Last Winter's OR show in SLC had a few things that really interested me. A few of them I was really chomping at the bit to get on and get them outside to play with. While at least a little bit connected and knowing who to ask, doesn't mean you will get what you want no matter how much cash you happen to have. And I am always strapped for cash for the "want items".
Super stoked to get into the Scarpa Maestrale RS ski boot and the Rebel Ultra early on. Getting to ski on the new Dynafit Cho Oyu and Nanga Parbat has been harder. The Cho Oyu was available at the 2013 Vertfest locally for demo. Anyone could hook up that ride! And many did . Pretty awesome really. But the Nanga Parbat wasn't to be seen there. Or here :(
There is a magic number in lwt touring skis I look for. That is 1000g per ski. Many race skis will come just under that number but very few "real" skis will. My Broad Peak and GTRs (167cm and 168cm respectively) are just over in the 1150g range. Light and still, almost, real skis. Good enough for me anyway in any condition I really want to ski.
The Cho Oyu is listed by Dynafit @ 1080g in a 174cm. My demos came in at 1192g per ski. Still doing really good for a slightly wider ski and short 174 compared to the 167/168 skis mentioned previous.
"Dynafit sez:Despite the wide geometry of the ski, the weight is only 1080grams and is thus perfect for deep snow as well as mountaineering and ski expeditions. The Cho Oyo offers a new 3-D flex-tip design and a micro sidewall construction to achieve optimum weight reduction. With ‘scoop’ rocker, triple radius, a paulownia wood core, and new carbon speed stringers for the Cho Oyo. CHO OYO Available length of skis: 174,182,191, MSRP $799.95"
Broad Peak is a 112/74/96mm ski
Cho Oyu is a 124/88/110mm ski
The Nanga Parbat is a 116/80/84mm ski and advertised at 1000g
No question I want to get my hands on the Nanga Parbat, But while doing the research for this blog piece I realised that Dynafit is still making the Broad Peak. It just isn't being imported to NA now.
Hummmmmm. Hate to do it but this is likely a good source for the Broad Peak and other Dynafit skis no longer imported to NA. http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/
2014 Dynafit offerings
Sorry, I got distracted there on what is and isn't easily available in the US and North America. I really like the Cho Oyu. It is very light for the width and it skis very well. Up front I really didn't know what to expect on this ski. I took my 178 cm La Sportiva Lo5s and the Cho Oyu for some booting and short gullies at Crystal. All skied in a pair of TLTs Ps.
Same gullies, different skis, and the man in the mirror.
First thing I noticed was the lack of weight. Even with Dynafit rental bindings the Cho Oyu was a pleasure to haul around and boot with.
My first run was lift assisted to get a feel for the ski. It seemed a lot like skiing a Broad Peak or a 7 Summit to me. But interesting enough less swing weight. And a Broad Peak is no heavy on swing weight.
Of my quiver I thought the Lo5 was the ski would best compare to the Cho Oyu. Missed that mark by a mile even though the Lo5 is 125/95/115 and the Cho Oyu is 124/88/110mm. The 178cm Lo5 is 3# 8 oz per ski. The Cho Oyu is 2# 6oz per skis. Add the fact that the swing weight is all under the boot on a Cho Oyu and you really notice the difference skiing and on a boot pack. So no legit comparison to be had there.
The 174cm Cho Oyu really skis short by comparison as well. Substantial tip and tail rocker for this size and genre of ski imo is just part of the reason. The 174cm length even in a slightly wider ski skied like a much shorter ski for me.....closer to a 160cm ski in feel. They were very quick turn to turn if required.
Lou offers some observations recently on his thoughts and some good pictures of the ski's profiles.
But there is more going on. Part of it is the weight loss by chopping the ski up piece by piece. Not that it seems to effect how it skis spring snow mind you. Really makes me think about having a short Nanga Parbat for the weight reduction and Spring conditions. And a longer, wider Cho Oyu to ski on winter snow.
Look Ma, no tip!
And a shaved pin tail!
So no comparison of the Cho Oyu to the Lo5 in any way I can think of. But a very good ski compared to my all around Spring, and stand by, the Broad Peak. Anything the Broad Peak will do, the Cho Oyu might well do it even better. With only a 50g weight penalty and a tiny bit (may be enough) more ski under you to make a difference in weird conditions. The tip and tail rocker and pin tail are going to make a difference in rough snow conditions and soft snow as well. Much more ski under your feet than the GTR. Which is another ski I like a lot in 168 and 178 cm lengths. And a better comparison then the Lo5 to the Ch Oyu.
Love to get a pair of the Cho Oyus out with a set of Dynafit Race bindings screwed on them. With Rainier in full on corn harvest season right now you can only imagine how much I wanted to pull the demo bindings and get after it on the Cho Oyu.
Bottom line? For the most part they felt like a lighter Broad Peak to me. Some of that was good. But they aren't as damp as a Broad Peak. The swing weight seemed better enough (less effort) that I am commenting on it. Not a huge fan of the color or the tip shape. I know, I know, this from a guy who still wears funky head bands and Vaurnets. I really liked how much the ski weighted on the pack even with the demo binding. They were notable in a good way and light.
Both the Cho Oyu and the Nanga Parbat are offering some pretty wild, modern and lwt technology for "speed touring" skis. I have no doubt from my limited use of the Cho Oyu that either the Cho Oyu or Nanga Parbat are going to be great ski mountaineering ski. Sad it will take another winter season and some deep snow to comment any further. But for some winter conditions the Cho Oyu especially might really offer some unique soft snow surprises. All in a very good way I suspect. Good turns are only 4 months away if we are lucky.