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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring on 10/31/2010 17:42:44 MDT Print View

http://bedrockandparadox.blogspot.com/2010/10/ski-gear-for-backcountry-traverses.html


Thoughts welcome and appreciated.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring on 10/31/2010 20:11:31 MDT Print View

Heavier than we need here in Oz. I went 3-pin with Voile plates for many years, but outgrew the boots during the no-leather-boots period. Switched to light NNN-BC and haven't regretted it. Metal edges of course.

Not sure about going *down* 45 degree slopes. Tried it once and scored 30 stitches. I think I prefer more gentle descents - but that does not preclude traverses across steep faces with kick-turns. Yeah, I'm a woose.

Leather - is it past it's expiry date? Getting close, but the big plastic boots (T3 etc) are an absolute (and literal) pain for touring. They are worse imho!

Cheers

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Backcountry ski gear... on 10/31/2010 23:08:14 MDT Print View

I'm currently using a pair of Alpina Lite Terrain skis, 168 cm with Voile 3-pin's mounted flat and an ancient pair of T2's. These tour fairly well and I think they can manage the downhills much better than I can at this point. That length is pretty nice for dealing with trees and such.

I do have a pair of those fisher Outabounds, 195cm long. I'm not heavy enough to get much benefit out of the fish scales on that sized ski, so if anyone wants them send me a PM.

I have been mighty impressed by the new light Dynafit stuff. You might want to check out Garmont's new light boots as well as Dynafit's. If I were made of money I would definitely own some of that sort of gear. In the meantime I keep digging around for old ski gear that is cheep and seeing what I can cobble together.

Can anyone report on the advantages of using lifts with 3-pin bindings. I've never used them and I'm wondering if they might be worthwhile.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
ski gear, more ski gear! on 11/01/2010 17:45:52 MDT Print View

Roger, I think the lighter gear would work for me if I could do long traverses and kick turns on steep parts. It's the steep trees, and especially the steep narrow singletrack descents that really require burlier gear.

Doug, risers for freeheel bindings reduce binding drag when edging on hard snow, and make hitting the binding on stumps and what not less likely. They also provide a bit more leverage for turning. However, taking advantage of that leverage requires more boot and/or leg strength. I've tried my current rig with and without risers, and prefer the risers. I can see how, if you're pushing a wider ski on tougher terrain with a floppy boot, risers might not be desirable. And of course they add weight.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: ski gear, more ski gear! on 11/01/2010 22:52:28 MDT Print View

> It's the steep trees, and especially the steep narrow singletrack descents
> that really require burlier gear.
Ah yes. My solution is to find another way down! I am NOT going to try to follow the guys on big telemark skis and heavy AT bindings.

Our terrain does have a lot of gentle rolling stuff, and not much in the way of tele gullies. Suits me, except when I get off-route and try to do something silly ...

Cheers

Jay Cable
(spruceboy) - F
Wilderness Ski Classic.. on 11/02/2010 00:24:25 MDT Print View

You mentioned the Wilderness Ski Classic in the link to your blog - I believe that this years race had folks on just about every sort of ski gear - a fellow was on skate skis, Dynafits, and lots of folks on light BC skis (madshus vosses and the like) with various binding and boot setups. The fellow on the skate skis finished with winners but was disqualified for picking up a new binding at
Anaktuvuk... By the end of the race apparently the folks using the Dynafits had totally destroyed feet..

There are several routes folks take, and some are steeper than others, which might have factored into the gear selection, but folks seemed to do fine on a pretty wide array of gear.

Some of the racers have accounts of the race that can be found online -> http://liventhedreaminalaska.blogspot.com/2010/04/wilderness-classic-act-ii.html

And there was some press coverage:
http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_story/7080445/article-From-bears-to-aurora--this-year-s-Wilderness-Classic-had-it-all?instance=home_lead_story

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Wilderness Ski Classic.. on 11/02/2010 03:59:55 MDT Print View

> By the end of the race the folks using the Dynafits had totally destroyed feet..

That's the bit which worries me.
But we don't have that problem with low-cut leather 3-pins or with NNN-BC.
I'm not out there to prove anything; I am there to enjoy myself.

Cheers

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring on 11/02/2010 07:30:58 MDT Print View

Been a big fan of your blog Dave, lots of interesting info!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Wilderness ski classic on 11/02/2010 07:43:07 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone. There are no good answers here, and I write these to clarify my own thoughts and hopefully have folks contest them, thus moving us all forward.

Jay, as I mentioned in the essay I spoke with Luc Mehl (one of the winners and Dynafit users) quite a bit about his gear. His partner John did have pretty messed up feet (you can see this at the end of Luc's vid), but I think Luc wasn't nearly as bad off.

Roger, I'd take an easier way down if there was one! In a place like Yellowstone you can plan routes that largely or entirely avoid steeper bits, but more locally that just isn't possible. Horses for courses, eh!

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Dynafit on 11/02/2010 08:11:02 MDT Print View

Thanks, David, for getting this started. I'm considering a Dynafit set-up this winter, which is lighter than my current tele kit. I tend to tour for steep and deep turns, and ten years' use of stiff tele boots (T1, T3,and T-Race) has made my abilities on 3-pin/low boots unreliable. If I can ever pull off a move to the mountains so that I can ski and tour everyday I want that's the first thing I'm going to work on!

Doug, risers are necessary for my steep descents unless the powder's bottomless, to avoid "booting out" when angled over the skis, and make skinning up easier too. Worth the weight sacrifice in my opinion.

Gerry Volpe
(gvolpe)

Locale: Vermont
touring on 11/02/2010 13:01:01 MDT Print View

The ski talk is so exciting. I can't wait till there is enough snow to tour. The last two years were my first years of touring. Previously it was all ski areas or up and down backcountry. I like my tenth mountains but I couldn't afford boots so I was using old garmont veloces. I had tons of fun playing in the snow but often found myself wishing for lighter boots or heavier skis! Ones Quiver is never quite full enough. This year I am looking at either Fischer BCX 675s or Rossignol BCX11s to pair with the tenth mountains. I was also coveting some leftover guides or the new madshus version for touring with more vertical, however after reading your blog I think the new Rossignols would pair even better with my old veloces. I love that they are wider and shorter. Anyone heard anything on the waxless pattern? I don't have any experience with other waxless skis but I hear many folks talk about how much better the Karhu pattern is for climbing than others out there. While all the equipment talk is very interesting I can't wait for snow so I can get out and slide around on whatever old boards are on my feet. Heres to a bountiful winter for all!

Edited by gvolpe on 11/02/2010 13:03:34 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Rossi BC 125 on 11/02/2010 14:08:54 MDT Print View

I've inspected the BC 125s in a shop. The pattern is quite aggressive and similar to the one on the Guide/10th Mtn. The Guide is quite a soft ski, the BC 125 felt a good bit stiffer. Probably a good call for a wider ski, the Guide is manageable on ice, but only manageable.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rossi BC 125 on 11/02/2010 14:18:58 MDT Print View

> the Guide is manageable on ice, but only manageable.

Is ANYthing better than just 'manageable' on boilerplate ice????

Cheers

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring" on 11/02/2010 20:21:33 MDT Print View

Will you guys help me select a pair of backcountry boots? I want to give backcountry skiing a go (on the cheap).

I just picked up an older pair of Kahru Lookout skis with Rottefella 3-pin bindings.

I'm 6'-0" 165 and will use the set-up mostly on overnight trips on fire roads. But I would love to ski the pitches between the "U-Turns" in the road. And, if all goes well, maybe more. I'm an experienced resort alpine skier, but have never tried a tele turn.

It seems like the Garmont Excursion boot would be a good choice. Is that true?

Any other suggestions?

I would prefer to buy something second-hand.

Thanks a lot in advance........

Edited by davidlutz on 11/02/2010 20:23:15 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring" on 11/02/2010 20:44:58 MDT Print View

I had been using Asolo X-C ski boots for decades. Finally a couple of years ago I got some Garmont Ventures, and they seem decent. They are not as large and expensive as other boots, yet they are tall enough and stiff enough for anything that I do.

--B.G.--

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Ski boots on 11/03/2010 07:54:45 MDT Print View

David L, Since you're starting the tele from scratch (albeit with a strong Alpine background), you might consider some leather three-pin boots if you're going to be doing much touring and only a few downhill turns. If you can learn the tele on these, you can ski anywhere. As noted in my post above, I've been cheating for years on three- and four-buckle stiff plastic boots and I'm going to have to re-learn to balance without that extra support. Old-style lace-up leather tele boots are often on sale at Sierra Trading Post, see http://www.sierratradingpost.com/d/408_Mens-Ski-and-Snowboard-Boots.html

Try out a few brands before buying. As is true for hiking boots, sizing varies significantly among different manufacturers, particularly when it comes to width. I have narrow ankles and SCARPA's boots fit me best; Garmonts are much too wide.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Karhu Lookouts, boots on 11/03/2010 08:09:52 MDT Print View

Dave L, the Lookouts have double camber. This isn't an issue I addressed originally, perhaps I ought to have, as it's very relevant to the subject. More camber (bend between tip and tail) means better spring and faster kick and glide. It also means that setting the full edge of the ski is harder, as it requires very aggressive weighting. If your used skies are well used, some of the camber might be worn out of the ski, a good think for turning.

The Excursion is (IMO) too much boot for that ski. It would work well for turning, but would not be the ideal thing for taking advantage of the kick and glide efficiency on the flats. A boot like the Rossi BCX11 would be closer to ideal. You'd be able to make miles, and still crank some turns, albiet with a lot for effort and care than with plastic boots and single camber skis.

One of the reason the Guide and 10th Mountain (now Annum and Epoch) have proven so popular is that they have more camber than typical downhill skis, for more pop when kick n' gliding, yet still fall within the realm of single camber, so they turn good too.

While skiing ice is rarely if ever fun, my K2 Summit Superlights are better than manageable or bullet, I'd rate them as confidence inspiring (at very low speeds). They ski ice better than I do.

Gerry Volpe
(gvolpe)

Locale: Vermont
touring on 11/03/2010 10:25:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info on the bc 125's some stiffness is certainly apreciated here in the east where "Variable" conditions are the norm.

I have a very old pair of Karu Lookouts that were my first foray into touring. I played with them in my old leather tele boots and even with plastics and I couldn't get them to turn worth a darn. I am a reasonably competent but by no means expert tele skier and heavy but that camber is tough. By all means as was said try them with some light boots for the flat and rolling but do not get discouraged with this genre of skiing over them. You will be able to apply your alpine skills to a single cambered/plastic booted set up and have tons of fun immediately.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring" on 11/03/2010 16:12:27 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot for the input....I would welcome more if anyone has anything to add.

The Rossi BCX11's look good, I was concerned about spending all day and evening (on and off skis) with a boot like the Excursion. Plus they're cheaper.

What is "double camber"?

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"BC ski gear for rugged, mileage focused touring" on 11/03/2010 18:38:32 MDT Print View

What do you guys think of the Alpina BC 1575 boot for the Karhu Lookout ski with the 3-pin Rottefella binding?