Confessions Of A Ski Bum

Zag uBac 95

After joining the Canadian Zag team for the 20/21 season I requested a pair of uBac 95 skis as I was looking for something that was light weight and could “do it all” in the backcountry. I currently have about 40 days on these skis and they ended up being an excellent and fun choice for almost any backcountry situation.

A “Guides Ski

If you check out the uBac 95 on the Zag website the first line says “Approved by the Guides of Chamonix…” and I knew within my first few days why. I would describe this as a classic “guides ski”. The ski preforms best with short radius turns, like what you see heli-guides getting everyone to do in order to farm the max amount of last nights dump, if that is your style these are a brilliant choice. Skiing tighter trees with this ski is sick, I’m a pretty fast tree/bush skier but when I used these I able to move even faster due to the responsive nature and turn radius of the ski. The uBac 95 can also handle more aggressive, big turns at speed and I personally preferred this style when dealing with weak breakable crusts or big open powder slopes.

Light Weight

I got the uBac 95 in a 178cm length and it came in at around 1360g per ski. For a 95 underfoot, at that length, the weight is hard to beat (and usually when doing so the difference is very small). I matched this ski with a Plum Oazo binding (200g) which I found to be an excellent match. Of course with a lighter ski there are some drawbacks, for example at the resort I found it difficult to charge nasty crud but of course this is meant to be a backcountry ski, so it really didn’t matter to me and shouldn’t matter to anyone buying it.

Excels In Powder

These skis float extremely well for a 95 underfoot, if I did a blind test I would guess they were in the 105 range. In all honesty I’m not sure why this is the case, the tip rocker isn’t huge, the camber isn’t flat and the tip/tail widths aren’t that different than most similar skis… so ya, I’m not sure, some kind of Zag secret formula I guess?

Responsive

Zag talks about their “5 point shape” and “multi-radius shape” a fair bit online and how it increases maneuverability/handling while making the ski playful and easy to turn – these points are dead on, this isn’t some BS marketing. The uBac 95 goes where you want it and is highly predictable, all while being a blast to ski on. When skiing less than ideal snow, like steep wind blasted garbage, I was confident in my ability to get the ski where it was needed in less than ideal jump turn situations.

Flex

You will probably notice this ski doesn’t have a super stiff flex, which in the current climate seems to be a negative but I think they got the flex prefect for the style it was meant for. If this ski was stiffer it wouldn’t be as fun as it is, if it was any softer I feel like it would fall into the “dead” feeling zone. So before you write it off in the shop after flexing it remember that stiffer isn’t always better when a ski has been correctly engineered like this one has.

The Zagreen Program

Zag uses recycled, bio-resin and locally sourced materials in the uBac 95 and it seems that they are in the process of finding more ways to lower their environmental impact. At this point of the global environmental collapse, if I had to pick between two similar skis, I would go with the one with less overall impact. It may be a small part of the larger picture but I think every inch of that fight will matter going forward.

Tough

Sometimes after mentioning recycled edges people question durability. I can insure you that these skis are just as tough as any others I have (ab)used.

The Right Ski For You?

If you are looking for a light weight, fun backcountry ski that can be used in a wide range of snow conditions then I would check out the Zag uBac 95. Regardless if you find powder or corn you will find the responsiveness and playful nature to be a blast, while still having the energy for that last uphill lap due to the light weight. Upper intermediate to advanced skiers should find the design to their liking and if you are a guide looking to farm heli-slopes look no further.

For more information on the Zag uBac 95 check out: Touring ski ZAG ubac 95 – ZAG skis

For more information on the Zagreen program check out: ZAGreen – ecofriendly approach – ZAG skis

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2 Comments

  1. Markus Kircher May 13, 2021

    Hi,
    thank you for your test report. You have used the ski length 178cm may I ask at what height?
    I am 185cm tall and 76kg and a good skier but I am undecided about the size. I am thinking between 178cm and 184cm. Do you have a recommendation for me in this regard?

    Thanks!

    Best regards
    Markus Kircher

    • Marcus Baranow June 24, 2021 — Post author

      I’m 175cm tall and about 70kg, so I’m guessing you might be better off with the longer length.

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