G3's Rapid Transit
128/91/116.. Lengths: 171, 178, 185...Weight: 8 lbs (6.6kg) in 178
December, 2006-- There are so many good skis out there today that
it's really tough to find a bad pair of boards. Great powder
skis and terrific hardpack rides abound. Just a few years ago
all the tele skiers we know were riding alpine boards because
the tele specific skis pretty much sucked, and finding a pair
of alpine skis with the relatively easy and round flex that works
so well for tele wasn't all that easy. All that has changed.
Skis marketed to tele skiers tend to rock these and often are
as cutting edge as any on the alpine side. And alpine skis themselves
have become more like tele skis as high tech materials have allowed
designers to build softer, more round flexing skis without sacrificing
torsional rigidity. In short, modern telemark skiers have a very
wide range of skis to choose from, and there are literally dozens
of excellent choices to be had.
So what makes a new pair
of boards stand out from the pack this year? In our view it is
versatility, the formerly mythical one ski quiver. We still aren't
sure why anyone would want to own just one pair of skis (what's
the fun in that?) but there is something seriously to be said
for skis that you can take out in the morning and know they will
rock no matter what conditions are encountered throughout the
day, from hardpack to powder. G3's new Rapid Transits are just
such skis. With their 91mm waist the Rapids keep up in deep powder,
and yet with their generous, sidecut, the Rapid Transits are
a blast on the steeps, and for carving fast groomers.
Like their skinnier siblings,
G3's Tickets, the Rapids feature an asymmetrical sidecut. The
idea here is that by increasing the sidecut of the outside (uphill)
edges, you make the uphill ski easier to tip over onto its edge,
improving rear ski edge hold, making it easier to engage the
ski early and hold that edge through the finish of the turn.
In general, quick edge changes also make it easier to ski with
more two-footed weighting, allowing the skier to take full advantage
of modern telemark technique. For a ski as fat as the Rapid Transit,
increasing the sidecut of the outside edges is said to result
in the quick edge-to-edge feeling of a much narrower-waisted
ski. All of that without losing any of the sweet-skiing characteristics
of a fat powder ski.
On paper all of this sounds
like a lofty goal, on snow it feels like reality. We have been
skiing the Rapid Transits for nearly 6 months now, in nearly
every kind of snow and terrain. We have gotten to know these
vertically laminated, wood core, twin torsion box skis very well.
With their burly, stable feel in cut up powder and crud, floatiness
in the fluff, along with an almost paradoxically quick feel edge
to edge, they are easily among the most versatile skis we have
ever had the pleasure to enjoy, perhaps the closest to a "one
ski quiver" pair of boards we have ever had out on the mountain.
The asymmetrical sidecut
seems to work as intended. The Rapids are fast and fun fun fun
on windpack and groomers, skiing a lot like the Tickets, but
with a wider platform that makes them more stable, and far more
forgiving than their narrower forbearers. While the Tickets really
need an advanced level skier at the controls, the Rapids can
be easily handled by up-and-coming lower intermediates, while
still managing to rock the world of even the most experienced
skiers we asked to take them out for a spin.
Even for those of us who
enjoy having multiple pairs of skis for various conditions and
even moods, the Rapid Transits stand out as one pair that can
be taken out and enjoyed thoroughly no matter what Mother Nature
might throw your way.