Movement Alp Tracks 100 Review
Cons: Expensive, generalized downhill performance
Manufacturer: Movement Skis
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Movement Alp Tracks 100
|Price||$1,200 List||$591.96 at Backcountry|
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|$489.95 at Amazon|
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|$719.92 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Light for the uphill, balanced downhill performance for all conditions||Stable, damp, predictable||All-around performance, damp, inexpensive, available, sweet spot weight||Floaty fast powder performance, stable at speed and through tough snow||Fast float, incredible weight (for the size), acceptable poor snow performance|
|Cons||Expensive, generalized downhill performance||Mid-weight, no real stand out performance||Soft and damp||Heavy, high leverage in steep and firm conditions, demand close skier attention||Abysmal, scary firm snow performance, specialized application|
|Bottom Line||Choose this ski for all-year, all-purpose human-powered skiing in any region of the world||Good skis for good skiers in all kinds of conditions; the definition of all around backcountry skis||Inexpensive, proven all-around performance that's suitable for a wide variety of backcountry skiers and ski conditions||Skis on the absolute heaviest end of what we’d consider suitable for backcountry skiing, these offer the best downhill performance in our review||Perhaps the most specialized skis in our test, it's optimized for the deepest of days in the deepest of regions|
|Rating Categories||Movement Alp Tracks...||Black Crows Camox F...||K2 Wayback 106||Black Crows Corvus...||Voile HyperDrifter|
|Firm Snow (20%)|
|Crud and Poor Snow (20%)|
|Stability at Speed (15%)|
|Specs||Movement Alp Tracks...||Black Crows Camox F...||K2 Wayback 106||Black Crows Corvus...||Voile HyperDrifter|
|Weight Per Pair||5.6 lbs||6.7 lbs||6.9 lbs||8.5 lbs||7.0 lbs|
|Weight Per Ski||1270g, 1272g, average: 1271g||1510g, 1509g, average: 1510g||1518g, 1557g, average: 1537g||1940g, 1923g, average: 1932g||1545g, 1585g, average: 1565g|
|Weight Per Pair||2542g||3024g||3075g||3863g||3130g|
|Weight Per Surface Area Ratio, g/cm^2||0.62||0.71||0.71||0.86||0.64|
|Available Lengths||170, 177, 185cm||162, 172, 178, 183cm||172, 179, 186cm||176, 183, 188cm||171, 178, 186cm|
|Construction Type||Cap||Semi-cap||Sandwich Cap Hybrid||Sandwich||Cap|
|Core Material||Karuba||Paulownia, poplar||Paulownia||Poplar||Paulownia|
|Rocker/Camber||Tip rocker, camber underfoot||Tip rocker, camber underfoot||Tip rocker, slight camber underfoot||Tip and tail rocker, camber underfoot||Tip rocker, camber underfoot|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Movement's Alp Tracks 100 is a modern classic touring ski. Its weight, dimensions, and performance are familiar and tuned for optimum human-powered efficiency and enjoyment. For all-around, all-season ski touring, this award winner is our favorite ski in a while. You will pay for it with dollars and likely with some durability (light gear like this just doesn't last like heavier stuff, all else equal), but you will experience great uphill and downhill performance.
We report on the weight of all our tested skis in a variety of fashions. It is common convention now to refer to a ski's weight in terms of mass of one ski, in grams. The tested pair of Alp Tracks 100, on our calibrated scale, weighs 1270g and 1272g, respectively. Just two grams separating them is really, really good. That difference could be much greater for a different selection of the same exact make and model of ski. Manufacturing variations will always leave a range of possible weights for any particular size and type of ski.
The pair of skis weigh 5.6 pounds. Further, we calculated "weight per surface area" using a simple, repeatable formula. We found this Movement product to be .62g per square centimeter. See our How We Test article for elaboration on the weight per surface area calculation. Few other skis on the market and in our test better this weight per surface area.
No matter how you look at weight, the Alp Tracks 100 is very light. For its function and for its size, this product is an uphill-devouring dream. Equip it with tiny bindings, fast-and-light skins, and pair it with modern, high-mobility touring boots for maximum benefit.
Stability at Speed
The flip side of weight, generally, is stability. Whether in steep and meticulous riding or wide-open fast shredding, you want your skis to offer a predictable and consistent platform. Attributes that lend stability in both speed and steeps are consistent; a ski stable at speed is also stable in steeps. We found, overall, the Alp Tracks 100 to be stable enough for all-around, intermediate to expert backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering.
A highlight of our testing season was a week in June of 2020, as the first Covid shutdowns eased, on Mount Shasta in California. We had conditions that demanded stability and our lead tester pushed the Alp Tracks. First, wide-open perfect corn slopes allowed us to let 'em run. We liked what we found. We could make predictable, big, fast turns while soaking in the position and letting the gear do its job. Next, on a different day and a separate summit effort, clouds came in and shut down both visibility and softening of the spring corn snow. A few thousand of steep, zero-vis, rock-hard, tracked-and-chunky ski mountaineering taxed the team and the kit. Even solid, narrow, heavy in-bounds skis would have been maxed out in these conditions. We made the entire ski descent in good style and with dynamic (albeit slow) turns, thanks to the stability of this Movement product.
Hard, icy snow is demanding. Whether on white-out volcano crusts (see above Mount Shasta account) or spring Teton mountaineering, we were able to get a few tens of thousands of feet of ice on the Alp Tracks 100. If we were only going to ski hard snow, we wouldn't pick the Movement. This is an all-around touring ski for all seasons; there are better options for pure firm snow riding.
That being said, the Alp Tracks 100 does well enough. Our test team was comfortable on this ride everywhere that our risk tolerance allows. That is about all anyone can ask of a ski mountaineering ski. Edging is uniform fore and aft, and the edge grip is even and adequate. To say that skis grip "tenaciously" is cliche and inaccurate. We do it sometimes, but we don't like when we do.
You don't want skis to grab ice at all costs. You want even, predictable edge hold. Nonetheless, this sort of easy and lazy hyperbole pervades ski review text. Other skis will grab more securely and with even greater confidence and efficiency than the Alp Tracks. However, most of those that do better on firm snow than this award winner are much heavier, poorer in soft snow, or both.
Oh golly; powder snow is perfect. We have to risk gloating a little bit. Our test team hunkered down through the height of 2020 Covid restrictions with amazing Teton spring powder skiing right out the door. We carefully, and as-responsibly-as-we-could-justify, got out and got about 50000 vertical feet of powder snow on this Alp Tracks 100. They are a blast. There is just enough float for the deepest of days. The stiff construction belies a floating performance.
We can't call these "surfy" powder skis; the experience is more a carving, slicing sort of powder turn. Sized for efficiency and all-around performance (177cm for our 5'10", 165 pound averaged test team), the Alp Tracks 100 is bouncy and lively. They prefer medium radius turns, but an expert can readily shorten 'em up. Further, as noted above, high-speed enjoyment is possible. With perfect snow, full-throttle skiing gets you as much velocity as you should probably take on without ski patrol nearby.
You are going to face "bad" snow in your backcountry skiing. This is a fact. Some patterns and regions have more than others, but every backcountry skier's day/week/season will involve tough snow of some sort. Generally, when we think of poor snow in the backcountry, we think of breakable crust and/or sloppy, heavy stuff. Each of these presents on a continuum of severity. Every ski and every skier, somewhere along that continuum, will need to revert to "survival" tactics. The Alp Tracks 100 does better than most, especially considering the weight.
We assess poor snow performance while skiing poor snow. Deducing any sort of ski performance from construction and design attributes is problematic, at best. While we had piles of amazing experiences on this award winner, we also got more than our share of tough stuff.
Transitional, spring "powder" skiing involves sloppy snow at the heat of the day and breakable crusts on either side. We did lots of both of these. In breakable crust, we had to apply a fair amount of "energy" to get the Alp Tracks in and out, respectively, of this trap. When we did so, though, we could continue to make linked turns well past the mid-point of the aforementioned poor snow continuum. In sloppy, warm snow, the Alp Tracks feels suction-y like other relatively large touring skis but is maneuverable and consistent.
These are not inexpensive touring skis. For all the performance accolades, you will pay. Their sale price is still more than regular retail of some other options. To get this high downhill performance at such a lightweight, you will pay a premium.
Further, ponder potential durability of the Alp Tracks. We haven't tested these exact skis to failure (yet… we'll keep at it), but our experience with other skis in this size and weight class suggests that performance and integrity will suffer or fully fail somewhere just past a hundred thousand vertical feet of moderate to high-energy, average-coverage human-powered skiing. That will likely be a few seasons for the average backcountry tourer. Beefier skis can be pushed up to about a quarter million feet, by comparison. Larger skiers, riding faster (or in-bounds…), and/or in poorer snow coverage will need to down-grade these number estimates. Our rule of thumb here is very rough. What you could take away from this is that the heaviest skis could last more than twice as long as the lightest.
We love skis in this category; about 1200 grams per ski, about 95-100mm under foot, with well-rounded downhill performance. It is no coincidence that our top award winners, for years now, have had these approximate specifications. Specific models come and go, and the proverbial "rising tide" improves each and all available options. We don't mean to diminish Movement's efforts with praise of this general category of ski. Movement's entry surpasses other currently available options, and they have a full line of super light skis for human-powered backcountry. The Alp Tracks 100 hits a sweet spot and quickly became our favorite in the most recent testing season.
— Jediah Porter
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