Skiing provides many wonderful metaphors to explore life. Backcountry skiing, with its added complexities, gives us even more. At the heart of them all lie two foundational and intertwined constructs; rhythm and balance. Nature has a metronome running like a heartbeat through everything; tides, moons, seasons. In human endeavor, it defines grace and elegance.
Watch skiers you admire carefully, and you will see that they possess a rhythm. It is their cadence that makes them beautiful. Yet, rhythm is not possible without balance. Balance allows the stance to be proactive rather than reactive. Our joy in skiing derives from these two platforms.
That feeling of floating is made possible by the pumping, side-to-side motion of skis that are weighted perfectly and progressively as your legs mimic a pendulum released by an unweighted body and then re-engaged. Meanwhile, as the skis gradually bend into a smiling arc, they describe a turn so beautiful it was heaven-made.
So how does this relate to life and a review of Weston Summit skis? As metaphors for life go, I will leave you to figure that one out. But, considering this is a ski review, I better get on with my job.
A ski that is fun to ride encourages this process. It helps you to find center and a pulse for your swinging legs. It is tempting to think that the Summits want you to experience that sublime sensation of turning forces and speed. Indeed, they leave you feeling that you are mastering the situation while still exposing your belly to the snow and nature gods to scratch. These sensations come from the Weston Summit Skis finding the right balance of properties for the kind of skiing you enjoy in the place you choose to be.
The Summit is light enough to easily unweight, allowing the swing from side to side to be as near effortless as possible. This capacity facilitates quick turns when necessary. In trees or tight places, who does not love this ability? These are the ticket! What’s more, they allow you to take a quiver of one ski deep into the backcountry without giving all your spare coins to 24 hr Fitness.
Light enough to carry (a long way) walking across lava on South Sister, OR
Thanks to a soft tip and tail and a stiffer center, the ski is forgiving if your balance point is not entirely centered. However, it does pay out like a loose slot when you nail it. Whether you are just finding your way into the backcountry or an OG Jedi, you will discover ways of eeking out every ounce of fun from these planks.
The rocker at the front tends to lift my tips out of deep snow, although I sometimes have to sit further back and then be aware of the speed and retreating balance point. It also impacts where the skis bend and, therefore, the turn’s shape. You ought to know that my waistline does not look like it has ever seen the afore-mentioned 24 hr Fitness, and there is little change from 240lbs when the scales trick me into standing on them.
What jumps out is that these skis are just plain fun. A ski light enough to travel the distance while not treating you like a rodeo bull in choppy conditions is usually accompanied by unicorns and rainbows. My son and I have used these for nearly an entire season now. Our first days out included an eventful Spring pilgrimage up Mt Yale; skunked by localized conditions, we certainly exerted more energy than we anticipated and still came home with smiles.
Not long after, there was a hut trip and a trip to the PNW. Mt Baker TH to summit in a single-day push is no small feat for a teen. When a 16-year-old carts all their ski gear skinning and booting up 7,000′ to then ride 5,000′ of perfect corn, you know the equipment must be hitting the sweet spot.
We mounted the Summits with Dynafit rotations. While on the heavier end of the AT touring spectrum, it allows Cai to have just one pair of skis for all his alpine endeavors. I was glad of this decision while watching him take a spectacular speedy wipe-out at Vail on one of our few resort days.
Got to get up to get down – the Summit is a great ski for big days where you need some performance on the way out – Mt Baker
Time for a quick confession; I have a genuine sense of imposter syndrome when talking or writing about skiing. When you meet someone who says they are British and also claims to be a good skier, they are probably lying. A few weeks in the Alps and weekends on the dry slope can only go so far.
Think Eddie the Eagle Edwards and not Lindsay Vonn. However, I have now spent 30 days on the Weston Summits, mainly in the backcountry, and I can attest to the fun I have had while using them. They forgive the inept like me, and they provide the opportunity for ski ninjas to go big.
They strike that right balance of light enough not to hate them when dragging them uphill, soft enough in the tips to provide pop and initiate a turn through the ski shape, stiff enough in the center to skin, track and move from edge to edge. Along with all that, they deal with variable conditions and especially chunky snow with more aplomb than I would expect from a ski this weight.
There are now so many skis that will do a great job that we usually need more to help shape our decision to purchase a specific model. In my mind, what the brand represents and how they share their values is equally as important as the item I am thinking about buying.
With regards to this, Weston comes into the ring swinging. Here is a company that wants to share the backcountry; part of this is helping riders learn about risk mitigation and the medium through which they are traveling. Part of it is about supporting local safety organizations.
Most impressively, they have gathered a large group of ambassadors and use them to create events where riders can come together, learn, find partners, and become even more excited. Bravo Weston for being very human and recognizing how having this amount of fun needs to be experienced by more people. Providing that experience is a beautiful service. When a company finds its rhythm and balance, it tends to follow that its product does the same.
When they let dirtbags into Vail, you know the skis must look good.
What it’s all about sharing moments with the people in your life.