I can spend hours in a skiing museum looking at old skis. I like the aesthetic lines that make up
a ski’s shape. I wonder who skied on them and what stories that person could tell. I often think
about a pair of my skis hanging above a fireplace in 100 hundred years. Who will look at them
and what will they think? I spend a lot of time pondering skis, however mostly I like what they
allow me to do…glide over snow.
I take my skis seriously. I use them for work while ski guiding and teaching avalanche classes.
While they are a piece of gear that I depend on for my profession, I also want them to work well
so I can maximize my fun anytime I am out in the mountains. My old La Sportiva Hi 5’s were
going on over 400 days of skiing and I finally realized it was time for a replacement. With the
Spring ski mountaineering season already in full swing, I chose the La Sportiva Vapor Svelte
skis. They have a great rocker profile, 96mm waist, and a carbon construction making them
light. In short, they have all of the things I was looking for in a ski mountaineering ski. I am not
referring to skimo racing. For me, this is about adventure skiing on the high peaks and glaciers.
The small amount of tail rocker makes them smooth through the turn but they maintain the
power of a flat tailed ski. The significant tip rocker is great for spring and summer skiing. Lets
face it, when skiing down 4000 vertical feet in the spring and summer, one will inevitably face a
variety of ski conditions. The tip rocker helps the ski move over frozen ice chunks, runnells,
crud/debris, and mush, but more importantly it facilitates smooth turn entry in perfect corn. On
most ski mountaineering routes, the skis go on the backpack when the terrain becomes too
steep for skinning. The first time I put my Sveltes on my pack, they were a dream. They feel light
and make climbing easier especially when moving through steep snow and the occasional 4th
and low 5th class rock. Last but not least, these skis are precision carvers. I need good edge
control, especially in consequential terrain, and the Sveltes provide it.
I am now on my second pair of La Sportiva skis and both pairs have been some of the best skis
I have ever used. Maybe in a hundred years, my Svelte skis will be hanging above a fireplace
and have some stories of their own to tell.