Apr 29 2014

Review: G3′s Zenoxide Carbon skis

As a touring ski in almost any variety of soft snow, even with some zipper crust thrown in for texture, G3′s Zenoxide Carbon 93 is a great ski to ride. It has a smooth even flex to deliver nice round turns. Thanks to a little carbon fiber thrown into the layup mix, it’s not a noodle, and has a nice rebound to it with a surprising amount of strength for its weight.

G3's Zenoxide C3 93. Carbon fiber for strength without weight.

G3′s Zenoxide C3 93. Carbon fiber for strength without weight.

Even in mank and crud it holds it’s own, only getting kicked around in frozen chickenheads or sastrugi where every BC ski gets kicked around. Some might say that 93mm at the waist isn’t wide enough to be a powder ski, but that only depends on whether you like to enjoy the depth of powder, or the surface. For surface skimmers it comes up shy, but for when it’s steeper and deeper, 93mm is just fine. Not buying anything under 100mm at the waist? G3 knew that, consider their C3 105 instead.

Zenoxide turned just fine in sun softened wind buff.

Zenoxide’s signature in creamy wind buff.

Where it comes up short is on firm snow. If it’s that scrapped clean, polished sort of icey snow, or worse, frozen rime, carving will only occur in your dreams, but you will be able to hold an edge. Though better with a locked heel, in tele mode you can’t buy a carve unless the snow is soft. Most of that is due to the lack of meat on Zenoxide’s carbon-fiber bones. In my experience every ounce less than four pounds per ski comes at the expense of muscle and the ZenOxide is no different. It’s certainly superior to many skis in its weight range, but it has limits.

Thus, I’d recommend the Zenoxide for the weight conscious who have no reason to ride the Zen in-bounds where the hides of the slopes are more often than not, hard. In the backcountry you’ll survive an occasional pitch of hard icy snow and be much happier with a ski that simply weighs less and handles everything else, especially the many flavors of heavy wet funk, with aplomb.

As a backcountry ski the Zenoxide has a tip that is thin for use with any skin tip loop, and there’s a notch in the tail for a clip. It does have a slight early rise tip, but most of its float when breaking trail comes from its Spartan weight, not mechanical lift at the shovel. Whether the downhill performance sounds like a good compromise to you depends on how bad you want to shave weight for the uphill with your skis. Undoubtedly you’ll love the lack of heft when skinning.

The fatter Zenoxide C3 105 with three layers of carbon fiber and a wide 105mm waist.

The fatter Zenoxide C3 105 with three layers of carbon fiber and a wide 105mm waist.

Genuine Guide Gear
ZenOxide C 93
MSRP: $725
Weight/ski (177cm): 3 lbs., 1 oz. (1.39 kg)
Dimensions: 123-93-115 mm
Lengths available: 165, 171, 177, 183

Zenoxide C3 105
MSRP: $ 850
Weight/ski (178cm): 3 lbs. 3 oz. (1.44 kg)
Dimensions: 131-105-123 mm
Lengths available: 167, 171, 178, 186, 191

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