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Ski, boots , skin and binding choices

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Bob Lee has been a huge help to me but I don't want to keep annoying him with PM's..icon14.gif

 

So, I am looking to finally get things rolling AT wise. I have a few skis that I can use but I want to make a wise decision and get what will work best in the long run; not just what will work.

 

I have a pair of 185 Cochise's, 173 Shaman's, dps 112's, Blizz Bones as options right now. Bob suggested BD Justices and they look very nice. I do want something that's going to work well, not just OK. I will most likely want something more deep snow or lightly tracked oriented.

 

I will be skinning up in Steamboat, not a lot of very steep terrain and hopefully some nice pow. I can literally skin off my back patio into Emerald mountain (adjoins Howelson) and although its not ideal, its super easy access and good exercise. There is a groomed road that goes up 1K' over 2 miles and you can continue up to a decent ridge. I also plan to get up to Buff' and Rabbit Ears. Once a year I cat ski in BC and would like to take a pow ski up there. I also try to get to Chile each fall.  

 

I am 6' 170 decent skier but totally new to skinning. I don't mind spending what it will take to get setup so I enjoy it.  I was planning on getting the new Soli AT bindings and boot-wise, it depends on what fits best of course but looking towards a Garmon; I like upright  boots.  

 

Open to skin options 

 

So no need to buy everything now but it gives me an idea of what to start to look for.  Thanks in advance. 

post #2 of 28

I won't make a recommendation for skis, boots, bindings as I'm more of an Alpine skier that skins than an AT skier, but I will say that when it comes to skins, check out the Gecko skins. I git a pair this winter and they are really cool. They are glueless, but feel like they have glue on them. They have a sort of micro-velcro or something that sticks to the skis.

post #3 of 28

A few  things:

 

1) Experience will help your views evolve. So don't stress too much. You could remount a pair of your existing skis & see what you htink. Or try a new pair. Binding-wise, use something and see. The trade offs between weight and performance are interesting. And you will not really know how to tune things up until you play. Even with light construction, really fat skis are heavy. Full alpine performance in a binding adds...you guessed it... For me, it is all about the down. But first you have to get up. I found out the hard way that "up" is hard with Kuros + Dukes on your feet :) Especially as I am a schlub on the uphill.

 

2) There are lots of good ski choices. If I'm skiing really nice soft snow or corn and do not have to compromise, I prefer to be on a Praxis Powder Board. IMO these skis totally rule the powder/slush/corn realm. A 138 does not make me cry either.  The problem is these are not light (not totally crazy heavy, but not light). Nor will they side-hill especially well if it is steep or crappy or breakable... So then you start making trade offs. Or not.

If you want to trade off for weight and range of conditions, your 112s would be a great ski for a first shot at this IMO. Another choice - the Praxis BC is a very, very nice ski - very light, tough as nails, skis a very wide range of conditions well. They are narrow enough to side hill, etc well. But shaped in a way that skis soft snow well. Keith is selling them for a song right now (coupon gets you 10% off sale prices). Everyone has their preferences - I'd pick something appropriate out of the Praxis lineup. Next I'd probably look at the DPS lineup. And I'd consider the 4FRNT Hoji a super strong contender (skied a few laps on 'em in variable/mixed conditions & was super impressed). But it is all about what you are optimizing for and what you value in design and construction.

 

3) Bindings. That same damn problem. You can get light. Or you can get full performance. A Tour 12 is clearly not the binding a Duke is or a Tracker will be. But it'll leave you with more energy at the top  - and likely get you there faster (unless you are a total animal). The interesting thing here is that there is no point in shaving 6 oz off a pair of skis and then throwing an extra two pounds of binding on 'em. So there is something of a balancing act with the blending of bindings and skis. A Baron can be a very reasonable compromise. Too bad they are not doing the wide platform version of that for this coming year.

 

4) Boots. I don't skin all that much - so I use my usual boots (Salomon SPKs). As is usual with boots, fit is it. There seem to be many good choices these days. If you like your basic boots & do not plan to replace them, maybe skin in them for a bit to see what your priorities are.

 

5) Skins. Any f the top rated ones will do you. One thing to think about: they take up room and are not weightless. So that ties to your ski choice (and ski type choice). I've been looking at Geckos. Seen some negative comments about the tail and tip clips. There is a good review video somewhere. Bottom line seems that they might be a good, low hassle,  choice for skinning for turns vs big tours. Whatever kind you get - use a G3 trimmer (available for a few bucks).

 

6) Sidenote: tech bindings. Lots of folks swear by 'em. But now you are running multiple systems. Hold up a pair of DPS pures or Praxis BCs or any lightweight AT ski mounted with 'em and the appeal is obvious. Too big a step for me at the moment though. Others can probably add more value here.

 

I suspect some searching here, TGR, TAY, etc, etc will reveal lots of good discussion on exactly this topic.

As usual, worth what you paid for it, Maybe more than usual, as I know just enough to be "dangerous".


Edited by spindrift - 4/28/12 at 9:17am
post #4 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

5) Skins. Any f the top rated ones will do you. One thing to think about: they take up room and are not weightless. So that ties to your ski choice (and ski type choice). I've been looking at Geckos. Seen some negative comments about the tail and tip clips. There is a good review video somewhere. Bottom line seems that they might be a good, low hassle,  choice for skinning for turns vs big tours. Whatever kind you get - use a G3 trimmer (available for a few bucks).

 

The tail clips are not very good. I found myself sometimes dragging them around, but the skins stayed on and worked without beiong clipped. Tip clips were fine.

 

Overall, I agree with Spin. You can get started on A/T using what you have. I skin in Doberman 150s w Dukes and Katanas. I have no complaints. Probably because I don't know any better.

post #5 of 28

biggrin.gif

 

No problems amigo.  Let's talk skins, since you have my views on most of the other things.  Black Diamond's Ascension STS skins are kind of the standard against which everything else is measured.  They have a very, very good tip and tail attachment system and the glue is good and they are very durable.  There are lighter skins out there - G3 Alpinist f'r instance - but BDs tip and tail system and durability do it for me, and they have a great warranty service.  They are available at a discount right now on blackdiamondequipment.com.  

 

Some people like the mohair/mohair blend skins - lighter and better glide - but they do best in drier conditions and cost more.  

 

BTW, I'm a big fan of Dynafit bindings, but as noted above that requires a commitment to the system and a significant increase of mindfulness when using them.  

 

I notice another vote for your 112s above.  

post #6 of 28

Use your DPs. Plenty of folks tour them.  BD mohair mix skins. Lighter with better glide than Ascentions.   Mount some Tech bindings, you'll go there sooner or later anyway.  I'd go with the ST's. Proven solid and no issues like the FT's or Radical's. Or look at the Plums. Light, solid. If you need a DIN 12 you're skiing too risky for the BC IMO. Early adopters seem to pay a price. Add one of the new 2012/13 Tech boots that fit your feet and you'd feel good hiking in, add the right Intuition liner don't look back. The BC is all about deciding what compromises you choose. Skinning is like using a stair climber with 6 lb. ankle weights and wearing a 15 lb back pack. smile.gif

post #7 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

...look at the Plums. Light, solid....Early adopters seem to pay a price. 

 

smile.gif You're aware of the contradiction there?  The Plums are not without some early issues, they are however without brakes.  

 

post #8 of 28

PS - For your summer reading pleasure

 

"Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" by Bruce Tremper.

post #9 of 28

A couple of broken toe wings. A manufacturing QC issue I read. Solid metal and lighter than non techs. People who bought last year were the early birds. Not the basic design flaws of the Radicals.  That said, I'm a Comfort man myself. Never had any issues.

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hey this is very helpful. This is all great stuff while in rehab all this summer so its appreciated. It gives me time to sort through stuff and do some learning. I see there is a pair of DPS 120's up for sale but they are 09's. This appealed to me for using up in BC and deep days but the weight and maneuverability issues come to mind.  I could remount the 112's and use them. That seems like a winning combo. I will keep an eye out for a used pure.  

 

last question for now, length-wise, is is better to go with a 190 on a ski like a 112 or better to go shorter like a 184? 

post #11 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

...last question for now, length-wise, is is better to go with a 190 on a ski like a 112 or better to go shorter like a 184? 

 

You forgot to tell us how much you weigh and whether you'll be skiing tight stuff.  

 

Me, I prefer a ski on the shorter side but within my weight range because I ski a lot of chutes and trees.  And shorter=lighter.  YMMV.   

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

6' 172, terrain will range but figure a lot of trees.  thanks Bob. I ski the dos 190's now on alpine and love them.   

post #13 of 28

First, and foremost, I'd recommend you spend a few hours reviewing the posts on Wildsnow.com, including info on Geckos; I haven't even seen them, so I won't comment.

Second, clearly define what you want to do.  If you want to tour, do summits, tour for turns, do extreme skiing (hucking cliffs, etc.).

For alpine touring or ski mountaineering you gear choice might be different than for adrenaline skiing, depending on your age, physical condition, and temperament.

For example, contrast what Lou Dawson (Wildsnow) likes to ski on with what his son and his son's friends ski on, then note they all skied Denali together.

Personally, I prefer lightweight Dynafit gear: 187 cm Manaslus, Vertical STs, and TLT5 Mountains (without tongues) and have had tons of fun on this outfit in corn (frozen and thawed), slush, breakable crust, and steep and deep NW powder. I think we're talking about 3300 grams total.  I prefer G3 alpinist skins for their weight and balance of grip and glide.  

 

Light-weight: Lots of fun on the way up and way down.

 

I did notice after skiing lift-served one day (groomed, chopped up powder, trees, etc.) with 191 Volkl Mantras, with Marker Squires, and Dynafit Zzeus boot (a crossover alpine/AT) boot and backcountry on Mt. Rainier soon after (breakable crust, frozen corn, thawed corn, slush; climbing requiring ski crampons) with my light weight outfit I had to switch styles from heavy-handed with the Mantras to light and finesse with the Manaslus (more fun).

post #14 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

..........Mount some Tech bindings, you'll go there sooner or later anyway................. smile.gif

 

 

This.  I started with Freeride+, went to Dukes. All being ditched and moving to Dynafit/tech after 5 years.    If you are serious about it you will end up there, so take the shortcut, save money in the long run and go straight to tech.

 

Some will say tech isn't durable for the hard chargers who need the 16 DIN of the Duke and will also say its about the down.  The reality is, you spend more time going up than down and you won't enjoy the down if you are exhausted but the time you get there.  Also, IMO, backcountry skiing should be a little more circumspect than in-bounds. You are a long way from rescue so finesse rather than bludgeon should be the mode.

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

I have spent a little time looking into things and realized I need to spend a WHOLE LOT more time biggrin.gif looking into thing.  So at least I am starting in the right direction. 

 

 

 

post #16 of 28

Your 1st job is to define your intended use. Meadow skipping? Multi day tours? Big mountain steeps? Based on your original post, you'd like to start by hopping out the door and climbing nearby low angle slopes to get some experience and a fitness workout the lifts don't offer. If that's true, any AT setup will bring you joy if you have a boot that is comfortable and fits. In order to "train" for a PNW volcano trip, I bought a 40lb Huffy mountain bike for $20 and got myself in shape. Your doing it right though. Summer was invented for thinking about next wintersmile.gif

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 

you got it!  I am rehabbing ACL recon and a f'd up ankle so this is all good stoke and incentive for me. no huffy for me for a while biggrin.gif  But what you posted is exactly where my head is right now. THat and some decent side country stuff that's not too demanding is just what I think I am looking at for now. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

Your 1st job is to define your intended use. Meadow skipping? Multi day tours? Big mountain steeps? Based on your original post, you'd like to start by hopping out the door and climbing nearby low angle slopes to get some experience and a fitness workout the lifts don't offer. If that's true, any AT setup will bring you joy if you have a boot that is comfortable and fits. In order to "train" for a PNW volcano trip, I bought a 40lb Huffy mountain bike for $20 and got myself in shape. Your doing it right though. Summer was invented for thinking about next wintersmile.gif

 

 

post #18 of 28

Not to start building you a quiver, but.... I use a Fischer S Bounds waxless, Voile 3 pin cables and Scarpa t3's or High top Leathers for the out the door meadow skipping. Just get in and go. AT is Manaslu/Dynafit/MegaRides. If I was just looking to do some side country looking to enjoy the down it would be a Marker duke / Alpine boot and a fat ski with rocker.

 

 

BTW, I just packed your pants in a box and the next time they see snow it will be at my new home base in the PNW  yahoo.gif
 

post #19 of 28

IME, just get out there and have fun without making it too complicated! You can make more advanced and intelligent choices later.

 

I already had a pair of older Dynastar Legends that were a little on the short side, and they were already fitted with KneeBindings. These were always a pretty lightweight fun set of Spring condition skis. I also already had an old set of soft boots I had used for rehab boots after knee surgery. I decided that this existing equipment would minimize what I had to spend, and would allow me to try AT.

 

I bought a set Black Diamond Ascension skins, and a set of BCA Alpine Trekkers which are a binding attachment that clips into a regular Alpine binding and allows AT heel movement while skinning. Both came from eBay for around a $200 total spend.

 

OK first tip is before I sock-up I put duct tape on my bare heels, then I sock and boot up. I leave my upper buckles undone for skinning. I show up at the access point with my skins already on my skis and my binding adapters clicked into my bindings, and the skis are all ready to go in my box/rack. I wear a small Dynastar backpack with a Camelback inside, plus bring a Gatorade and some snacks. Up I go, taking several short breaks along the uphill, and I take a decent drink/snack rest at the peak. I strip the skins and pack them in my backpack with the binding adapters. Then I tighten down my boot buckles and ski down what I climbed.

 

Some days I do it again, and some days I even bring my German Shepherd!

 

Canon Pics 020.jpg

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Hey this is very helpful. This is all great stuff while in rehab all this summer so its appreciated. It gives me time to sort through stuff and do some learning. I see there is a pair of DPS 120's up for sale but they are 09's. This appealed to me for using up in BC and deep days but the weight and maneuverability issues come to mind.  I could remount the 112's and use them. That seems like a winning combo. I will keep an eye out for a used pure.  

 

last question for now, length-wise, is is better to go with a 190 on a ski like a 112 or better to go shorter like a 184? 

here's a link from TGR gear swap, with skis that might interest you, if you haven't seen it yet. They're not very cheap as well. http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/244617-FS-DPS-Wailer-112-RP-190-DPS-Lotus-120-190-(x2)

post #21 of 28
Quote:
here's a link from TGR gear swap, with skis that might interest you, if you haven't seen it yet. They're not very cheap as well. http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/244617-FS-DPS-Wailer-112-RP-190-DPS-Lotus-120-190-(x2)

That's my thread and most of the skis are still around. If you have any questions let me know. I have some 190 Lotus 120s that would work great for what you are looking for. Also have some 188 Wailer 105s, 190 112rps, and other various skis.

 

I've also got a bunch of skins and stuff laying around. Let me know if you want to make a deal. It is easier to contact me on TGR.

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 

I am still on the fence but leaning towards just putting a touring binding on the 112's I have and using them. looks like a pair of 99's in that pic??????

post #23 of 28

Since I am a splitter, not a skier, I really don't know which ski would be best.  I do know some of the backcountry around Steamboat though, one word.  Trees.  Lots of them to ski through.  So something that will be decent for powder, but is also nimble.  You just are not going to be skiing wide open terrain, unless you get a sled and get higher up on Buffalo Pass.  Even then, I am not sure that there is a lot of open terrain around there. 

 

There is a really nice ridge just out of the parking area for Buffalo Pass.  Pretty safe overall.  I've seen a lot of solo tourers back there.  It's a fairly easy skin in, but there are a good number of switch backs to gain the ridge.  The skin out is pretty flat, so that is nice. 

 

I am on the fence about trying some Gecko skins this winter.  The Tip and Tail attachments leave a little to be desired for sure.  The Gecko rep tried to convince me they were just as good or better than other attachments, but I am just not sold.  Still, it should be fairly easy to mod them with a kit.  The design of the skin itself seems great and I like not having to worry about getting snow on the sticky side.  Plus, they are super easy to separate.  Something that can be annoying with regular skins. 

 

Otherwise, go with Ascensions, G3's, or Climbing skins direct. I've been using a pair of skins from Climbing skins direct for the past two seasons.  So far they have held up great.  The guys who started this, used to make Ascensions.  So they are similar in build.  Easier to fold and a bit lighter.  Very bare bones set up for attachments, but they are also inexpensive.  Easy to mod out, which I did.
 

post #24 of 28
Quote:
I am still on the fence but leaning towards just putting a touring binding on the 112's I have and using them. looks like a pair of 99's in that pic??????

That is a pair of 99's and I love em. I have the 184 from last year and I'm hoping to get my hands on a pair of 193s in the preorder (we have to wait for the general public though if we want them at proform price) so I'm hoping I can get my hands on a pair. If that happens I could be persuaded out of my 184s.... Here is a full list of skis I have right now:

 

DPS:

Wailer 112 190 hybrid x 2

Wailer 99 184 pure

Wailer 95 185 pure flex 3

Cassiar 80 178 pure

Cassiar 80SL 166 pure

Lotus 120 190 hybrid flex 2

Lotus 120 190 Pure

 

Hoping to add the

Wailer 112 RPC and 193 Wailer 99 SE

 

Volkl Kendo 184 (for sale)

2013 Blizzard Bushwacker (for sale)

 

I have significant backcountry skiing experience from spending atleast 1 month every winter living in a cabin in Kenai, AK. I have also been on multiple week long and month long touring everywhere from CO and UT to interior BC to Euroland and SA. Also planning a 3 month trip through Chile and Argentina so ski 7 remote volcanoes and end up in Puerto Williams. Because of that trip I will probably have to let part of this demo fleet go so if you are looking for something let me know... Also feel free to shoot me a pm with any questions but for me this is how I like to tour:

 

Dynafit titans with stiffining board booster strap and intuition tours

Dynafit radical FT or Marker Duke (depending on skis)

Black diamond ascension skins

post #25 of 28

Just got my dynatfit rig together; TLT Verticals on G3 Barons (184cm) and Technica Chocise boots.  The boots are heavier than my old Garmon Adrenalines but end up with a net reduction of 430 grams with the change from the Fritschi Freeride + to the Dynafit TLT Vertical.  Plus the Dynafit walk/skinning gait is far more efficient that the Fritschi/Duke frankenstride.

post #26 of 28
Lots of Climbing Skin info at EarnYourTurns.com. Lots!

As for general recommendations..for the width skis you are talking about it would be worth it to get either a full mohair skin, or a mohair/nylon blend. That said, some of the newer nylon skins have really good glide. The only synthetic I'd avoid for lack of glide would be the green K2/Pomoca skins. Excellent grip, mediocre glide.
post #27 of 28

G3 Alpinist 130mm X 190cm on my S7's.  Couldn't be happier with their performance...except on steep terrain.

post #28 of 28

I've got some information and reviews on the backcountry gear that I've used on my blog, here:

 

http://larsonweb.com/blog/?cat=8

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