Wow, the winter here is actually shocking to me. We are getting a temperature inversion up high and a damp cold fog (but not freezing) down below. We are lucky to have had a good dump of snow a bit ago to keep us skiing but it is getting bleak again. Frightening how quickly the little snow we do have will go once the temps warm and an early Spring arrives for good. Snow level here is more typical of mid May than mid January.
One high light of that situation is we have miles and miles of corn snow here in the Pacific Northwest right now. Skis I planned to be on are waxed and hanging in the shop. Skis I had planned on putting miles on later in the Spring I have pulled out now. Fun because I am able to give gear a thrashing now that I hadn't intended to for months yet.
The Dynafit Nanga Parbat and the Cho Oyu has two skis that I am really enjoying at the moment. I like gear that surprises me. And these skinny, light weight skis are surprising me at almost every turn. All in a good way to date.
Well groomed terrain at Crystal Mtn that has now been skied into almost perfection and no traffic has allowed me to do high speed laps (did I really write that?) on the Nanga Parbat. 30K+ down hill vertical in a short amount of time allows one to get a solid impression of what a ski can really do.
Mind you I am skiing a 171cm ski-mo plank. (more appropriately I suspect viewed as a sliver than a plank)
the 171cm Nanga Parbat stats are:
171cm x 80mm under foot is 1170g with a Dynafit Low tech Race binding mounted, per ski
I am all about picking the right system.
My system might not work for you however. I'd suggest you pick your own combination of ski, boots and bindings and make up your ski system for your personal needs and objectives.
In this case I wanted a lwt ski. The Nanga Parbat fits that easy enough at around 1000g. Light bindings makes the Low Tech an easy choice there. The boots? Dynafit again (see the trend here?) with the PDG boot.
Some amazing and very technical ski mountaineering lines have been skied in the Dy.N.A. Evo boot. The PDG is just a slightly heavier and slightly less stiff version of the DyNA boot. And half the price. Until today I didn't think difficult technical lines were in me with the PDG and Nanga Parbat. NW volcano's sure. But really steep stuff or long technical descents? I wasn't looking forward to putting the TLT6 or Spectre on for the climb up. Even if the ski could handle the down.
I have been wanting to get out all last week and just never managed it. Even got suited up one day and had the car loaded when a business call had me stuck here for a couple of extra hours. Too much time had gone by when the dust settled that day. I stayed and worked.
Today was different. Good weather again and the big inversion still in place. Mountain temps have been in the high 40s on top and barely freezing at the lodge. Yes, dismal snow conditions. Today was no different. Almost slush in some places early this morning. And real slush on the south facing slopes.
Fun part of the day is I got to ski everything from frozen corduroy that the groomers laid down just hours earlier to full on spring slush. Mid day on how ever was industrial level farming...a huge harvest. And all CORN!
Imagine skiing from the summit of Rainier 3 times in one day..10K vert x 3.
The conditions were not all that extreme but not far off either of a perfect Spring summit day. I had everything from wonderful corn, some soft almost isothermic snow a few inches deep to full on hard, water ice.
I was really impressed with the longer 182cm Cho Oyu in similar but even harder snow conditions a few weeks back. And those I was skiing with a TLT6. Unknowingly I credited much of the Cho's performance to the TLT6. I knew the ski was good. Just may be not how good. I have spent the last few years picking out the very best skis the Industry has to offer for my own needs. No surprise I tell you some great things about them. But what you read about is not the only skis I am skiing. They are just the best skis I am skiing.
A tentative review of the PDG coming shortly. But for this review they really ROCKED!
Amazing day to be on the PDG and a prefect boot choice for the day's efforts.
No question the boot wasn't adding a lot to the equation today. The PDG by any comparison isn't much of a alpine down hill boot. It is not suppose to be! But trust me...it is enough mated to the right ski to do anything I am capable of on skis. One ski that does work well with the PDG is the Nanga Parbat. As a combo the two are really impressive simply because of how well they ski together and what they are capable of as a pair.
Mind you the gear I was on is not suppose to be a GS set up or much for long high speed turns of any fashion on this boot and ski. But I am here to tell you, long high speed sweepers, or a quick set of swivels down a steep section of perfect corn or hard frozen Spring snow/ice? It is a sweet set up! It is not suppose to be kit one might use for GS turns or work. But I grabbed the tail end of a toboggan and ran a cat track, as easy peasy. I'd be all over this rig if I was patrolling and throwing bombs again.
Even the junk snow that was easy to get trapped in today was manageable enough with these ski and boots. Much to my surprise. Not like I wanted to ski a bunch of it. My RPC or GPO can do that kind of stuff much better with less effort. The point was, you could ski it no matter how bad the snow was that day. I pushed both ski and boot as hard as I know how to today for both speed and edge hold. Stupidly in retrospect as I pushed hard enough to catch an edge. Scared myself and risked blowing up big on a locked toe in hard surface conditions. Nothing good would have come from that fiasco if it had occurred. And it was close. I was very lucky. A heavier set of gear there today would have likely made a difference? I'd not made the recovery and a nasty fall no doubt the end result.
I like gear I don't have to think about. I like gear that in my mind makes me the "hero". No question the Nanga Parbat, Low Tech Race bindings and a pair of PDGs are not your typical yo-yo lift skiing big rig. But being able to use them there and in those conditions tells me more than a couple of months, may be even a full season of touring would provide me for feed back. All info, fed from a fire hose by comparison.
I liked the Cho so much after the last hard snow day that I bought a 172 Cho Oyu. I am now thinking the Nanga Parbat will still suffice for that place in my quiver and still be a few grams lighter.
But I suspect I'll be able to find a good use for all three.
I skied both the Broad Peak and the 7 Summit in similar conditions a lot. I think the Nanga is torsionally more stiff. I know it is lighter. It is easier to turn and equally as stable. may be more stable. Which surprises me becasue of the lack of mass/weight on the newere Nanga. Mind you I didn't ski either previous board with the PDG but always in the TLT P or Mountain. The shallow tip rocker works well IMO. The Nanga and the Cho are extremely easy to ride hard and really enjoy while you are doing it.
Bottom line here? With the right binding you have a really light set of skis with the Nanga. More importantly the ski has proven to me without a doubt its full range of potential. That range is huge for such a light weight and 80mm ski. This is one serious, light weight and extremely capable mountaineering ski that will handle anything but deeper snow with relative ease. Even deeper snow isn't really a problem if you are capable. I was caught off guard at just how versatile the Nanga really is. I knew it was a ski I wanted to carry just never, ever expected it to ski so well.
116mm-80mm-104mm is not a big ski. Make it 171 and it gets smaller still. But like my trusty Broad Peak prior, this is one super solid ski any time of the year. My suggestion is just be sure you can mate it to the right boot and binding system. This is also a ski that a TLT 5 or 6 would be wasted on IMO. Most would over drive this ski with a bigger boot. I would for sure unless I bought long. Get a longer Cho if that is your boot of choice or any of the excellent new lwt wider skis just now becoming available. TLT6 will handle virtually anything up to 120+mm. The Nanga will be one of your bettered choices if you are on DyNAs or Aliens and don't wanta race specific ski.
These little guys sold out fast this year. If you are in the market for a solid performer @ around 1000g per ski this one is worth searching out. If you want to rip some spring groomers....they aint all that bad there either :) Better over all ski than the Broad Peak..and better than the 7 Summit and a big drop in weight. What is not to like?
More on the PDG boot next time around.
Factory info and my suggestions for the Dynafit Nanga Parbat
Skin Recommendation: Dynafit speed skin or a Camp race skin and save some weight and get more glide
Binding Recommendation: Dynafit Speed Superlite or better yet the Low Tech Race or Plum Race bindings
Boot Recommendation: PDG Alien 1.0Specs:
Length: 156 cm, 163 cm, 171 cm, 179 cm
Dimensions: Length: 156 cm (114/78/101mm), 163 cm (115/79/102mm)171 cm (116/80/104mm); 179 cm (117/81/104)
Profile: Scoop Rocker, Flex Tip, Micro-Sidewall, Carbon Speed Stringers, Triple Radius, Tail Rocker, Pin Tail
Construction: Paulownia core with carbon stringers. Micro Sidewall construction and a sintered graphite base.
Weight: Length: 156 cm (950g) 163 cm (990g) 171 cm (1000g) 179cm (1140g)
Turn Radius: Triple Turn Radius: Length: 156 cm (13.5/8.5/11.5) 163 cm (15.5/9.5/13.5) 171cm (17.5/11.5/15.5); 179cm (19.5/12.5/17.5)Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years
They are very RED which we all know makes them very fast!