Pogo ZigZags were created in 1998 by Pogo employee Thierry Wenzel. Pogo called them “retractable”, as they are some kind of folding skis with both parts coming completely apart. They also called it “lightweight” with 2200g per pair. The pair I own is significantly heavier, as it’s built with some generic binding base to accept any kind of snowboard binding. I think, snowboard-touring with toe pin boots and bindings wasn’t yet invented at that time (although the dynafit pin-bindings were well established already at the time)
I bought my pair of ZigZag skis in 2009, the year I also bough a Rossignol Undertaker 185 Swallowtail board for backcountry snowboarding. Overall, that made a really heavy kit, particularly on the backpack. I carried several kgs of board with bindings uphill and several kgs of retractable skis with bindings and interfaces downhill. I suspected quickly that a splitboard might be a smarter option. But being not an early adopter (but rather a laggard), I could not decide to follow that route at that time. It just was too much handicraft work for my taste (that was, what I believed).
I’ve been snowboard touring for more then ten years now. And with the knowledge of today, I can say that boots were always my main issue. I’ve been carving snowboards on hardboots since 1995 and always understood the importance of boots for snowboarding. But I could not find an alpine touring boot suitable for snowboard touring. They were either to stiff or too lose. I never had enough heel fixation to feel good snowboarding and almost never enough range of motion uphill. On any of my boots I badly hit my toes into the boot on heelside turns. The Raichle 121 “golfball” (in the end with thermo liners) were the least bad solution.
Anyways I had quite some fun tours with the retractable Skis and I don’t think about giving them away. But I’m just (finally) switching to splitboards.
The ZigZags are short (130cm) climbing skis made from two pieces. They came with a connector and can be separated completely. The connection ist stabilized by two round fiberclass sticks. Surprisingly I never heard of any issues with durability of these. Also, they came with a pair (or rather 4 pieces) of specific climbing skins. The skins are attached to the skis in a very solid way, so I never had issues with snow between skis and skins.
Maybe the weakest point of my climbing skis was the binding base. It’s an incredibly heavy design and it needs some additional pieces to make it a binding to attach boots to. If I’ll ever use the ZigZags again, I will for sure mount a nice lighweight toe pin binding. My new alpine touring boots will fit.
The ZigZags have quite something to offer: They profide very efficient climbing performance. They may be a bit short to provide perfect float on deep powder, but they are narrow enough to fit into ascent tracks and to provide traversing grip. Also they have a full set of steel edges, what helps a lot when skitouring.
To be able to use hardboots on the ZigZags, I mounted a set of brackets from a Proflex / F2 Titanium hardboot binding to the base. They make an excellent fit to any alpine boot, but also add one more centimeter of hight to the boot position. Altogether this solution might be way too high considering “flat as possible” as an optimum.
I don’t know, if this is a retirement for these skis already. But as I had some great experiences with them, I want dedicate this article to them: The Pogo ZigZag. What an invention.