Nonetheless even frugal skiers know it is important to have a quiver of skis, for each has a place. When the quiver is small, the versatility of a ski is paramount. One can hardly go wrong by including the Madshus Annum, especially if you like to dabble in the freedom of Nordic with the power of Alpine.
You may recall the Karhu Guide? It lead the charge back in the 0 years to provide a ski with downhill prowess thanks to a waist width that could support turns with a pack and metal edges to hold on when the snow was hard. In the Nordic mobility department it offered up a waxless pattern. It quickly became the ski I used the most – mostly for taking Pepper on a walk down the bluff, across a meadow, and back.
The Karhu Guide was made by Madshus. Their version is called the Annum. In the turn department is works really well for a skinny alpine ski. It has a medium flex, allowing it to hold an edge, but not while maching in bounds at a resort. The pattern can slow you down during a turn, but it’s only noticeable on wet snow that is slow already.
The positive pattern is an absolute delight for being able to get out and get moving without having to put skins on, and of course it has much better glide. If you’re heading up for any sustained pitch it is certainly worth adding skins, but for short pitches you can easily hold a 12° pitch, more when the snow is warmer, less when cold. As long as you know how to contour the land you can cover a lot of vertical in a short amount of time on a low angle fish-scale track (an excellent way to train yourself in the nuances of a low-angle skin track).
In the backcountry the Annum is great for spring corn snow, where the scales are reliable, and you want to cover a lot of ground. A few years back three of us did a circuitous route along the Sierra Crest, sort of midway between Squaw and Sugar Bowl resorts. We were all on waxless metal edged skis, with the Guide/Annum the fattest ski in the bunch. It was no surprise that it delivered the best, most reliable turns of the day in some pretty manky muck.
After heading up to Bradley Hut we dropped in to Deep Creek, climbed up to Tinker’s Knob along the crest, strode across the crest to Anderson Peak, dropped the steep north side to the Benson Hut (buried to the top of the roof that year), cruised Anderson Ridge ’til a bowl beckoned for more turns in overripe corn to Diamond Ridge, down the south face in butter corn, around to Lost Trail Lodge which tempted us with much needed rest and hydration, then out Cold Stream road. By the end my heavier weight system (T2/Switchback/Annum) put me at the back of the pack but I gained it all on the final run down to Donner State Park. For tours like that, with a mix of everything, the Annum is perfect.
Lengths avail.: 165cm – 195cm (every 10 cm)