So what's the answer? Is there one ski that can do it all? A Quiver of One? Our answer is unfortunately no. When you choose a jack-of-all-trades, it's inherently a master of none. These jack-of-all-trades are commonly described as all-mountain ski packages and are designed to balance uphill and downhill performance. They require a compromise of performance on both ends of the spectrum: uphill and downhill. An all-mountain setup won’t perform as well as a true lightweight touring setup on the skin track, and it won’t charge downhill as a freeride rig for the way down.
So what’s the solution? A Two Ski Quiver. Aim for one uphill-oriented setup and one downhill oriented setup. Skip the all-mountain ski package and build a two ski quiver to give you the ability to choose the best setup for your specific adventure.
The Quiver of Two
It's summertime. You like biking. You like different types of biking - road biking, mountain biking, even biking around town to buy groceries and run errands. Do you complain that your road bike doesn't perform well on those tacky, technical mountain bike trails? Do you groan and moan about your mountain bike not being able to log 100 mile road rides because it's too slow and heavy? Is your townie bike able to ride on dirt and road, but generally not considered a sport-centric vehicle?
I just explained the summertime-equivalent paradigm for uphill-oriented, downhill-oriented and all-mountain touring setups. They are either specialized, or not at all. Why don't we - as a ski community - apply this same form of logic to ski equipment?
We don't need to complain that 80 mm underfoot skinny skis can't ski powder. We also don't need to fret over the idea that doing a 10K day on 120 mm powder boards is more effort. But now looking at The Quiver of Two with more understanding, what is a good two-ski quiver?:
One uphill-oriented setup
One downhill-oriented setup
Let's talk more about these two options and some CCBC favorites in each category:
One of our shop favorites is the Black Crow Ova Freebird paired with a Salomon MTN Pure binding. Choosing a lightweight ski setup isn’t all about speed. Trading in your all-mountain setup for a lightweight one can turn what was an epic, exhausting tour into a casual and fun outing in the mountains. Going light allows you to go further, to go higher, and to get more turns.