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Sep 28 2011

PR: Marquette Backcountry Ski

Seems like there’s a move afoot to turn slowshoe fans in to skiers.

Fat skis for fat...snow.

The common elements of that theme are to produce a fat ski that is easy to walk in, can go uphill without adding anything special (waxes or climbing skins), and has enough glide to make turns downhill. Add to that list a reasonable price.

Introducing the Marquette Backcountry ski, fat enough and grippy enough to work like a snowshoe for simply trudging around the woods in winter, but slick enough to enjoy turns downhill.

Macro-scales allow good climbing without anything else.

The patterned based is very coarse pattern that does not resemble fish scales, but works on the same principle of an angled “bump” on the ski base that allows forward glide, but restricts rearward movement, allowing you to ski uphill. On this ski those scaled “bumps” are macro sized – about the size of a quarter. I haven’t “tested” a pair, but videos on the Marquette Backcountry website suggest you can easily equal the grip of skis like Voile’s Vector BC or the Madshus Annum which have little trouble ascending a 10° slope in moist snow.

The ski sports an aggressive early rise tip, a full fat profile with an obese waist width of 130mm on a short length frame of only 140 cm. Mounting holes for a classic 3-pin binding are already provided, so mounting a binding is a cinch.

A hollow core with reinforcing ribs keeps weight down, although they're still rather hefty.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this ski is the construction materials and process. It is essentially an injection molded plastic ski. Sorry, no metal edges as it is intended for use in soft snow only, and just for kicking around the woods behind your house, or the local park with some hills thrown in for fun. If you want full throttle adventure skiing, you already know this is not the tool of choice.

Best of all, it’s about the same price as a good pair of slow shoes, but with the added bonus of being able to glide so you don’t have to lift your foot every single step you make through the snow. I doubt I’ll be switching to these anytime soon, but I could certainly see having a spare pair for non-skiing visitors or an addition to the quiver for spring conditions when the snow is sparse and grimey from pine needles, bark, and sap.

All the relevant specs.

About the only thing I could see being added to the mix would be a universal strap binding so non-skiers won’t need to buy a pair of ski boots to use ‘em.

Marquette Backcountry Ski
Price: $189
Dimensions: 150mm • 130mm • 140mm X 140cm
Weight: 4½ lbs./ski

© 2011