Touring Ski Roundup: 95mm Width

Touring Ski Roundup: 95mm Width

Lately I’ve been doing some hunting for new spring touring skis and there are a ton of great options out there. I thought I would highlight some of the best light and skinny (but not too skinny) sticks that are available. These are all somewhat similar with a waist of around 95mm and are on the lighter end of the spectrum. However each ski is slightly different and will appeal to different types of skiers.

These are listed in no particular order, but I think the ZAG UBAC 95 and the Atomic Backland 95 are the two that I would most strongly consider. Good soft snow performance for the size, lightweight, and a bit of a playful nature are what I’m looking for in this type of ski.

Atomic Backland 95

atomic backland 95mm touring ski

Lengths: 169, 177, 185 cm
Weight (per ski, 177 cm): 1350g
Dimensions (177 cm): 126.5/95/115 mm
Skill Level: Advanced, Expert
Sidecut radius (177 cm): 18m
Rocker style: Rocker-camber (15% tip rocker)
Core: Poplar, Caruba, Carbon, Fiberglass
MSRP: $699.95

The Atomic Backland 95 sounds like a really versatile ski that could be a really good one-ski touring quiver. It’s quite light for a mid-fat touring ski and the amount of float in soft snow is apparently quite good due to the tip shape and width. Atomic’s HRZN tech tip (the unique shape) apparently reduces deflection in chop, although I’m a bit skeptical about how much deflection is actually reduced. Light skis get bounced around due to lack of mass more than anything.

Available with pre-cut skins that fit in the tip-notch and the ski dimensions increase with each length so the feel should be consistent between sizes. The 1.3° base bevel from the factory should lend to easy turn initiation, but of course you can tune any ski to whatever you prefer. There’s also a ‘carbon backbone’: a carbon layer running the length of the ski that should add to stability and stiffness.

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Blizzard Zero G 95

blizzard zero g 95mm touring ski

Lengths: 157, 164, 171, 178, 185 cm
Weight (per ski, 178 cm): 1260g
Dimensions (178 cm): 127/95/111 mm
Skill Level: Intermediate to Expert
Sidecut radius (178 cm): 22m
Rocker style: Rocker-camber-rocker
Core: Paulownia, Carbon
MSRP: $749.95

The Zero G 95 has been a long time spring touring favorite among backcountry skiers. The Zero G 95 is reportedly a ski that needs to be driven pretty hard at all times. A lot of skier input is required, so this is not for the lazy skier. It’s the lightest ski in this roundup and like the Atomic, the Zero G 95 tip and tail dimensions (and turn radius as a result) vary for different lengths. This ski also has precut skins available and is available in very short lengths so would be an option for smaller/shorter skiers. There are carbon reinforcements in the binding area as well as a carbon layer running the length of the ski to add rigidity in strategic areas.

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zag ubac 95mm touring ski

Lengths: 170, 174, 178, 184 cm
Weight (per ski, 178 cm): 1360g
Dimensions (178 cm): 129.5/95.5/116 mm
Skill Level: Intermediate to Expert
Sidecut radius (178 cm): 18.5m
Rocker style: Rocker-camber-rocker
Core: Paulownia, Carbon and Fiberglass stringers
MSRP: $929.90

From Chamonix, France and tested in the nearby Alps comes the Zag UBAC 95. The UBAC 95 has nice fat shovels for a ski this size which should help with float in soft snow. Underfoot, there are reinforcement plates to help reduce binding pull-out and add a bit of strength. Something pretty progressive and seemingly unique to Zag among this group is that they use a fair bit of recycled materials in the edges and bases. The UBAC 95 has a medium flex for a good balance of power and forgiveness and a fair amount of tip and tail rocker (30% tip rocker, 20% tail rocker). Sounds like a fun ski to me…I’m currently trying to get my hands on a pair to try out.

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Armada Locator 96

armada locator 96 touring ski

Lengths: 157, 164, 171, 178, 185 cm
Weight (per ski, 178 cm): 1350g
Dimensions (178 cm): 127/96/117 mm
Skill Level: Advanced, Expert
Sidecut radius (178 cm): 21m
Rocker style: EST Freeride Rocker, Camber underfoot
Core: Caruba, Carbon reinforcement
MSRP: $749.95

Very interesting to see Armada get into lightweight backcountry ski design. With their freeride background I bet they’ll make some pretty fun touring skis, and it sounds like the Locator series is a solid step in this direction. From what I hear, the Locator 96 and it’s bigger brothers are a ton of fun to ride. The tip rocker and extra tip taper make this ski optimized for float and there is no tail rocker for improved carving ability. A titanal and rubber binding dampener underfoot works to reduce vibrations when the going gets rough. The Locator has a self centering tail clip cutout called the AR Bat Tail Self Center Tail Clip Design – marketing may have gotten carried away with the naming, but it looks like it will work well.

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Line Vision 98

line vision 98 touring ski

Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm
Weight (per ski, 179 cm): 1515g
Dimensions (179 cm): 131/98/119 mm
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Sidecut radius (179 cm): 18m
Rocker style: Rocker/camber/rocker
Core: Paulownia, Maple, THC (Aramid, Carbon, Fiberglass)
MSRP: $749.95

At 98mm underfoot the Line Vision 98 is a bit fatter than the rest of the crowd here. In theory their soft snow fun factor should be even higher and from what I’ve heard this is the case. These skis are on the playful end of the freeride touring spectrum, so if you like to butter and spin in the backcountry the Vision 98 is worth considering. Apparently these are weighing in a bit lighter than stated too, so getting up the skin track won’t be a chore. THC is Triple Hybrid Construction, not drug-related…apparently…it refers to a combo of three materials in the core that give the ski a unique character. These skis have soft tips for float and easy turn initiation combined with a stiff tail for stability. They’re slightly heavier than others in this list, but they’re also slightly fatter and still a light ski. The one downside of these is that the bases are apparently not super durable, so use extra caution in shallow snow. Watch for sharks.

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Salomon MTN 96 Carbon

salomon mtn 96 carbon touring ski

Lengths:  166, 174, 182, 188 cm
Weight (per ski, 174 cm): 1390g
Dimensions (174 cm): 129/96/115 mm
Skill Level: Advanced, Expert
Sidecut radius (174 cm): 18m
Rocker style: Rocker/camber
Core: Karuba
MSRP: $799.95

New for this season, the MTN 96 Carbon is Salomon’s updated entry into the mid-fat touring ski category. It’s not super lightweight like a mountaineering ski but has enough beef to be very stable for a touring ski. Titanal reinforcements under the bindings adds some power underfoot and cork dampening material in the tip helps reduce vibrations on the hard stuff. These have a much flatter tail than a ski like the Line Vision so are likely less surfy than a more freeride-touring specific ski. Note also that the stated weight is at 174 cm, not 178/179 like most others. Still, they’re far from heavy and lighter than their predecessor, the MTN 95 Explore (1538g @ 177cm).

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