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looking for AT bindings and boots

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
55 y/o fit. 190 lbs. 5' 10. type 3. Skis Blizzard 8.0 Ti and love it but I am going to do some touring off the reservation.
I've ski'ed in telemark bindings-free heel all the time. Hated the sloppiness downhill.. I tried solomon guardians on Armada TSTs, I feel connected to the ski. Sure, the Armada TST feels like a noodle compared to my Blizzard 8.0 Ti. I love the Blizzard on groomers, bumps and even hard crud. The TST is a float machine. The few times I had real powder under it (6 inches or more) I got that heavenly, cushy, floaty, dreamy feeling. Slower than carving, less demanding-but you might even say sloppier. But waaay better than telemark stuff for me. I think a real telemarker has to be younger than me and have thighs of steel.
 
I am looking to go as light as possible. I have learned that my progression from Atomic Metron B5 to a dynastar contact 4x4 to a blizzard has led to more control. Lighter skis allow more precision for me. Add to that I have never really skinned a lot and the idea of pushing weight around at altitude is going to be a ball buster. Unsprung weight is bad, whether it's on a car, a bike or your ankles. unsprung weight soaks up a lot of energy because of the momentum changes. So keeping my skis, boots and bindings as light as possible is my goal. I am not a trickster, jumper or stunt hound so I dont need burly bindings. Dont laugh, My DIN is 6. My joints need to be preserved. But I do like a stiff boot - currently use a Technica dragonslayer (my foot is WIDE) for alpine downhill. A heavy beast not for touring. 
 
So which Dynafit binding should I get to go with a SOUL 7 ? Which boot? Dynafit TLT? or the Vulcan? Black Diamond Factor or Quadrant?

Tnx.

post #2 of 11

Ditch the Soul 7 and go DPS Pure, Dynafit TLT Verical, boot whatever fits best but Dynafit TLT 6 looks schmick...... and I'm just a tad younger than you and run a DIN 7 (otherwise similar stats) ... have a look in the BC section here and def look in Lou Dawson's Wild Snow web site.

post #3 of 11

 

 

 

If you already have the Soul 7 as Taxman implied you have already added a lot of weight you don't need and no added performance IMO.

 

But it really depends on how serious you are about lwt weight and what you want from a ski.  A Huarscaran will do everyting that a Soul 7 will for me and it is a lot lighter.  I have the actual weights comparing both here if you want them.

 

The super solid set up for what you have asked, and have a wallet that won't shy from the prices,  is first the Dynafit Speed Superlight, more money but less ramp angle, a biggie, and lighter in weight.  Very reliable and easier to use skinning than the Speed Radical  I have both as a comparison.   The TLT6 Performance boot is the best yet for skiing and the Huascaran ski in a 177cm.  Binding and skis are a no brainer for me.  I have both the Huascaran and a 182cm GPO set up that way, stuck among my longer skis.  IMO the combo is a perfect match.  The skin set up on the Dynafit is simply awesome by any comparison.

 

DPS Pure in a 112 or RPS are another option but too similar to the Soul 7 IMO.  7 is close enough.   Dynafit Grand Teton is another ski I would look at if you want a lwt ski that skis well and skiis very well.  Pure 99 not enough ski for me in the shorter sizes and we are very similar in size/age.

 

Think iof it as a system...177 Huas, the speed super light and the TLT6 ( is one of the best macthed systems) for any use on skis I  can think of.

 

Here are a few more thoughts on that same combo..  I liked the ski enough (and I ski on a lot of skis) that I bought a 196 Huiascaran to use with heavier boots.

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/05/dynafit-huascaran-skitake-2.html

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/03/all-mountain-skis.html

 

More on the TLT6 here:

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-dynafit-tlt6-ski-boot-shake-and.html

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/08/dynafit-tlt6-for-fall-of-2013.html

 

Sorry I missed the "wide" part of the foot equation in all my excitment ot anser.  My apologies.  Again Taxman has it  right. "buy what fits"  All the Dynafit boots are narrow.  I would try on the TLT6 first and see if the shell fits.  The inners mold well and can give you a lot more room if you aren't too wide for the shell.  Try the shell first, and I suspect you'll know.  The Mercury is a tiny bit wider. If i had wide feet my first choice would be the Scarpa Maestrale or the stiffer version the Maestrale RS.  Almost as stiff just doesnt walk as well.   Mercury is slightly softer IMO that the TLT 6P.  Either. RS or Mercury, is more a ski boot imo than the TLT6 skimo boot but few would  agree with that totally..

 

A warning.  If you are buying dedicated BC boots be sure to buy them wde and long enough.  Painful boots. fit tightly, like a DH boot are gonna be miserable 4 hours into a 6 hour tour.

 

Skiing a 177cm Huascaran here in steep spring gullies with a TLT5 Mtn.  The newest TLT6 P  just makes it easier.  Truly a great ski to use in any condition.  A solid favorite of mine.

 


Edited by Dane - 10/10/13 at 10:31am
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

THANKS FOR A NICE REPLY. I appreciate the detail and sincere effort of your photos-and your blog as well. I am new to AT and feel overwhelmed with the choices. I remember long ago feeling the same way about downhill stuff-people talking about stiffness, nimbleness, grip and all that-you dont really know what they mean until you've done it for a while. With boots, I learned the importance of a good bootfitter and the inner bootworks and bootpro - both in VT were excellent shops but they are mostly for downhill equipment. So I am still trying to figure out where to go. I dont feel comfortable just buying online and living with my mistake.

 

Between the scarpa maestraele, dynafit, BD, and lasportiva the choices are numerous and from the little i have gleaned-the differences in models within a line are greater than comparable boots across brands. The amount of tilt, the range of bend and the stiffness certainly are important, I just wont know 'until I get there' But I guess fit and weight are my most important criteria. The number of buckles seems to be something people focus on. Like the number of cylinders in a car engine. I just dont know what it really means. I guess more buckles means more rigidity=> more precision on the downhill?

 

Then there's the binding aspect. To me it's just something that connects the boot to the ski. I dont see how different bindings have different character that is describable. it either releases or it doesnt. The bit about how burly a binding is seems like marketing bs. and then there's this:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/299047004/siandi-alpine-ski-touring-system?ref=recently_launched

How crazy is that? Getting to the top of a mountain after a long slog at altitude and fiddling with your bindings to convert to downhill? I mean, AT bindings lock in your heel so what's the deal with the 'downhill' stiffness?

post #5 of 11

Hope it all helps.  The blog is there as a reference for my own climbing and ski interests.   It is intentionally not a sales venue full of ads.  I am a visually oriented guy so I get a lot from pictures, which is why I included them.

 

Boots have to fit your feet first of course to get used.

But past that the number of buckles thesse days has little to do with how stiff the boot might be.   Or how easy they are to skin/hike/ski in.  I have skied in at least a half dozen different new boots each season the last two winters and likely will again this winter just testing gear.  I don't write about it all.  Just the best of the bunch.

 

IMO there is nothing currently in the same class for walking as the TLT Series short of a full on rando race race boot.  The One/Mercury/Vulcan Series is close.  So is the Maestrale/RS and some of the other Scarpa boots.   La Sportiva's offerings  is in that first tier for sure.   Black Diamond and others are in the same game.  Not the same boots.

 

For skiing it is easy to make a stiff boot.  Not easy to make a stiff boot that fits.  Harder yet to make one that walks well or is light enough that you'll want ot ewalk far in them.    Heat moldable liners help as will a good boot fitter.  Good boot fitter...can be key.  But you need to know how you'll need the boot to fit.

 

Bindings?  Any tech binding is going to be lighter and slightly more difficult to use than a typical BC plate binding.  Dynafit and Plum are only two examples of the tech bindings.  Lots of room inside both brands.  Biggest problem with tech binding is the amount of "ramp" that can be incorprated into the binding and you won't have a clue.  But you will feel it skiing.    Race bindings like the Speed Super Light and low Tech Race bindings have little to no ramp.  It makes a a big difference sking on them.  I find ramp a really important issue for my own skiing.  Which is why I mention it.  Brakes or no brakes?  Seems liek a weird choice these days.  I go no brakes to  lower the ramp angles.  If that gives you an idea  of how important I think ramp angle is.

 

Skis?  Any ski will work.  Light weight skis that work in all conditions are a rare bird indeed.  Like boots I see a lot of them every winter.  Some better than  others for my own use.  Which is the light side of all this with the most ski performance as I can muster for the weight.

 

Easy answer ot all this for those less experienced with the newest gear is a "Dynafit" a "new" AT boot and a short lwt ski.  A lot of room in those three choices.  And few of them are going to be truly bad.  Devil's in the details.

 

Some additional info on ski boots:

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/10/touring-boot-flex-ratings.html

 

It is easy to get overwhelmed.  I do this (gear reviews)  full time now and I can get over whelmed.  I don't buy boots on line ever unless I already know what sizeI wear exactly.  For ski boots I wear one size and for BC skiing I wear one size larger size intentionally.  But I wear my ski boot pretty tight.  My suggestion is shop boots first.  Bindings by comparison are easy.  Decide if you want brakes, how much weight you are willing to carry and how much you want to spend.  Three choices and you are done there.  Skis?  Your Soul 7 will work fine.  Couple of years form now there will be betetr gear and you'll know what if anything in your kit you'll want to change.


Edited by Dane - 10/10/13 at 10:35am
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwana View Post

 

 

Between the scarpa maestraele, dynafit, BD, and lasportiva the choices are numerous and from the little i have gleaned-the differences in models within a line are greater than comparable boots across brands. The amount of tilt, the range of bend and the stiffness certainly are important, I just wont know 'until I get there' But I guess fit and weight are my most important criteria. The number of buckles seems to be something people focus on. Like the number of cylinders in a car engine. I just dont know what it really means. I guess more buckles means more rigidity=> more precision on the downhill?

 

 

 

As far as boot stiffness, weight, etc, yes those are important and that should be factored into where you think you will be skiing and what your goals are.  Some people focus mostly on travel and speed - these folks tend to go for light boots and minimalist bindings, but the trade off is less DH stability and control.  Other people want to huck cliffs and ski big lines aggressively - these folks pick a stiffer boot and heavier bindings with the trade off being slower uphill and more weight to lug along.  These folks might not be interested in trips that require a lot of travel, and they might want to use their BC stuff also for gravity assisted skiing (resorts).  Other people, like me, want a bit of both - decent HD with decent travel - and go for boots that are light but substantial enough for good DH performance.  My friends that I ski with generally have the same goals.  The above are general "guidelines" that not everyone follows.  Ski choice should also be considered.  A super minimalist boot probably will not drive a beefy ski well.

 

Boot choice is simple - once you decide on what you want to ski - go to a good boot fitter and buy the one that fits best and will help you to achieve your goals and ski the ski that you want.  The Maestraele  fits my foot really well - I can travel all day, it skis DH well and it is warm.  I had the BD Factor (in the same length) and hated it, but that is a fit issue and I made a mistake when buying.  The Factor has too much volume for my foot.

 

My point is that you should do your research with your goals and ability in mind and know that there are trade offs for whatever decision you make with one exception - If you boot doesn't fit well nothing else will work well either.


Edited by canadianskier - 10/10/13 at 11:26am
post #7 of 11

newb here chiming on on what I have found so far:

 

Dane & Canada speaketh the truth. That said, Dynafit is changing out their product line and there a lot of stupid cheap deals (SEE STP coupon) out there on very good boots. I scored a pair of Titan UL's for 400 shipped.  There are a lot of great deals on TLT5's ZZeuss's, Titans too. IF you go the internet route, figure a full size up on Dynafits. 

 

All AT boots sans the Vulcan and maybe 1 or 2 others are soft compared to a high performance Alpine boot. It is a about fit but also your intended use; are you looking for shorter tours, 1-2 hour and 2K vert? or 3-4 hour 4K? Do you want to be able to use inbounds on pow days and skin to side country?  

 

As far as new boots go: Dynafit Mercury and the Scarpa Maestrale RS are the most popular right now for a more sturdy wider ski driver that will allow good up and very good down. I tried on the One and I have doubts its stout enough for a wider ski (105 and up) but I have long legs with a lot of leverage.   You have a wider foot? That does make the Dynafit a potential non-starter. The Maestrale /RS may be better or even some of the BD's.  U may want to take a look at some of those.

 

a great resource of comprehensive reviews and articles is wildsnow.com its a little difficult to navigate but there are a ton of reviews for all things BC

 

 

Ski's- in that 105 range, Check out the Volkl Nunataq.  Its a ski that is 107 underfoot  under 8# with a Gotoma-like profile (long low rocker) that has won more accolades than just about any ski out today. Backdoor sports in Steamboat has them as leftovers for 450.00 which is a killer deal.  


Edited by Finndog - 10/10/13 at 11:06am
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am going on a couple of treks this year but also want to do this >"Do you want to be able to use inbounds on pow days and skin to side country"<

I am looking at Graceskis

http://skigrace.com/grace-skis-kylie.php

 

I guess being a boutique, most people have not heard of them. but they have been recommended.

Yeah, 120 underfoot.

I wont need a parachute if I fall off a steep.

post #9 of 11
Quote:

 

Yeah, 120 underfoot.

I wont need a parachute if I fall off a steep.

Something to consider - big skis move a lot of snow = more work climbing/walking.  Also, a wide ski underfoot poses difficulties for kick turns going up hill, traversing hard packed pitches, travelling in forests...

post #10 of 11

longer too

post #11 of 11

Yep, some good info being presented here.

 

I'd caution anyone when first getting into the BC thing about going anything bigger than 115mm under foot.  More like between 100 and 115.  If so the bigger they get under foot the shorter you will likely want them.

 

I ski anything from 70mm under foot to 138 under foot on a regular basis with skins.  Some more than others.  My personal preference under foot is +/- 115 when skiing down is the priority.  Which means I own short 115mm skis as well as long ones, 177cm to 196cm in that width.  With boots from Dynafit, La Sportiva and Scarpa.  2 to 4 buckle.

 

I have a super lwt 177cm x112mm  that I will take most anywhere, all day lift  service in soft snow or 10K foot days up  the mountain by foot.   The same ski in a 196cm?  Is a lift ski only even thought it is still one the lightest ski I own for the size and a pleasure to skis going downhill.  Just unwilling to push the bigger skis and a pair of skins up hill.


Edited by Dane - 10/10/13 at 3:14pm
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