This season my daily driver will be the Zero G 108 from Blizzard mounted boot center with the Atomic Backland Tour (Salomon MTN Tech) for the Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour. On the uphill I’ll be using the Pomoca Pro S-Glide Tipon skins. After putting this setup together last season and looking at my options over the summer I decided not to change a thing, which is saying a lot. My main goals with this combo were efficiency, speed, and fun.
Blizzard’s Zero G 108 has been my favorite ski and go-do daily driver since the beginning of the 17-18 season. Its size and shape make it a do-it-all workhorse that can handle spring corn and hardpack but really shines in powder. Blizzard uses a long section of mellow camber underfoot, so it can hold end edge when you need it. But, despite its stiff feel it’s easy to press out the camber when you want a more surfy and playful feel. The rockered tip is just enough to float in powder and stay on top of breakable crust but not so much that you feel like a king cobra on the defensive. A subtle tail rocker lets the Zero G 108 pivot and glide through tight trees while maintaining plenty of edge-hold in the steeps. A straighter sidecut creates a relatively long 27m turn radius and a 36mm shovel that’s just to float without hanging up when you don’t want it to.
Construction is what really sets the Zero G line apart from other skis in their weight class. Blizzard uses their Carbon Drive technology to stiffen the ski without adding weight, but most noticeable is the flip-core. Flip-core is Blizzard’s process of milling the camber profile into the core of the ski before it is pressed. The result is a core that is already in its natural state and isn’t being forced there by heat and pressure. When a ski with a traditional layup starts to chatter it gets amplified as the core tries to return to its original shape, but a flipcore ski does not. I was skeptical when I first took the Zero G 108 out for a tour in choppy hardpack conditions, but I was blown away by how it handled. Even with its light weight it skied like it had enough mass to break through anything and was surprisingly stable at speed.
Atomic’s Backland Tour and Salomon’s MTN Tech are the same binding. I chose this binding for 2 reasons, reliability and efficiency. Getting away from the classic adjustable release values let Atomic and Salomon go to a swappable U-pin system to chance the release and eliminate any springs from the heel of the binding. This removes multiple potential points of failure and fatigue and creates a binding that is almost entirely metal on metal.
Coming from a purely AT background, I love the way the Backland Tour/MTN Tech skis. The simple metal on metal heel design delivers instant power transfer and let you feel the surface of the snow through the ski. This may not be for everyone, but it’s a feeling that I love and appreciate. The feeling of instant power transfer translates to stiffness on the uphill. You might not notice it on short distances, but bindings with lots of moving parts and elastic travel have a little squish in them when you step on the heel risers. Multiply that by 5K’ of climbing over the course of a morning, and the effects start to add up fast. Minimizing the moving pats on this tech binding and fixing the heel risers to the central post of the heel minimize squish for a very efficient feel on the uphill. My favorite feature of this binding is the ability to forgo the flat tour mode and flip the risers down over the heel pins. Not having to bend town to rotate the heel piece at the top of each run might seem like a small feature, but after 7 or 8 laps it is huge. This is a feature that pairs perfectly with the Dynafit Hoji’s “one move to switch.”
Maybe the most exciting boot of the season, the Dynafit Hoji uses an all-inclusive ski/walk lever that tensions the cuff buckle and power strap while pre-loading the boot and engaging robust locking mechanism. This quick and simple transition is why I like pairing the Hoji with the MTN Tech binding, but descending with the Hoji is just as good. Pressing the lever into ski mode essentially does 3 things. It closes the cuff of the boot, lowers internal bumpers to fuse the upper and lower sections, and presses the cuff forward to preload the bumpers that were moved into place. Flexing into the Hoji doesn’t feel like driving the stiffest boot on the market, but it feels like flexing the most dialed touring boot available. Rather than swinging a hook down and grabbing a bar the the heel like most companies are doing, Dynafit presses against a bar and lets the locking mechanism flex away form the bar if needed. This travel avoids that feeling of hitting a wall that comes with most AT boots. One of my first days on the Hoji was a 6” day after it hadn’t snowed in a month. Conditions anything from bottomless blown in pockets to an inch of snow over rock hard tracks that had been frozen solid for weeks. The Hoji shines in these conditions with enough oomph to really charge but enough forgiveness and compliance to absorb any blows from unexpected variable snow.
Pomoca’s Pro S-Glide Tipon skins are the perfect match for this setup. The hybrid glue sticks to ski bases but doesn’t gather snow, dirt, or pine needles, and the plush provides plenty of traction while still gliding through flat approaches. Thought it holds securely while in use, the hybrid glue is easy to free from the ski when you reach the top of the skin track, there is nothing slowing down transitions.There are a lot of great options out there, but picking each individual part of a ski setup is only part of the selection process. It is important to consider how the system will function as a whole and consider what options will compliment each other. Stop by the shop or give us a call and let us help you get setup for the winter we’ve all been waiting for.