In The Backcountry, Travel Fast and UltraLITE!

So sorry bro, #bitterpillalert: like Facebook in the age of TikTok, the Chevy Suburban, and that F-14 Tomcat in Top Gun 2, your heavy ski-touring setup is a dinosaur.

Yes ok, the Tomcat was totally sick, back in the day. And it certainly had a nice nostalgic effect, boosting outta Nowhereistan to save ol’ Maverick’s butt again. It’s kinda similar to how the dude at REI told ya, all those years ago, “Sure, any ski can be a touring ski! Just bolt these Dukes to it and use the boots you’ve got!” Haha bro, yup, that Tomcat can get into the air, but in a world of fifth-generation air superiority fighters, it certainly can’t keep up.

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Airplane turns in the Montana backcountry on the 186cm Folsom Rapture UltraLITE

The hot words in the backcountry these days are “Fast” and “Light.” Touring boots have dropped weight, added running-shoe-like ankle flexibility, and not lost any power to boost it on the down. Similarly, svelte backcountry bindings have stolen the tech from their skimo racing brethren, losing their ski brakes and other heavy, unnecessary plastic crap, while South Beach-dieting down to welter- if not bantamweight.

And the skis??

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Doug has plenty of gas in the tank after a quick 4k’ climb on the Spar 88 UltraLITE.

We’ll be the first to admit that, here at Folsom Customs, we were a little late to the Fast & Light party. But only because we wanted to make such a splash with our entrance. Folsom skis have always focused on maximizing fun on the downhill. We make skis that are playful, poppy, stable and damp, ensuring that every turn down the mountain is a total, laugh-out-loud zinger. Powder or hardpack, corduroy and cold smoke (plus, for all you ski mountaineers: blue ice, névé, sastrugi, breakable crust, and of course, everyone’s favorite, breakable sastrugi) Folsom skis are designed and built, uniquely for you, to put fat smiles on your face.

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Every so often, a long climb is really worthwhile: The Rad Dad UltraLITE gets steep and deep.

It has come to our attention, however, that climbing up a mountain can be just as much fun as skiing down it. If you’re not carrying pounds of unnecessary weight on your feet, that is. In recent years, boots and bindings have shed weight faster than a Kardashian on Ozempic. The current generation of one-kilogram, two-buckle boots like Tecnica’s Zero G Peak or Dynafit’s TLT X can capably drive big skis and fast turns, while also climbing a hill like your favorite summer hikers. Similarly, skimo-racing inspired bindings like Marker’s Alpinist or ATK’s Trofeo weigh-in at a quarter (or less!) the uphill mass of your old Dukes or even Kingpins, while still holding ski to boot with confidence and power. Less weight on the feet makes every step uphill that much easier. The approach, the skintrack and bootpack disappear behind you.

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UltraLITE skis, two-buckle boots and race-style bindings: Light = Fast, Fast = FUN!

In developing a backcountry-specific ski construction that could keep pace with the light boots and bindings favored by our out-of-bounds athletes, Folsom applied an approach unique within the ski industry. As we tested core profiles, carbon layups and additives, our guiding principle was not the industry standard, “How light can we make this?” Cause there are loads of lightweight skis out there and, unlike skimo race bindings, skimo race skis are, haha. Gosh. They’re ^@*%ing horrible.

Folsom Customs, as with so much, took a different approach. Dropping weight from a ski will always be a compromise. Heavy skis ski better. So: how could we utilize our unique manufacturing process, coupled with our singular knowledge and experience of ski design and materials, to produce a ski with a totally optimized weight-to-performance ratio?

We selected strong, durable aspen wood (instead of model-airplane balsa or ::horror!:: styrofoam, like other light skis) for our touring cores. We added aerospace-grade graphene oxide to our industry-leading carbon fiber layup to keep flex patterns poppy, stiff and damp, without adding weight. Our athletes tested these constructions across all our shapes, cambers and flexes, in all the variable snow conditions a backcountry skier is going to find throughout a season in the mountains, from blissful pow to…more interesting.

Less weight on the feet, less weight on the pack. Folsom UltraLITEs help you move faster through the mountains.

Everyone knows the incredible, perfect joy that accompanies a white room turn, and endless smiles are born from digging deep edge-trenches into new corduroy. For many skiers, the sensation of slogging, step by straining step, up some stupid skintrack would seem that joy’s most complete opposite.

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All play and no work?! Emilie Mock finds her own path through the Wolf Creek, Colorado backcountry on the Cash 106 UltraLITE

With Fast and Light ski touring gear, that slog becomes your freedom. Away from lift lines and rope lines, there are quite literally no boundaries. The mountains become your playground, limitless as imagination. Folsom UltraLITE backcountry touring skis may not get you up the hill quite as easily as a gondola, but, as the foundation for a backcountry setup that seeks to cover ground and climb uphill with ease, you may be surprised to find that you didn’t need the gondola in the first place.

It’s just like those fifth-generation air superiority fighters. Pair Folsom Customs’ cutting-edge technology with a Top Gun skier, and Maverick my bro, you are totally gonna fly.


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Big, powerful skis don’t have to be heavy! Doug enjoys premium powder snow (and 8000’ of climbing) on the 188cm Primary 110 UltraLITE during a massive storm cycle in British Columbia