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What ski for AT?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Was thinking of doing some AT next year and was wondering what to look for in a ski for AT. Would be using my alpine boots at least first year. Binding wise probably freefides as I'm 205 lbs. Wouldn't be using for lift served at all as have more than enough pairs of skis for alpine. Would probably be on the lookout for a ski from 1-2 years ago to keep the cost down.

Size wise was thinking in the 188 to 192 range in a mid fat. I do have a pair of 183 X-14s and they didn't float that well for me. But after one more early season as a rock ski was thinking of mounting those AT for a year.
post #2 of 35
If you already have a pair of X-14, then I vote for them. I've used only alpine mid-fats for AT: Dynastar ATV, Fischer Freeride 68, Atomic 9.22. These are all a bit on the narrow side, but I'm out east, so massive float is not as important for me as edge grip. But there are lots of great choices out there. Might want to pay attention to weight though - with Diamir Freerides and alpine boots, you're already getting pretty heavy, and every add'l ounce counts.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Was thinking freerides as would be more robust and as price includes brakes cheaper than next with brakes included. Though if only using in BC then do you need brakes? May get AT boots if can find at good price. The X-14s are a bit short for me and really felt it on a 1m dump day but normal out of bounds skiing they're OK.

How much damage do your skis endure? Have found that all my bigest coreshots and bent edges occur when I go out of bounds.
post #4 of 35
Use the X-14's or whatever is available and spend your $$ on AT boots. The purpose of AT over downhill is to be able to get around in the BC. Heavy, stiff, too-tall Alpine boots skin poorly and bootpack even worse. (Plus, the tele guys will laugh at you!

As you get used to the lighter equipment, you will find yourself much quicker (great for gullies) but a bit more wobbly at speed and in crud. Nothing that can't be compensated for by getting in better balance, but a learning phase nevertheless. You gotta do the skiing; the boots won't do it ofr you. You just might find that the skis you want for AT will be different after adapting to lighter boots than the skis you would get at first, to go with Alpine boots.
post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input.
Thrashing is ok as prepared with ptex iron. Early season my X-14 were catching a coreshot a day. Don't object as long as didn't spent too much cash in the first place.
Object for now is not long tours but to extended out of bounds or BC not too far from parking and yohoing.
post #6 of 35
I picked up a pair of last season's dynastar intuitiv bigs that I'm planning on mounting w/at binding (probably freerides) I think they'd probably be considered midfats these days-80mm underfoot. Most of my skiing will be in the east, but I'm figuring more crud, corn and hopefully powder than ice.
post #7 of 35
Backcountry trashing of skis all depends on when & where you tour: I don’t think I’ve ever hit a rock in the Sierra spring skiing, but I sure have done some nasty things to my (now-retired) Dynastar ATV at Jay Peak & Stowe in early Oct and Wachusett’s Pine Hill Trail in Mar. It’s up to you to decide whether any area’s conditions merit its being “open” for skiing!

If you really need the 12 DIN then go w/ the D FR, but if you can live w/ 10 DIN and you plan to use them only for touring, then definitely the D II. The price is roughly a wash, although telemark-pyrenees.com has a really good price on the D II for the moment.

You should never use safety straps in avy-prone terrain. On narrow Eastern trails I’ve gone w/o both brakes and straps to save weight (and it is noticeable), but this of course has obvious disadvantages too.

The latest generation of AT boots is much improved (just stay away from the super floppy Nordicas), and good deals are available now at the aforementioned TP, but they're still not free (which is the main advantage of your existing alpine boots). I really like the Fischer Freeride 68 when I demoed them w/ my alpine race boots, and I liked them just as much w/ my Garmont GSM when I mounted up a pair w/ the D II. The setup is not only reasonably light, but also very stable at speed - I’m not going to use them for a Master’s GS race, but I have used them in NASTAR courses and making huge GS turns at Mammoth.
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Funny I've found the DIIs for less in the states than on TP.
States DIIs $169 US , Freeerides $195US ( though out of stock)
TP 184 euros, 238 euros
So even without shipping buying in the states is cheaper.
post #9 of 35
I wrote that, "telemark-pyrenees.com has a really good price on the D II for the moment," which is 137.96 Euros -- the shipping might cancel out the savings, but if you're getting anything else from them (and they have some great deals on leftover skis), then the savings would be substantial. (Note that mounting at tp.com is free.)
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
I see , found the end of line sale on the IIs ( was looking at reg price. That makes TP cheaper esp. if a ski was added.
post #11 of 35
[quote]Originally posted by Jonathan S.:

"You should never use safety straps in avy-prone terrain..."

I hate it when I end up contradicting my betters, but ... Diamers have safety straps that release with sufficient pull, such as in an avalanche. I use them religiously in the BC. They have never failed to release when needed, and have never left me wallowing through powder in search of a ski unnecessaily.
post #12 of 35
I’ll fully admit that I have never calculated the force needed to release my Diamir straps. Actually I’ve never even tugged on them. Or used them. BUT . . . if they really do release so easily that you need not worry about a strap-attached ski pulling you down in the fury of an avalanche, then how is it that they do not release accidentally (and create a runaway ski) after a normal fall? That just seems like too small a margin for a simple strap to handle. (And although I agree that a safety strap should help prevent the dreaded powder-lost ski, a simple colored powder chord could solve that problem.) But anyway, you’re the one who has actually used them, so I’d be curious to hear more details.
post #13 of 35
I had questioned whether I should use safety straps with my tristeps and was told - the strap will break in an avalanche - and after looking at the strap I agreed.


Jonathon is right - took a good tumble and the strap broke. It would be tough to make a strap hold for all inbounds crashes and release in an avy. So it goes.

PS. the brakes on my skis don't stop the ski anyway - the 10ex, tristep combo is too wide and light for the brakes to work very well.

[ August 06, 2002, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: harpo ]
post #14 of 35
The forces on a ski in an avalanche are much greater than the forces exerted in a powder fall. Quantum difference here. I think a full-out highspeed starfish sort of yardsale fall in heavy Cascade concrete would probably pull a ski strap out of its retainer, but normal little tumbles don't do so. In any case, the chances of your ski being near you with straps is greater than with brakes, in deep pow, anyways.

I think the biggest incitement to not wear straps comes from contemplating an egg beater where the strap DOESN't pull loose. Best defense against this sort of thing is to not fall much.
post #15 of 35
Somewhere on Lou Dawson's site (www.wildsnow.com, I couldn't find the exact article) he described making a leash with a deliberately frayed, weak point. So the leash would be strong enough to keep your ski from running away if you stumbled while getting into your bindings, but weak enough that it'll break in a big avy. And if that's good enough for Lou . . .
post #16 of 35
Yes, now that you mention it, I do remember this:


The safety "runaway" straps that come with Dynafit bindings remind me of a bondage scene, solution?

Tie a loop of nylon cord through your boot tongue. Using the same cord, tie another loop about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Buy a pair of those sturdy metal clips telemarkers use for safety strap attachment (remove any steel cable the hooks come with). Girth hitch the loop through the clip, then girth hitch the same loop through the binding as shown in the instruction sheet.

Clip to your boot for a runaway safety strap, remove for long tours. The idea is to use cord that would break in a big avalanche or if you caught your ski under a log.

Do not build this rig with metal cable (such as that used for telemark binding runaway straps). Metal cable does not have enough give, and thus may damage your binding or your boot in a fall. Also, the rig shown here is designed to break in a big avalanche or super-harsh fall.

Since this rig is somewhat weak by intent, DO NOT USE AT THE SKI RESORT or during glacier travel whan you could loose a ski in a crevasse fall.
post #17 of 35
quote by Guest1: "...plus, the tele guys will laugh at you"
Hmmm, I guess I could endure this on the way up, cause I know who won't be cry'n on the way down.

Personally, I climb for the _skiing_ aspect so I'm not really interested in handicapping myself with an inferior boot, which ALL AT boots currently happen to be. How many people do you see skiing inbounds on AT boots? I stick with alpine boots and don't regret the compromise a bit on the uphill, because when I'm where I want to be there is NO compromise. (The one situation where this doesn't fair well is on days with a high touring-to-skiing ratio. ei, long, flat approaches... Yuck!)

When it comes to the ski, I'll compromise on weight to make sure what's under me is fun. If I were in Dougw's area, it would be very fat boards. My area often has solid suface conditions requiring a ski which can hang on like glue, so other than tenx's I'd be looking at performance off-road midfats. Though I have no experience with them, I think the old Supermountains had excellent dimensions for a universal AT ski. And I wouldn't worry about the bases on a bc ski - they aren't really that important unless you're doing hairy steeps -then sharp edges sure are nice!

Skins are - very important - don't screw around with the BCAlowfats or G3's, just go straight to the BD Ascentions with quik tail clasp... and make ABSOLUTELY sure you buy them wide and cut them down to size - anybody who says you don't need to cover the whole base doesn't do much uphill skinning.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Ok, this is a different perspective. Well I'm getting a AT boot on the light touring side but paying only $100US for it so I have the choice of lightness or downhill performance( use downhill boots) though nothing in between. For $100US not a lot invested. Does mean if you use downhill boots that your limited to DIIs or freerides, does it not? For a ski in the short term the X-14 will be ok with 70mm under foot though I wish it was a 188 rather than a 183. Thinking that a Fischer Mountain X in a 186 would be a good choice and of course 10ex would be perfect ( though hard to find cheap unless you want a 198).

PS question on skins- Do I have to trim or can I leave a bit of excess as will most likely get something wider next year?

[ August 14, 2002, 08:21 PM: Message edited by: dougw ]
post #19 of 35
“How many people do you see skiing inbounds on AT boots?”
- Me! With extensive modifications, although my Garmont GSM are still not the equal of my Rossi race boots, they’ve been fine inbounds for everything from eastern hardpack and nastar courses, to the steeps of Kirkwood & Mammoth. The one improvement they still need is in the lateral rigidity of the upper cuff, which is the big difference I notice when I slip on the Rossis for serious race training & masters competitions.

“I stick with alpine boots and don't regret the compromise a bit on the uphill, because when I'm where I want to be there is NO compromise.”
- At the risk of making CS bashful, I think it’s helpful to know more about him: he is a mountain goat disguised as a human being. Walking across a nasty boulder field with high winds, I could barely keep up with him in my light, rubber-soled rockered boots, while he somehow went agilely hopping about in his Lange race boots. (If scree scrambling in alpine race boots was an Olympic competition, I think he’d be a gold medalist.) On the trips I’ve done w/ CS, had I used my race boots I would have been suffering mightily on the uphills and falling way behind, but on the downhills the added control would have been negligible. So consider whether you need the weight savings & agility for the up, or the added control for the down, and also consider what kind of tours you want to do. CS’s choice makes complete sense for him, and mine for me.

“Does mean if you use downhill boots that your limited to DIIs or freerides, does it not?”
- Yes, by process of elimination, the Fritschi is your only choice: Dynafit bindings obviously won’t work w/ downhill boots; Silvretta’s location of the lateral release function at the heel instead of the toe is sketchy enough to begin with, and combined w/ stiff & tall downhill boots you’re increasing your spiral probability even more.

“Do I have to trim”
- Yes...
“or can I leave a bit of excess”
- ...that would perform poorly, even dangerously on tricky traverses, plus get the glue all gunked up.
“as will most likely get something wider next year?”
- Yeah, I sympathize w/ this plight, and I’ve had the same problem going to slightly wider skis. However, if you’re also planning on going longer, then fortunately you can just keep more overlap than necessary at the tip, and then re-fold the skin to make it longer when/if you size up.
post #20 of 35
"...had I used my race boots I would have been suffering mightily on the uphills and falling way behind, but on the downhills the added control would have been negligible"

Alright, well... I admit I haven't actually tried an AT boot outside a showroom floor. But i'm guessing JS and others probably don't need to rely on their upper cuffs as much - me, without that training-wheel support, i'm just a sunflower in a windstorm.

scree scrambler? ...I always knew I'd be good at _something_ in life. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #21 of 35
Hi Doug, how've you been?
Last year I bought the 10.EX and Garmont GSM for AT. Love em both. I definitely skied the GSM in bounds--what I was on at Fernie MR. Think there are some of last year's 10EX around right now. Tried this guy?
post #22 of 35
Can't say I agree with the Silvretta bashing. Having used 404 for years, and recently switching to 555s, I have been extremely pleased with the performance. The 555 tour way better than a Fritchi, thanks to the pivot point being under the ball of the foot. As far a release goes, try tourque testing a pair; they test quite well. I personally think they offer a more solid feel than the Diamir, especially traversing with skins on steep hard snow. The Fritchis always seemed to offer a bit of lateral play over the single plate, kind of twisting away from the edges. If you have not tried a 555, you are missing out on a great AT binding. Oh Yea, a freind and I did spin a few over a small hit with them last year. No problem.
post #23 of 35
I'm no binding engineer, but to my knowledge no alpine downhill binding has ever lacked a lateral toe release. The Silvretta has no way of allowing the boot to release by letting the toe pivot relative to the heel. It does offer the exact opposite (i.e., lateral heel release function), and while that can serve as an intriguing safety supplement (as in the new Line binding), I am very suspicious of its merit as a substitute.
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
JW- As you can see I'm taking your place as the newbie AT guy. Trying not to ask the same questions you did last year. Trying to get a AT touring only setup on the cheap. Will keep X-14s as AT ski until I find something good for about $200Can.

[ August 22, 2002, 08:25 AM: Message edited by: dougw ]
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
New thought. What is the difference between Womens or Lite" skis and tele and AT B/C skis. Both are alittle lighter and a little softer. reason asking is sometimes can find realy long ~190 womans ski for next to nothing. Just a thought if only used in B/C out west.
post #26 of 35
Doug, left you a PM. I might be able to help you out on the Freerides.
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by dougw:
JW- As you can see I'm taking your place as the newbie AT guy. Trying not to ask the same questions you did last year. Trying to get a AT touring only setup on the cheap. Will keep X-14s as AT ski until I find something good for about $200Can.
Well an update, picked up a pair of Nordica 9.1FM the mid fat from two seasons ago in a 190 for $150Can so about $100 US so TP couldn't beat that. Got a pair of DIIs and crampons from T-P. Left the skins to buy down the street at MEC. So heres a question. What width to get for a ski 113/74/99.if I got a 70 would I really miss the grip out by my tips and tails?
post #28 of 35
Originally posted by dougw:
Left the skins to buy down the street at MEC. So heres a question. What width to get for a ski 113/74/99.if I got a 70 would I really miss the grip out by my tips and tails?
Some say wall-to-wall is the way to go with skins. If you like to climb steep skin tracks, or if the tracks in your area tend to be set steep, the more coverage the better. If you don't mind taking a more shallow angle, skins the width of the waist will do you fine. I have skins of both varieties, and I climb fine on both. The narrower skins are easier to handle, though.
post #29 of 35
i agree that wall to wall (or as close as you can get) is the way to go. for your skis, id get 100-110 mm skins. but the quality of the skin can make a difference too. I bought some ascension skins two seasons ago, i think i got 100mm and cut them to fit my k2 x-15's, this size also fit (though not nearly wall to wall) my G41's. Those things climbed like bears. Really a huge change from my 4 yr old 70mm pomoca natural skins. Last season, i got a pair of fischer Big Stix 106. Decided i needed new skins to go with them. But ascensions only came to 120 or 110, i forget. Looking around, G3 had some 130mm skins, plus their attatchment system looked pretty slick (since im a clumsy bastard who tends to kick the eurofix tips off my skis). So i picked up the G3's figuring id be able to climb walls with the things. Turns out the G3's didnt hold nearly as well as the ascensions. I couldnt set a very steep track with the G3's, but could put in some crazy ones with the ascensions. I'll always buy ascensions from now on!
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 
fez, thanks for the info. I can see your point but if you get enough grip with a skin cut to fit a ski eg 110/80/105 or whatever won't you get the same grip using the same skin on bigger ski?
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