What We Ride, Part 1

Backcountry tools for every skier style. FOWs: Jack Stauss and Melissa Gill // Photos: Carson Meyer (@carsonmeyerphoto) and Alex Aberman (@abermanphoto)

Finding the setup that’s perfect for you is something that we take very seriously. After all, why would you want to spend your precious time on tools that don’t suit your needs perfectly? 

FOWs Jack Stauss Melissa Gill are both based in the Wasatch, and have a thing for big walks and steep terrain in the variety of conditions we’ll encounter throughout our season here in Utah. But due to differing ski backgrounds, their chosen ski setups are markedly different.

The following series takes a look into the unique quivers of FOWs across the globe, and may serve as inspiration for your own unique approach to ski setup. Perhaps you’ll meet someone just like you...

Melissa Gill, FOW

Wasatch Range, UT. FOW: Melissa Gill // Photo: Alex Aberman (@abermanphoto)

Height: 5'9" 

Weight: 165 lbs.

Skiing style: ex racer. I ski pretty "edge heavy" and I turn a lot. Really parallel legs with lots of pressure on the outside foot. Also the queen of pole planting. 

What’s your primary ski all winter?

My Intention 110 Camber in a 178cm length! Love those skis. Like all of my skis, I mount them back -2cm from recommended to make them feel more like what I'm used to in a race ski. 

These skis float effortlessly in powder and also are super fun and playful on the hardpack, luge track exits of the Wasatch.

What’s your ideal spring setup?

Last spring I rode 183cm Camber Vital 100s but I may ski my Intentions more this year because I'm loving them so much. I'm headed to AK in the spring and as of now, it's a toss up that may depend on snowpack. 

Tell us about your approach to ski camber.

As an ex racer, I've always skied a cambered ski. This year I got a pair of Reverse Camber Intentions but have yet to get out on them. I have heard an overwhelming amount of praise for the Reverse Camber skis so I'm really looking forward to riding those during the next Wasatch storm. 

Do you have a particular ski and camber profile you choose for resort days?

Pssh. Hike for lyfe. 

Which ski and camber profile do you choose for alpine objectives?

Definitely Camber for me. When I'm skiing down the frozen west face of Timpanogos, I want all the edge contact and control I can get! 

Jack Stauss, FOW

Hard not to smile with a quiver like this! FOW: Jack Stauss // Photo: Anna Ratliff (@ayratliff)

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 160 lbs.

Skiing style: Freeride/park/mountaineering blend??

I’m Jack! Your standard medium sized guy. I’m 5’9” 160 and ski aggressively. With a freeride and park background I make most of the mountain my playground. I love skiing powder (who doesn't) in mellow glades and bowls, and in steeps and couloirs. But I also enjoy jumps, cliffs, airs and tooling around in the trees. In recent years I have started to adapt this to ski mountaineering goals, which makes my style kind of a hybrid. Fortunately the tools WNDR Alpine makes reflect these various skiing exploits. 

If it’s snowing, I can do almost all of these things on the 185cm Intention 110 Reverse Camber. I pair that with a Marker Kingpin M-Werks binding and a Lange Freetour XT3 130. If it’s not snowing and has dried out for a week or two or I am skiing a big alpine objective, I will be on my 176cm Vital 100 Reverse Camber. Those I have mounted with a BD Helio 200 and use a Scarpa F1 boot. I’ve found that either the Vital or the Intention in my chosen lengths can do all of my preferred styles of skiing quite well, and I’ll go back and forth many times a season, splitting my days pretty equally.

But… if it’s DUMPING, I will ski my 184cm Reason 120 Reverse Camber with a Cast system, though that’s really for frontcountry or mechanized use. In the future, I will mount that ski up with a Kingpin or Freeraider for more touring options.

Jack plays on the Reverse Camber Vital 100. Wasatch Range, UT. FOW: Jack Stauss // Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)

Once spring hits, I’m generally on the Vital everyday. I have also skied different lengths of them as well as camber profiles, and this year went Reverse Camber on my entire quiver. When I do bump chairs I ski an Intention 185 Reverse Camber with a Pivot. Finally, because of my background in freestyle, I mount all of my skis +2cm forward from recommended. You can find more about my preferred profile here.

How do you think about your kit? Shoot us a note if you want to chat, or take matters into your own hands and find the perfect ski for you.