G3 FINDr 102 Ski and G3 Ion 12 Binding Review
G3 FINDr 102 Ski
The G3 FINDr 102 ski performed exactly as the G3 website states, “bridging the gap between fat, floaty powder skis and super light mountaineering skis.” No matter the conditions, the G3 FINDr 102 met the demands of the day, making this ski a possible quiver of one ski. I’ve been testing out the G3 FINDr 102 out in NW Colorado, in and around Steamboat Springs. I’ve used them in the backcountry, side-country, and on resort days and never wished that I had another pair of skis out for the day.
G3 FINDr 102 Features and Specs
The G3 FINDr 102 features a traditional camber and an early rise tip. I tested out these skis in 179 cm and measured a contact area of 150 cm on the ski, measuring from the rise in the front to tail. The early rise tip helps to provide additional flotation on powder days and makes the ski ride as if it is wider than 102 underfoot. The FINDr is also available in 96 and 84 underfoot, but the 102, per the G3 website features a lower camber. I did not test out these models and therefore cannot confirm this. The traditional camber allows you to handle a variety of snow conditions and terrain, including frozen corduroy or packed powder conditions, making them a solid choice for a quiver of one ski.
The G3 FINDr 102s feature a 133mm at the tip, 102 underfoot, and 120 mm at the tail and a turning radius of 21 to 25.
The G3 FINDr 102 features a poplar Paulownia wood core and triaxial stitched carbon fibre, which makes the ski strong, yet remain light. These skis include G3’s Carbon Stealth (or perhaps UltraSpine Stealth, I’ve heard both terms), which is a thicker spine in the center of the ski to help save weight on the edges and keep the weight centered in the ski to provide torsional stiffness. Combine the “stealth” with polyurethane sidewalls and the skis don’t chatter over the crust and you can hold an edge in less than ideal conditions. Please see the photos below of the spine, it is pretty subtle.
A co-extruded nylon top-sheet does a decent job and preventing snow build up on wet, heavy snow days. I say decent, but not perfect, but really this is my only minor minor complaint. The skis I’ve been reviewing are well loved, meaning they have seen quite a few days on the hill from multiple users. I’ve personally put in about 25-30 days. The top sheet is battered a bit at the edges, but nothing that a little work can’t fix. I like the simplicity of the top sheet and appreciate the subtle maple leaf pride for Canada.
Despite the 102 underfoot, these skis won’t work your hip flexors and weigh you down when breaking trail. Here is a quick breakdown on the weight of each ski based on the length.
|Weight (Single)||1.48kg / 3lb4oz||1.52kg / 3lb6oz||1.56kg / 3lb7oz||1.61kg / 3lb9oz|
I would love to see a ski length option in the 168 to 170 range for those that prefer (or require) a shorter ski.
Lastly, the G3 FINDr come in at a reasonable price of $799. These days, getting an all around performer carbon fibre touring ski can set you back an average of $900 plus. The G3 FINDr I feel is priced right and might just be the only ski you need to and want to use all season.
G3 ION 12 Binding
The G3 ION Binding is available in two different models, the 10 and 12, which refers to the upper limit DIN setting. For the purpose of this review, I will be referring to the G3 ION 12 binding. As you can see, I reviewed the G3 FINDr 102’s with the ION 12 binding and found them to be a perfect match.
The G3 ION 12 Binding is extremely user friendly for novices to advanced skiers. Having the available higher DIN setting is nice if you are heavier or are an aggressive skier and want the added security when you drop in. As a women who weighs less than 140 that usually uses a 7 din setting, I could get away with the Ion 10 binding.
G3 ION 12 binding safety features:
- Heel AFD for consistent releases
- Forward pressure to maintain consistent release values when maximally stressed, such as during landings from jumps
- Optimal Energy absorption
- Snow clearing channel in the front toe piece
These features combine to prevent or minimize pre-releases and provide consistent release based on the appropriate DIN. I have not encountered any pre-releases, but must admit that I am not a big cliff jumper, but I stress the bindings in the trees and bumps. I have released from these bindings on 3 or 4 occasions through my testing and was thankful that I did, I should say my tibia was thankful.
If you release and need to put your ski back on while on a steep slope, the G3 ION is incredible easy to step into thanks to the toe bumper, aka boot stopper at the top of the binding, which helps line up the pin sites with your boot. There isn’t any over-stepping or bending down to ensure you are in as the pins pop or snap. There isn’t a lot of second guessing as to whether you are “in” with these bindings, which makes them incredibly user friendly. I’ve had a couple instances of having difficulty getting the rear pins to engage with the back of the boot, but this was after a long skin in wet, turn to ice snow; I likely had a build up within my boot track.
The G3 ION 12 is so easy to step in and out of thanks to the toe bumper as mentioned above. To turn your binding from ski to tour or tour to ski, you simply press down on the brake and turn the heel piece to either to the left or right, making the pins run perpendicular to the ski. The heel piece can rotate either direction and the climbing bars can be used no matter the direction you turn them. I found this feature initially confusing (after using Dynafit), but quickly learned to love the fact that I didn’t have to think.
When you transition to tour mode, make sure you also pull up on the tour mode lever to “lock out the toes”. Pulling up on the lever to the last click allows you to get a full 90 degree extension from the toe piece, which means your range of motion will not be limited by the binding, rather by the slope angle.
The orange color used throughout the G3 ION Binding offers more than just looks. The heel risers are easy to flick into position with the basket or handle of your ski pole and the orange color makes it super easy to spot these in low light or deep snow conditions. Once in place, I never had an issue with the heel risers moving on me, they provide a stable platform during climbing. You have three different positions for tour mode, flat or no heel riser, low-moderate, and high. Skinning at the resort, the slope angle is about 29 degrees and the high position was more than adequate. Any steeper and its time for crampons or switchbacking.
Transitioning from tour mode to downhill mode can be done quickly with gloves and mittens on:
- Place the climbing aids in the down or flat position, remove skins.
- Twist the binding to the left or right (the direction depends on the direction you turned the binding for tour mode) while pushing down on the heel or brake, the pins should face forward and you will feel a pop up
- Reinsert your toe into the pins, aided by the toe bumper
- Step into your skis and you should here a nice click
If you are flexible and remove your skins while staying on your skis, you can also transition without removing your ski, check out the G3 Instructions here: GenuineGuideGear
These bindings come with brakes that quickly deploy and do their job. The brakes are available in 4 different sizes: 85, 100, 115, and 130. I’m not yet ready to say goodbye to breaks to shed 10 ounces, but if that sounds appealing to you, then check out G3s ION 12 LT.
The G3 ION 12 Binding feature approximately a 30% wider mount than other tech bindings on the market, which means you can drive more power with these bindings on wider skis. I tested these on the FINDrs as mentioned above, but would be curious to see how they would perform on a wider ski, such as the G3 Empire.
The G3 ION 12 bindings weigh in at 585 grams or 1 lb 4.6 oz per binding. They are light, stable, easy to use, and available at a reasonable price point of $549.