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Spark

 Movement Spark Review

Movement are a Swiss ski company that isn’t that well known yet in the UK and US, but are already well established in mainland Europe, especially in ski-touring circles.  The brand started in 2002, focusing more on specialist lightweight ski-touring skis, but it has rapidly grown and now competes in the more mainstream ski markets.

I first came across the brand when I noticed that all the UAIGM guides seemed to use them, and intrigued that they’d managed to build up such a strong following from these demanding customers despite not being a well known brand, I took a closer look at the Movement Sparks.

The Spark is part of Movement’s “Adventure” range, which is, by Movement’s standards, their all-rounder range.  They’re light enough to do extended tours (and they really are light, at just 1.5kg for the 173cm model), wide enough to cope with some off piste pow, and with enough sidecut for piste work too.  They are aimed at the back-country skier who wants to be able to ski everything, even the piste, but still have a very light ski.

It’s worth understanding Movement’s original target audience, and the best way to do that is to look at their other skis.  Their X-Series range contains a pair of skis for professional ski-tourers which weigh just 720g for the 162cm model.  To put this in perspective, my packet of breakfast oats weighs 750g.  By Movement’s standards the Spark is the lardy brother in the touring family – by anyone else’s standards it’s the racing snake.  However, the extra weight is supposed to give the Spark the stability for ripping up big descents, both on and off piste, and by and large it works.

I’ve fitted my pair with lightweight Dynafit bindings and the overall package is fantastically insubstantial.  When you clip in to them it almost feels like there’s nothing attached to the boots.  On piste they behave well on all surfaces except ice, where the lack of weight and stiffness doesn’t help the ski to really cut in to the hard surface.  Off piste is a different story – this is where the Sparks really come in to their own.  The ascents feel so easy that you have plenty of energy left at the top to enjoy the descent.  They behave well in all types of snow, including hard pack, but perhaps the only place where the Spark doesn’t shine is in deep pow where the narrow waists struggle to give enough float despite the work that Movement has done on the shape of the tips.

All in all these are a great backcountry all rounder, a ski to consider if you’re limited to a one ski quiver.  They’re only marginally lighter than pure touring skis (unless you look at Movement’s professional range) but much more capable.  Of course, as a backcountry ski they have flat tails and are fully compatible with touring skins.

STRENGTHS

  • Light (1.5kg per 173cm ski)
  • Very good on piste
  • Excellent in mixed off piste snow conditions
  • Very capable in powder
  • Loads of respect from ski aficionados

WEAKNESSES

  • They don’t shine in deep powder
  • Too light and flexible for confident blasting on icy pistes

 

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