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AT setup

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of getting an AT setup for this coming winter and wanted some input. I was thinking of trying to get as cheap a pair of skis + bindings as possible and think I'll use my regular alpine boots (if I get really into backcountry I'll upgrade everything in a couple seasons). I've never done any skinning/backcountry but was a racer and will ski pretty much anything. I'm 5'10" and 165 lbs. My current quiver: 163 Fischer race stock slalom skis, 183 Fischer race stock gs skis, 173 Fischer cold heats (I have a thing for Fischers ;)  ) Also, I live on the East Coast, and ski mostly MA and VT. Any ideas? Maybe a pair of Dukes on a pair of Black Diamond Stigma's or Verdicts? Anything I could find cheaper? Also, how much should weight be a consideration for AT skis?

Thanks.

post #2 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidudettocs View Post

...how much should weight be a consideration for AT skis?


Depends.  How much do you like carrying heavy shit uphill?

 

post #3 of 14

Boot weight is every bit as important a consideration as ski weight, if not more so. Alpine boots suck for skinning, the steeper it is, the worse they are. You can save more than a couple pounds on each foot with some models of AT boots, which means you potentially save thousands of pounds of lifting over the course of a serious climb. However, what you give up in weight, you usually will lose in stiffness, in the power over your skis movements, and in the support which make it easier to recover from loss of fore/aft balance. What's good for going up, tends to be less desirable fro going down.

 

As for skis, assuming that you'll be hiking to find untracked snow, then anything wide enough to float you will do. Wider generally means heavier, so the more float the ski will give you, the more work it is likely to be on the way up the hill. I tour on 183s (my shortest skis, length means weight too, of course) with dimensions of 121-92-105, with a medium overall flex, and have never felt like I really needed bigger skis. I'm a pretty big guy; I usually ride skis 188 or longer.

 

If I were you, I'd be watching the gear swap on TGR, as not infrequently, people sell full AT set ups (skis, bindings, and skins) for hook-up prices. Boots too. TGR has a much higher proportion of back country skiers than epicski, which means a much deeper resource base for gear, and gear knowledge. There are some very knowledgeable folk here too, but relatively few, and not so many of the screaming deals here either. However, be forewarned that some folks are choosy about who can come in and swoop up the deals on TGR, and one can expect to be met with derision for swooping deals if you aren't otherwise involved in the forums, but some folks have no problem with selling to anyone who's Paypal is pumping.

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 14

For myself, I found the Dukes to be heavy and cumbersome to use. Unless you plan to use your set-up mostly at hill with some slack country short trips, I would stay away from the Markers. My experience is that the release to go into and out of travel/ski mode is hard to use when cold, it gets iced up, and is slow compared to other bindings and the heel lift is also not set up well. I know that others like this binding, mostly because it is bomb proof, but I broke my first set. The Dukes are also heavy. I haven't tried the newer Marker Tour bindings, which are lighter than the Dukes, but some of the issues that I had with the Duke remains the same, such as the release for the tour/ski mechanism being under the boot.

 

Dynafit bindings (which I use) are light, but also al little bother to use until you get the hang of them. You would also need a boot that is set-up for the Dynifit, and your normal would not work

 

You might consider a Fritsche binding - such as the Freeride Pro, which is fairly easy to use and switch between modes. My friends who use Fritsche bindings like them.

 

Keep in mind that on some tours you might have to switch from travel to ski mode more than several times. On these days it is nice to have the switch between ski and travel easier - especially when it is cold and windy.

 

You might find that your normal ski boot is hard to use for travel. My guess is that you have a stiff boot, which might cause some annoyance when walking half the day.  I’d put more emphasis in the boots than the skis – go for a light mid-fat ski at a swap, save some bucks and put it in the boots.

 

The skis you mentioned are good skis.  Keep in mind that in back country skiing, things get to be more of a trade off.  I tend to use longer skis at the hill than when touring because shorter skis are easier to manoeuvre. Fat skis (greater than 105 under foot) are great for descending, but you sometimes have to push more snow when climbing. I find that narrower skis track better.  Narrower (mid fat) skis are also easier to climb in hard angled surfaces because you don’t have to hold as much ski up with your ankle.  Ski width is not as much of an issue when travelling shorter distances. Pick your ski based on what you believe you will be doing most and the conditions that you anticipate.

 

Good Luck and have fun. 

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

For myself, I found the Dukes to be heavy and cumbersome to use. Unless you plan to use your set-up mostly at hill with some slack country short trips, I would stay away from the Markers. My experience is that the release to go into and out of travel/ski mode is hard to use when cold, it gets iced up, and is slow compared to other bindings and the heel lift is also not set up well. I know that others like this binding, mostly because it is bomb proof, but I broke my first set. The Dukes are also heavy. I haven't tried the newer Marker Tour bindings, which are lighter than the Dukes, but some of the issues that I had with the Duke remains the same, such as the release for the tour/ski mechanism being under the boot.

 

Dynafit bindings (which I use) are light, but also al little bother to use until you get the hang of them. You would also need a boot that is set-up for the Dynifit, and your normal would not work

 

You might consider a Fritsche binding - such as the Freeride Pro, which is fairly easy to use and switch between modes. My friends who use Fritsche bindings like them.

 

Keep in mind that on some tours you might have to switch from travel to ski mode more than several times. On these days it is nice to have the switch between ski and travel easier - especially when it is cold and windy.

 

You might find that your normal ski boot is hard to use for travel. My guess is that you have a stiff boot, which might cause some annoyance when walking half the day.  I’d put more emphasis in the boots than the skis – go for a light mid-fat ski at a swap, save some bucks and put it in the boots.

 

The skis you mentioned are good skis.  Keep in mind that in back country skiing, things get to be more of a trade off.  I tend to use longer skis at the hill than when touring because shorter skis are easier to manoeuvre. Fat skis (greater than 105 under foot) are great for descending, but you sometimes have to push more snow when climbing. I find that narrower skis track better.  Narrower (mid fat) skis are also easier to climb in hard angled surfaces because you don’t have to hold as much ski up with your ankle.  Ski width is not as much of an issue when travelling shorter distances. Pick your ski based on what you believe you will be doing most and the conditions that you anticipate.

 

Good Luck and have fun. 


Excellent point.The more under your boot the edges are, the greater purchase you have when setting an edge. When your heels are elevated, and you're crossing a steep wind-scoured icy patch, the lateral torque created by not having your weight above the edge, will make anything wider than the ball of your foot a liability.

 

 

 

 


Edited by volantaddict - 8/18/11 at 7:02pm
post #6 of 14

I ski out of Jay so also have shorter EC tours, and for my touring I found the dynafits to be quite a rapid learning curve, and time lost with them is quickly made up on the grind up. Just to play on our fischer theme, the freeski watea line uses carbon I-beam in the cores, so they are light and relatively stiff. In past years the 84 and 101 width came with skin attachments at the tail, and they base the 84 mid-fat for many our there tour specific skis. The watea 84 should be a good pickup used.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


Depends.  How much do you like carrying heavy shit uphill?

 

QFT chuckle bump

any ski and or binders will do you could do treckers or bootpack

there is a reason a DPS or PMGEAR carbon fibered ski dynawhompers or plums  and a good at boot costs $$$$$$ and it aint cause people arent buying them.

If you go to tgr expect

jesus jong the ability to find the search bar or the backcountry forum is a hell of a lot harder than buried snowpack instabilities take avvy 1 or find some good partners or pm alpine ambitions or whoever that uber guide who came here to pimp/spam his shizz and stroke his ewang/ego.

have a great season safty 1st and often and  DONT GET ELMINATED

 

 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info. As far as the boots go - I never really realized how heavy mine actually are. They're Lange 120 WCs---so probably horrible AT boots. I'm gonna keep an eye on TGR and see what pops up. Thanks for the idea about the Wateas, I'm definitely gonna look into that. 

 

Normally I don't have a problem with splurging a little on some nice gear since I know I'll use it. I'm a little hesitant this time around though since I don't know how much use I'll get out of it. I definitely want to get into AT, but you never know how much you'll get to do until you start. I do have a friend though who's willing to show me the ropes. 

 

I also might look towards something with ~90 underfoot, since it would give me a nice powder ski too. 

post #9 of 14

As an example, I had some older heavy Lowa AT boots without thermofit liners, Atomic R:EX skis (fairly light) and Fritchi Freeride bindings.  I switched to some  Dynafit  Zzero boots, Dynafit bindings and Goode 95 carbon skis and dropped 10 lbs. off my feet.  You cannot imagine how it changed my backcountry experience.  Dynafit bindings are a no brainer decision, and now they are making very light boots that ski pretty well, but they are not cheap. When it comes to skis you need to balance weight against performance.  After all that climbing you do not want to be on wimpy skis that cannot handle all the funky conditions you may encounter. If you go too light with skis you sacrifice performance, and if you go super light with boots they get very pricey, and you may lose some performance.  So you have to balance your budget with the lightest stuff you can get, but the important thing is to get out there, even if it is on heavy equipment.  You can always upgrade again later.

post #10 of 14

I've only skied/skinned on Dynafit bindings & found the learning curve easy, quick & totally worth the weight savings. The only other AT binding I'd be more interested in would be Plums.  If you haven't already noticed, both require Dynafit (tech binding) compatible boots. I couldn't imagine nearly as much time in DH boots as I can in my AT boots, which I could hike/skin/ski all day in.

 

Since you're on the e coast where things can get icy, you might want to look into the difference b/t how ski crampons work on tech bindings vs Fritschie, Markers etc.

post #11 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

For myself, I found the Dukes to be heavy and cumbersome to use. Unless you plan to use your set-up mostly at hill with some slack country short trips, I would stay away from the Markers. My experience is that the release to go into and out of travel/ski mode is hard to use when cold, it gets iced up, and is slow compared to other bindings and the heel lift is also not set up well. I know that others like this binding, mostly because it is bomb proof, but I broke my first set. The Dukes are also heavy. I haven't tried the newer Marker Tour bindings, which are lighter than the Dukes, but some of the issues that I had with the Duke remains the same, such as the release for the tour/ski mechanism being under the boot.

 

Good points on the Duke. I think its for resort skier who some times goes out the gates and may skin an hour or so to get to the to of their line / back inbounds.

 

Dynafit bindings (which I use) are light, but also al little bother to use until you get the hang of them. You would also need a boot that is set-up for the Dynifit, and your normal would not work.

 

The issues with dynafit mostly relate to them not being step in bindings. In addition to the learnign curve, getting the bindings on and off requires precise alingnment of two pins and is simply more work than a step in binding. For example if you are riding a tram / gondie at the resort where you have to take off your skis after every run it gets pretty noticeable. They are IMO the best AT bindings available. You can go from tour to ski mode with out removing your skis, so thats nice to have a quick transition when you are at the top of the hill. But... in order to change from ski mode back to tour mode you do have to take your skis off, so rolling terrain is not entirely with out fiddling around.

 

You might consider a Fritsche binding - such as the Freeride Pro, which is fairly easy to use and switch between modes. My friends who use Fritsche bindings like them.

 

Keep in mind that on some tours you might have to switch from travel to ski mode more than several times. On these days it is nice to have the switch between ski and travel easier - especially when it is cold and windy.

 

Really these are the easiest to use touring bidings. They have offer the quickest transitions from tour to ski to tour and are better than the other choices for rolling terrain. But this utility comes at the cost of not being very light, poor stride ergonomics (franken stride- which sees to have been fixed in the latest versions), and they ski about like a  sloppy rental fleet binding. But its always nice to never have to take your skis off until you are done for the day. And like he said for some tours its pretty darn important. Then again, long rolilng tours are on the boarder of nordic skiing and you are almost better off using waxless tele setup for this type of thing ...



 

 


Edited by tromano - 8/22/11 at 12:51pm
post #12 of 14

Now try Dynafit TLT5s smile.gif

post #13 of 14

Go with the dukes and use your heavy ass boots. Gotta earn your stripes before you drink the dynafit Kool-aid.

post #14 of 14

Don't let anyone tell you the heavy boots and Marker Dukes/barons isn't possible - I'm not sure about how much skinning you need to do to get to the FUN part where you're at, but it's definitely do-able.  At the very least, though, a downhill boot-based setup will get you out there. 

 

 ~2,000' vertical and ~2 miles is sort of my personal limit for how far is comfortable in one shot before I'm ready for downhill time (and it varies for each person)...  

 

I'm running a heavy downhill boot & duke combo right now, simply because I couldn't afford to buy much else in addition to my downhill gear and the gear you need to be safe.  It goes without saying, please don't save so much money you don't buy safety gear.  

 

 

 

In short:

 

Would I be using Dukes/DH boots if I was a millionaire? NO.  

Is it still worth doing because it gets you out in the BC and is fun? YES.

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