Ski: Fauna Alparka
Length skied: 178cm
Actual Length (Tip-tail w/ straight tape): 178
Measured weight: 1.662 KG
Shape: 108 / 115 / 86 / 115 / 108mm
Mount: true center
Binding: Salomon sth 14
Days skied: 15
Reviewer height/weight: 5'9, 165lbs
Review Location(s): Mount Snow Vt, Mt-Avila QC, MT bromont QC
Conditions skied: Ice, shallow pow, east coast chunnd, fresh groomed
Ever since Fauna made their debut on Newschoolers I was curious to see what the young craftsmen Alex Fleming would put together. I grew up in Quebec skiing ice and park but after living out west for the past few years I have gotten a costumed to wider skis and skiing really really fast. Now that I am back on the east coast I figured the Fauna Alparka would be the perfect park ski to get back into the swing of things.
I found the Alparka to lean more on the stiff side for a park ski, especially underfoot with slightly softer tips. I would pin it at a 8/10- compare to say the armada arv series which is a 6.9/10. I thought given its nimble waist size it would be way too rackety for my style of skiing but I was wrong. The sidewalls are made of GunStock walnut which is pretty uncommon to my knowledge but gives it a really nice finish. The Alparka’s are a perfectly symmetric ski with 80% camber with relatively little rocker & taper. The skis also have full length carbon bands to give the ski that nice poppy snappy feel. The edges are 2.4-2.5mm which lean on the burlier side for edges when it comes to park skis - larger than the Armada ARV series I normally ride and most other skis out there. In terms of ski weight they come in at 1.660kg which is lighter than say the Armada B Dogs (1.925kg) or the Tom Wallisch pro model which weigh 1.802kg.
On groomers, these exceeded my expectations for an 86mm waist ski. As a skier who enjoys reaching Candide speeds, these held up quite well on really nice groomers. However, as soon as I ran into chop, they got a little chattery -but that is to be expected at the speed I roll at. Although chattery, I still felt in control. As someone who typically skis 95mm+ waist, this took some adjusting to the turning radius- which seemed rather wide. However, the average radius for a park ski is between 17m and 22mm so it stands right in there at 19. If I were to compare these to any other skis I’d say they are close to the J skis Whipit but just a lot stiffer across the board and with more camber. The upside from the more narrow profile was the overall responsiveness of the ski. The camber profile allows for decent carving and helps grip a bit more on those cold AF bulletproof days. I’d imagine these being killers in the pipe as well but did not get the chance to confirm that one.
I also got to test them on an east coast pow day and they managed okay for the most part but as soon as I hit a deeper pocket I felt that sinking feeling - granted these were mounted true center. I still had a good time but if there was any more than the 15cms that fell I would have been a bit less stoked and much preferred another ski.
In the park, these were a very snappy ski with substantial stability. Taking off jumps felt solid especially on landings since the underfoot is quite stiff. The decent camber allowed for solid jump approaches at higher speeds. I landed backseat on a few cork 3’s and really felt the tails hold me up - however, I am not a big fella. They lean on the lighter side, so very little swing weight which makes them ideal for quick spins. I do feel more solid on other skis such as the Helix 98 when it comes to rails but that is just my preference for wide park skis. I was able to swap, switch up and spin out my usual features without a problem. Buttering, on the other hand, was no easy task. It takes a very committed send to get much lift out of them but certainly not impossible. All in all the fully symmetrical shape gave it a fun bump n slash type ski that made for effortless switch skiing.
Seeing as I’ve only got 15 days on these so far I cannot attest fully to the durability, however, as someone who hits a lot of rails and does shifty disasters as a go-to-trick, the edges are holding up just fine. Average but completely normal wear on topsheet- especially for all wood construction. They chip more than I’d like to but that’s only because I think they look so sick in all dark wood. I’ve skied these on freezing -25 Celcius days and +5 Celcius days and the base is showing only very slight signs of drying up. As someone who usually goes through two pairs a season, I feel like these might actually bring me to the end. - to be continued!
This ski definitely exceeded my expectations. Alex did a great job at creating a solid park ski that works for sending hard in the park. Great for smallish mountains where there is a bit less “all-terrain” available to ski. It's great for the type of skier who goes right to the park after clicking in. If you ski at a larger mountain and find yourself ripping a significant portion of your day on natural terrain/groomers you might want to try something that is a bit wider underfoot. If you love to swerve around and butter super hard you might want to go a bit softer. But if you like stiff skis and that snap right into position, and want to support a brand with its roots on Newschoolers, then these are for you. Fauna has a few new models hitting the market this year, like the Pioneer which is much more geared towards the all-mountain skier. If you like hitting jumps and shredding park all day these skis will do the trick - also get ready for a ton of conversation on chairlifts from people asking “what kind of skis are those”.
Fun fact, they are almost entirely built out of real wood making them one of the most sustainably conscious skis on the market.
* Footage is of @robwski