G3 Rapid Transits - 172 AND G3 Alpinist Skins - $375
So what makes a new pair of boards stand out from the pack this year? In our view it is versatility, the formerly mythical one ski quiver. We still aren't sure why anyone would want to own just one pair of skis (what's the fun in that?) but there is something seriously to be said for skis that you can take out in the morning and know they will rock no matter what conditions are encountered throughout the day, from hardpack to powder. G3's new Rapid Transits are just such skis. With their 91mm waist the Rapids keep up in deep powder, and yet with their generous, sidecut, the Rapid Transits are a blast on the steeps, and for carving fast groomers.
Like their skinnier siblings, G3's Tickets, the Rapids feature an asymmetrical sidecut. The idea here is that by increasing the sidecut of the outside (uphill) edges, you make the uphill ski easier to tip over onto its edge, improving rear ski edge hold, making it easier to engage the ski early and hold that edge through the finish of the turn. In general, quick edge changes also make it easier to ski with more two-footed weighting, allowing the skier to take full advantage of modern telemark technique. For a ski as fat as the Rapid Transit, increasing the sidecut of the outside edges is said to result in the quick edge-to-edge feeling of a much narrower-waisted ski. All of that without losing any of the sweet-skiing characteristics of a fat powder ski.
On paper all of this sounds like a lofty goal, on snow it feels like reality. We have been skiing the Rapid Transits for nearly 6 months now, in nearly every kind of snow and terrain. We have gotten to know these vertically laminated, wood core, twin torsion box skis very well. With their burly, stable feel in cut up powder and crud, floatiness in the fluff, along with an almost paradoxically quick feel edge to edge, they are easily among the most versatile skis we have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, perhaps the closest to a "one ski quiver" pair of boards we have ever had out on the mountain.
The asymmetrical sidecut seems to work as intended. The Rapids are fast and fun fun fun on windpack and groomers, skiing a lot like the Tickets, but with a wider platform that makes them more stable, and far more forgiving than their narrower forbearers. While the Tickets really need an advanced level skier at the controls, the Rapids can be easily handled by up-and-coming lower intermediates, while still managing to rock the world of even the most experienced skiers we asked to take them out for a spin.
Even for those of us who enjoy having multiple pairs of skis for various conditions and even moods, the Rapid Transits stand out as one pair that can be taken out and enjoyed thoroughly no matter what Mother Nature might throw your way.