New Weston Backcountry ski uses snowboard tech, or is it the other way around?
February 12, 2019
Colorado mountaineer Jeremy Anton Anderson enjoys local company Weston Backcountry for its focus on education, etiquette and environmental stewardship.
But at the end of a long climb, Anderson needs a product that will allow him to ski aggressively in the difficult conditions that come up as he makes his way back down the mountain.
And that's the true reason why Anderson rides Weston's new carbon fiber skis when he's on his climbing missions.
"I've tried a lot of different carbon skis over the years; generally, you sacrifice a lot of performance especially in the tip and the tail, especially in variable conditions," Anderson said. "You can't ride the edges as much, you get thrown around on the skis a lot."
LIGHT YET STIFF
While out touring on mountains in Colorado and North America, Anderson started to notice a lot of splitboarders riding Weston snowboards.
He also took notice of the extensive testing they were doing on a new product, the Weston Backwoods carbon splitboard.
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"The overall construction of the snowboard was what attracted me," Anderson said.
The board debuted earlier this month at Outdoor Retailer 2019 after years of testing; many were impressed with its weight to stiffness ratio. Men's Journal called it one of the coolest products they came across at the trade show.
"Weston shaved 1.3 pounds off its standard splitboard, but it's still strong enough to drop a 40-foot cliff and carve away," wrote Berne Broudy with Men's Journal.
That echoed Anderson's observation from what he saw of the board during its testing phase.
"What I noticed about the carbon construction on Weston's snowboards was how stiff they were," Anderson said. "I immediately wondered if they were able to do that with their skis, as well."
He soon learned that indeed, they could.
"If I'm going to do a climb with my skis on my back, I don't want to have a heavy ski, but I also don't want to sacrifice performance if I going to drop a line and get out of there quickly," Anderson said. "There's not another product on the market that responds quite as well as these Weston Backcountry products do, and it's because of the aluminum stringers that they have in the tip and the tail."
SKIS WERE FIRST THIS TIME
Sean Eno has long followed the technology race between skis and snowboards.
The son of Gary Eno of Island Water Sports — which lays claim to being Vail's very first snowboard shop some 30 years ago — Sean has long studied the advancements of the industry, which started with snurfers adopting metal edges and bindings like skis, and skis then adopting wide hourglass shapes and reverse camber bases like snowboards.
Sean Eno now works for Weston Snowboards, and was one of Anderson's first contacts at the company.
By the time the two had met, Anderson was excited about the prospect of riding a ski that was both lightweight and stiff. He had talked himself into the idea of being a lifelong skier representing a snowboard company.
He didn't seem to care, but a bit of an image crisis was at stake. Anderson has amassed some 70,000 followers on Instagram with his stunning photos of climbing expeditions across the globe, climbing extremely difficult faces with his skis on his back.
How would his fans react to him abandoning traditional ski companies in favor of Weston, a proud snowboarding manufacturer?
"I think it's perfectly natural for a snowboard company to come out with some absolutely great skis, because most of the technology that skiers are riding on today has been taken from snowboards," Anderson said.
However in a final, hilarious irony, Eno had to set the record straight with Weston's light yet stiff technology.
"We actually developed the carbon technology with the aluminum stringers for stiffness in our skis first," Eno said.
Check out Weston's products at westonbackcountry.com.