When you buy a Protector ski, the underlying caveat is you’re helping to support the industrial side of Telemark skiing, you’re investing your cash in the economic prosperity of telemark skiing. It’s a nice sentiment, but do you get anything back for your investment. For turns well burned, I would say you do.
A 15mm sidecut delivers medium radius turn instinctively, but if you push it, you can either snap off tight slalom turns or let ‘em run in big sweeping carves.
The key to holding tight at speed is the same ingredient that creates a snappy rebound for short radius turns, a solid wood core. Not soft and light pawlonia, but something solid and strong, like ash. Not just stringers of ash, but more than three quarters of the width is ash, with poplar stringers to save a bit of weight.
There’s enough camber, 5mm per ski, to add some springiness to each turn’s release. And while the tail is lightly rockered, the widest part of the ski occurs before the tail turns up, so it can hold onto the end of a turn like a hard tailed ski, but with an easy release in deep snow.
Weighing in at 1640 grams per ski (3.6 lbs) the Protector is not a light weight backcountry ski, but it’s not an in-bounds pair of tanks either. It’s made for mashing moguls and high speed carves on firm morning corduroy, however is most adept at the condition most lightweight backcountry skis surrender to, crud. Whether it’s chopped and refrozen chunder or late afternoon spring paste the Protector will let you charge as long as your tele quads can hold out.
Is there anything I don’t like about the Protector? To be honest I found the tip a bit overbearing but that could be easily tempered by detuning the edges at the tips, something I haven’t done yet. While I like the simplicity of a black ski, on a sunny spring day snow will cling to it, increasing its swing weight on the downhill, or drag weight on the uphill.
For those who consider 95mm at the waist too narrow for phat conditions, FHL has a wider model, the Protector 105 available too. Basically the same ski with more float.
Free Heel Life Industries
The Protector 95