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Monday
May012017

Stuff I like - Movement Skis

I've used many brands of skis over the last few decades but one brand has impressed me enough lately that I want to dedicate a post about it here. Movement Skis out of Switzerland make some of the lightest and most reliable skimo and freeride skis on the market. They offer the full range from silly light skimo race sticks to modestly fat powder boards and everything in between. I currently own three models with plans to add a fourth early next season. Below is my take on my quiver.

History First

Fischer Europa 99's, leather boots and Nordic norm 3 pins, circa 1979Although I've been skiing since the early 70's, I spent far too much time in the early years trying to get competent at telemark skiing. I consider those the "lost years". Even though I gained the competence I sought, the strength and skill didn't really get me anywhere that I consider helpful today. Me, circa 1981, full defensive pole position, requisite Peruvian tribal racing helmet for all Nordic No Minds!Sure, free-heel skiing allowed my first forays into the backcountry but the gear was too shitty to ski the kind of terrain I love today.

I started locking my heels down in the mid 90's and finally divorced myself of the tele burden around 2003. Skiing got a lot easier. After moving to Jackson in 2005, I found myself around the skiers that were doing the kind of skiing I wanted to do. I eased into the discipline, powder skiing like everyone else and then gradually pushed the boat farther from shore as my skill set improved. Skimo racing allowed me to learn how to go fast on light gear and get down just about anything in any condition. This skill has served me well on the steep terrain I favor now. A distinct lack of alpine racing background or even formal alpine skiing training is apparent to anyone watching me ski. I've learned on the fly, gaining tips on YouTube and generally just figuring it out on my own. The result isn't necessarily pretty but it remains functional. I think knowing these qualities going into this review will help you assess just how applicable my take is to your own needs as a skier.

Because I like to tour relatively fast and cover as much ground as energy or daylight allows, I favor light skis and light weight gear, in general. To readers of these pages, that's not news. This compulsion eliminates a large portion of backcountry skis on the market. On the other hand, the selection is getting broader every season as manufacturers realize that lighter is more fun for most people. Movement started light and has been the leader in this quality ever since. Not only light weight, Movement skis utilize innovative shapes and designs along with robust materials that create incredibly easy to ride and reliable tools for the mountains. So, without further adieu...

Vertex X

My first taste of the Movement line was the Vertex X and it remains my go-to ski for nearly any mission. It's unusual to find a ski that rips steep, variable snow as well as pure powder equally well. And this in an 84mm underfoot, 177 cm offering. I know, how the hell can you ski powder with a ski that narrow? It simply works for any soft snow that has some sort of supportable base underfoot. Honestly, I haven't ridden them in true bottomless blower but I rarely see that sort of thing in AK anyway. But for everything else, they simply make me smile. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say they're the best all-around ski I've been on.The right tools for the job

From Skimo Co...

"The new Vertex looks destined to become the crown jewel of the X-Series skis from Movement. Replacing the Bond-X ski at 84mm underfoot, the Vertex-X adds a mini ABS sidewall underfoot so it can hold up even better to the rigors of everyday touring and mountaineering. It keeps the relatively straight edges near the tip and tail that are a godsend when side-slipping or traversing steep, hard snow. A slightly redesigned tip and tail shape is integrated with light rocker to make turns more fluid. The ski features the high-end North TPT construction that makes the X-skis so light and stable. The Vertex-X has an early nomination for mountaineering ski of the year.

  • CTS Light is an ABS sidewall located only underfoot for good balance of weight & strength.
  • Edges are straightened near the tip and tail which helps track and slide securely on icy snow.
  • Lightweight Paulownia wood core is buffeted by poplar strings for excellent rebound.
  • Patented Thin Ply Technology (North TPT) wraps the core with interleaving carbon fibers.
  • Full 2mm of edge and P-Tex 4000 base material is hard enough to withstand some abuse."

Alp Tracks 100

Take the Vertex shape, add 16mm underfoot and use some crazy-ass weight cutting technology requiring hand-made techniques and you have the latest ski from Movement in the free touring category. To be accurate, the Alp Tracks line comes in 84, 94, 100 and 106mm underfoot widths. Rumor has it, they're adding a 90mm next year. All of these skis are incredibly light weight, relatively stiff and serve different needs as the widths increase. I decided on the 100mm as my mid-winter powder driver.

From Skimo Co...

"Alp Tracks is a limited ski series from Movement that requires a manual finishing process that squeezes fiber layers together to reduce weight. Never before has a 100mm wide ski been made this light and robust. The skis are lined with a mini-ABS sidewall that absorbs shock underfoot. Coupled with a special rubber/fiberglass mix in the tip, the Alp Tracks 100 is surprisingly damp for the weight. The skis are outlined with variable thickness edges, stronger where impacts are likely and lighter elsewhere. They are finished with high-end P-Tex 5000 bases. The Alp Tracks skis are Swiss works of art, and the 100mm version could be the masterpiece.

  • Variable thickness Tour Edges balance weight and robustness.
  • Underfoot roughness is smoothed with an ABS Shock Absorber.
  • Rockered tip and shaped tail make skiing easy and fun again.
  • VA-Tech is a Vibration Absorbing rubber & fiberglass layer in the tip.
  • Binding area is strengthened with a Double Plate Reinforcement.
  • Bases are made with P-Tex 5000 which is backcountry-hardened.
  • Forestry management standards are followed with the Karuba cores."

Big Fish X

The final Movement ski in my quiver is the board I've been using a lot lately as conditions turn toward spring. Back when I was racing, 75mm underfoot was what I skied when I wasn't on race skis. It seemed wide enough to ski powder and was a good width for technical steeps any time of the year. My preferences have fattened since then but I still like skis under 80mm for spring skiing. Better edge control, more aggressive "bite" and less swing weight are all qualities I like in a short ski mountaineering ski. Skinning on icy sidehills, common in the spring, is also easier on a ski like the Big Fish. It runs 77mm underfoot and I'm using the 168cm version. Shorter skis are simply easier to manage in tight couloirs and when carrying the skis on my pack booting or climbing. A shorter ski also allows me to use a lighter boot. All nice qualities during 12 hour beat downs and big vertical.

Slide for life...Big Fish X in its element.

From Skimo Co...

"Fish grow bigger when they eat other fish. X-Fish grow bigger when Movement bows to the demands of addicted skiers who want even more. The “race plus” line of skis from Movement might someday have the biggest Fish in the sea. For now, we are psyched to have an even more versatile tool in our arsenal. Expanding the waist of the highly-acclaimed (and highly useful) Gold Fish, the Big Fish will leave no snow un-skied. With slightly more waist and slightly more rocker, the ski may be slightly more addictive. The advanced carbon fiber wrapping process of the X-series make the lightweight ski rigid enough for the most demanding ski mountaineers. With a host of lengths to choose from, everyone is bound to catch a Big Fish-X that is right for them.

  • Generous 77mm waist makes the Big Fish Movement’s first oversized alpinist ski.
  • Ultralight Karuba wood core is wrapped with carbon fiber using the North TPT process.
  • Additional unidirectional and tri-axial layers of carbon make the ski an elite performer.
  • 1.8mm of steel edges do not short change you when it comes to durability and tuning.
  • P-Tex 5000 bases are some of the hardest available, ready to take on the mountain.

I encourage you to check out all the Movement offerings. You'll likely find one that meets your needs while improving your skiing and saving you energy along the way. Sounds like a sales pitch, for sure. But rest assured, I'm paying for my skis these days. I only wish I was getting paid to say this stuff.

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Reader Comments (5)

One of my favorite brands!
And after many years of poor and ever-changing U.S. distributors, Skimo Co has become an established retailer for North America.

I've been very impressed by the Big Fish-X. Barely any heavier than "price point" race skis, yet the 77mm waist and slightly rockered tip can cope reasonably well with unconsolidated snow.
I've also been pleasantly surprised with the stability of the 160cm length. I was a little nervous choosing that length, but the 168cm seemed like it would be a bit long for my use of this setup (with PG cf boots and Dynafit LTR "1.0" bindings) in late spring and summer skiing. Fortunately the 160cm has always felt very solid, even in deep manky snow, extremely steep pitched, and at high speeds. (But only one of those factors at a time!)

I also still have my Movement Logic-X skis that I bought almost seven years ago!
They've been through my different bindings ... and over many different rocks too.
Yet despite all this, still in excellent condition.
And also a ratio of surface area to weight that is unsurpassed by pretty much any ski in its size now, except I suppose for some of the newer Movement models.
Just shows how far ahead of its time Movement was back then!

Previously I've also had the Movement Fish-X race ski, which is still competitive with current designs.
(Only Movement ski I was totally enthusiastic about was the Response-X, which at just a mm wider than my beloved Logic-X, and with the addition of some tip rocker, should have been my favorite ski ever. But I felt something about the ski required it to get too much up on edge to really carve. However, I've never heard anybody else with that feedback on the Response-X, so might just be me?)

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan S. Shefftz

Totally agree, Jonathan. I, too, saw the Response about that long ago under the feet of a visiting friend from France who, at the time, was the marketing dude from Plum. He was cruising the Western US and likely interviewing for a job at G3 when they were developing their tech bindings. Hush hush at the time but that was my assumption. He didn't take the job but I got to show him around the Tetons a bit and fondle those silly light skis of his. Ahead of their time, indeed.

May 8, 2017 | Registered CommenterBrian

Interested to hear your thoughts on the Alp Tracks 100...I'm just about to mount mine in the next couple of days. Hopefully there'll be enough snow this year to justify their use.

May 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Was that A.M.?
He was thinking about incorporate a Northeast stop into his itinerary so we were emailing about that ... in addition to all the other subjects we emailed about -- he was such a huge help, back when all this was such a mystery (i.e., in the days before Skimo Co).

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan S. Shefftz

Indeed it was, Jonathan. He spent quite a bit of time in North America sussing all that out but ultimately did not take the job. Last I knew he took over his families frozen food container business. Not quite as sexy as skimo bindings but successful, nonetheless. He stayed with me for a few days when I was in Chamonix a few years ago. Sadly, he had no time to ski but he hooked me up with some fun guys to show me around.

May 15, 2017 | Registered CommenterBrian

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