Whitelines Mag sent Sam McMahon and Barry Parker into the backcountry to put the MTNApproach System to the test.
Read the whole review on Whitelines Mag HERE.
On my first time setting them up I comfortably thrashed the far more experienced Barry now reunited with his splitty. As we set off I was amazed at how much lighter and easier the skis were, just as Barry was realising how much heavier his Burton rig was.
For short-to-medium distance hikes the reduced weight underfoot just about makes up for the added weight on your back from carrying a board, which you quickly forget to notice. I would say however that the shoulder straps on the backpack could go tighter to stop the board from swaying so much.
Compared to the split the experience felt way more comfortable and efficient, especially when cornering on the ascent; the shorter skis make that part way easier and less energy sapping, as anyone who has skinned before will understand, learning to untangle my flappy split from the snow and my shins still haunts me. It was certainly easier on the legs and back than using snowshoes, the up and down movement of the legs is what saps your energy.
And then on the way down, all was right with the world again. Reunited with the faithful Slasher the powder was steep and deep and the face shots were aplenty. I was sold, and I think Barry was too.
The MTN Approach won’t be for everyone – true powderhounds will find the excess board weight too much on long tours – but for slackcountry/lift assisted touring with multiple ups and downs in a day, plus some piste riding, these win hands down. The choice is simple: do you want the extra weight on your back on the way up, or on your feet on the way down? For me anyway, the whole point is to have as much fun on the way down, which these facilitated perfectly.