RIDE AND TESTED
With skis that feel almost customised, OSGO are making serious tracks in the ski world, with their Thors stealing the thunder from other 90-100mm backcountry skis. Rob Benton, IML/MIA, backcountry skier, ambassador for the Ecrin Collective, reports on how they stack up in all snow conditions...
OGSO is a fairly new brand entering the market in 2015. Founder Tom Seidensticker, who has a background in ski mountaineering including 8000m peaks, was keen to make the kind of versatile skis he wanted to ski. As the OSGO Mission statement says:
All our skis are shaped to be multi-use, one-ski quivers. OGSO skis perform in all snow conditions – powder, crud, crust, slush, choppy, tracked, concrete, packed, ice – as well as when skiing fast or slow and on steep, bumpy, or flat terrain.
OGSO's ski range feels customised, essentially offering two skis, a fully rockered model (Super Rocker) and a more traditional camber (Neoteric), with your choice of weight and widths. They do a superlight version aimed at ski touring and ski alpinism, then they do a medium light version, more of a freeride ski, which still works well for the odd bit of short touring. You choose your width underfoot, starting from 70mm and going up in 10mm increments to 110mm, but they are also to scale so the longer your ski the wider it is. For example, the Schwarztor is the superlight fully rockered ski that is in the 100mm underfoot range, but I have the 186 so it is, in fact, scaled up to 106mm underfoot. This makes it really easy to chose a ski that is the shape, size and weight you want.
The Thor is the Neoteric superlight 90mm underfoot, which puts it right in the sweet spot of all rounders in the 90 -100 range and with a traditional camber. So perfect for most people out there.
Lets break it down
I have the 184cm model with the following stats:
132 at the nose, 98 underfoot and 116 in the tail, this gives it a 18m radius.
It weighs 1.5Kg.
To give you an example of how that compares
- OGSO Thor 98 - 184 = 1.5 Kg
- Zag Ubac 95 - 184 cm = 1.41 Kg
- Black Crows 96 - 183.3 = 1.6 Kg
- Dynafit free 97 - 184 = 1.54kg
For those who like to have all the details of what goes into the skis, OGSO’s site gives a full break down of what makes up their skis.
I mounted them with Fritschi Xenic 10 bindings, to give a light set up for testing. I skied this ski at the end of the 20/21 season and the start of the 21/22 season.
The ski is in that sweet spot of 90 - 100mm underfoot so perfect for everyday use. It’s light (for the size of ski) and if you match it with a lighter binding it’s a real easy set up to use for the ascent. Clocking serious miles isn’t a hardship with this ski and, having a flat traditional camber, it has lots of edge to grip with if the way up gets a little icy.
For the down; the ski has a medium to firm flex, with the strength to power through chopped up snow, but not so stiff that you need legs of steel to flex them. I tried the Danaides, which are the medium light versions of the Thors and I found them a little to stiff for me. I find the Thors a perfect balance for my style of skiing. I mounted them to the recommended spec and found that it leads to a more upright skiing position. You can still put your weight forward if you want to get aggressive but you don’t need to, they ski very well from that upright more relaxed position, which is great for longer tours. If you prefer to be forward all the time then maybe look at where you mount the bindings.
I tried the Thors in many different snow conditions and found they performed well in all of them.
In the knee deep powder they had good float, I never felt like I needed or wanted a fatter ski. Even when the snow got a little heavy they worked well I just had to keep my speed up. On hardpack or spring they fly, the long edge gives them great grip and you can just let them go and still feel in control.
That edge grip also helps on the steep ground, meaning you always feel very secure, they don’t feel like they will slide away from you when you complete a turn but stay locked in. Even with good grip it’s still easy to bring the tails round, as you ski in a more upright position when you drop in to the fall line they just swing round behind you.
For the crud or poor snow they work well as they can drive though most stuff and stay on track.
Overall this is great all round ski, whether for someone on their first ski tour or an expert ski mountaineer looking to take on big technical lines. Matched with a light binding it will work well for multi-day tours and handle all the conditions you might face. It's also works well for someone who is looking for a one ski to do everything.
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