GUEST REVIEW BY ROB BENTON.
This season I have been skiing two set of skis from OGSO Mountain Essentials – the Schwarztor and the Danaides.
OGSO is a fairly new ski brand that was established in 2015 by Tom Seindensticker – a mountaineer/ski mountaineer who has a few 8000m peaks in his pack. Tom’s goal was to make skis that he wanted to ski in the backcounty whether touring or mountaineering. The skis are shaped by Stéphane Radiguet of Zag skis fame.
OGSO has an interesting option for choosing skis which almost feels custom although it’s straight off the rail.
What I mean by that is that they essentially make four models of skis, a full rocker in an ultra-light (UL) and medium light (ML) and a more traditional neoteric camber in an ultra-light (UL) and medium light (ML).
Once you have your shape and weight you pick the width.
This is where the skis are split into named ranges, so for example the Schwarztor 100 is in the UL super rocker range. It starts at 100 underfoot for the 162cm length and goes up to 108 underfoot for the 194cm length.
Then you move on to the Corbet’s 110 UL super rocker range which starts at 110 underfoot for the smallest ski and so on. This gives you a lot of options for your skis.
If you want to get into the tech, then get yourself over to the OGSO website which has heaps of info on all the different materials and how and where they are used for those that want to geek out.
I have been skiing the 186cm length mounted with Fritschi Vipec Evo bindings
Weight – 1575 g
20m turn radius
Price 700 Euros
1575 g is very light for this size of ski which makes it great for touring even on big days when you’re looking for something 100mm underfoot.
Some examples to compare:
1555 g – DPS Pagoda Tour 106 @ 184
1610g – Scott Superguide Freetour 105 @ 185
1642 g – Atomic Backland 107 @ 182
1641 g – Blizzard Zero G 105 @ 188
1720g – Faction Agent 3.0 @ 180
1830g – Elan Ripstick 106 @ 181
These skis have quite a soft flex at the tip and tail and then have cross sections of carbon in the middle to give it stiffness under the foot.
I really like the flex it makes for an easier ride but firm enough so that it doesn’t flap around on harder snow.
Overall I would say the Schwarztor has a medium – soft flex.
HOW DO THEY SKI?
If I had to describe the Schwarztor in one word it would be easy. Right from the offset they are easy to ski.
They have a really big sweet spot so you can get forward and aggressive or stand in a more upright and relaxed position. At the end of the day when you’re tired and find yourself dropping in to the back seat they don’t punish you.
This is because the flex and shape make turning easy on both long and short turns.
They are also pretty forgiving which makes them great fun on powder and softer snow.
The Schwarztor also performs well on harder pack and in chopped up snow as the rockered tips lift up on top and still hold a turn well at most speeds.
Considering the rockered shape which obviously gives less contact to the snow and the softer flex there could be issues with grip when charging really aggressively on hard snow or on steeper icy lines.
If that’s your thing then maybe a more traditional camber would be better?
Having said that I personally haven’t encountered any issues with grip – these ski as hard as I do and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them out on steep lines.
I really like the Schwarztor and can see it being my go to ski for nearly everything.
Normally I wouldn’t look to ski something over 100 underfoot but the Schwarztor skis like a narrow ski and is so easy and fun to ski that it’s just a blast to throw around.
I have been skiing the 184cm length mounted with Fritschi Xenic bindings.
Weight – 2 kg
20m turn radius
Price 600 Euros
Weighing in at 2 kg per ski the Danaides is more of a freeride ski – still suitable for touring but probably more for short skins from a lift than back to back days of 1400m+ (unless you have legs of steel!)
Some examples to compare:
1900g – Dynastar M-Pro 99 @ 178
2000g – Faction Dictator 2.0 96 @ 187
2000g – Rossignol Black Ops Holyshred 98 @ 182
2015g – Nordica Enforcer 94 @ 179
This is a stiff ski that wants to be skied hard and demands your attention.
HOW DO THEY SKI?
I found the Danaides to be more of an assertive ski.
You need to be a bit more proactive and look to drive these skis all of the time.
In return for driving them you get really good grip – at speed they feel like they are on a rail with the grip and you can just let rip.
As they have a bit more weight behind them the Danaides smash through any hard chopped up snow and keep you on your line without being pushed around.
They work well in soft snow too – the shape and size allows for good float.
The Danaides are more suited to longer turns than short radius turns but with a bit of drive they can be thrown around well in most turns.
These skis are good for someone who’s has a more assertive/aggressive style and looking for a stiffer ski.
The Danaides would make a good resort based freeride ski with short ascents from the lift, where the weight isn’t a problem and can in some situations be an advantage.
Overall I preferred the Schwarztor, but that’s because it suits my style of skiing rather than any issue with the Danaides.
Because of the way OGSO have set up their range there should be something for everyone.
I am hoping to try Thor next – the UL version of the Danaides – as it may offer a middle ground between the Schwarztor and Danaides.
For more information on OGSO visit the website:
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MORE FREERIDE AND BACKCOUNTRY:
2021 GEAR GUIDE – EDITOR’S CHOICE FREERIDE SKIS
2021 GEAR GUIDE – EDITORS’ CHOICE BACKCOUNTRY SKIS
2021 GEAR GUIDE – SPLITBOARDS