It’s the middle of November and we’ve gotten the pleasure to test the Black Diamond Free-Tourer. Luckily, our office is only a 45-minute drive away from the Stubai glacier. Hence I’ve grabbed the Black Diamond Carbon Converts, skins, avalanche equipment and my willing colleagues and off we went to the glacier. In front of us lie a bunch of tidy groomers, tracked snowfields to their sides; a hike up with skins and a steep descent and powder await. Wide powder faces and a nifty mogul slope are ahead of us on the way down to the valley, and the Carbon Convert had to endure it all!
Our conclusion: carbon technology has found its way into the freeride and touring market and those who enjoy a lengthy hike up will be glad about the little weight (only 3100g for both skis at a length of 188cm). It’s so light, you almost don’t feel it and after only a few meters of hiking it feels like you’ve never had another ski under your feed. Sure, there are lighter touring skis on the market but surely not in the great dimensions of the Carbon Convert (134-105-117). Any ski at a length of 190cm will make kick-turns in steep terrain a tricky task. For those who love long hike-ups or are a tad smaller than I am there are models in 164, 172 and 180cm.
Different to the usual heavy freeride skis, the Carbon Convert is easy to turn. This is most likely thanks to its rockered tip and tail, but also the carbon and fiberglass core. Its lightweight is very advantageous for the hike up and while its not the greatest for stability on the way down it’s still a super playful ski. In fact, medium radius turns at a decent pace are the most fun with this ski. Even steep faces over 50 degrees are easily doable with it. Groomers, especially icy ones, aren’t really its forté but that’s not really the terrain it’s made for.
The designers at Black Diamond definitely kept the K.I.S.S. rule in mind – keep it simple, stupid: white top sheet and black base. Attention, nerdy fact: white top sheets don’t collect as much sticky snow as colorful or black top sheets which is especially convenient on the hike up.
The Black Diamond Carbon Convert convinced us that its surname “Free Touring” is definitely deserved. For all those of you who want to earn your turns without having to lie under an oxygen tent, this is your new go-to ski.
For more information on the Carbon Convert by Black Diamond, click here.