G3 (Genuine Guide Gear) has completely revamped their ski lineup over the past year. First up, introduced for winter 2016/2017, was the FINDr. (Check our SIA 2017 post for the rest of the line, available Fall 2017). The G3 FINDr is a phenomenal uphill ski that also holds its own on the way down. Hit up the full review after the video:
How We Tested
G3 provided a FINDr 102 (184cm) mounted with their ION 12 bindings. They also provided a set of their Scala climbing skins precut to the skis. I took the FINDrs out on tours at Jones Pass and spent some resort days on them at Vail and Breckenridge. I hiked up to Breck’s Six Senses area to really give it a challenge. You can see the results in the video, above.
For the FINDr, G3 took their carbon construction from the previous Empire Carbon ski and gave it a shave. The FINDr uses a poplar- and paulownia-based core that has been CNC machined to put wood where you need it and eliminate it where you don’t. The result is a much lighter ski (3.7lbs/1560g each in 184cm) that maintains strength and stiffness.
G3 then adds their triaxial carbon layup for torsional strength and stiffness. There’s a Titanal plate under the binding mount area to prevent tearouts. The whole shebang is called Flyride Plus construction. The Titanal plate differentiates the FINDr from G3’s older Synapse model, adding the Plus to the original Flyride. It’s tough to make an apples-to-apples comparison, but a 185cm, 101-waist Synapse weighs 2oz less than the 184cm, 102-waist FINDr.
Sidewalls are polyurethane to damp vibration, edges are full thickness alloy steel, and the bases are P-Tex 2000 Electra. An early rise tip makes for powder performance while camber underfoot means the ski will still bite on hardpack when necessary. There’s also a slight rise on the tail to prevent snagging when you have to back up. G3’s textured topsheet material makes sure snow doesn’t stick. It seems to work. G3 also includes the all-important skin notch on the tail.
Dimensions on the 102 are 133/102/120. Available lengths – 174, 179, 184, and 189, with turn radii between 21-25m, depending on length. G3 makes the FINDr in 102, 94, and 86mm waists. (off by 1mm in the video! It was cold.) You can also get XCD versions on 94mm and 86mm widths – scales on the bases mean you can leave the skins at home for low-angle missions.
G3’s FINDrs really shine on the uphill. Especially compared to my usual setup, they feel feather-light. With science telling us that extra weight on the foot has six times the effect as weight on the body, every ounce counts. After a few dawn patrols, I can verify that science with anecdote.
The slight camber underfoot collapses with each stride, creating a broad surface area for uphill friction. Even though the FINDrs were 13mm narrower than my usual skis, they climbed as well if not better using the same Scala skins.
On the way down, I couldn’t tell that I was skiing on lightweight skis. The FINDrs carve well on chop and groomers inbounds. They also have enough width to float in the pow and substance to break through wind crust.
Then, while cranking turns at the top of Peak 6 in Breck, the unthinkable happened. As I turned to drop a little chute between two rock outcrops, I hit a shark fin and double ejected. I was fine, missing all of the rocks and face planting in some nice snow, but the FINDrs suffered a compressed edge. Given how much I weigh and how hard I hit the rock, I would expect any ski to incur the same, if not more, damage. To their credit, the FINDrs didn’t miss a beat and I was able to continue skiing them for the rest of the day. I took them out touring after the impact and noticed no ill effects. That the skis survived and remained skiable speaks volumes for G3’s design and construction, especially on a light weight ski (with a heavyweight skier).
The G3 FINDRs are probably one of three, currently available skis I would consider if I needed a 100-110mm, light weight, touring ski. (The other two would be BD’s Helio 105 and DPS’s Wailer Tour 106.) They’re also the best value, $50 cheaper than the nearest competitor at $799. They’re not a quiver-killer, but they’d be a great part of a three-ski backcountry quiver – the FINDr 102, something in the high 80s for spring corn, and a fatty for blower days.