Doug Mock is a Folsom athlete who you won’t catch skiing the resort very frequently. We recently worked with Doug to build the first ever full carbon version of our Spar 88 with some other custom modifications for his ski mountaineering missions. Here’s what he had to say about the experience, the build, and how the “Summit Express” compares to other touring skis on the market…
The sun hasn’t quite hit the horizon yet. I’ve had half a cup of Jet Boiled instant coffee. The headlamps are blazing, our bivy isn’t half a km behind us, and already my buddy is rambling on about his new skis.
I can never remember the specifics of marketing buzz, but I think he said he’s on the PMS SuperBro Ultra-Carbonated Hyper SkiMo 3500+ Extra Light, this spring’s hottest new ski mountaineering board at Costco or whatever.
“I can’t believe it,” he’s yelling to the back of my head, “They’re sooo light! PMS gets ’em under 1500 grams with a balsa and styrofoam core. Plus carbon of course. Can’t do skimo without some carbon.”
“Bet that skis great.”
“Uhh, well, it’s not as damp as I’d really like, but these are mountaineering boards. They’re not supposed to ski good.”
“Nothing’s more important than light weight.”
“It’s all about the uphill!”
“Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
With alpenglow raging on our summit 1200m above, we’ve put the approach behind us. That was quick! I’m thinking as I hitch my own new boards to their A-frame and click the crampons on.
The difference that super light skis make on a long summit attempt is mind blowing. When I shoulder my skimo pack with my Folsoms on it, man, it’s lighter than my wintertime airbag pack, empty.
“Did you get new skis dude?” It’s like he’s reading my mind.
“Sure did! This is the “Summit Express”, Folsom’s new construction type that puts a mountaineering emphasis on their Spar 88 shape.”
“Heck yeah they are. Those dudes at Folsom are artists, man.”
My foot spikes bite easily into the couloir’s soon-to-be corn. Before long I’ve kinda dropped my buddy, but it’s cool. We do this a lot. He’ll probably shoot a photo.
You know the old joke about how you become a ski mountaineer, right? For me, the mind does this awesome zeroing-in, totally empty, meditation sorta thing when I climb mountains. Full Zen mode. My breath finds depth and cadence, ice pick and crampons do their work, and the pitch just disappears behind me as the mountain and I conspire to create this beautiful travail, with the softening snow and the thin air and my body and experience all working together toward a kind of transcendence or apotheosis or… I don’t know, man. I just absolutely love ascending alpine peaks. It completes me in the most extraordinary way.
The punchline to the old joke is: one step at a time.
Then I’m pulling myself onto the summit.
My buddy gets there too, and we have snacks and enjoy the views. Few things in life are more satisfying than climbing mountains with your friends.
The snow from the summit is pretty variable, zipper-crusted breakable wind board intermixed with pockets of consolidated pow. The Spar 88 though—light as it may be—is a skier’s ski, rather than a mountaineer’s. Bat outta hell through the mank off the top…
My buddy sorta makes backseat survival turns, but it’s cool. That’s just what PMS SuperBros do. They’re all about the uphill. He’s loaded with questions about my skis at the top of the chute.
“I told you dude, the Folsom Customs Summit Express! They’re full carbon like your SuperBros, and crazy light at 1600g in a 177cm, only the core is aspen and bamboo. Real, book-matched wood instead of…”
“They’re incredibly fun on that wacky, irregular steep stuff. Lively and poppy, but also super damp and predictable.”
“Sick. How fat are they?”
“125.88.112. Their shape is based on the Spar 88 frontside ski, but with some trick mods. The Spar has a 17 meter sidecut for carving those Mikaela Shiffrin-super-tight-slalom trenches into corduroy, and the Summit Express keeps that radius in its skinny mid-body. They grip névé like Velcro; I’ve never made such confident jump-turns.”
“I can see.”
“But they also have this cool multi-radius-thing going on. The tips and tails have been slimmed down a bit from the Spar’s original dimensions so they’re not grabby at high speed in variable snow, which gives them a true 21m radius for their full length. A little rocker tips and tails so they enter and release easily, but race stock camber underfoot.”
“Totally a blast. Confident edges and nimble short turns in the narrow and spicy, but I can also open it up to GS arcs and warp speed on the wide open stuff. It’s like having both Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn at the same time, totally a dream. Is that drone ready yet?”
If you truly believe it’s all about the uphill, then brother, you already know where you can go. I climb mountains—and Lord do I love climbing them—so that I can ski down them, ideally as fast as possible. The Folsom Customs Spar 88 “Summit Express” is the ultimate ski mountaineering tool for skiers. No question, it’ll get you up there just as quick as your legs can kick’n’glide or set a booter, with loads of energy in reserve.
And there’s only one thing to do with all that extra, pent-up mountain man mojo.
Cause when the drone’s buzzing above you in flawless blue skies, and you wanna share this perfect day’s Zen with the folks back home; when your skiing’s gotta be just as beautiful as the rock walls on either side of you; when tail-gunning and side slipping a gorgeous chute is always totally lame. When it’s all about the uphill, but it’s actually really entirely about the down.
“Yeah buddy, this is gonna be insane! I’m dropping in 3…”
The Folsom Customs Summit Express is the only ski for you.
Check out the drone angle of the line Doug describes here over on his Instagram account, the man can ski. Also note: the “Summit Express” is the term we coined for the build style on these skis. Our Spar 88 with modified tip and tail dimensions, aspen / bamboo wood core blend, full carbon composite layup, and our Directional Rocker profile. To get started on your custom skis fill out a Custom Fit Form today and an expert ski designer will be in touch within 1-2 business days.