Monday afternoon, my new Dynafit Stoke (a 2011 season early release offering from Dynafit) arrived at my doorstep and despite the empty feeling of the box: there were in fact skis inside. At 1645 grams/pair the Stoke is a relative lightweight. For reference, many skis with similar dimensions weigh in at over 4000 grams!

So how does a ski with only half the mass of similar boards actually perform? After quickly mounting the Stokes on my living-room floor (thanks to the inserts) with a fresh pair of Dynafit ST’s, I took ’em out to experience some of Crested Butte’s finest lines. Stability has been good, so our terrain choices for the day also happened to be some of the steepest and tightest couloirs in the area.

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Well, it was slightly unnerving or at least entertaining to step into new skis for the first time on a 45+ degree slope with a pitch of WI3 Ice awaiting my careening carcass below, but after getting over the initial excitement I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only did the Stokes afford easy hop turns due to their low weight, but also held their edges admirably. Torsional stiffness isn’t always a characteristic of lightweight skis, but the Stoke seems to be an altogether different beast.

After some fifth-class down climbing mid slope, the bottom of the couloir and the apron below tested the Stoke in about as heinous of breakable suncrust/windboard mank as one might expect with a transitioning spring snowpack. Again, the Stokes skied beautifully and handled the challenging snowpack without much effort.

With positive results after the initial test run, Chris and I decided that it would be prudent to explore another striking feature in the area and zipped over to a line known as “the pencil”. While not typically a spring objective, we were feeling “sendy” and gave it a go. What we found was a start zone comprised of similar heinous breaker conditions, followed by a couloir of east-coast hard s’nice and several chokes that were narrower than Chris’ 170’s and certainly more svelte than my 182’s. Anyways, a beautiful line despite challenging conditions and impressive performance on the firm stuffs well as the soft-ish avalanche debris below…

I can’t say that this testing method will become my norm for breaking in new skis, but I’m feeling confident that the Dynafit Stoke will become the ski to which all backcountry fat-ish boards will be measured and the perfect addition to my quiver…