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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
New Ski on 01/22/2011 10:11:44 MST Print View

I don't know if anyone has seen this: http://marquette-backcountry.com/

I like the looks of these, and I'll probably get a pair. If you paired this with bindings that work with regular boots, then I think you would have a great system for the spring. We discussed this sort of thing last year, which inspired me to try and make a system like this. I wrote about my experiences here: http://tinyurl.com/2bhegrl

I failed at my attempt to make the bindings, but my brother created something much better, that he has used successfully. Basically, he took the Berwin bindings, put them on a block of wood, put a hinge underneath that, and put that on a regular ski (Atomic Sierra). He had to add a bumper to get the proper Nordic movement. He also added a latch, to lock down the hinge when going downhill. This still allows enough movement to make a telemark turn (because of the play in the Berwin binding) but less movement than the hinge.

Anyway, I think if you took that binding (or something that worked as well) and put them on this ski, I think you could tromp around in the spring and still have a lot of fun. With these skis, you would have less glide, but if your spring hiking is usually uphill anyway, it might not matter as much. Basically, they could function more like snowshoes going up, but more like skis going down.

I personally think they got it just right. I like the length. Any shorter and you really can't glide. Any longer and you might as well get light Nordic skis. The sidecut is about right, too (since the ski is short, I think it would be quite maneuverable). I also like the fact that it doesn't have metal edges. There might be times when I would want them, but I prefer the weight savings. Ski crampons might make sense, since you are more likely to get ice going up, and slush going down (if you use these in the spring). I like the pronounced tip. That should eliminate the "submarining" problem I had. I like the fish scale bottom; this is much faster than a permanent skin, but a lot more convenient than a removable skin. The only thing I question is the lack of camber. I would have some, just to improve the glide a bit. They might also be a bit wider than I need, but these were designed for winter, not spring. I could get by with a much smaller footprint, since the snow is quite consolidated when I intend to use these.

Of course, I need to get a pair and then try them out before making too much of a judgment.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Marquette Backcountry ski on 01/22/2011 11:13:47 MST Print View

Dave Chenalt has a pair. He's written about them at his blog.

The only downside I can see is that they are so heavy at over 9lb for a pair.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Marquette Backcountry ski on 01/22/2011 12:00:00 MST Print View

Thanks. I didn't realize that Dave had a blog. I'll have to subscribe to that. He and I have talked a lot about the subject here (as I mentioned on my web page, he inspired me to get off my ass and finally try and make some spring boot ski thingies). Hopefully, he will be along here shortly.

The 9 pound a pair news is rather disappointing. I was hoping these were really light, since they don't have metal edges. That pretty much kills it as a spring ski. I think I would rather grab a pair of my nordic skis and pay a bulk penalty, instead of a weight penalty.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Dave's blog on 01/22/2011 13:40:55 MST Print View

http://bedrockandparadox.wordpress.com/

Lot's of good stuff here.

You might want to read up a bit on some of the new skis that Hagan will be bringing to the states next season. There's some info coming out of the OR show on the topic.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Berwin bindings on 01/22/2011 14:48:28 MST Print View

I've had Berwin bindings for over 10 years. I've used them with heavy winter feltpacs and military pac boots for very cold weather. But they sure are not the greatest for turning. Not much lateral stiffness with pac boots and Mickey Mouse boots, which themselves are not stiff.

I mount them on my Vaude' binding plates for the releasable bindings Vaude' makes.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Berwin bindings on 01/22/2011 18:24:03 MST Print View

The Hagan skis look nice, but a bit pricey. That is one reason why I started with the Skiboards I did -- they were cheap. Of course, they weren't that good (the model and brand is considered by many to be poor). It's nice to see more people making short skis (whether they call them skiboards or skis). Eventually, that should push the price down as more will be available (especially used).

I had great control with the Berwin binding and my spring hiking boots. I should say, though, that I hike in full leather hiking boots in the spring (to prevent soggy feat). The boots aren't super stiff, but they aren't lightweight summer sneakers, either. They are mid-height (just above the ankle) all leather (but thin leather) boots made by REI. I think they were made by Raichle, but REI did an OEM on them. If anything, the setup was way to stiff for Nordic striding, but great for downhill. In fact, that was the highlight. I was able to carve up the slopes better than I have in twenty years (since I transitioned from Alpine lift skiing to Nordic skiing). My brother got similar results with similar boots. The problem I see with Berwin bindings by themselves is that they require soft boots for the flats, making the setup too loose for downhill. A pair of stiff hiking boots (which they say you shouldn't use with them) make for good downhill performance (with the proper skis and within reason) but lousy striding. Adding the hinge, bumper and latch make for an ideal setup. Or, at least, the best setup I've ever seen (better than Yupis or Karhu Karver).

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
marquettes on 01/25/2011 15:28:47 MST Print View

Ross, took me a while to find this.

I'm due to write up a formal review this week. In summary, they're a great idea. They kill it in soft snow. The only thing that prevents them from being a legit big mountain ski is the lack of metal edges. The only thing that keeps them from being a great BC touring tool is the porky weight. (4.8 lbs a ski!)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
review on 01/27/2011 12:44:23 MST Print View

http://bedrockandparadox.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/marquette-backcountry-ski-review/