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Returning to Skiing from Backcountry snowboarding

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So I'm going to ask a question I'm sure will be hard to answer..

I've been a skiier up until about 8 years ago, took up snowboarding for a bit of a fresh challenge. The last few years we've been able to squeeze in a few trips to whistler, Revelstoke (mind blowing), and Courchevel(France) and Austria (I'm from Ireland). I find myself avoiding ski runs at all costs, and did a lot of slackcountry/cat boarding in Revelstoke...

The only pain in the ass with a board, and having a bunch of skiier friends is having to strap out when you come to a flat spot or hollow when exploring the backcountry. That and I find myself wanting to be able to hike into Virgin pow. A split board isn't going to cut it I don't think.

So a return to skis beckons. I will still rent aggressive race skis if there isn't much snow or I'm a little bored, and can feel pretty much on point charging groomers after a run or two. I just haven't skiied deep powder, or fat, rockered skis.

For you guys who have went from piste skiing to powder, how difficult did you find the transition? And also, how hard do you find it to bank a really tight turn in around trees with long, fat skis?

Any opinions would be appreciated!
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellracing View Post

So I'm going to ask a question I'm sure will be hard to answer..

I've been a skiier up until about 8 years ago, took up snowboarding for a bit of a fresh challenge. The last few years we've been able to squeeze in a few trips to whistler, Revelstoke (mind blowing), and Courchevel(France) and Austria (I'm from Ireland). I find myself avoiding ski runs at all costs, and did a lot of slackcountry/cat boarding in Revelstoke...

The only pain in the ass with a board, and having a bunch of skiier friends is having to strap out when you come to a flat spot or hollow when exploring the backcountry. That and I find myself wanting to be able to hike into Virgin pow. A split board isn't going to cut it I don't think.

So a return to skis beckons. I will still rent aggressive race skis if there isn't much snow or I'm a little bored, and can feel pretty much on point charging groomers after a run or two. I just haven't skiied deep powder, or fat, rockered skis.

For you guys who have went from piste skiing to powder, how difficult did you find the transition? And also, how hard do you find it to bank a really tight turn in around trees with long, fat skis?

Any opinions would be appreciated!


Get some rockered fat skis and you'll be pro in no time, they have really changed how you ski powder.  Skiing tree's have never been easier with my 188cm S7's, it literally stupid easy.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, seems like they should make it easier, I know my first rockered board was a night and day different! I have a liking to a set of Bent Chetler's, they just seem long to be doing a super tight radius turn (ie. a 'oh shit there's a tree I didn't see' kinda turn) but I guess technique and practice will make the difference! Anybody here do a lot of ski touring? Or even slackcountry?

I'm curious as to how quick you guys can climb when in reasonable fitness at a normal pace (vertical feet per hour)?
post #4 of 16

I use the 183cm Bent Chetlers as my really tight tree ski and they're very good in that role. They get a little squirrely on the hard pack and in a more open, big mountain environment, I'd go with the 192.

 

I think your boot choice will be much more important than your ski.  We're kind of going through a renaissance in all mountain/AT boot design right now, with a lot of significant improvements.  You might want do your homework and figure out exactly what you need.

 

 

In Aspen's America's uphill race, the fastest Rando racers are climbing 3300ft in <45minutes.  Which is what it used to take on the older lifts in the early 80's.

post #5 of 16
I can tour all day on my S7's/dukes without a problem but I'm pretty fit and workout 7 days a week. You get used to the weight. Don't know my vertical per hour though, I usually go to a resort then hit the back country/side country if the conditions are good.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I use the 183cm Bent Chetlers as my really tight tree ski and they're very good in that role. They get a little squirrely on the hard pack and in a more open, big mountain environment, I'd go with the 192.

I think your boot choice will be much more important than your ski.  We're kind of going through a renaissance in all mountain/AT boot design right now, with a lot of significant improvements.  You might want do your homework and figure out exactly what you need.


In Aspen's America's uphill race, the fastest Rando racers are climbing 3300ft in <45minutes.  Which is what it used to take on the older lifts in the early 80's.

So basically I should be able to manage 1,000-1,500 and hour at a decent pace then!

Me and boots don't agree normally; the highball catches me right below the bulge in the calf muscle and no matter what I try they all seem to put pressure there! I'll have to say that even my stiff, SL-10 snowboard boots are as comfy as wearing hiking boots all day!

I'm thinking an extra 10CM won't make the bent Chetler's unmanageable for trees, and a little bit of extra stability and float will be nice, I'm probably 190 pounds with gear! Only 5'6" though, so they're big ass skis for me!
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellracing View Post
For you guys who have went from piste skiing to powder, how difficult did you find the transition? And also, how hard do you find it to bank a really tight turn in around trees with long, fat skis?

Any opinions would be appreciated!

 

You're bummin'.  I'm a mogul skier that went to snowboard for about 10 years.  After a few deep powder runs in the woods on a board, that's all I ever wanted to do.  Powder skiing stinks compared to snowboarding, IMHO - you can immediately tell that deep powder is what a snowboard is made for.  There really isn't anything like it - I still miss it.  Of course, powder is somewhat hard to come by on the east coast, and I was taking too many upper-body injuries thanks to the concrete-like surfaces, so I went back to skiing.  Personally, I don't enjoy powder skiing much - I find on-piste powder skiing boring in general, and lack of applied torque makes tight northeast woods daunting, but my biggest problem off-piste is hitting submerged brush - you go right through/over that stuff on a board, but get mired up horribly on skis.  I don't think any of those issues are as big of a deal out west though - things are more open with lots more snow.  I'm switching to telemark this coming season, so maybe it'll be better.  I really DO still missing riding the woods though...

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post

You're bummin'.  I'm a mogul skier that went to snowboard for about 10 years.  After a few deep powder runs in the woods on a board, that's all I ever wanted to do.  Powder skiing stinks compared to snowboarding, IMHO - you can immediately tell that deep powder is what a snowboard is made for.  There really isn't anything like it - I still miss it.  Of course, powder is somewhat hard to come by on the east coast, and I was taking too many upper-body injuries thanks to the concrete-like surfaces, so I went back to skiing.  Personally, I don't enjoy powder skiing much - I find on-piste powder skiing boring in general, and lack of applied torque makes tight northeast woods daunting, but my biggest problem off-piste is hitting submerged brush - you go right through/over that stuff on a board, but get mired up horribly on skis.  I don't think any of those issues are as big of a deal out west though - things are more open with lots more snow.  I'm switching to telemark this coming season, so maybe it'll be better.  I really DO still missing riding the woods though...

Thanks man...looks like you've seen it from both sides of the fence! I'll agree a nice big, floaty board feels like just surfing on deep pow, and can turn on a time with a quick pivot of the back foot. My reasons for going to skiing is not having to unstrap and try to hike my ass out of waist deep snow! And a little bit of skinning with semi-touring bindings into the slackcountry.

I'm still undecided! And yeah, boards and ice DO NOT get along at all. I sound like an amateur, but many bruised rear ends, wrists, faces (now wear a full face helmet:) ) and everything else when the board hits and icy
patch at speed and you lose all grip.

Off Piste on skis, do you find they're a little more stable at speed over crud and slightly tracked out snow? That's a problem at times with the board, skipping out on bumps while trying to turn.
post #9 of 16

You will fall in love with the new rockered skis in the trees. On any given powder day I will ski my Ross S7's 188cm if powder over 8 inches.  Or is powder is under 8 but still powder I will use my Rossi S7's 178 with Atomic tracker AT bindings for the trees, runs to the freeway, side country or hike/skin outs.  Sounds like you are an accomplished rider and your transition should be effortless and FUN.

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

You will fall in love with the new rockered skis in the trees. On any given powder day I will ski my Ross S7's 188cm if powder over 8 inches.  Or is powder is under 8 but still powder I will use my Rossi S7's 178 with Atomic tracker AT bindings for the trees, runs to the freeway, side country or hike/skin outs.  Sounds like you are an accomplished rider and your transition should be effortless and FUN.

Thanks for the input! I might see if I can rent/demo a set of big pow skis this year in Val d'Isere! Give them a try out before I go jumping right into skiing:) the annoying part is though, I've probably spend the best part of 1500$ on snowboard, bindings and boots! But oh well, they can still be my backups!
post #11 of 16

why don't you think a splittie would be good for hiking "virgin" pow?

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

why don't you think a splittie would be good for hiking "virgin" pow?

I've just heard that a splittie isn't as stiff a board, and my style is putting a lot of force through the board. I've currently got a 158 Burton Custom with the carbon stringers. What's your experience with split boards? Are they as efficient to use as skis when hiking?

Still doesn't do away with the flat terrain/manoeuvring problems of the board that I'm experiencing...although I do love the board!
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayC View Post
 

 

You're bummin'.  I'm a mogul skier that went to snowboard for about 10 years.  After a few deep powder runs in the woods on a board, that's all I ever wanted to do.  Powder skiing stinks compared to snowboarding,

 

I'm switching to telemark this coming season, so maybe it'll be better.

 

From what I've seen, people that switch it up too much, never get very good at any of them.  I fail to see how telemark boots and bindings will solve your problems on skis.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellracing View Post


I've just heard that a splittie isn't as stiff a board, and my style is putting a lot of force through the board. I've currently got a 158 Burton Custom with the carbon stringers. What's your experience with split boards? Are they as efficient to use as skis when hiking?

Still doesn't do away with the flat terrain/manoeuvring problems of the board that I'm experiencing...although I do love the board!

Well, I know virtually nothing about boarding, but I did ski with an amazing boarder as one of our guides in Gulmarg.  He rode a split board with no problem, and was able to both skin with us and traverse the flats without skins at about our speed.  He is a level 3 instructor though.

 

I'd think that the reason you'd be backcountry would be to find soft snow.  And wouldn't soft snow reward a less aggressive riding style?  In other words, wouldn't a stiff board be more oriented to hardback, inbounds terrain and a split board towards soft and out of bounds riding?  

 

I'd think twice before coming back from the dark side...

 

Mike

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Well, I know virtually nothing about boarding, but I did ski with an amazing boarder as one of our guides in Gulmarg.  He rode a split board with no problem, and was able to both skin with us and traverse the flats without skins at about our speed.  He is a level 3 instructor though.

I'd think that the reason you'd be backcountry would be to find soft snow.  And wouldn't soft snow reward a less aggressive riding style?  In other words, wouldn't a stiff board be more oriented to hardback, inbounds terrain and a split board towards soft and out of bounds riding?  

I'd think twice before coming back from the dark side...

Mike

Haha yep, you're completely right, I shouldn't be riding as hard or hyperactive as I am, I just have this urge to go fast and hop off everything in sight. And there is probably much more energy efficient ways of boarding! I'm still learning to be smooth:)

Nice perspective on the split board too. Thanks. Half of me loves that powder feeling of surfing on the board, just floating, and turning is effortless!

On the board it's the 'strap out, walk, strap in again' part that gets on my tits! Maybe I'll just learn to suck it up and quit whining! Lol
post #16 of 16

There is no difference in a stiffness of a factory split compared to it's solid counter part.  In fact you lose very little if you do a DIY split.  Torsionally, they can be stiffer than solid counter parts due to the plates or pucks the bindings mount on.

 

I've heard similar arguments from people about AT gear before they really understand what it really is.  

 

Splits perform just as good as their solid counter parts, albeit heavier.  

 

Ultimately it just comes down to your choice if you'd rather ski or snowboard. 

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