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First entry into the BC

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Anyway I can get started into backcountry without total $ comittment?   Want to take occasional skin into powder country usually at a ski area and then some just short skins in to powder stashes say 1/2 day trips.  Can't see myself doing multiple days and camping out etc.  I will need skis, bindings and skins, pack etc.

 

Me.  Male, 70yrs, 187lbs, solid skier been skiing a long time.  Presently ski on Blizzard Bonafide 180 and Rossi S7.  Really would like to access some powder lines that will take some skinning either in or out or both.  Sort of hesitant mainly because of my age but love the powder and tree skiing.  Really am ignorant about BC skis, do I want a rocker since I am searching for powder lines? etc. ?   

post #2 of 16
Due to the weight and stack height, I'm not particularly a fan of Alpine Trekkers, but in your case a used pair of those and a pair of skins for one of your current pairs of skis would be the cheapest way into (and out of) the bc. Shop around for bargain Black Diamond or G3 skins, width closest to the width of your skis' tail.

Used Fritschi Freeride bindings (and your regular alpine boots) would be a further (and more comfortable) step. Most people like their bc skis to be rather like their favorite inbounds skis - just lighter and perhaps a little softer, so keep that in mind if you decide to go for dedicated bc skis.

If you catch the bug, you'll eventually want boots with a walk mode, but those aren't strictly necessary, especially for short tours and slackcountry.

Don't forget avy training if you haven't already taken it.
post #3 of 16

Pretty much what Bob said. I just screw around now and again sidebounds  - and a few post season days. Lots of fun. 

 

The biggest issue really is getting avy training,  putting together a real kit, and lining up a trustworthy/sensible group. Do not skip avy 1. Do not go second rate on gear. Emergency stuff is not where one should cheap out.  Then find someone with experience and a charitable bent in terms of time. Not really that hard to do. Most everyone has had someone give them a helping hand. And lots of people seem willing to pay it forward.

 

Oh and be prepared to feel like an idiot first time out. Skinning looks easy, but it is a subtle art. And an aerobic one. I still suck - but I am less silly than that first day. Without someone explaining where and how to pressure my skis, I'm not sure I'd have made it 200 feet. Sigh...

 

Lots of useful info, some more specialized,  on an assortment of other sites. Check out everything from TGR to telemarktips to turnsallyear to alpinezone. Lots of valuable info out there.

 

Regarding rocker - I'd say so. Why anyone would search for powder on skis lacking rocker eludes me. That said, really fat skis (esp rockered) can make certain things harder under some conditions. I'd probably bias toward the S7s, but your Bonafides would probably work well. Only you will know if your biases end up running  lighter and narrower or fatter and maybe heavier.  If you like it, you'll probably end up with a dedicated AT/touring binding on something. 

post #4 of 16

I started BC skiing just shy of my first SS check after decades of not skiing alpine at all. I am fortunate to have my son who has over a decade of training and experience to lead me.  Here's my take FWIW.

 

You're asking about equipment but first get copies of "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" by Tremper and "Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering" by Volken. The first book will be a great primer prior to taking an Avy course and Volken's book will show you the nuts and bolts of getting around.

 

For equipment, here's what I did. Fitness levels in seniors varies so I went for lightness. I bought, in this order"

 

1- Boots that were light, with tech fittings and fit my foot shape - Garmont Megaride

2- Dynafit bindings, used Comforts in my case

3- Lightweight, rockered skis. Used Manaslus for me.

 

See your from Idaho. Had a great trip there last year that included a full day in the back counry off the back of Lost Trail. Hope to do that again this year. With me in better shape smile.gif

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/111464131407795442685/MontIDPowder311?authkey=Gv1sRgCNqlxou4h6r_jAE

post #5 of 16

Good advice above.  If you can rent some equipment to try, do so (especially proper AT gear, not Alpine Trekkers).  If you like it then don't think there is a cheap way in. I started wth Frischi Freedrides, then added some skis with Marker Dukes, got the Garmont Adrenaline boots..... before I finally realised that for the up light is right and now after many $$$$ am a Dynafit convert.  If you like it go straight to Dynafit (tech), you wll save money in the long run.

post #6 of 16

Hi Pete.  Don't know if they are still around but Vertical Earth on 5th in CdA were BC HQ in the area.  Might be worth a stop in when you are up that way again.  They might be worth a stop.  

 

How did Wardners go?

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks folks appreciate the good advice.   I was looking at some G3 skis etc. on various sites.  thinking no counting boots I could get outfitted for about 800.  May take the rent lst and try it before I spend that kind of $.  Took the level 1 avalanche course last year and have a BC book that seems pretty good.  Nice having epic to run ideas by fellow skiers.  Thanks  Pete.

 

Stranger, where on 5th ?

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Don't forget avy training if you haven't already taken it.

Ding, ding, ding!

 

Read Bruce Tremper's Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain and we have an article right here: Introduction To Backcountry Skiing

post #9 of 16

Been a few years but Vertical Earth used to be down around the Federal Courthouse on the East side of the street.  Could be off a block or two Pete, it has been a while since I was by there.  They were a pretty good BC oriented shop though.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

 Took the level 1 avalanche course last year

 

Curious about where you did take the avy class, was it in Idaho? Sawtooth Mountain Guide maybe...

post #11 of 16

For North Idaho avalanche training, it's pretty hard to beat Shep Snow as an instructor.  He's based out of Schweitzer so close by for Pete's needs. I don't know if he's still doing this but his website is still alive.  Here's his bio:

 

http://thesnowschool.com/Bio.html

post #12 of 16

Mountain Gear in Spokane rents most everything you need, if you want to try before you buy. Mountain Goat Outfitters is another BC oriented shop in town (that has last year's AT bindings on sale still). Not sure where to go in CdA, if Vertical Earth doesn't have what you need.

 

I'd put barons or the new solly/atomic at bindings on one if your current skis. Find some cheap skins (climbingskinsdirect.com is always an option and well reviewed). Pick up a pack, shovel, probe and beacon. (Spokane's ski swap last weekend had everything except skins, might check Lookout's)

 

Good job on the Avy 1 class -- also interested who you went with.. (I took mine from Shep Snow and the FS forecaster at Schweitzer) Friend of mine is trying to bring an AIARE accredited class to town this January/Feb.

 

If you need a partner this winter, I'd almost always be down to join you.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post

For North Idaho avalanche training, it's pretty hard to beat Shep Snow as an instructor.  He's based out of Schweitzer so close by for Pete's needs. I don't know if he's still doing this but his website is still alive.  Here's his bio:

 

http://thesnowschool.com/Bio.html

 

He never updates the website, but answers his phone and still runs classes every year.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

The course I took wasn't certified etc., 5 hour class at REI covered 3 hrs in classroom and 2 hours outside with beacon work.  Wasn't an actual cert class but it did open my eyes quite a bit.  Thanks everyone for advice.  Think I will wait and see what happens and rent some gear.  Usually I jump in with both feet but thinking maybe I would be biting off more than I can chew.  Guess my age is showing. 

post #15 of 16

Pete:

 

I have a 2nd setup you are welcome to try out if you like.

 

Granted, it is not state of the art gear anymore but it is in good shape.  

 

K2 Launchers/Naxo (medium) with BD skins.  I *think* the skis are 184's but I'd have to look.  The plus is you could use them for a month or two and not have to worry about rental returns, etc.

 

These have even been up and down the hill a few times with Bob Lee cat skiing and at Silverton.  smile.gif  [Hi Bob!]

 

Dave

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMerlin View Post

Pete:

 

I have a 2nd setup you are welcome to try out if you like.

 

Granted, it is not state of the art gear anymore but it is in good shape.  

 

K2 Launchers/Naxo (medium) with BD skins.  I *think* the skis are 184's but I'd have to look.  The plus is you could use them for a month or two and not have to worry about rental returns, etc.

 

These have even been up and down the hill a few times with Bob Lee cat skiing and at Silverton.  smile.gif  [Hi Bob!]

 

Dave

 

 

Dave, thanks for offer, may take you up on this. 

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