Nov 19 2014

Review: G3 Carbon Synapse 101

Carbon is the rage in skis these days, and for good reason. From the rumblings I’m hearing, it won’t be going away anytime soon. One example of why is G3′s Synapse. It has the requisite muscle necessary to make up for what heavier skis do with mass. At speed they get a bit skittery, but when you need to slow down and hold fast, they do so with aplomb, no flinching.

G3 Synapse 101  130-101-118 in five lengths between 165 and 185 cm

G3 Synapse 101 130-101-118 in five lengths between 165 and 185 cm

Given just a smidgen of depth with a softer top to the snowpack you can enjoy cruising at speed with Synapse. That’s when you notice how nimble and quick they are edge-to-edge, or fluid when you want to open up and let ‘em run.

In deeper snow they break trail well, but the shape of the tip doesn’t lift them up as well as many other skis. The fattest portion of the tip is down low, which does a great job of providing initial lift, but then it tapers and if the snow is much deeper than the tip depth, it doesn’t stay lifted well and begins to submarine. In mank, while not a condition you may seek but one that will inevitably be encountered, they dive; in 2-percent, arguably delightful.

Mind you, I was skiing the Synapse 101 when I got bucked in mank, with only 101mm at the waist. For myself that’s usually more than enough, but with the tip shape of the Synapse series, the wider 109 version may be preferred. In frozen chickenheads, like any lightweight carbon ski, you’ll get ricocheted. With a bit of softening, that tapered tip slices and dices making mincemeat out of the snow snakes lurking in crud. That playfulness in crud, and deep snow is enhanced with the slow rise rocker in the tail. It’s slow enough to make jamming your tails on a switchback possible, yet high enough to quickly release in the bottom of a deep turn.

In ego snow, their snappy rebound is delightful, letting you knock out a series of tight S’s in a shaft of snow before swooping down the apron with a few GS turns. That same springiness comes in handy in the moguls.

Rocker profile of the Synapse.

Rocker profile of the Synapse.

While some of the performance may seem a compromise, when a single ski weighs less than 3 pounds, something has to give. That a light ski might have a problem in heavy snow is no real surprise, so the question that begs is whether halving the weight on your feet is worth it? Where quantity enhances quality, less weight means more turns; in the long run, it could be a worthwhile tradeoff.

For those concerned about mounting integrity to such a light ski, G3 has a sheet of titanal in the mounting zones so you can breath easier. If you pair it with their Ion binding, it has a wide, 40mm mount pattern, further reducing the likelihood of pulling out. This is a non-issue for most, but tele whachers take note, that wide mount pattern on the Ion toe might be advantageous for a home brewed TTS rig. ;)

Synapse 109 • 137-109-125

Synapse 109 • 137-109-125

For intercontinental snowpacks, with more soft cold snow days the Synapse would be a welcome reduction in weight with a wide range of performance and turn radii. On the wet coast, perhaps not so much with the 101, but maybe with the 109.

G3nuine Guide G3ar
Synapse 101
MAP: $ 870
Dimensions: 130-101-118
Lengths available: 165, 170, 175, 180, 185

Synapse 109
MAP: $ 900
Dimensions: 137-109-125
Lengths available: 170, 175, 180, 185, 190

Test conditions: G3′s Synapse was skied with a locked heel in warm spring conditions at Sugar Bowl resort, and on firm mid-winter conditions at Powder mountain with dust on crust.

© 2014

  • http://ern.reeders.net.au/blog/ Ern Reeders

    Ah, a snow condition glossary would help ;-)

  • Dostie

    That, Sir, is a good idea. Will come to anything though? Hmmmmm

  • Raggi_Thor

    .. a smidgen of depth with a softer top to the snowpack..

    ..frozen chickenheads..

    .. ego snow…

    ..intercontinental snowpacks..

  • http://ern.reeders.net.au/blog/ Ern Reeders

    .. they dive in mank; in 2-per cent, arguably delightful..

  • Jonathan

    Sounds like these are great for smooth soft snow of minimal depth…and that’s about it? I’m considering these or the Hannibal 94 as an everyday touring/ski mountaineering/steep chute ski. Everything from Rainier to Round Top to Red Slate…Thoughts on which would be “better?”

  • Dostie

    They’re pretty good in light pow, but other skis float better. Their limit is mush, where sub-surface diving has negative consequences. As a spring touring ski it would be hard to beat the weight savings with solid edge hold on early morning frozen corn.