Paradise, a small ski company based out of Calgary Alberta, describes the 22/23 VICE Tour as “A carbon fibre, backcountry super weapon; the lightweight ski that doesn't suck. Sister to the VICE 105, the VICE Tour was shaped with a flatter tail profile and tail clip attachment grooves to make the uphill a breeze. A damp, strong and playful construction conquers vertical before it charges down in ways other skis can only imagine. The VICE Tour is the peak of carbon fibre tech for a reasonable price.”
Strong and playful are certainly words that apply to the VICE Tour. With excellent edge hold, forgiving tip and tail flex and an excellent ratio of rocker/camber, the VICE Tours are exceptionally playful while maintaining enough dampness to ride well in a variety of conditions. Designed with an all-mountain unisex shape, you may think you have wondered onto yet another pair of generic skis from a major market brand, but rest assured - the VICE Tours pack enough subtle innovation and fine-tuned ski design to put a smile on your face every time, even in icy bumps. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the VICE Tours, a significant complement given the ill health of the February 2022 snowpack in most of the northern hemisphere.
The VICE Tour features a paulownia wood core laminated at 45 degrees to increase torsional rigidity. Two strips of aluminum run tip-to-tail to bolster longitudinal stiffness, as well as several layers of carbon fibre. The result is a lively, moderately stiff ski with enough dampening to make you forget you are riding a carbon ski on the downhill - no need for extra tight fillings.
HRC 48 (Rockwell Hardness 48 on the C scale, a standardized material test) extra thick metal edges add durability and fully wrap around the tip, ending just before the tail clip attachment points. Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE) also beefs up the VICE Tours - some lightweight touring focused brands opt for a ‘cap’ construction to save weight (the top sheet and fibreglass wrap around the core materials), but by electing to use UHMW-PE (plastic) sidewall construction Paradise can better protect and waterproof the core, leading to longer-lasting skis. To top things off a nylon textured top sheet keeps snow and ice from clumping on your top sheets and provides a neat, durable aesthetic.
The recommended mount point on the VICE Tours sits approximately 5cms back from the centre giving the skis a progressive and playful feel, trending the ski more towards the ‘freeride’ side of the ‘all mountain’ house. This geometry combines synergistically with the flex pattern and makes the ski come alive at speed and easily plane up in powder. Most importantly, the VICE Tours do an excellent job of adding playfulness and pop without sacrificing accessibility, and no particular design element is overwhelming.
Paradise Ski Co. has actively chosen sustainable materials in the design of all of their skis, selecting faster-growing, sustainably harvested species such as paulownia, bamboo and poplar. An active participant in One Tree Planted (a charity working towards helping businesses lessen their environmental impact), Paradise guarantees a tree is planted for every ski sold. They also feature an industry-leading 3-year warranty on their manufacturing, standing behind the integrity of their products.
The VICE Tour 105 is very well balanced with a moderate tip and tail rocker, subtle camber underfoot, and a width wide enough to float but skinny enough to efficiently edge. Moderately stiff underfoot, the combination of core materials and geometry makes the ski quick to pivot and strong on edge without sacrificing an overall smooth, buttery feel. The noticeably softer tips and tails allow the ski to easily release and float in deeper conditions, especially poignant given the more progressive mount point.
The VICE Tour skied well in a variety of conditions at a variety of speeds ranging from fast spring groomers to backcountry powder, dust on crust, chop, chalk, and every possible type of crust winter 2022 could muster (plenty of the breakable variety). During testing, the VICE Tour’s strongest performance was in modest amounts of powder, but by no means did it suffer on hardpack. Some of the more playful characteristics lent the skis to a slightly more upright, progressive stance but still allowed them to drive high-speed turns when they needed to. For the population of skiers to whom switch-skiing or spinning may be important, rest assured, the bag of tricks accessible to the VICE Tour appears to be bottomless given the weight, mount point and rocker lines.
The uphill/downhill performance ratio of the VICE Tours was excellent, and a claimed weight of 1678g makes them highly competitive in the ‘lightweight touring ski with an emphasis on downhill performance’ category. Even though it seems like every touring ski brand offers some kind of ‘anti-ice’ tech in their top sheets this one actually seems to work quite well and was a pleasant surprise on tours. The adaption of the tail to a more touring-oriented construction (both clip notch and shallower rocker profile) add thoughtfulness and utility. A strong ski choice for backcountry freeriding to touring mixed conditions, the VICE Tour provides enough versatility to gracefully handle most snow conditions while seriously amping up the fun factor.
Price: $1,149CAN / $929.99
Lengths: 163, 171, 179, 187cm
Dimensions: 133-105-122mm (179cm skis)
Turn radius: 20m (179cm skis)
Weight: 3,356g / 7.4lb (pair of 179cm skis)
Recommended mount point: -5cms from true centre
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