EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Backcountry, Telemark, and Cross Country › New to alpine touring: Can you offer suggestions on ski size? I've gotten conflicting advice
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New to alpine touring: Can you offer suggestions on ski size? I've gotten conflicting advice

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello AT skiers,


Perhaps you will be interested in sharing your knowledge?  I'm new to alpine touring and am looking to buy skis. I've gotten some conflicting advice regarding the length and dimensions I should go for, so I thought I'd canvas a larger field. 


I'm tall and somewhat thin: 6'4'', 175 lbs., and advanced at the resort, enjoying the whole mountain -- when it's not too icy. I'm not a super hard charger usually, but I do at times. I tried touring once this past season in Austria and loved it.  I see myself doing this not only off-piste, but even at the resort to get in a good workout and avoid lift lines.  So, a skin-up after work during the week, and more back country on the weekends, where the powder isn't as dry and fluffy as in Utah or Colorado.


I live in Bulgaria where there isn't the demo infrastructure to try out a number of skis before buying, hence my email to you.  With the information given, I'd be interested in hearing what length and dimensions the seasoned skiers of this community would suggest?  I have offered to me a pair of new Dynafit FT 10, size 187, 122/88/111 for $100.  The price says "good starter ski", but I don't know if the all-around size is suited to me.  I've been told to go thin (mid-70's) and fat at the mid-point, and have been advised to go short and long.  I"m confused.  Any suggestions will be much appreciated.


(And model suggestions are also welcome!)


Thanks a million.

post #2 of 8

187 cm seems a little long to me for what you have in mind.  It should be manageable but you could certainly go shorter which would likely benefit you in tight spots and on the uphill.  Don't forget that around 90% of AT skiing is uphill.  


From what I've heard people in Europe tend to favor a narrower ski than we do in the states, but around here a 88 mm waist is considered a nice all-around width.  


I could name models but it kind of depends on what's available to you.  FWIW my suggestion is to look for a 175-185 cm ski with close to an 80-90mm waist, but most importantly something that's kind of light because you'll be going uphill.  K2 makes a fairly nice line of touring-oriented skis, as does Black Diamond, Dynafit, G3, PM Gear, and Volkl. 


Just to list them, I favor a somewhat wider and shorter ski and my all-around touring skis are Volkl Nanuqs (177 cm long/94mm waist) and PM Gear Bro Models (174cm l/ 99mm w), both of which I love.  I weigh about 150 lbs.  

post #3 of 8

I too am new to AT and aquired my gear at the end of the season sales.  I chose Rossignol S3 with Dynafit bindings.  The S3s have a double rocker where the tip and tail curve up.  Double rocker is becoming more common on AT skis because it helps with powder flotation.


Skis with double rocker need to be selected quite a bit longer than ones without.  I am 6', 165lbs and picked 186cm and 98mm underfoot.  (186 is the longest size)


The Rossignol S3 is great in powder but works awesome in all snow conditions.   


Have fun!  AT has renewed my passion for skiing.

post #4 of 8

Keep in mind that the double rocker for a straight up AT ski can be a liability in that you have so much less surface on the ground that you have significantly less traction on the uphill.  That counts.  In addition, should the shittee hit the fan, as it were, the double rocker is less helpful as an anchor and in potential toboggan-building exercises.  It can happen if necessary, but a flat tail works better.


I do like the early-rise tips on my AT skis - proof that a person can, indeed, buy a turn.  ;)

post #5 of 8

I agree with Bob L. & Mtngirl above.  The S3's may not be a bad choice either.  Having skied on them a few days lift served this season I would agree that they are a fun & versatile ski.  There are many choices out there & it depends on what your average AT/BC day is going to be like.  I would say go with something similar to the ski you are most comfortable resort skiing on & go a little shorter & lighter if possible.  If it is Big Mountain, deep variable snow you are after then wider with rocker is great, but a bit more to lug around.  On average, in the real world these are conditions  where you might be concerned more with avalanche risk than anything else.  Where you want to get in & out as fast as you can, or not go at all.


A ski with similar dimensions  to those Bob L suggest make sense to the kind of skiing I do in the BC most of the time.  I have 2 set ups.  a pair of Scott Missions 168cm length & an 86mm waist, they carve when it is firm, they float well enough in the heavier stuff & manuever easily in the tight, steep or manky snow.  There short size makes them more than manageable during transitions or slapping them on my pack.  These are the conditions I encounter most often.

Red Lake Peak 001.JPG


My second set up is a heavier burlier rocker with a move up from 182cm K2 anti-pist with tip rocker to 187cm S7's with marker Barons.  Being a full time resort skier & part time BC skier in the winter, these are used for both, & often these tours are lift, vehicle or sled assisted & it is more about hard charging big alpine lines than the touring.

208731_10150168791783357_505253356_6655006_2156130_n - Copy.jpg



Edited by 4ster - 7/1/11 at 10:23pm
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all of you for the advice.  It's given me quite a bit of food for thought and has been quite helpful!

post #7 of 8

I would say the 187 cm FT 10 is too long for someone of your weight. I weigh 200 pounds and ski on the 178 cm FT 10. I also have a pair of 187s which I don't like as much. Kick turns in steep terrain are more of a challenge in the longer lengths. The FT 10 is an excellent spring touring ski, especially for use in the Alps. It's very light and nimble. I don't use mine for mid-winter or powder skiing; they're too narrow for that and a bit limited by their traditional camber.


The Wild Snow web site has some useful reviews you might want to consider. (wildsnow.com). The K2 Wayback is also 88 mm underfoot and comes highly recommended by the panel of bloggers at Wildsnow, as well as by the editors of Alpin magazine whose review of the 2020-2011 skis is reprinted on Wild Snow. Another is the Black Diamond Aspect (at 90 mm)


FT 10s in a 178 are on sale online at Sierra Trading post. Generally a good source for online skis is Telemark Pyrenees, though their stock is rather low at the moment. The best deal at the moment is a Atomic Snoop going for 163 Euros. They also have excellent prices on Dynafit bindings, esp. the TLT Speed.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

There's a lot of good info there, Tecumseh.  Thanks a lot!

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