I'm moving this thread over here, from a review of Hok Skis. My thought is that someone might search this forum for this information, and have an easier time finding it. These comments are in response to Jonathan's last post (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?display_style=nested&forum_thread_id=56977&nid=484050).
Jonathan: Very interesting and helpful post. I appreciate the information. I have a few comments:
Yes, the term "waxless" is confusing, but so are many skiing terms. The nice thing is that "waxless" is used throughout the industry and in publications. The only confusing part is that you should wax your waxless skis. Regardless of what you call it, I really like the patterned bases. I have kickers, and I use them a lot. But when the terrain is flat, or not very steep, the waxless base is much faster. Depending on the terrain, a waxless base can save a lot of time. I skied with a guy and saw him take off his skins going down, then put on his skins for a moderate uphill. I was able to just kick and glide my way through that section (saving my kickers for the much steeper stuff). Of course, the price I pay is that I'm a tiny bit slower going down. There are trade-offs with every setup, but I run across terrain that is well suited for waxless bases all the time. This is why I wish those really light skis you mention would add patterned bases. Maybe someday.
Regarding boots, I think you hit the nail on the head: fit is the key. That is why, unfortunately, I wouldn't buy used boots unless I knew the person well. I prefer working with a store that will allow me to return them if they don't fit quite right. That may be why that guy was using cross country boots with the expensive, metal edged, carved skis. It may be that he really just likes the comfort of his boots. I would imagine that while a more supportive boot can be quite comfortable, all things being equal, a thinner lighter boot will be more comfortable (just as a trail runner will be more comfortable than a hiking boot).
It is nice to hear that more boot makers are making NNN-BC and SNS-BC boots. As you mentioned, there really aren't a lot of boots to choose from in this area. I am not too fond of the pair I own, but haven't tried replacing them, just because there aren't many choices.
From what I've heard, boot makers don't think they will ever be able to make telemark boots that are as light as A. T. (Randonee) boots. Allowing boots to flex the way that telemark boots need to flex actually adds weight. That is my understanding anyway, so feel free (anyone) to correct me. In general, though, these are what I believe Rando Race Gear delivers:
1) Extremely light skis
2) Extremely light bindings
3) Extremely light boots
4) Boots that are comfortable for walking as well as skiing
If I very much preferred the telemark turn over parallel, then I would be quite happy with items 1, 2 and 4. I might be a bit jealous of my friends and their lighter boots, but as long as my feet are comfortable, I would be OK. My hope is that over time this technology trickles down to more affordable gear, and that they eventually add waxless bases to the skis.