February 19, 2012

Spectrum of Skiing - Fischer S-Bound 98

From inch-wide skate skis to ultrawide reverse camber powder planks, and everything in between, the spectrum of skiing is evident in the varied conditions we ski and the ingenuity of ski designers to make all these conditions enjoyable.  The freedom of sliding on snow can be found in cross country, downhill, back country, side country, snowboard, touring, alpine touring, nordic touring, metal-edged touring, split board, skate, classic, big mountain, slalom, reverse camber, you name it.   Meadow skipping-to-powder bowls is Anchorage front range skiing - free heel, self propelled, mellow to steep with substantial approach to the steeper terrain.   

Needing a stiffer system for the steeps, but light and fast for the long, rolling approaches, the Fischer S-Bound 98 fit the need.  The Fischer S-Bound 98 has a 98/68/88 mm sidecut, and it has significantly less camber, and with a waxless base, has a much slower glide than the waxbase Fischer Outtabounds 88/68/78 mm I've been using for the past 5 seasons.  But, the waxless base ascends better than an optimally waxed 88 (Outtabounds waxbase has not been available for a couple of seasons).  Fischer touts a "nordic rocker" on the 98 which performed very well breaking trail uphill.  The 189 cm 98 turns with longer radius than the 179 cm 88.  But, the system stiffness of the S-Bound 98 with some old Riva 2 bindings and a Scarpa T2 (coincidentally about a '98 vintage) boots is clearly more powerful on the descent than the 88 with the nnn-BC (Salomon SNS Raid) and Salomon X-ADV 8 boots.  For pure powder pleaure, the verdict must wait for the next storm, but first impressions of Fischer's 98 were positive.

Fischer's S-Bound 98 combined with Riva 2/Scarp T2 boots may fill the bandwidth for steep slopes with a fairly long, rolling approach.  I don't think I would choose this system for Arctic-to-Indian (24 mile) traverse due to the slow glide, but it has potential application on front range mountains such as Tikishla, Knoya, and Kanchee Peaks of the front range.

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