Ski: 2015-2016 G3 Zenoxide, 186 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 131-105-123
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 131.5-104.5-121.5
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.6 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski:
• 1876 & 1890 grams
• with G3 ION 12 demo bindings: 2531 & 2543 grams
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~66 mm / ~11 mm
Core: Poplar Paulownia
Factory Recommended Line: -10.7 cm from center; 81.0 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots: Salomon Mtn Lab & Fischer Transalp
Binding: G3 Ion 12
Test Locations: Taos & Santa Fe backcountry; Arapahoe Basin
Days Skied: 8
The G3 Zenoxide Carbon Fusion 105 is no joke. It is stiff. And it is great.
If you typically head into the backcountry only when you are confident that the snow will be deep and pretty perfect, there are better skis out there.
But if you are looking for a relatively light ski to go uphill that will also inspire confidence when you get into sketch ball conditions or terrain, then you really ought to keep reading.
Design / Flex Pattern
The dimensions, camber profile, and mount point of the Zenoxide Carbon Fusion 105 are pretty old school. There is a little bit of tip rocker here—what I am inclined to call “just enough.” There are about 4 mm of traditional camber underfoot, and the Zenoxide has no tail rocker—only a slightly twinned-up tail.
Roughly speaking, if you imagine a lightweight, wider-waisted touring version of the 13/14 Volkl Mantra (a favorite ‘bad conditions’ ski of mine), you’d be getting very close to the Zenoxide 105.
And actually, the flex pattern of the 186 cm Zenoxide 105 is similar to—but stiffer than—the 13/14 and current 184 cm Mantra. Compared to the current (15/16) Mantra, the Zenoxide’s tails are noticeably stiffer, and the shovels are very slightly stiffer. I would break the Zenoxide 105 down like this:
Tails: Very Stiff (among the stiffest tails we’ve ever tested. I’d call it a 9 out of 10)
Underfoot: Very Stiff (again)
Tips: Stiff (comparable to the 184 cm Volkl Mantra)
I have argued in the past that it is very possible to make a light ski too stiff and jarring—especially for difficult inbounds conditions (i.e., variable snow and bumped-up terrain). But I have yet to feel that way about the Zenoxide 105. Instead, I have been very pleased with how relatively easy it is to drag this ski uphill given how predictable and stable the ride is when going downhill.
Going Up / Weight
I recently reviewed the 186cm Moment Tallac which is almost exactly the same width underfoot as the G3 Zenoxide 105. The two skis are similar enough that there is little difference in how they perform going uphill.
Our test pair of Zenoxide 105s came mounted with a G3 Ion 12 demo binding, so take away the little bit of extra weight of the demo set up, and the Zenoxide 105 and Tallac would come in at very nearly the same weight.
If you’re breaking trail in very deep snow the deeper tip rocker line of the Tallac might be a little bit of a bonus, but I’d call these two skis pretty much even when it comes to climbing.
In rotten, punchy snow, wide skis that are heavily tip and tail rockered work really well. The Zenoxide 105 is not terribly wide and is certainly not rockered out. But if you’re willing to take a fall line approach and ski with some speed—which, by the way, the Zenoxide 105 is most definitely designed to allow you to do—then you’ll be fine.
And I can say from experience that if you happen to encounter a steep, consequential, and bulletproof entrance, you will become very grateful very quickly for the relatively long effective edge of the Zenoxide 105, its camber underfoot, and its minimal tip rocker.
And this is exactly why I have come to like—and trust—the Zenoxide 105 so much: I know exactly what I’m getting out of this ski, which is very reassuring when you’re about to enter steep, sketchy entrances or get surprised by entire lines of crap snow.
And if the snow is deep and / or perfect? Ski fast and fall line, and the Zenoxide 105 will plane. It won’t be nearly as surfy and smeary as a more heavily rockered ski, but you’ll be fine.
(Note: if you are looking for a lighter, more soft-snow oriented ski with a softer flex pattern and a lot more tip and tail rocker than the Zenoxide 105, the 15/16 185 cm G3 Synapse Carbon 109 weighs in at 2222 & 2231 grams with the same G3 Ion 12 demo binding that is on the Zenoxide 105.)
How Damp is the Zenoxide 105?
To me, this is always an important (if tricky) question when it comes to lighter skis. I want to know if a ski is either going to become a floppy noodle at speed, or if it is going to rattle my teeth out of my head in less-than-perfectly-smooth snow.
If this is a tricky question in the case of the Zenoxide 105, it’s because the long effective edge and lack of heavy tip and tail taper are things that contribute to this ski’s predictability and stability. And as I noted in my Tallac review, the subtle tip rocker and traditional mount point allow you to get all over the shovels of these skis and really drive them. Hard. In fact, if you don’t like to drive your skis but prefer a more centered, playful stance, I’m pretty sure that you will get along better with other skis out there.
So is the Zenoxide 105 damp? So far, it’s been damp enough. It’s also been surprisingly, happily predictable and stable.
The G3 Zenoxide Carbon Fusion 105 as a ’50 / 50′ Ski?
I skied the Zenoxide at Arapahoe Basin this spring, mostly just to begin to answer this question about how suitable the Zenoxide 105 is for both inbounds and out of bounds duty.
The big asterisk here is that the conditions were pretty slushy, so there was a lot of built-in natural suspension in the snow. And there’s no question that slush (or deeper pow) is a favorable condition for a lightweight, stiff ski.
But as someone who detests the idea of banging out resort laps on AT equipment, I have to say that the Zenoxide 105 performed quite well—even with the G3 Ion 12 binding and the Salomon MTN Lab AT boots. The snow was a little too wet and soft to permit high angulation carves (the snow would tend to just give way), but in terms of the Zenoxide 105’s all mountain performance, performance in bumps, and big-turn stability at high speeds, I honestly wasn’t missing my typical alpine equipment.
All that’s to say, if this flex pattern sounds like it would work for you, the Zenoxide 105 is a ski that I could recommend easily for use inbounds and out, which I consider high praise and a tall order for any ski to fill.
The G3 Zenoxide Carbon Fusion 105 is not a ‘fun’ ski, it’s a serious ski that makes bad backcountry conditions and consequential lines more fun.
The Zenoxide 105 is a light enough ski that advanced and expert skiers won’t have trouble making it work when the conditions are good, and there is currently no touring ski I’d rather be on when the conditions are less than good.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics