Skiing in the backcountry isn’t always about the snow. It’s about the experience of being outside, enjoying nature, and all those other tree-hugger things. But, when the snow is good, it’s a huge plus. When the snow is bad, well, I bet it’s still going to be a better than a day indoors.
But there is another variable that can make or break the “experience” of backcountry skiing: equipment. Having the right equipment can make good days great, and having the wrong equipment can make good days somewhat miserable.
So, when I was headed out to Jones Pass with my buddy Andrew, and the snow was definitely going to be good, I was super excited to be on some DPS Lotus 138 skis borrowed from Bent Gate. This ski surpasses the four-digit mark on MSRP, and was designed by the engineer behind the Spatula (the actual engineering, not the visionary).
While the fat and long dimensions of the ski were enough to make any powder-hound drool (138mm underfoot, 192cm in length), the situation with the skins was less than favorable (98mm underfoot, maximum 189cm in length).
Accessing the slope was easy enough, but the ascent, and the required switchbacks, left me bruised, battered, and on my ass with my skis above me at least twice every lap. By the third lap, the skins were completely frozen and without the ability to stick to the skis. Every time the skin clip slipped off the tail, I slammed my knees into the shovel of the skis, leaving my knees bruised, and also putting a massive hole in the skin track.
But, the snow was so good, I was willing to put up with it in order to enjoy the descents. Also, the experience gave me a something to add to my wish list for my birthday/Jesus’ birthday to accommodate my new, very fat, Surface Skis (wink wink, nudge nudge, Zack and Steve).