Last winter, Jason and I were talking while at the OR show in Salt Lake City about what our perfect set up would be for the type of skiing that we prefer. To clarify, that would be longer, efficient days, with plenty of steep skiing in tight places that often requires at least a little scrambling with skis on packs. We want to go fast and far and ski a lot. We were talking about all the options and then happened upon the Ski Trab Maestro at the SCARPA booth. It was love at first sight.
We were looking for replacements for our well used and abused skis and the Maestro appeared to be everything we wanted. It was exceptionally light for it's dimensions, had little side cut, and seemed stiff by carpet testing.
My confidence in Ski Trab was born when a friend who I trusted for many gear choices told me they were his favorite skis. He raced on the World Cups so I did the same. I used those same first race skis for tours all around the Wasatch, including descents of the Pfeifferhorn, Timp, the Great White Icicle, Box Elder, and a one day traverse of the Oquirrh range across the valley. They still sit in my gear room next to a new pair that I'll be using this season.
Amazingly, we now find ourselves supported by Ski Trab since they are being distributed by SCARPA North America and have access to the best skis in their line, or in my opinion, the best of the best.
My quiver* thus is all from the same company has been built around the Maestro and is as follows:
Race ski: Ski Trab Race Aero World Cup (96/64/78, 720 gms in 164cm)
Mountaineering ski: Ski Trab Maestro (107/75/94, 950 gms in 171cm)
Powder ski: Ski Trab Volare (129/99/116, 1480 gms in 178 cm)
*I could have easily added the Trab Free Rando Light (171 cm, 112/79/96, 1200 gms) into this mix but it overlaps with the Maestro significantly. Differences are increased weight without much to gain in width but along with that mass, it seems much stiffer.
Some people might think other shops make a better race ski but no other ski has been to the podium as many times as the Race Aero World Cups. Perhaps that just good marketing a la Nike in the arena of track and field. Regardless, they are proven on the world stage as well as in our backyard. Measuring 4 cm longer than most other race skis, I think they ski better (slightly) than other race skis I've tried by all the other major companies.
This ski is the real unknown of the quiver. On paper, it's perfect. I've had a few chances to take it out for some quick skinning, scrambling, and early season - rock bashing - steep skiing and have been really pleased thus far. It's a little softer than I had anticipated but not enough to deter further use. Weight wise, it allows a quick cadence like a race ski and I think will be a great ski for long enchainments and speed mountaineering where a race ski simply doesn't feel adequate (although it probably is, sometimes the mental crutch of a bigger ski is a nice boost of confidence). Anyway, so far the Maestro is fitting the bill as the best ski mountaineering tool available (more work needed to confirm this). It isn't really available this year in the US but can be found from some Euro online vendors like telemark-pyrenees.com
This is my big heavy powder ski! Most of you will probably laugh and say that it's not big and it's not heavy. That's true but in this quiver it's the biggest and heaviest and it's plenty of ski for me. I don't huck big stuff nor straight-line anything of consequence but sometimes I like to ski fast and these skis can more than handle that. Plus, they are still light enough that I'll get to ski at least an extra run over a truly heavy set up.
|Superior South Face round two on 64 mm underfoot (Photo taken by Chad Ambrose, permission pending)|
Not only was it incredibly fun to move smoothly and efficiently along the ridge, we were able to ski twice as much as I thought time would allow as Chad had family obligations in the early afternoon. This was made possible by purposefully choosing to use our World Cup skis (Chad had Hagans) on a glorious powder day. Some friends met us in the parking lot and thought we were idiots for wasting the powder. They are fast and managed to ski a ton that day on big gear but I still think we made a fun and appropriate choice for our desired goals and I guess that's the whole point to having a quiver in the first place.