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Pick me some all mtn skis

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,

I'm looking for some new skis.  Budget around  $500 with bindings.


I currently am on Alpina (waxless back country metal edge) lite terrains - 102mm tip - 64mm waist - 87mm tail  in a 165 with 3 pin bindings (no heal support) and Scarpa T4 (light tele) boots. I'm transitioning into more skinning and lift served downhill mostly at Mad River  Glen. I'd like to keep my boots if possible.  I like the idea of the Voile switchback binding (for no resistance skinning) and definitely want to ditch the pins which end up getting packed with snow by the time i get from the parking lot to the base area.


What I'd like is a ski that'll be a bit faster (which I think will come automatically with longer and fatter), handle crud and heavy wet snow better, still ski well on hard/ice surface and turn well.  Really an all around ski.  I'm a "strong" intermediate, no expert, skier.


I like the idea of some scales on the bottom as I will be teaching my (by next season) ~2.5 year old to ski and I think being able to maneuver around easily is important.  I also do sometimes ski to the resort on the catamount trail, ski the long trail from ski hill to ski hill, etc. 


I've been eyeing the Voile X2 binding (their heaviest duty binding , I guess) and Rossignol BC125 in a 175.  My biggest issue with the fishscales is , if we have another season like this year with lots of MRG (moss rocks and grass) , the scales just DIG into anything that isn't snow, and cause some nice front flip action.  On snow, I really don't notice the resistance THAT much.


Should I go for waxable base without scales, and if so what would be a good ski to look at, in the $200-$250 range I guess... or stick to this package?


If it matters I'm 6'1 maybe ~170 with pack and boots.


Sorry for the long story.   

post #2 of 17

Line Profit 100's

post #3 of 17

Lots of new, very good choices in waxless bc skis, switchback is a very good binding;  I use Karhu Guides (now Madshus annums) with Dynafit Speed Radicals and TLT5 Mountain boots (AT setup) and Madshus Epochs (were Karhu 10th Mountains) with BCX675 boots and 3-pin cable bindings for Nordic ski patrol; I replaced by Fischer Outtabounds and Salomon X-Adv 89s with the Epochs; both these other skis generally are considered to ski better (faster) than your Alpinas.  A good discussion of choices is here http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=23824.0.  However, you may very well want to consider a heavier boot so you could keep your present outfit and also have something like the waxless Voile Vector bc (T-4s might be too meek for them, but check them out  online); I haven't skied the Vector but have read some very good reports.  You might find some good buys on used skis and boots on telemarktips.com.


Frankly, I think your best option, tho expensive, would be AT gear; I think that, IMHO, IIRC, because I switched primarily to AT gear 3 years ago after a quarter of a century on tele gear :-)



post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Out of curiosity,  how does the A.T. gear climb.  I think you said that it climbs better.  Why is that?  Aren't the boots pretty high?


Of the 3 skis I'm considering, basically Annum, BC110 and BC125, I've heard the BC125 turns best and also the shortest which I guess is good for me because I'm not an expert skier.  I imagine it would handle the best in crud and heavy wet snow .  The Annum and BC110 are about the same profile but I think I remember reading one is faster and the other climbs better.

post #5 of 17

AT gear is designed to climb, of course.  With tech (Dynafit, Plum, etc) bindings, two prongs insert, one into each side, into the forefront of the boot and provide a nearly friction free pivot (no detectable resistance)--kind of like NNN-BC or SNS-BC but with better lateral stability.  The heel is free and unencumbered (it locks down for the descent--but if the descent is mild you can ski down free heel).  With a 3-pin or traditional cable binding for tele gear, you generally bend the boot at the bellows and fight against the cables when climbing.  With the Switchback you get a free pivot but carry the weight of the hardwires and cartridges on your heel. Tech heel pieces have 3 climbing levels--neutral, mid-, and high.  The heel piece rotates to provide pins for locking down.  Most tele binding have 2-3 climbing levels.


My Dynafit TLT5 boots have a removable tongue and a cuff that pivots 60 degrees; you leave the cuff unbuckled while climbing and have a great freedom of movement that provides no cuff resistance and a long stride.  The liner has built in flex areas front and rear to eliminate even the liner restricting movement.  For the descent, you merely throw the upper buckle closed, tighten the power strap and head down unless you are on very steep ice or really nasty snow, then you but the tongue in (it is very quick).  Now most AT boots do not flex at the forefoot (no bellows) so you use a different kind of stride--one that is more efficient (using large muscles) and less tiring.  You simply lift your thigh slightly, moving it slightly forward, unweighting your heel, and the ski slides forward on its own, on top of the snow, and you give it a little "kick" at the end, with the result being a long, on-top-off the snow stride; then lower heel (weight on ski) while lifting opposite thigh.  You can actually get a pretty respectable kick-and-glide going on firm snow.


You would probably use 185 cm Madshus Annums (given the weight/length chart) and I think you would find they turn fairly quickly with 31 mm of sidecut (109-78-95); you would use a 175 cm in the BC125 with 28 mm sidecut.  I have not skied the BCs but the Karhu/Madshus waxless pattern (I have both the Guide/Annum and the 10thMountain/Epoch) is a very strong climber; both are plenty fast on ice LOL.  I would expect, but do not know, that the BC125 with a 95 mm waist would be the best of the 3 in deep snow.  An AT boot would power any of these well; I think one might use a different tele boot between the Annum/BC110 and the BC125, but I don't know.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Any idea what might be similar in sidecut (and price) to a Rossignol BC125 without scales?



post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

ah.. NM.  I ordered the BC125 in a 175 with standard switchback bindings.  Going to see how that goes.  I was going to mull over this all summer but we got about  2 ft. this week above 2000 ft and I'd like to take advantage of bigger skis and more powerful bindings.  I know that this stuff is SUPER HEAVY so the new skis might not help a ton, but I was mostly falling down the mountain on my Lite Terrains with 3 pin bindings!!!! 


Between the big price bump to "real" skis and not being able to go on the Catamount trail without skins on regular skis, the BC/XCD skis seemed worth it.  Under 500 bucks shipped (with tax here, too) on the BC125/Switchback combo, mounted even - from ORS.



post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Soooooooooooo.  I've been on the BC125s with Switchbacks for a year,  I   upgraded from T4 to T2 Eco boots in December.  Now I'm ready for AT.   

I'm thinking Vertical ST or Radical ST.  Any suggestions on which there? TLT5 a good touring and alpine ski?



My skiing is much the same, but I'm a little better.  Still touring, still climbing lots, still lift servicing when they are open, more blacks and fewer blues.  I'm going to keep the BC125s for now. 

post #9 of 17

Either binding is fine--what ever you can find; I think they have both been discontinued; the option is the Radical FT if you need brakes and the Speed (or one of the other race or mfrs tech bindings).


TLT5 is an outstanding benchmark touring, alpine touring, and ski mountaineering boot and a pretty good alpine skiing boot. If you are going to ski blacks you might opt for the TLT5 Performance over the Mountain.  An new boot that is pretty interesting is the Dynafit Mercury--supposedly very good touring and very good alpine, but a little heavier than the TLT5.  I believe you can get different stiffnesses in the removable tongue to match the kind of skiing you are doing (or, of course, ski without the tongue).  I skied my Dynafit TLT5 Mountains with my Dynafit Stoke skis (107 mm waist) in heavy powder and on groomed one day lift-served and had a ball; that said, the TLT5 is not my go to boot for alpine skiing; I use a heavier 4 buckle boot with a booster strap with a beefier lining and I use skis that weigh 50%-100% more than my AT skis. (I took the stock strap off my TLT5s and carry a set of booster straps, along with the boot tongues, in my pack in case I encounter some pretty dicey conditions bc; rarely use them, maybe once or twice this year).

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm not so concerned about weight as long as they weigh less than or equal to my T2 Eco's which are 1920 grams/boot = 8.46 pounds total.  I definitely don't want to buy and wish I had a warmer or more powerful boot but the number of diffferent Dynafit boots is overwhelming!  I imagine most will feel more powerful than my T2 Eco's.


Know anything on these?    Pretty cheap for a Dynafit boot:



post #11 of 17

I haven't skied them, but they have gotten some good reviews.  They have a little wider last than the TLT5/Mercury/vulcan which are on the narrow side.  They don't have removable tongues, a little downside for touring.  They are PU (polyurethane), which is heavier than the materials in the former boots, but PU gives a nicer, more progressive flex.  I like the progressive flex in my Zzero 4 PU boots and my Zzeus (PU, alpine overlap, interchangeable alpine/tech soles).  The Zeus weigh 69 oz, about 20 oz more than the Zzero, a difference is about the weight of a pair of TLT5 LOL

post #12 of 17

BTW, here's a video of a couple of friends of mine who are good skiers skiing powder in TLT5s last month (April) at a closed ski area (there is also a splitboarder in the video).

post #13 of 17

I've been skiing the One PF-TX all winter in a rotation of a few other boots.  Those boots include the TLT Mountain, the TLT P, the Zero4 Carbon, the Scarpa Maestrale and Maestrale RS.


I use the One as a "ski" boot not as a touring boot.  But it has almost all the attributes of the TLT boots for touring with only 7oz or a bit less penalty in weight between the two boots in my size 28..  A TLT P with tongeue and power strap in a size 29 weights in at 3# even BTW.   Stripped they are 2# 9oz.


The TLT Series is an amazing touring boot that skis very well.  It is light and not very durable.  A TLTP stripped skis about the same as a TLT Mountain with tongue and power strap installed.  The One series adds very little weight and will out last the TLTs two to one or more!  It tours well just not as well as the TLT does.  And it skis very well.


If you want a lwt touring set up nothing as good as the TLT short of full on rando race boots.  If you want a boot that will tour well and last, the One or that Dynafit series is a better boot than anything else I have mentioned.  If you want full on ski boots that will tour...just not very well by comparison....the Scarpa and upper end Dynafits area good bet.  The RS is an exceptional ski boot.


If  you are going to tour in the boots be sure to fit them like a touring/mtn boot.  If you are going to use them just for skiing with an occasional tour the  typical ski boot fit will "generally" suffice. 

post #14 of 17

Thanks for the real-life comparisons, Dane.  I'm always looking for info on the new products.


It is useful to note that the shells of the TLT5P and TLT5M differ, IIRC, by about 10-20 grams; the big difference is in the liner--the P has a slim thermofit and the M (in the US) has a beefier, partially moldable liner.  I've heard the P liner does not last very long and I've heard of many swapping out for an Intuition.  The liner in my M lasted about 50 days before becoming packed, adding a Sole footbed and re-thermofitting extended it to 100 days more or less.  I tried an intuition Pro-tour and did not like it in my TLT5s (I have big calves that practically fill the shell, anyway) but love it in my Zzero 4s; the Pro-tour does not flex as well fore-and-aft as the 5M liner.  I now use a Palau touring liner in my 5s; it is great (a little shorter than the stock).  The P model has had some problems with the rivet wearing on the carbon cuff--but so far none of my friends have encountered that problem AFAIK, yet, despite being very active skiers.  Around here we have lots of snow most of the year, so many of us don't do a lot of hiking on rock with the boots, altho they are designed for that as well.  I've got about 150 days on my 5 Ms with no problems other than the liner.  AFAIC, the M is all one needs when touring, touring for tours, etc. is the goal; I am one of those weird people that actually liked the stock stoble liner better than a lot of full thermofits.  I rarely use the tongue and power strap going up or down, although most of my downs are less than 40 degrees for the most part.  Some of my friends that ski the P, ski steeper, faster, and huck more than me.


It is good to hear the One is durable; I know a few people who have had fit problems with the TLT5 (and the Maestrale).  Everyone hopes the Mercury and Vulcan will not have the rivet problem of the TLT5P; I recall seeing some homemade solutions to the rivet problem.  I'm tempted to try the Mercury with my Stokes (bc touring) and Mantras and S7s (sidecountry & lift-served bc).

post #15 of 17

No worries.  Hope the additional info  helps someone.


>It is useful to note that the shells of the TLT5P and TLT5M differ, IIRC, by about 10-20 grams


Common misconception actually.  The P shell is 10g heavier (2 bolts on the power strap instead of one rivet on the Mtn version).  Carbon cuff is stiff for sure.  But it is not lighter.


> the big difference is in the liner--the P has a slim thermofit and the M (in the US) has a beefier, partially mold-able liner.


True and the thicker more cush mtn liner will generally fit most feet better.  The Palau liner is 166g lighter than the Mtn liner.   190g verses 356g


> the P liner does not last very long and I've heard of many swapping out for an Intuition.


Again, not very accurate.  The Palau liners are thin as the original designer intended and they fit well if molded correctly.  The switch to the Intuition Pro tour liner is generally done to improve ski performance with a tighter fit (not much room in the TLT shell to start with) and add warmth for skiing.  Never heard of any one using a TLT touring that had cold feet.  It seems to be the guys using them off a lift with some side country that get cold feet.  The TLTs weren't designed as a lift boot.  Lack of warmth and durability back that up.


>The liner in my M lasted about 50 days before becoming packed, adding a Sole foot bed and re-thermofitting extended it to 100 days more or less. I tried an intuition Pro-tour and did not like it in my TLT5s (I have big calves that practically fill the shell, anyway) but love it in my Zzero 4s; the Pro-tour does not flex as well fore-and-aft as the 5M liner. I now use a Palau touring liner in my 5s. (nice choice imo, btw)


I'm over a 100 days using my original Palau liners using them in both a pair of Mtns and the original Ps.   Both boots are a little worse for the wear.  But I chop of the sides of the boots badly.  More down hill than uphill is the issue skiing them hard on lifts all day.  It is tough on that boot.  I've also had some truly epic storm days skiing those boots off the lifts on everything Alpental has to offer.


>the M is all one needs when touring, touring for tours, etc. is the goal


Agreed.  I think it is a better boot in general than the TLT P...and one of my favorites for climbing in as well as skiing.  But then that is what the boot was designed for! 


Photo courtesy of Jeff Street from http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/  in the TLT Mtn





Courtesy of Colin Haley http://colinhaley.blogspot.com/   climbing i n the the TLT P



>It is good to hear the One is durable


It is and you get the wider last of the Mercury/Vulcan.  Nice skiing boot.  Even the One is a big step up over the TLT P series 5 or 6 in skiing performance. 

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  I tried on a One PX and I liked it.  Now I just want to decide on the Radical ST (brakes) or brake-free model.  I have heard the brake free one spins on its own from climb to ski mode.  I'm not sure if this is a legit concern , or if it is actually only an issue for the Speeds.

post #17 of 17

Dane, tell me about the durability of the Mercury vs the Maestrale RS. I've read just enough to have an opinion based on 'not much'. Thanks in advance! 

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