The New Scott Super Guide 95
For the 17/18 season, the Super Guide
received another new top sheet graphic. All other aspects of construction remain the same. Below you can see the evolution of the graphics, from the 15/16 model that we tested on the far right, to the 16/17 version, and the newest look on the far left.
The Scott Super 95 is definitely super, and it will easily guide you to all kinds of backcountry snowy adventures. Steep and firm, casual and powdery, or everything in between. This is an excellent all-around backcountry ski.
Ten years ago backcountry skiers (and we should know… our test team has been at it since long before earned turns were trendy) could choose from heavy resort skis or lightweight products from climbing companies and small garage tinkerers. The light products were serviceable, but the entire field has taken a jump forward with the entry of the big dogs. The Super Guide 95
is emblematic of this trend and is a solid performing backcountry ski for all-around use. Its dimensions and design philosophy are "on point," consistent with that of the other top scoring products in our test. The construction is modern but understated, the dimensions are solidly middle of the road, and the resulting performance is great.
Jed testing the Scott Super Guide and an REI Stratocloud down jacket for an upcoming winter jacket update.
Photo: Jediah Porter
At right around 1500g per ski, the Super Guide
is right in the sweet spot for touring ski weight. Generally, skis lighter than 1400g are considered "ultralight", while those above 1900g or so start looking more like resort skis. All our Top Pick Award winners are outside of this "sweet spot." The snow-type specialists, the DPS Tour1 Wailer 99
for powder, are lighter and the hard-charging monster Dynafit Chugach
is heavier. The Best Buy Fischer Hannibal
is also in the ultralight category. The remainder of our tested skis, including the Editors' Choice, are between 1400 and 1800g. Close weight competitors to the Super Guide
include the Dynastar Mythic
, the K2 Wayback 96
, and the Volkl V-Werks BMT 90
. In the testing notes for every one of these skis, you'll find no complaints about touring ease nor for downhill performance. Right around 1500g is the ideal compromise of downhill versatility and all-day up-hilling efficiency.
Scott Super Guide 95, on the right. As compared to the Top Pick Dynafit Chugach, on the left, the Scott is light and nimble on your pack.
Photo: Meagan Buck Porter
Stability at Speed
We evaluate stability at speed by skiing fast. Correlated with stability at speed, to some degree, is stability in steep, more controlled skiing. In most cases, those that are stable at speed are also stable in the steeps. The Super Guide represents an exception to that correlation. Whether it is due to the short stature of the pair we tested, or some manufacturing material or technique, we found the Super Guide
to be one of the best steep tools, but to not really like to go fast. The dimensions and materials end up preferring slower speed, smaller radius turns. Jumping into steep terrain, however, is an exercise in reliable, confidence-inspiring performance. Perhaps one could size the Super Guide
up and get more speed stability. Or, and this is likely the most responsible thing to do for a variety of reasons, the user can reign in his or her enthusiasm while skiing in the backcountry and ride more slowly. If you are looking for a hard-charging backcountry monster, check out the very damp K2 Wayback 104
or the super beefed Dynafit Chugach
Lead test editor Jed Porter in the Tetons on October 6, 2016. What a way to motivate polishing up this review. The Scott Super Guide skied on shaky legs and good powder, over zero base. No rocks were hit in the capturing of this photo!
Photo: Jediah Porter
Firm Snow Performance
When the going got hard, the Scott
, and Fischer Hannibal
all found their stride just fine. We scored each of these three products a nine out of 10 for firm snow performance, and find that it is no coincidence that all are about the same width. These three hard snow experts are right around 95mm underfoot. We can reasonably predict that if you were to downsize the Scott
into the 80-something mm range, you'd have even better hard snow performance. At a given weight, there is a pretty strong inverse correlation between firm snow performance and waist width. For all-around purposes, a field in which the user will encounter all kinds of snow, right around 95mm waist width seems to be the sweet spot.
Jed Porter in Grand Teton National Park's "Broken Thumb" couloir. The Super Guide is a great all-around tool. All-around, in the Tetons at least, includes occasional rappels.
Photo: Meagan Buck Porter
Powder Snow Performance
On our lead test editors second ski day of the '16/'17 ski season, he chose the Super Guide 95 for a few thousand feet of perfect October Wyoming powder. With all the tested skis he had to choose from, putting miles on the Super Guide 95 was no consolation. They are bouncy, predictable, and solid. The preferred short radius was great on this particular day, as lurking sub-snow hazards dictated a slower pace anyway. If you ski wiggly "old school" powder turns, the Super Guide is a great choice. For going faster, the Wayback 104 or Chugach is likely a better choice. For a similar turning style, at an even lighter weight, check out the Top Pick DPS Tour1 Wailer 99. The Wailer skis similar to the Scott, but goes uphill with more than 200g less per foot.
Crud/Poor Snow Performance
We go to the mountains hoping for perfect powder or smooth edgable hard stuff. What we get is often "something else." All those types of snow that don't make it into ski movies do make up a significant portion of the conditions out there. If you throw a dart at the calendar, you are more likely to hit poor snow conditions than you are good snow conditions. It is the performance in tough stuff that sets skis apart. Designing skis is a complicated prospect. Which makes reviewing them similarly tough. There are many, many variables that inform the eventual performance of a given product. It is trendy and tempting to isolate the obvious variables and attribute performance to certain things. However, that does the ski and the consumer a great disservice. There are some general rules of thumb to go by, but the ultimate experience is a function of an interplay of various construction and design attributes. That said, we could point out that the middle of the road dimensions and light weight of the Scott
work against it in poor conditions while the carbon stiffeners and gently early rising tip are in its favor. The fact of the matter is that the Super Guide
skis tough snow good enough. There are better riding sticks, and there are worse. The similarly dimensioned Volkl BMT
handles breakable crust way better. The giant bruiser Chugach does way better in both breakable and in sloppy slush. The ultralight La Sportiva Vapor Nano
skis similarly, while the powder specialist DPS
doesn't handle the tough stuff as well as the Scott
Dimensions of the Scott Super Guide we tested.
Photo: Jediah Porter
The Super Guide 95
is a great "quiver of one" for any backcountry skier. It is forgiving enough for the newcomer, with performance attributes that reward the technician. It is light enough to lug on big missions but solid enough to be a daily driver. If you travel to different regions, particularly by air, the Super Guide
is a great choice. Like our Editors' Choice winner and Best Buy winner, the Scott
ski is versatile and ready for anything you might encounter. There are more specialized tools out there that could complement a large quiver, but the Scott
is a great all-around ride.
Super guide Jeff Witt on the Scott Super Guide 95. Deep in the Teton Pass backcountry, Jeff dug these skis on his first turns with them.
Photo: Jediah Porter
At full price the Super Guide is average. As compared to the Editors' Choice it is quite a bit less, but our Best Buy winner is much cheaper. The Super Guide, with a little more mass, is apt to be more durable than the Fischer Hannibal. Additionally, the Super Guide seems to be on sale more often than others.
The Scott Super Guide 95 is a great choice for anyone looking for an all-around, all-season backcountry ski. It will ride anything you can get it to, and you can get its reasonable weight well into the wild.
With 10 more mm of width underfoot, the Super Guide 105
is a soft and poor snow chaser's option. It'll be heavier, carry more snow on its top sheet, and not ski as well in firm snow. But many will be tempted by trends in that bigger direction.