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Skis for working in heavy timber

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am a forester on the BC coast, and spend much time in the winter floundering through deep and crusty snow, often intermixed with thick underbrush, windfall, etc. Terrain is broken, grades often very steep. Snowshoes suck. I would like to try a ski system of some sort. They would need to be extremely agile, come off/on quickly, and have comfortable boots, compatible with snow shoes. Maybe a backcountry snowboard would be the answer? Is there anyone else out there who does this kind of work?
post #2 of 8
Can you ski?

It sounds like you would do well with a low plastic touring boot (like a T3) or a similar randonee type depending on how well you can ski. If you can tele, or p-turn pretty well, go with the tele set up. Match it up with a short (180 or so) super fat ski and a cable binding and you will be set!

Free your heels, poke your eyes out!
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'd be a level 7-8 alpine skier. I have never tried tele. Why skis aren't used more for this type of work, I don't know; probably because no one's really given it a good try, at least not around here.
post #4 of 8
well, at gear would be the easiest for you to get used to using. a short fat ski would be manuverable and provide enough float, i'm not sure which would work best with snowshoes, but since the point is to eliminate snowshoes, i'm not sure what the issue is.

Free your heels, poke your eyes out!
post #5 of 8
There is a guy here in the Wasatch - his job is to wander around looking at signs of avalanche activity. He uses a variety of tools for transportation but I think he mainly uses a voile split decision snowboard with step in bindings and he also carries a pair of "verts(?)". The verts are a pair of small snowshoes that have step in bindings, too. It was a pretty slick setup. I took an avalanche course and he was an instructor. He would skin up, stop, get out the snowshoes, then he could walk around easily check out the snowpack etc. The rest of us were either fighting our skis or sinking up to our knees. The verts also looked like they would be better than the typical snowshoe for going across a steep sidehill with snow on crust. They had "teeth" all the way around the edge to grip. For a heavy snowpack thru tight terrain you can't beat a snowboard for manueverability. I also wouldn't worry about picking up snowboarding. It's very easy (unless you want to do very steep slopes with hard/icy slopes).

The fat ski tele or randonee setup is also a good choice. The tele setup is cheapest. The randonee and splitdecision are probably about the same for cost.

Good luck.
post #6 of 8
I think an AT setup would be great.

For skis, something really short and wide - plenty of choices.

For bindings, Silvretta 500 (or the old 404 if you find a pair really cheap), for universal compatability with all types of boots and for convenient entry/exit.

For boots, plastic mountaineering boots if you are capable of skiing in them, which some people are. Otherwise, probably the Dynafit TLT 4 (not the "4S"), which is really cheap at rei-outlet: http://www.rei-outlet.com/cgi-bin/nc...4&prmenbr=8000

Another intriguing option is the Dynafit Mountain Light Tech 4. I've never seen it except on: http://www.kneisslandfriends.com/ (choose tour/boots/products and scroll down)
... but maybe you could special order it from: http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you gentlemen! The split snowboard option with the small snowshoes sounds like an excellent way to go. This stuff will spend a lot of time on my back, as we are often dropped by heli in snow, but 1/2 way through the day we've lost enough elevation that the snow is gone. Snowshoes are still needed, as skis/boards are great for going in a straight line, but tough climbing in & out of gullies, etc. Gotta be easier to carry a short snowboard rather than 180cm skis & poles, not to mention 40lbs of survey gear! Snowboard boots look much more comfy to walk in for hours than the rigid plastic AT/tele boots. Now all I need to do is learn to board!
post #8 of 8
The guys I saw using the split decision were all riding longer boards, 170 to 195 and they all carried poles for skinning up.
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