based on what you have described, I would put you on the Salomon MNT Summit 79. A narrower waist width will be better suited to inbounds training laps, as well as the occasional skimo race. Also, these skis have a very forgiving construction, with a nice round turn radius. That being said, the shovel is still wide enough for that elusive May powder.
For context, Atomic Backland UL 85 is an all purpose spring ski. The weight is similar to the Summit 79, with a wider waist width. This ski has a more medium turn radius, and will require a little more input from the skier as compared with the Summit 79. The Horizon Tech tip and light rocker will do well in deep snow, and 85mm will be adept in anything that spring can dream up.
Any other attributes that I should pay attention to between these skis? The partial sidewall does sound enticing. At 5'10 and 140 lbs, the 170cm length is what I'm gravitating towards.
Thank you in advance!
While it's not a race ski or even a race plus, it is the skinniest ski I've ever skied. That being said, I was quite surprised by the performance it offered.
It's about as squirrely as I had assumed something this light and skinny would be. However, it wasn't overwhelming by any means. I've gotten out on it a few times now and have been pleasantly surprised by how well it has handled absolutely terrible snow. From wind buff to refrozen tracks, these skis have not skied a single day of quality snow. But I think that's a good thing. Almost all skis would ski well in beautiful corn.
They're softer than something like the Dynafit Backlight series, but not too soft. They can hold an edge quite well on steep, icy terrain.
I'm excited to bring these tiny toothpicks up to the PNW to see how they fare on the North American portion of the Ring of Fire.
I have a set of the Salomon MTN Summit 79 in 164 length. Any pre cut skins from Salomon coming your way. And if not, do you have a skin to recommend?
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