What To Look For
The G3 Saint is an all-mountain ski with a 93mm waist that is available in three lengths of 170 cm, 177 cm and 185 cm. The Karhu Storm BC is a 96 mm waist ski available in lengths of 170 cm, 177 cm and 184 cm. The G3 uses a Paulownia wood core to shave weight, while the Karhu uses a Paulownia and maple core. G3 uses a capped construction at the tip and tail for increased torsional rigidity and a sidewall construction underfoot for better edge control. The G3 also uses four layers of fiberglass surrounding the wood to provide strength and rigidity. The Karhu uses a carbon fiber laminate to decrease weight while maintaining torsional rigidity.
Check the weight guidelines from each manufacturer to see which length is best for you. Ski length is dictated by surface area, which will provide effective flotation in backcountry powder for different weights. Too often, skiers only consider height when buying the skis and don't consider weight.
Where To Buy
Both G3 and Karhu are available at many specialty outdoor mountaineering stores that cater more toward backcountry skiing than standard alpine skiing. You can also find these skis at online retailers such as Backcountry.com.
The G3 Saint costs $649 (2010 prices). The Karhu BC Storm costs $625 (2010 prices).