Steeple Skis

ON3P Steeple 98 Skis Review – Reader Gear Review

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Gear ReviewsSkis

Introduction

Tested are ON3P Steeple 98 skis in the 184 length. Now in its 8th year, ON3P is an indy ski company with a fairly broad line of skis operating out of Portland Oregon, where its skis are handbuilt.

I paired the skis and skins with supplied G3 Ions and combinations of light and heavier boots (Salomon Mtn Labs/Scarpa F1/Arcteryx Procline). I’ve had 18 days on the gear skiing the setup on pure inbounds pow days, on some slackcountry days (couple of inbounds runs then off to tour) and some pure touring days. As context for this review I weigh 160 pounds and ski mainly in the Coast and Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. My skiing is usually in high moisture-content snow. Accordingly, my preference is for bigger skis.

Steeple 98 Rock Testing

Steeple 98 Rock Testing

The specs and some construction details:

  1. Style: Touring
  2. Available Lengths: 174, 179 and 184 (tested)
  3. Dimensions: 128-98-116 [184 cm] (26m turning radius at 174 length)
  4. Weight: 1900g (184). Provided with bindings so could not get an actual weight

The Steeple 98 features a “tour layup” ie some concessions to weight savings in how carbon stringers are wrappd around a bamboo core. This is a beefy ski; weight weenies should not apply. With details like 2.5mm edges, full height UHMW sidewalls for added strength and 1.8mm bases you can (and I did) rail the Steeples into rocks .

Concessions to touring include a squared off tail shape with a metal inset on the tail for added durability where one sticks skins.  The list price is $799.

Tip and tail camber profile

Tip and tail rocker profile

1.5 metres new snow was a good way to see if the Steeple 98 could perform

1.5 metres new snow was a good way to see if the Steeple 98 could perform

Performance

The Steeple has a fair bit of tip rocker and some tail rocker (see pictures above). This was a big benefit as Whistler’s ski season started out with about 1.5m of snow in a week making for character building trailbreaking.

Rocker makes for playfulness and performance in soft snow. This describes the Steeple in spades as it is a pow destroyer. Despite its 26mm turning radius it was pretty easy to slide the Steeple around and change directions on a dime. One other trait the Steeple had was fairly consistent stiffness along its entire length so it was easy to weight the ski and load it simply by moving around fore and aft. This made the Steeple ski very well in super deep snow giving it much more range than I thought given its dimensions.

Based on its shape I don’t think the Steeple will be a spring touring or hardpack ski. Having said that the Steeple’s underfoot camber is very useable and the stiffness of the middle section of the ski much appreciated.. Exiting iced up inbounds runs and backcountry cat-tracks wasn’t a big deal. One caveat is that the Steeples tails are also fairly stiff so demands a fair chunk of commitment to the fall-line. If your touring is more towards the mellow end of the spectrum or if you’re always in the backseat this probably won’t be a ski for you.

The industry is adopting the less is more philosophy for touring skis. Where 120+ underfoot was where touring skis were going, now 100 underfoot is what companys are pushing. And 100 underfoot works even for deep snow if you have proper shape. And my personal bias is that tip rocker and a pretty flattish tail is where its at. Then add decent camber underfoot with decent stiffness and you’re gold; this pretty much described the Steeple 98

To summarize, the Steeple 98 hits a lot of sweet spots. It has a lot of range but is biased towards soft snow. If you want a handmade in North America soft snow touring ski the Steeple 98 should be a consideration.

More pow testing the Steeple 98

More pow testing the Steeple 98

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