La Sportiva RST 2.0

Light, nimble, fun. The La Sportiva RST 2.0 are a straight-forward pair of skis that are great at what they do well; and for the couple areas where they come up short, this isn’t the ski you would be looking for, anyway.

One thing that unquestionably got my attention about these skis is their weight – particularly the fact that my pair came in well under the listed weight of 1190g (167cm) from the Sportiva US website. With Dynafit Superlight 2.0 bindings mounted (which actually weight about 180g each) the skis came in at 1203 and 1209g each meaning the skis are darn close to a kilo each, and that Sportiva has enough control over their manufacturing to come within 10g or 1% on their weight variance from ski to ski [Note: Dynafit is extremely consistent with their weight variance from one piece to another which is why I would estimate the most that the right and left binding would vary from each other would be 4g or 2%, which just reinforces how accurate La Sportiva is with their fabrication].

Taking the weight into account, these skis are also an incredible bargain. With La Sportiva partnering with Ski Trab for 2016-17 on their range of skinny mountaineering skis these skis are starting to be reduced more than a typical end-of-season ski that would otherwise carry-over. I was able to pro-deal my skis for so little that there was no way I could pass up the opportunity. Does getting a good deal make the skis feel better on the mountain? No, but these skis are outright fun on their own and getting a good deal on them means that you hopefully have a few dollars left over to spend on something else that you were needing which could make your overall skiing experience better.

The final superficial comment is on the cosmetics of the skis. They are sexy. At least if you like clean European aesthetics. The down side is that the black top sheet – while impressively durable so far – can attract snow in a way that is positively magnetic. Whether headed up or down, or simply skating across the bottom of a resort to the lift, these skis seemed to accumulate snow all over the top sheets when the temperature hovers around -10C/15F or below. The converse is that on a bright, sunny day with temps around 0C/32F, the top sheets seem to acquire heat well enough to quickly melt off snow.

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On the snow, the RST remind me of similar width skis from Dynafit like the 7Summits, and Nanga Parabat but with a greater level of playfulness and pop. Setting the RST on edge is a joy – it’s a ski that really likes to turn – but that joy is equalled by how the ski jumps out of a turn as you flatten it out and head down the fall line. I skied the 7Summits a good deal last year and while that is a very nice ski in its own right, it just doesn’t match the smoothness or liveliness of the RST.

On my recent trip across southern Colorado I skied the RST 2.0 almost exclusively. Conditions ranged from groomed corduroy to ice to ankle-deep powder to spring slush. In all honesty, there is nothing that the RST did not do well across that range.

Conditions at Purgatory were particularly gruesome when I arrived in the afternoon after driving down from Crested Butte. Runs has been tracked-out and rutted from a morning of use, and snow that had been groomed and re-frozen for the last month (Durango Mountain hadn’t had new snow since late January according to iSnowReport) had turned into a dense, wet slush in sunny areas and bullet-proof crust in colder, shady spots. Despite conditions running the gamut of nasty the RST were never pushed outside their comfort zone. Even plowing across mounds of slush that had previously resembled moguls wasn’t enough to push them around or make me second-guess their abilities.

If you are like me and love to endlessly link turns, dancing and darting across the mountain, this is definitely a ski to consider. The flexibility of the ski, sidecut radius (17m), and edge hold give you the ability to make impossibly tight turns; and while long, GS-style turns on the ski doesn’t have the locked-in feel of a stiffer, heavier ski it will respond enthusiastically with just a hint of edging to engage the turn.

Compared to my mid-fat skis (Movement Shift, 169cm), the RST has an impressive ability to do just about anything you ask of it. While the Movement skis will certainly reward you when you are really driving them, they require always skiing aggressively. Skis like that can either feel dead, or petulant and unwieldy when you sit back and try to cruise – the RST respond energetically when you are driving them, but also feel playful when you are cruising a run after a day of ups and downs.

Of course, no ski is perfect for everything: On steep ice a straighter sidecut would be appreciated, because the ski is well-bowed by the time you get purchase underfoot. And in powder deeper than 10-15cm you would want a fatter ski to give you better float.

Whether you are an expert skier or an enthusiastic novice, the RST 2.0 can serve you well. If you aren’t skiing at the extremes of the sport (deep powder at one end, and steep ice at the opposite extent), this is a great one-ski quiver for someone who really values light weight performance. When you consider the prices that you can find on these skis right now, it seems like you’d need to look for a reason not to grab a pair.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to get a cheap pair of La Sportiva Syborg boots to try with these – the RST 2.0 setup is just over 600g lighter per foot than my Movement skis with Dynafit Speed Radical bindings – saving another 300g from my boots would be amazing …

LA SPORTIVA RST 2.0 SKIS
5 peaks
MSRP: $579.95, available online between $409-499
Size (cm):             157         167          177
Radius (m):           16           17            18
Nose (mm):          116         116          116
Waist (mm):          77           77            77
Tail (mm):             106          106         106
Camber (mm):    12            12            12
Length tested: 167cm
Weight: 1190g claimed, approximately 1020g measured
Key features:
Lightweight Karuba wood core, FSC/PEFC environmentally certified construction, Tri-Axial and Bi-Axial carbon and fiberglass laminates, traditional full-cambered design
Pros: Versatility, smoothness, edge-hold, playfulness, weight
Cons: Deep powder performance, sidecut too deep for steep ice

 

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