What We Ride, Part 2

Chugach Range, AK and Wasatch Range, UT. FOW: Saraj Gottstein and Emilie Drinkwater // Photos: Corey Anderson (@chugachski) and Truc Allen (@trucallen)

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 like you?

Emilie Drinkwater

Wasatch Range, UT. FOW: Emilie Drinkwater // Photo: Truc Allen (@trucallen)

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 145lbs

Skiing Style: Hmm… 80's? Versatile? Proficient.  Not aggressive.

Where in the world do you typically ski? 

I'll go anywhere but I'm based in the Wasatch so I do ski here a lot.  I grew up skiing in New England and have skied in the Alps, Alaska, Iceland, India, Canada…

What’s your primary ski all winter?

This winter I've been on the 176cm Vital 100 all but two days (those two days being big powder days). I have the Vital in Camber and Reverse Camber and have really started defaulting to the Reverse Camber.

What’s your ideal spring setup? 

Vital 100 Camber, Marker Alpinist binding.

Tell us about your approach to ski camber. 

I learned to ski in the 80's on very long, very straight skis (yes, I also had rear entry boots and bindings with a leg leash). The result is that I've always been most familiar and most comfortable on a traditional cambered ski. I'm also a ski guide and do a fair amount of ski mountaineering which necessitates a ski tail that doesn't turn up (because skis are often plunged or buried to act as anchors). I was initially hesitant about Reverse Camber because I thought that profile reserved for rad skiers, deep powder, and pillow popping; I was amazed when I tried Reverse Camber and really liked them. There's a small learning curve, and I wouldn't take a Reverse Camber ski out on a super firm or icy day, but for everything else, I find they're quite easy (and fun!) to ski in both powder and less than ideal conditions like crust or wind board.

What is your ski and camber of choice for mid-winter riding? 

If there's soft snow around, the 178cm Intention 110 in Reverse Camber.

If you ski resort much, which ski and camber profile do you choose for resort days?  

Last year, it was the Intention 110 in Reverse Camber. But this year I got the Reason 120 Reverse Camber in a 184cm length (bigger than I normally ski) with Shift bindings. Now it just needs to snow a lot so I can put them to the test.

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

176cm Vital 100 Camber with a light, but not ultralite binding like the Marker Alpinist or Fritschi Xenic.  

For alpine objectives, I'm likely to spend a lot of time with the skis on my back so they need to be reasonably light. That said, I'm not willing to sacrifice stability and security on the descent.  The Vital 100 really shines in this application as they're light but not too light.

Saraj Gottstein 

Powder Hound Ski & Bike Shop, Chugach Range, AK. FOW: Saraj Gottstein // Photo: Corey Anderson (@chugachski)

Height: 5’3

Weight: 145

Ski style: Freeride, big mountain, and technical skiing. I love to ski big open faces. GS turns are typically my jam. I ski big skis for my height and I love big mountains and long runs. I love hitting jumps, side hits in the backcountry or at the resort. My trick game has certainly decreased from my younger years, but I still love to bust spins, daffies, and who doesn’t love a good spread eagle!? I grew up ski racing in my early ski years and then broke free to pursue more freeride goals. I find skiing fun in almost all conditions. I will ski in the rain or flat light to blower on a bluebird day. It’s always fun!

What’s your primary ski all winter? 

This winter I have been skiing the 178cm Intention 110 Reverse Camber as my primary backcountry ski. I love reverse camber for ski touring and skiing in varying conditions in the backcountry. We have had a lot of incredible pow days so far this winter, so I have been loving the 177cm Reason 120 Reverse Camber as well. That ski has been incredible for crushing pow, but also feels easy to hold an edge on wind affected or varying snow conditions. Lastly, for less powdery days I have been really having a blast on the Intention 110 in the Camber profile, also in a 178cm length. I love being able to modulate my edge and ski really fast on this ski.

What’s your ideal spring setup?

I love corn skiing and backcountry spring skiing. Here in Alaska I typically don’t ski a skinnier ski than 110. I love the Intention 110 Reverse Camber for corn shredding, fast skiing, and jumps. Additionally, if it's been a cold spring and the snow quality is not quite corn, I'll grab the 110 Camber for some versatile skiing.

Tell us about your approach to ski camber.

As mentioned above, I consider myself a lover of both Camber and Reverse Camber. I think both approaches to ski shape offer different ways to engage the ski and conditions. I have both in my quiver.

What is your ski and camber of choice for mid-winter riding?

I love both for different reasons. I have more reverse camber skis in my quiver, as I love the pop and spring that comes with that mustache shape. I love looking at terrain in the middle of winter differently than early or spring seasons. It’s a way to get creative and try new objectives. I may differ from a lot of my peers in that reverse camber, for me, allows me the best of all worlds. I think Reverse Camber makes for easy skinning and offers good stability in varying conditions and turn engagement, but also a lot of playfulness to pop around and shred!

If you ski resort much, which ski and camber profile do you choose for resort days?

I love to ski the resort. I love skiing the resort on both profiles for different reasons and on different days. I love skiing Reverse Camber when I am skiing pow, bee-bopping jumps, or skiing big open runs at the resort with my pals. 

I also love me some Camber for variable snow conditions, skiing big open faces fast, or just flying down groomers with some laid down turns. My home resort, Alyeska, offers a lot of diverse terrain, so, in my opinion, it works great to have both in your quiver.

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

For backcountry alpine objectives I can go either way. My primary backcountry ski is a Reverse Camber Intention 110, as I am always going out amped to ski pow. Reverse Camber is such a fun way to play in the mountains. And I still feel comfortable skiing steep lines or getting into technical features on the Reverse Camber.