Scott Superguide 2017 – ski review

Scott Superguide 95 review (Feb 17)

This season I’ve opted for an all out touring ski as my go-to ski for the season. I’m not someone who likes to use many different skis over a season anyway, but some variety can help with different conditions encountered, so I was interested to see if the Superguides could handle everything thrown at them. My activity bias is towards touring, so the real question is down to the finding that perfect ratio of weight and performance!

This is a follow up to my article about why I made the choice, and is therefore now a fully fledged review based on a few weeks of using the Superguide 95s . Although the snow cover has been lean compared to other years (so far), I’ve had the opportunity to use them in a full range of conditions from light powder to crud so I feel that the conditions have been completely typical in terms of a ski test. My initial choice was based on reviews rather than actually trying them, (always a risk), so there was a little bit of ‘heart in mouth’ as I stepped into the bindings on day 1. On the whole I’d say that I’m pleased with my choice as I will be mostly touring, but that I am aware they are ‘touring skis’ and not an all round ‘freeride ski’ which is what I’ve been using over the last few seasons.

In terms of the uphill and for touring they perform really well. They feel really light, and combined with a Radical Dynafit binding mean that weight on the foot is minimal, so the uphill is more enjoyable, easier and I’m very happy with that side of it. They edge really well when skinning and I’m happy with the pre-cut skins that come with the skis – light, compact, easy to fit and no problems with them peeling off or struggling to maintain grip in cold conditions.

On the downhill (sic) side, despite the rave reviews, I don’t think they compare as favourably to more dedicated freeride skis, despite what some reviewers have claimed. They do the job, and they do the job pretty well, but I have noticed a bit of ‘chatter’ at speed and less power to push though confidently in heavier or tricky snow. If you think of them as touring skis as you are riding then they perform well, cutting through choppy snow better than other light skis I have used, and carving on the piste well too, but they don’t have that solidity that comes with a slightly heavier crossover ski, and for me that means that the downhill experience is lacking at times. Some of this could be down to the shape, despite being 95mm underfoot they aren’t super wide in the shovel, so that means they don’t float quite as well in deeper snow.

So, in conclusion, my choice to adopt a light ski has been a departure from my usual policy of going for a freeride ski, but with a light binding such as a dynafit. I’m noticing the difference going for a more touring based ski on the ups, however as I’m doing it for the downs, on balance I must admit to preferring to hike a slightly heaver ski to be able to have more fun . If you are are clear about choosing a dedicated touring ski then the Superguide is an excellent choice, because it is a high performing ski for the weight, but if you feel that you can handle a tiny bit more effort on the uphills then it’s probably worth looking into the freeride range to maximise downhill performance.

DYNAFIT Radical 2 binding review:

These bindings  I’ve been using, mounted on the Superguide 95s . Again I’m not sure about my choice on that! In brief, I feel that despite increased safety with better downhill release, this is achieved at the cost of ease of use. The bindings are tricky to step into and spinning toe piece is frustrating!

In skinning mode, the foot has to be held in exactly the right position before the toe pins can be fully locked in – amazingly difficult to do, and you also have to bend down to lock it in . In the past with the Radical 1 it was always possible to do this with the end of a ski stick. Even then it’s hard to get a secure lock in and I experienced a ski release in skinning mode when this occurred (quite inconvenient).

In ski mode  the foot has to be held exactly right before the heel can be locked in . This makes it more fiddly and creates much more chance of not locking the heel in correctly. To me this is a safety issue – yes I know you should always check your bindings thoroughly, but even so. Stepping the heel down hard when it’s not properly aligned must also stress the heel pins, and this is also something that can happen quite easily.

So, in conclusion I much prefer the older model, which I never had any complaints about. On the whole I don’t want my skis coming off too easily so I guess that is a factor in my personal preference, but I feel that the Radical 2 is over designed to the point of inconvenience. As an experienced user of pin bindings I would think that I’d be a good candidate to try these out and be able to use them easily. However, I couldn’t  help thinking that if I’m finding them awkward to step into, a Dynafit ‘newbie’ would be going crazy!

Save your money and buy the older ones!

 

Previous research:

I looked at a lot of reviews but to sample a couple here’s the Fall Line review rating it as Backcountry Ski of the Year 15-16, and Edge & Wax review by Scott (no relation!) who claims the Superguide as his Champion.

To check some of the reviews I did:-

 

Seven of 2015/16’s best skis