Gear Review: Karhu XCD Guide Backcountry Touring Ski - Backpacker

Gear Review: Karhu XCD Guide Backcountry Touring Ski

Ideal for turning and climbing on rugged backcountry day trips.

These fat, waxless skis are ideal for rugged backcountry day tours that are equal parts climbing and turning. The fish-scale base will easily get you up slopes of about 15 to 20 degrees (for steeper climbs, bring half-length "kicker" skins or be prepared to herringbone). Full metal edges, a soft tip, and a gradual sidecut make turning easy.

The fiberglass-wrapped poplar core keeps the Guides light but stable; they shined while touring through soft snow. Our tester broke 10 miles of trail in Vermont's Bolton backcountry, carving S-turns through glades along the way. She lapped her companions who had to rip skins, and who were tired from hauling heavy boards through deep snow. Caution: Because they're so light, the Guides will be chattery on icy or cruddy descents. $390; 5 lbs. 12 oz. (175cm); 165, 175, 185, 195cm (109/78/95); karhuskico.com

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