How Romp Skis crafted the ultimate one-quiver backcountry tool

Editor in Chief Tyler Cohen gets his mono wiggle on. [Photo] Dana Allen

At 2018 Gear Test Week, 40 testers put more than 200 pairs of skis, 70 pairs of boots and every pair of backcountry bindings through the ringer. But one particular product stood above all the rest—and it doesn’t come as a pair, at least on the descent.

We’re talking about a peerless split—not the kind that’s tested at Board Test Week (which kicked off yesterday in Crested Butte, Colo.), but a boundary-breaking tool from a parallel universe, trimmed with Voilé clips, a single set of pucks and a pair of Dynafit bindings. We’re talking about the ultimate one-quiver ski—because it’s actually just one ski.

We’re talking about the Romp Skis Mano a Mano.

“We’ve been looking for a way to reach the deep-powder-skiing East-Coast market,” says Caleb Weinberg, co-owner of Romp Skis. “Our design team figured the Mano a Mano was the perfect tool to accomplish this. Split monoboarding is the future of deep-powder backcountry skiing, because nothing carves like the inside, uphill edge.”

So Romp us sent their 180cm Mano a Mano, handcrafted in Crested Butte with flat camber at its center, heavy tip rocker and a rainbow unicorn graphic and modest rocker at the tail. What did testers have to say?

“I’ve never skied something so agile at 145mm underfoot,” reported Editor in Chief Tyler Cohen, who tested the Mano a Mano in various conditions, including spring corn and hardpack, and while wearing both traditional ski clothing and an American-flag Spandex one-piece. “Come to think of it, I’ve never skied something that’s 145 underfoot. Or would it technically be 145 underfeet?”

Freshman tester Wylie Picotte, of Bozeman, Mont., took to the air on the Mano and found it equally capable on and above the snow’s surface. “When I moved my knees and swung my hips, I just couldn’t help the flood of endorphins and the overwhelming sense of joy,” Picotte said. “It was the grooviest board on the slopes.”

A few testers found that steering the Mano, due to the absence of camber in the tail, required exaggerated hip gyrations, but others didn’t seem to mind. And while the Mano a Mano’s potential for Editors’ Choice consideration in the 2018 Gear Guide will be sealed over the next few months, one thing is for certain—two isn’t always better than one.

Don't take skiing, riding or even this story too seriously.

Don’t take skiing, riding or even this story too seriously.

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