The Kōm is a ski we have been working on for a few years, and the idea of it goes back to the start of Altai Skis. It’s a dedicated backcountry ski without many of the usual compromises. The Kōm can be skied with a downhill focus and it rises to lighter XCD touring use with a fun, stable feel.
There are a lot of great skis that are labeled backcountry skis, but they tend to fall into several distinct categories. Either they are full on downhill skis to be used with skins and big boot/binding systems, or they are more from the nordic end of the spectrum, often nowax with a wider platform then true xc skis but still with a lot of nordic DNA in their dimensions, flex, and overall design. At Karhu, Francois and I have worked on many of these. These are light and excellent for touring in moderate terrain, but tend to fall short when the downhills get more challenging. We wanted the Kōm to be free of these constraints, so rather then start from a nordic or alpine perspective we would start from a purely backcountry point of view. The ski needed to tour as well as it turned, and we have incorporated a lot of features into the Kōm that are very specific to skiing in the backcountry. Many of these stray from the norm and make the Kōm a very unique ski.
– Length – 150cm, 162cm, 174cm
– Dimensions – 124/98/119
– Weight per pair (162 cm) – 6 lbs 5oz (2.85kg)
– Base – positive grip nowax base
– Slightly rockered tip as well as early taper
– Wood core.
– Binding retention plate – no inserts.
Other notable features in the Kōm –
We made a tall tip on the Kōm, out of fashion these days, but very useful in breaking trail.
The ski shape is designed to slightly forward mount the binding (from the current norm in skis), making a more balanced ski and – along with reduced sidecut in the tip – avoiding the “Body Builder” shape skis have been trending towards – lots of girth and heft in the tip and a skinny little tail. This creates the dreaded pintail effect when touring in deep snow, a nice floaty tip and a tail that sinks deep, leaving the skier chronically climbing steeper then the actual slope.
The nowax base is grippier then most nowax skis, making it a bit slower on a groomed trail, but very functional in the backcountry and climbing in soft snow.
The reduced sidecut in the tip makes for a more predictable and stable ski when crusty or thick snow becomes less then friendly.
The Kōm is light and supple, with dimensions that make it very skiable with two buckle plastic boots and even sturdy leather. This keeps the system light and flexible for more adventurous touring.
Our focus has always been the backcountry, and the Kōm is designed for skiers looking for a versatile ski that will rise to the challenge of all terrain. It is the next step from the Hok in terms of skiability and more traditional backcountry or XCD style touring.