Aside from running SASS Global Travel‘s day to day communications and trip development, Pete Connolly works as both Head Guide and Mountain Operations Director at SASS’s on-snow locations in Argentina and Japan. Add in a plethora of skiing across the US and Canada and you’ve got a skier that requires durable and properly built products. An advocate since he first stepped into a pair of Folsom Skis in 2016, this is Pete’s perspective on the importance of owning custom skis, and specifically how Folsom and Pete worked together to land on what is now his favorite pair of skis…
I had my 192 cm Raptures built last July right before heading to Argentina for the season. My pair of 192 cm Primaries were already coming with me and were fitted with alpine bindings, so I wanted a pow ski for touring. As much as I love my Primaries, I ended up only skiing them 5 days. The Rapture worked on everything the Andes threw at them… and the Andes are not known for consistency of conditions.
Shape: Rapture (148.122.138 mm) – These are the standard dimensions and I wouldn’t change a thing here. When even fatter skis first hit the scene, I was all in. Over the past few years, I have cut back on waist size every season and definitely feel like I have found the sweet-spot here at 122. Absolutely no need for any more surface area. I can’t wait to ski these in Japan (injury prevented me from Japan this past year and these sat patiently in my gear room all winter).
Length: 192 cm – I’m 6’4” and just under 200 lbs so I need a ski that fits me proportionally. I did not opt for the 196 cm, but they are every bit big enough and stable enough. Saving on the weight for the uphill ended up being a good call.
Core Blend: Poplar & Bamboo – This was a choice predominately made on the basis of weight. Since I was planning on touring in these, the lighter Poplar core blend had the dampening and strength I want without the weight of adding maple. I am personally not a fan of carbon fiber skis for any skiing that is going to see hardpack. I find them hard on the body and lifeless. If you want a 100% touring ski that only sees pow, reducing the weight a bit more with carbon fiber might be a good call, but given the variance in conditions I ski, Folsom’s standard fiberglass blend was the right call.
Rocker Profile: Powder Rocker – Starting at the bottom and working my way up… The tail has a subtle rocker that makes these playful powder skis, but they don’t lose their power or stability. My Primaries run camber through the tail and I love that ski’s stability all over the mountain, but for a build that carries the Rapture’s width and powder preference, adding tail rocker was the right move. The inclusion of the slight camber that measures at about 2 mm is what really separates this ski from my past powder-oriented touring skis. The stability and power that this provides in alternative conditions is only an add-on to how playful and responsive it makes the float. With a bit more significant rocker in the tip (the Rapture standard), they stay up while I’m forward, but are in no way floppy. This profile makes for a playful, drivable ski that floats, carves and smashes.
Tail Shape – This is the one mistake I made. I should have gone with a flat tail for my skins, but opted for the rounded twin instead. Not sure why I made that call, but with the amount that I have toured and plan to tour on these, I was wrong. If you’re going to be attaching skins to your Folsoms at anytime, there’s no reason not to add a flat spot to your tails. It has next to no effect on the skis’ performance and will just make your life easier.
I was not expecting these things to be “playful”. I mean, powder skiing is playful, but these skis bounce, hop and land with the best of them. Although they are certainly not the lightest skis in the world, with my Marker Kingpins on them, on the way up I have never thought to myself, “ugh, I should have a lighter ski for this”. On the way down I am beyond stoked every time.
I’m a big guy that puts a lot of wear on his gear putting in long days both for work and for fun. The quality and durability of all of Folsom’s skis are a huge reason for my devotion. After a season hopping between, around, over and on the relatively young and sharp rocks of the wind-scoured Andes, I still hadn’t pierced the base through to the core. And that wasn’t for lack of trying… I tend to live by the concept of “tools, not jewels”.
The constantly changing conditions of the Andes allowed for me to see these skis really shine. Had I skied these in Japan first, I may never have known their value in all snow-types. From bottomless blower days in the hardwood trees, to wide open pow bowls, to South American spines, to the terribly groomed Patagonian piste-skiing, to heavy wetness, to that ankle-deep wind-buffed alpine pow that fills my dreams right now as I prepare to head south again… The Raptures handled it all. As I said, these things can float, carve AND smash.
On top of all this, I actually got to straight up design my own topsheets for my Folsom Skis. As a graphic designer and a skier, there is no better canvas I get to work with. These are an amalgamation of a few of my Folsom graphics… Argentinian Condors dipped in the land of the rising sun (or something like that).
I’m leaving for another year at SASS Argentina next week and this will be the first year in the past 10 that I may only bring one pair of skis…
…Just kidding. I’m definitely bringing the Primaries too.