So, it’s sheeting down with snow in Chamonix. It has been for the last two days, which is a nice change from the last few years of lukewarm temperatures and snowless slopes. It’s also a good sign that this season, unlike the last couple, will be rather safer for freeriding and ski touring, which we’re all quite relieved about.
Provided temperatures stay low enough, and it continues to snow like this, it might be a stella season for back country.
I’ll admit that the prospect of hiking up a hill, even to reach the best powder caches on the mountain, hasn’t always appealed to me. The more technology improves though, the more I change my mind; and I’m not sure anything is quite as game changing as the new addition to the famous Rossignol 7 series.
The 7 series have become synonymous with freeride skiing, and they range from the powder happy Super 7 to the all mountain friendly Sky 7. They’ve been seen on the Freeride World Cup podium, they’re the ski of choice of guides in La Grave, and they’re some of the most accessible freeride skis on the market. It’s kind of their thing.
This season sees the first genuine touring ski in the 7 series, as long as you class the Sin 7 as primarily all mountain, the Seek 7 (otherwise known as the Spicy 7 for women) arrive on the scene. It’s made a splash, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is ground breaking like Shane McConkey wearing water skis to hit powder. For one thing, unlike that fateful day, this isn’t utter lunacy.
What Rossignol have managed, is make a super light touring ski that works almost as well on pistes as an Alpine ski. That’s pretty major; before now, there has always been a trade off between weight and performance downhill. Through some sort of technical wizardry, Rossignol have done something we all thought was impossible. Both.
The Seek 7 weighs so little you could use it as a majorette’s baton, and you can use it on groomed piste, hard pack and crud without killing yourself in the process. It’s the one ski quiver of touring skis. Dare I say it, the Seek 7 might even have made ski touring accessible to even a novice backcountry skier like myself.
I’m probably never going to want to hop from hut to hut, hiking up hill and skiing down dale for days on end, but a super light ski, that works on piste, I can carry on my back? I could use that.
This ski turns on a dime, it floats in powder, it weighs almost nothing, and it fits into touring tracks. It’s raising the game for touring skis, for a generation of skiers who increasingly want to be able to do everything.