May 21 2012

Review: G3 Saint

One of the better skis G3 has ever produced was the Reverend. It had a weird reputation because so many skiers were put off by the image of a preacher looking back at them. Actually he was looking up, but the religious overtones made a lot of folks uncomfortable. Graphics notwithstanding, they skied great.

G3's Saint - a mid-fat with excellent all round performance and no guilt.

So it is with the descendent of the Reverend, the Saint. The similarity in name belies the similarity in performance, without any graphics induced guilt. When the Reverend was introduced, 88mm at the waist was gignormous. Compared to the genetically modified cows being served with girths beyond 120mm the Saint appears svelte with only 93mm underfoot. Like the Reverend though, they rock.

The shovel is at the end of a slow rise tip which improves flotation, whether busting trail or making first tracks. That slow rise lets you dig in the tip when you want it to on firmer snow, so the ski doesn’t shrink when the snow gets firm. Part of that is due to a snappy tail that holds on when you need it to, and gives a lil’ kick into the next turn.

The tail has a slight upturn for when you need to side-slip back and forth on the headwall of a dog-leg couloir before it opens up, but not so much that it creates trouble when you want to jam your skis in the snow, either at a switchback or just to stick ‘em in the snow. Plus there is a nice notch for hooking the tail-hook of your skins on.

Fresh tracks - Sugar Bowl Backcountry

Thanks in part to a wood core with a composite mix of poplar and paulownia, the Saint delivers a rounded, damp flex, unphased by frozen chunks, chicken heads or icy hard snow. The mid-fat waist feels a lot tighter in the turns than fat boys, and a lot more secure when it’s icy. Besides the early rise tip, the shovel width of 122mm delivers a tip that naturally bobs up, for a delightful ride through soft snow, whether heavy porridge or airy Wasatch pow.

Weight wise the Saint is not the lightest pair of planks out there, but they’re not tanks either. There is enough mass and natural rebound in the wood core to provide a platform you can rely on and not worry that it doesn’t have enough muscle to handle a myriad of conditions. Go too light and some conditions cease to be fun.

Go too heavy and you feel it on the uptrack. Not for the first 5,000 feet. If you notice it there, it’s not the weight of the ski dogging you, it’s you dogging you. You need to get out more. On the otherhand, if you’re going really big, over 7,000, you might want to consider G3′s skinnier brother, Spitfire LT.

Of course, this perception is based predominantly on spring conditions. There was plenty of soft snow to be found, but nothing blower light. I’m sure it handles fluff well as I’ve never known a ski to handle heavy and soft conditions well and not also completely satisfy in blower soft. There were a few turns on spicy hard, and the Enzo’s did an admirable job of digging the Saint’s edges in on the ice and they held.

You might float better with a fatter ski, but the Saint will hold an edge better when edging matters, making this a superb all round ski, in or out of bounds.

Oh, and the graphics are nice and neutral, maybe even smartly stylish but I’ll leave that proclamation to the style experts.

Genuine Guide Gear
MSRP: $679
Dimensions: 122-93-112
Sizes: 185, 177, 170 cm
Weight (170cm): 6½ lbs. (2.9 kg)

© 2012

  • Jim Moss

    I love my Reverends!

  • BCorser

    The inevitable question: what size Saint would you recommend? I’m 5′ 10, ~ 180lbs (might lose a few more lbs), intermediate-advanced skier and getting better every season. I’ve only ever tele skied (after a number of years of boring ol’ alpine skiing) on 180cm Atomic TM 22 skis (72mm waist!), so not entirely sure how these much wider skis (with early rise tip) will compare. I’m leaning toward the longer 185cm that I can “grow into” if needed, but also appreciate making quick turns in tight trees or dodging rocky outcrops, so a shorter skis also has appeal. Thoughts?

    Part 2: Choosing the Saint undoubtedly means weight is one of the deciding factors in ski choice, – so does it make sense to go with a lighter weight binding (like the Switchback/X2) rather than the new Enzo, and save another pound of weight?

  • Dostie

    For ski length – I’d recommend 185ish for your height and weight. I’m about 2 inches and 15# less and like the 180cm size. The extra girth just makes soft snow more fun…you still want 180cm of edge for firm snow.

    Re: What binding? Both are good choices. If you’re doing less than 3k vertical on most trips you may want the extra power of Enzo and won’t feel the extra 5 oz. per foot much. On big days though you’ll prefer the X2 and it has enough power to drive the Saints. So it depends on what your typical tour will be, and how active you like your binding to be.

  • Charles Robinson

    How does the Saint compare with the Wayback?  I’m looking for a ski that I can use for 6 days of bc touring, 5k+ vert, i.e. a balance between high performance but not too demanding.

  • Dostie

    Reverend floats better and  is a bit snappier. Being narrower, Wayback is faster edge-to-edge, but not by much, and damper. If the snow is mostly soft, I’d go with Reverend.