Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Voile WSP Skimo Race Skis-Review (part 1)

Got the new Voile WSP race skis in the mail yesterday. I love this ski (have to actually ski on it to further confirm this).

Initial impressions:

- They look cool. At first glance there’s no denying that the graphics are the best in the industry. To ski good you gotta feel good about your gear. Graphics ARE important.

- As you can see from the picture there’s quite a bit of rocker. I’m really eager to try this out as a lot of our skimo races actually do take place in the back country (almost all of them when in Europe) and gliding over powder and chopped up powder soup is difficult on such small skis. The long scooping rockered shovel on these looks very promising.

Yet to be seen if, what I figure to be about 12% less skinning surface area, will affect climbing. Also, less edge on the snow for nailing hardpack. I’ll letcha know.

-This is the First American made skimo race ski. Hooray for Voile for breaking through the barrier. It shouldn’t come as a surprise since they make some pretty light and cool looking backcountry skis already. And yes, they are made right in Utah.

-Aspen wood core. Interesting choice. Aspen is a very dense, strong wood. Most skis seeking lighter weights opt for the Paulonia wood, which apparently grows like a weed down south. Aspen is a Rocky Mountain native and plentiful species...probably harvested locally. Very sustainable friendly.

I favor a wood core over the foams and honeycombs as I just think they retain their form longer.

-weight. This is the only dissappointment. I measured 807g and 811g. With bindings on they’re a full 100g heavier than my SkiTrab World Cups.

Commenting on the last 2 points. Fischer xc race skis puts a wood core in their race stock skis (generally only available to world cup racers) and a honeycomb in their "off the shelf" race skis. The wood core makes them a little heavier, but they figure that the stronger world cup athletes would destroy the honeycomb core skis too quickly. So, world cup skiers actually use a heavier ski.

A few years ago I remember my friend (USA skier) Pete Swenson sharing that he opted for a heavier, wider ski that was better at descending. During the world champs where this conversation took place (Claut, Italy) one of Pete’s USA teammates broke 2 skis in one race (super lightweight Merrelli’s). So there are several factors to consider in ski selection.

-Dimensions. According to the stats, the WSP's are ~10cm's narrower than most other race skis. But as you can see from the picture they're identical in width to the SkiTrab WC's. Maybe the Trab portion that is off the snow is wider, but the actual on snow portion is the same.

More to come!

The race quiver...

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