Gear Junkie: Hoji 4-LOCK [Review]

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Review and Photos by Gear Junkie

"When 4FRNT’s new Hojis with 4-LOCK showed up, I was struck — with powder fever. As if I needed another reason to be psyched about skiing powder; those first few turns in the deep stuff on board the 112mm underfoot powder ski were what skiers dream about. I floated and slashed through fluffy snow effortlessly, pivoting, popping, jumping, and surfing.

The skis made me feel like the boss, Eric “Hoji” Hjorleifson, himself.

Then El Niño set in and the powder stopped piling up. That was a bummer, but it also allowed me to test the ski and skin system in a wide spectrum of conditions. Everything from fluffy coldsmoke powder to nasty breakable crust and hardpack.

There’s nothing traditional about the Hojis other than being made from wood. They’re reverse-cambered, nearly center-mounted, shun sidecut, and come with a hole punched in each tail. I endured a learning curve, but man, was it a fun ride.

Short Review:

4FRNT’s new Hoji skis, now with their signature 4-LOCK Skin System, transcend traditional ski design and skin integration. Their fully reverse camber and slim sidecut numbers make them outlandishly fun in deep snow. They’re powder skis through and through. Thanks to a reasonable weight-to-skiability ratio and integrated skin system focused on uphill efficiency, they’re at home on the skin track, but they’ll pull double duty at the resort, too.

They’re not the right tool for hard snow conditions, and yet they’re manageable when the snow trends toward soft. Advanced and expert skiers ready to adapt to an innovative ski shape will be thrilled to hop on the Hojis when the powder starts piling up.


It’s impossible to miss the hole punched in each ski’s tail — the Hoji Hole. The brand’s signature 4-Lock skin system utilizes the hole to add more security to the skin attachment. The brand claims that this locking system eliminates skin failure and reduces their carry weight. You can purchase the Hojis with or without this system.

The 4-Lock system does one thing better than any other skin system that I know of: Lock skin to ski. Even when my skins froze after a bunch of laps in freezing, powdery conditions, the skin stayed locked to the ski. I never dropped a skin.

Fortunately, 4FRNT and Hoji went with one of the best skins on the market for the 4-Lock System. I’ve been on several pairs of the Pomoca Free Pros over the years, and they’re slick. Literally, they are slick in that their pure mohair glide is like a skimo race skin. In fact, it’s the same formula that Pomoca uses in their race skins. They’re also super thin, light, and pack up small.

Skiing the Hoji:

Nobody will be surprised to hear that the Hojis are incredibly fun in powder. At one point, I wrote a note in my pocket notebook while testing the skis on a powder day: “As much fun as you can have on skis.”

I stand by it. They were just so dang fun in the fluffy stuff. They had that buoyant, unsinkable floaty feeling. The purest euphoria. It was tough to stay objective and not fall in love instantly. I said it already and I’ll say it again: They made me feel like Hoji himself.

The fully reverse camber makes these skis float both better and more effortlessly than their dimensions would suggest. They aren’t crazy wide by any means at 128-112-120. The sidecut is minimal, too. Yet the tips refuse to sink.


Want to ski like the Boss when the fluffy snow is stacking up? The Hojis will take you there. They’re phenomenally fun, nimble freeride powder skis. They’re not the right ski for hard-snow conditions, but they come alive when the snow is soft.

Plus, they have a trick up their sleeve: The innovative 4-LOCK Skin System. It drops the weight further on a light-enough-for-touring package and boosts the skin track glide. And while it comes with a proprietary parts dilemma, it refuses to drop skins. They’re locked on there.

Advanced freeriders looking for an exceptional, dedicated powder ski that can tour the backcountry or shred powdery lines at the resort will be thrilled with the Hoji in the right conditions. Throw the 4-LOCK skins in the cart, too. They’re a step forward in skin evolution.

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