Where: The famous highway through the Canadian Rockies between Lake Louise and Jasper.
Why: Dry powder, amazing scenery and easy-access couloirs, even in May.
Suggested ski: Elan Ibex 94 Carbon
Something about the geology of the Canadian Rockies lends itself to creating skiable couloirs, and the Icefields Parkway is the best way of accessing them. Just about anything in sight is within a day trip from the highway. When the avalanche stability hits moderate or low, there are few places on earth better for peak bagging and couloir shredding.
by RYAN STUART in December 2017 issue
Elan Ibex 94 Carbon
BEST FOR: Ski mountaineering * LENGTHS: 163, 170, 177, 184 * RADIUS: 21@177 * SIDECUT: 130-94-111 * WEIGHT: 2.9kg/pair
There’s a lot of technology built into the Ibex 94 Carbon, part of Elan’s new family of touring skis that also includes the 94 Carbon XLT, 84 Carbon XLT and 84 Carbon. It starts with a thin wood core then adds two carbon tubes. Hollow and running from tip to tail, parallel to the ski’s edges, the two tubes allow for less wood without impacting torsional stability and rebound, basically how well the ski holds an edge and how lively it feels. The construction is reinforced with fibreglass, and then an aluminum plate is added under the binding along with composite inserts at the tip and tail to absorb vibration and improve stability, particularly at high speed. Finally, it’s all laid up into what Elan calls Bridge construction—an arched topsheet in the tip and tail that helps shed snow and improve downhill performance. On the snow the Ibex 94 Carbon felt powerful but also light. It toured nicely, swinging through kick-turns and up hills with minimal effort. On the way down the tip and tail rocker and camber underfoot combined with plenty of sidecut to create a charging feel. In hard snow the ski could arc ’em in any turn size needed. With a square tail, it likes a solid finish to a turn versus more of a smear. In soft snow the wide shovel did its thing, bringing the ski to the surface. But it was in steep and gnarly terrain that testers really liked this ski. “More precise than playful,” said Ryan Stuart, SC’s technical editor. “No matter how technical or tight the terrain got, I felt as though I could nail the turn with this ski.”