Goode Fellas: Ultralight Skis for the Underground

Carbon skis provide a truly ultralight backcountry experience.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2007-02-01 16:54:02.287303-07

If skis are to backcountry travelers what guitars were to Stevie Ray Vaughan, then Goode Carbon Skis will jam riffs of powder in the mountains for those interested in saving weight.

A half G per kilo buys you the lightest backcountry skis on the market. Your fillings might blow out if you take these on Vermont ice, but to say that Goode skis are light on your feet would be an understatement of the grossest proportions.

You won't find Goodes in many stores. U.S. distribution is thin oustide the downhill ski racing community. But they have a phone number, and Dave Goode has plenty to say about his skis.

I've skied on a pair of 166cm Goode Carbon 82s for two winter seasons. I mounted Dynafit TLT bindings on them, and paired the rig with Dynafit TLT 4 Lite boots with Thermofit liners. Add it up, and it amounts to about 6 lb 4 oz per foot. This figure is a bit overwhelming to most ultralight backpackers used to walking the PCT with a pair of shortie socks and 10 oz running shoes, but when you consider what this type of rig could replace, you'll see the benefit of going carbon.

For example, consider a comparison between Black Diamond's lightest ski, the Mystic (3 lb 1 oz per ski @ 167 cm with sidecut dimensions of 110-79-100), and a Goode Ski with a similar dimensions (e.g., the Goode 82s at 2 lb 1 oz per ski @ 166 cm with dimensions of 117-74-103). The Goode ski lops off a pound per foot - that's a pretty big deal. Considering that a typical "lightweight" AT skier that skis the Mystic might buy into the Black Diamond AT ski package, with Fritschi Diamir Explore bindings (1 lb 15 oz per binding) and Scarpa Matrix boots (3 lb 7 oz per boot), and comparing the touring weight of the aforementioned Goode-Dynafit package (6.25 lb) to the lightest Black Diamond-Scarpa package (8.5 lb), then the benefit of integrating a Goode Ski into an ultralight backcountry package becomes even more clear.

Aggressive sidecuts and metal edges give Goode skis carving power on hard snow; going fat (say, with Goode 82s or 95s) gives you enough flotation while carrying a winter pack for deep powder touring and downhills.

They aren't without their limitations: they are so light, in fact, that they do chatter (vibrate) at high speeds on icy terrain. However, this is almost a moot point for backcountry skiing when ultralight touring ("ski trekking") is the focus. What Goode skis give you relative to skinny touring skis is the ability - if you want (or need) it - to hit the steeps on your tour, opening up more terrain than what may be available to those using, for example, waxless or cross country skis. And if the steeps are not your cup of tea, but you still want downhill ski-ability provided by a real ski, check out the Goode Carbon 64 - an ultralight race ski tipping the scale at a scant 850 g (30 oz) per ski.

Backpacking Light's Marketing Director, Vic Lipsey, and Sales Manager, Joel Walthall, joined me on a few runs with some Goode demos at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market's recent Backcountry Basecamp in Brighton, UT. Getting to the bottom of the run, with big grins on their faces, they were babbling about the possibilities these sticks could open up for lightweight backcountry winter travel in the mountains.

Bottom Line: A touring package consisting of Goode Carbon 82's with Dynafit TLT bindings and TLT 4 Lite or TLT 4 Race boots is nearly as light as mainstream boot-and-snowshoe combinations suitable for deep backcountry powder and winter temperatures!*

Specfications for Carbon 82's:

  • Material: Carbon
  • Dimensions: 119-82-109 (166 cm)
  • Weight: 975 g/ski (34 oz/ski)
  • Manufacturer: Goode Skis (Goode.com)
  • MSRP: $990

* e.g., Tubbs Odyssey 36 (3 lb 1 oz/snowshoe) with Sorel Caribou insulated boots (2 lb 8 oz/boot) = 5 lb 9 oz per foot.


Citation

"Goode Fellas: Ultralight Skis for the Underground," by Ryan Jordan. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/02813.html, 2007-02-01 16:54:02.287303-07.

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Goode Fellas
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Forum Admin
(ForumMP) - BPL Staff - F
Goode Fellas on 02/01/2007 16:54:02 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Goode Fellas

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
WELL... on 02/03/2007 21:15:44 MST Print View

My 210 cm. Asnes Combi Combat Norwegian army backcountry skis weigh 2 lb. 15 oz./ski. Not too bad for a full metal edge, military spec tough pair of skis that only cost $355. new.

And my COMPLETE Voile release plate, Telemark 3-pin binding & heel cable weighs only 15.2 oz.per ski.

With my Scarpa T3 boots for Tele/B-C that's a decent weight per foot.
Not your carbon fiber, $1,000.+ equipment but it will ski undulating terrain far faster than a wider ski of ANY weight and still give decent control on descents.

Eric

Edited by Danepacker on 02/03/2007 22:17:32 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: WELL... on 02/10/2007 11:47:37 MST Print View

Asnes Combi Combats are a great touring ski. They've got a cult following among winter mountaineers, especially for glacier travel - the shortest ones are 190cm - which is why I don't use them. They are "skinny" relative to the fatter powder skis available today and so, at 190cm, they are tough for me at 5'8" to manage steep downhill terrain without cutting long traverses. Gotta have my S curves, since steep BC skiing (ie catching a run or two in the afternoon after setting up camp) is a main component of my own winter trips.

Christian Edstrom
(bjorn240) - F

Locale: Westchester County
Åsnes on 11/03/2007 18:52:34 MDT Print View

Where are you guys finding Åsnes in the USA? I am looking for a pair of Ragos or Combats, but I was resigned to waiting until I went home to Sweden to pick them up - do they have a retailer here in the States?

- Christian

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Tjena Christian on 11/08/2007 09:31:32 MST Print View

Hur lägget?

Jag har ingenting att säga om Åsnes, jag ville hälsa på bara. Det har varit ett tag sedan jag har prattat med en svensk.

Hej då
Ryan

Greg Pfeil
(sellout42) - MLife
What do you wear skiing? on 01/21/2009 14:25:47 MST Print View

I do have to deal with the wonderful northeast conditions (at least for the next couple years), so the Goodes are probably not what I'm looking for. The rest however might be. I really wasn't considering anything as light as the TLT Lite boots, but I talked to a few people who say they're actually pretty solid. What do you think? Are they stiff enough that you'd trust them for aggressive downhill on some pretty icy lines, or should held off until I move to Colorado?

What else do you take/wear in the backcountry or touring? I already travel lighter than my friends (and get concerned questions from people who think I must have forgotten something), but I'm sure there are still plenty of ounces to shed.