Originally published in The Aspen Daily News on December 21, 2012.
This year all I want for Christmas is one thing: My dream backcountry touring set up. That includes Kastle TX97 skis, Scarpa Gea alpine touring (AT) boots and some super sticky Kastle skins. Well, okay more like three things.
I think the point of touring is sometimes lost on the extreme endurance athletes who beam up Aspen Mountain each morning. The purpose of having the ability to walk up hill on skis is not to get first tracks on fresh corduroy and a sick cardio workout. It’s for adventuring into the backcountry, where hazards exist that are not marked and fresh powder sits for days waiting for someone, anyone to drop in and carve a line.
That’s why it makes sense that big mountain skier Chris Davenport, who was the first to ski all of Colorado’s 54 14,000-foot mountains, is the brains behind Kastle’s lightweight TX97 powder ski. The skis are not only light enough for long treks, but they’re long and fat enough to allow skiers to float on deep backcountry powder.
The 177 cm skis together weigh a meager 7 pounds, 8 ounces, which is nearly half the weight of Kastle’s all-mountain FX94 model. That’s because the skis use a lightweight carbon fiber layer, which heavier skis don’t have because they are more difficult to repair when an edge is blown. The skis are also available in 167 cm and 187 cm lengths.
Meanwhile, the Scarpa Gea AT boots offer comfort during long backcountry climbs and stiffness on descent with three different user settings. In its climbing mode, the inside of the boot loosens up for maximum comfort, something typically only known to snowboarders. On the downhill, skiers can choose between one of two modes that will fix the boot either forward or upright depending on how aggressive the skier is.
A set of Kastle skins round up the perfect setup for backcountry freshies. It might seem like a big order Santa, but I promise I’ll make some sick turns for you.
Get Your Own:
Kastle TX97 for $749, women’s Scarpa Gea AT boots for $599 (or men’s Scarpa Maestrale AT boots for $699) and rent Kastle skins for $7 a day at Ute Mountaineer, 210 South Galena Street.