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G3 Roamr 108 Review

Only the most downhill oriented backcountry skiers will choose a product this heavy.
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Price:  $679 List | $474.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Big, stiff, heavy
Cons:  Heavy
Manufacturer:   G3
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 10, 2020
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 16
  • Weight - 25% 1
  • Stability at Speed - 15% 8
  • Firm Snow - 20% 6
  • Powder - 20% 8
  • Crud and Poor Snow - 20% 8

Our Verdict

We recommend these skis. They go downhill very, very well. The flip side of that is that they are quite heavy on the uphill. They're 8.5 pounds, and at this time in history, is the absolute maximum we would recommend for human-powered skiing. Of course, a lot of people are out using skis this heavy. However, those people that are out skiing a lot don't use skis this heavy. You really need to require downhill performance to justify the weight of the Roamr. Especially if you will mount these with "crossover" AT bindings, your set up will be up to twice as heavy as your alternatives. For the weight, you'll get great downhill performance. You're a "grown-up"; make your choice. But realize that lighter gear has its perks.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
G3 Roamr 108
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $474.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$949 List$719.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$699.99 at Backcountry
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$489.99 at Amazon
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Pros Big, stiff, heavyLight, well-balanced downhill performanceStable, damp, predictableInexpensive, balanced downhill performance, average weightSolid all around downhill performance, compatible with excellent Dynafit SpeedSkins
Cons HeavyExpensive, ski “short”Mid-weight, no real stand out performanceSki “short”, powder skiing stability suffers at super high speedHeavier than average
Bottom Line They ski darn good, but you need to be pretty motivated to skin skis this weighty on a daily basis.For all but the most specialized of circumstances or users, these are the best backcountry skis on the market.There is nothing remarkable about these skis, and that is a good thing.Well-balanced, all-around skis for the human-powered skier looking for durable and lasting value.The Beast leans decidedly in the downhill performance direction; they are heavy by comparison and for the dimensions, but they ski better than most.
Rating Categories G3 Roamr 108 Kastle TX98 Black Crows Camox Freebird Salomon MTN Explore 95 Dynafit Beast 98
Weight (25%)
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1
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
Stability At Speed (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Firm Snow (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Powder (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Crud And Poor Snow (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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8
10
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7
10
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7
Specs G3 Roamr 108 Kastle TX98 Black Crows Camox... Salomon MTN... Dynafit Beast 98
Weight Per Pair 8.5lbs 6.2 lbs 6.7 lbs 6.8lbs 6.8 lbs
Measured Length 185cm 177 cm 182 cm 177cm 183 cm
Manufacturer Length 185 cm 178 cm 183 cm 177 cm 184 cm
Available Lengths 171, 178, 185, 192 cm 168, 178, 188 cm 162, 172, 178, 183 cm 169, 177, 184 cm 170, 177, 184 cm
Claimed Dimensions 139 / 108 / 124mm 128/98/117 mm 130/97/115 mm 130 / 95 / 116mm 136/98/117 mm
Measured Dimensions 140/107/123mm 122/97/116 mm 137/97/117 mm 130/95/116mm 126/97/116 mm
Weight Per Ski grams 1958g,1908g,average:1933g 1394g, 1400g, average: 1397g 1510g, 1509g, average: 1510g 1547g,1529g,average:1538g 1541g, 1553g, average: 1547g
Weight Per Pair 3866g 2794g 3024g 3076g 3094g
Weight per Surface Area Ratio, g/cm^2 0.85 0.71 0.71 0.76 0.75
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Cap Hybrid Semi-cap Half-cap Sandwich
Core Material 3D-shaped poplar, paulownia blend, triaxial glass, 7000-series aluminum Karuba Wood Paulownia, poplar 3D Full Woodcore, C/FX reinforcement Ash/poplar wood
Waist Width,mm 108 98 97 95 98
Radius NotReported 22 meters 18 meters 18 meters 21 meters
Rocker/Camber Tip rocker Low camber Tip rocker, camber underfoot Rocker, camber, rocker Double Ellipse Rocker

Our Analysis and Test Results

G3's Roamr 108 is a big, heavy touring ski or a lightweight resort ski. Their branding sort of reflects this. G3 describes these as "a great choice for anyone looking to ski in and out of bounds". Further, they say the G3 Roamr is "perfect for that skier spending 70% of their time in the backcountry and 30% at the resort". Our backcountry ski test team takes issue with the idea that one can select ski gear that will work well inbounds and out, but here isn't the place to really expand on that soapbox. (well, ok, we'll reach a little bit). A "quiver of one" resort/backcountry set-up will ski the resort-like budget resort gear and be twice the weight of basic backcountry gear. Your total cost for this quiver-of-one thanks to the greater expense of this "crossover" gear, won't be much less than two sets of dedicated budget gear. On the topic of value, your expensive BC gear will last much, much longer if you aren't using it at the resort).

Performance Comparison


Some of that perfect January 2020 powder. No better testing for big guns like the Roamr 108.
Some of that perfect January 2020 powder. No better testing for big guns like the Roamr 108.

Weight


On our calibrated, digital scale, we found each of the tested G3 Roamr 108, in size 185cm length, to weigh an average of 1933 grams. This adds up to a total weight of 8.5 lbs for the pair, and it's the heaviest ski we tested. It is also the absolute heaviest ski model we would consider appropriate for backcountry skiing. If you pair it with beefy "crossover" bindings, and you will surely be tempted to do so by current trends and branding efforts, this ski can be part of a setup that weighs more than some resort set ups. Proceed carefully.

Mounted with trendy "crossover" bindings  like we did  the Roamr 108s can easily weigh twice what light ski and binding setups do. The required wide skins further exaggerate the weight differences.
Mounted with trendy "crossover" bindings, like we did, the Roamr 108s can easily weigh twice what light ski and binding setups do. The required wide skins further exaggerate the weight differences.

Stability at Speed


That weight lends great stability. Weight and stability are directly related, for the most part. In commenting on stability, one tester pointed out that this G3 "has the similar stiffness of a playful alpine ski". That impression is borne of the weight and stability. Whether in the steeps or at high speed, or both, the G3 rides more similarly to a resort ski than a backcountry ski. This is cool.

Topsheet listed dimensions of the tested Roamr 108.
Topsheet listed dimensions of the tested Roamr 108.

Firm Snow


The Roamr is stiff, torsionally and longitudinally. This stiffness, as verified by your typical "hand flex" test, is correlated with the rather favorable firm snow performance we found. Now, the firm snow performance is good for wide skis. Narrower skis, all else equal and to a point, will work better on ice and hard snow than wide ones. If you want the width for the soft snow portions of your skiing, but demand firm snow performance too, you'll be psyched with the Roamr. Essentially, the mass of the Roamr lends high level ski performance in all settings, especially as compared to lighter BC gear.

Tip profile and camber of the Roamr 108.
Tip profile and camber of the Roamr 108.

Powder


Big, sized long, with all the right trendy dimensional attributes, the G3 Roamr 108 is a delight in excellent soft snow. Whether your technique is honed and modern, sloppy and out of date, or anywhere in between, you'll find something to love about powder skiing with this Canadian sled. We sure did. January of 2020 brought record snowfall to Wyoming's Tetons, and our test team was in exactly the right position to take full advantage. Deep powder days with the Roamr were worth the effort required to get them to the top of each run. On the other hand, the same sort of deep powder days were just as enjoyable on lighter skis. Good powder snow is good skiing, regardless of your equipment.

The G3 Roamr in testing. We can't say we were psyched to lug 'em uphill  but we dug the performance on the down.
The G3 Roamr in testing. We can't say we were psyched to lug 'em uphill, but we dug the performance on the down.

Crud/Poor Snow


We like these skis in poor snow. Breakable crust, deep-and-slushy, or tracked out, the G3 blasts through. Most of our testing is in the backcountry, but it is worth commenting on a unique resort skiing experience we had on the G3 Roamr. It is uncommon to ski true breakable crust in a resort. Breakable crust takes some time to form. You need fresh, soft snow, and then weather events over time, either sun or wind, to crust up the surface. Operating resorts don't leave their snow undisturbed long enough to generate truly rugged breakable crust conditions. However, early this testing season, as Grand Targhee resort was incrementally opening its terrain, they got a perfect sequence of events to generate such conditions.

The entire upper section of their terrain received a big dump, followed by rain and rime, just before they could open the main lift for the season. A bunch of us lined up for the announced, impending opening of this lift and summitted to thousands of acres of the most gnarly trap crust. Our lead tester was riding the Roamr 108 that day. He's a little twisted and loved a handful of runs of "testing" and skiing crust-over-pow-over-gravel. His technique improved that day, and his comfort with the poor snow performance of this G3 benefited. In short, they did real well, and we recommend seeking out those super rare opportunities to ski miles of heinous snow. As compared to lift-served, untracked breakable crust, perfect powder days are a dime-a-dozen.

Value


Ski prices are largely consolidating. There are the outliers on the upper end, for sure. The middle to low-end of the price spectrum is pretty clustered together. The G3 Roamr is right in the mix with the middle to low end of the price spectrum. Within about a hundred dollars of the price of the Roamr, you will find 90% of the skis on the market. Shop for performance and weight, within this narrow price range, and you can't go wrong.

Conclusion


The Roamr is more like a resort ski that can be pressed into inefficient use in the backcountry than it is like a dedicated human-powered product.


Jediah Porter