Folsom Athlete Doug Mock is a touring machine. He’s been skiing on Folsom Skis for over a decade, and has seen the evolution of Folsom’s touring skis from day 1. Here’s Doug’s view of the touring ski evolution specific to Folsom, and how it has changed his skiing for the better…
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: backcountry skiing is hard. But lucky for you, the team at Folsom is making it easier.
I’ve been along for every step of the evolution that has led to Folsom’s new UltraLITE touring construction. It has been an uphill journey.
My first Folsom touring skis (gosh, it’s been ten years!) were like all touring skis of that era. Just regular old alpine skis, with bindings that could go uphill. No one knew any better, and, well, they certainly skied great on the way down. But backcountry skiing is hard, and those skis were heavy.
In the spring of 2014, I picked up a pair of Folsoms built with a new construction they were calling MTX. Instead of the usual fiberglass to create stiffness and pop, the MTX skis used carbon fiber, cutting a pound per ski. They were dope. Still are. When the first snow falls on Colorado each October, my MTX skis are ready for the shark tank, a testament to the extraordinary durability of Folsom’s handbuilt boards.
From there, we evolved. The poplar wood in the cores got swapped for aspen around 2018, dropping additional weight while keeping that sweet, damp Folsom feel. We developed new shapes specifically for touring, like the Spar 88 with narrowed tips and tails which we called the Summit Express, our first true mountaineering ski. With each development in our construction, the hard work of backcountry skiing got a little easier. The grams fell away.
But building lighter skis did come with consequences. While they retained all of the famous Folsom durability, the lighter skis lost a bit of power, especially in mixed conditions.
In hopes of narrowing the performance gap, I spent the spring of 2021 testing a brand new material for ski construction. Folsom was prototyping an Aerospace-grade Functionalized Graphene Oxide additive, which when added to epoxy and hardener, created such unbelievable performance in our backcountry touring skis, you should just read that blog instead of letting me summarize.
Then in 2022 came Folsom’s new UltraLITE construction (game changer). Like when the first Homo Sapiens evolved from whatever it was that came before them. Many previous iterations, then POW! Something totally new. And unbelievably awesome.
Folsom removed the bamboo from the traditionally Aspen & Bamboo touring core and ran with a vertically laminated Aspen core. The weight savings here was amplified by an optimized core-to-sidewall ratio, and with the Functionalized Graphene Oxide Additive, kept an insane level of power to such a light ski.
The new UltraLITEs are the skis I’ve been praying Folsom would build for over ten years. It took new cores, new sidewalls, all the Functionalized Graphene Oxide, and so much more. Like achieving a summit, you do it one step at a time. But gosh darn, now that they’re here, I couldn’t be happier.
My UltraLITEs come in at a competitive weight (1400 g/ski) to those silly skimo racing skis you see the knuckleheads in Lycra running uphill with. So: uphill is awesome. But they’re still Folsoms. They’re still handbuilt, they still use the best handselected materials out there, and yes – they still SHRED on the descent.
A competent backcountry skier deserves a ski that excels in backcountry conditions (no Noon Groom here). Windboard, néve, breakable crust, chalk, corn, and still-frozen not-corn. The UltraLITE is Folsom’s lightest construction ever, and is supremely confident in all the “mountaineering” snow types. And the good stuff? No problem. Hop turn steeps, April primo corn, pow of every depth, you get the picture.
I’m not gonna tell you that these new skis—loaded with up-to-the-second technology, over ten years of iterative progression, and of course the personal, hand-crafted knowledge of the finest ski builders on the planet—make backcountry skiing easy. If you want easy, I’ve heard that this is “The Golden Age Of Ski Passes”.
But if you want to get onto a summit that’s higher and farther than any mountain you’ve ever climbed; maybe hit that chute you’ve been looking at for years; or finally buy that elusive first touring setup, this is a damn good build style to do it with.
I’ll see you in the skintrack…