Touring skis encompass a wide range of styles and sizes, from narrow and featherweight randonee race skis to the burly and broad freeride powder planks, and everything in between. When choosing the ideal touring ski, you should first have an understanding of where and how you intend to use your touring setup most often - essentially, figure out your goals and objectives.
Are you chasing backcountry powder? Are you a peak-bagging corn harvester in the Spring? Maybe you're keeping it mellow and lapping the local resort hill for fitness? Once you have an idea of your goals and objectives, then it's time to consider how these can be translated to the ideal touring ski - we think touring skis can be condensed into four distinct categories with potential for crossover.
Randonee Race / Fitness - designed to be as light and narrow as possible to maximize uphill efficiency and speed, while retaining solid edge hold and stability on hardpack when descending.
- 65mm - 75mm underfoot
Ski Mountaineering / Speed Touring - built to to provide awesome touring efficiency, and excellent handling and control on steep slopes and in variable snow conditions, with a bit more surface area underfoot for improved powder performance.
- 75mm - 90mm underfoot
All-Mountain - the all-purpose specialist you can feel confident taking out no matter the conditions or terrain. Versatile and well-balanced.
- 90-105mm underfoot
Powder / Freeride - designed to provide maximum float, playfulness and stability at higher speeds in pure powder conditions.
- 105mm underfoot +