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Snow shoes v skins/ AT bindings v MFD alltime

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

New to epic and forums, so sorry if this has been covered. Any redirections appreciated.

I am a 40 yr old Australian resident with kids and a mrs that does not ski.
Current set up for japan is Rossi S7 with marker griffin demo bindings and alpine boots. I do like this set up a lot and do not really want to sink too much money into it.
My dilemma is I want to start a bit of slack country touring for my 2015 trip to
Hokkaido. Some will be guided and some with my travel buddies.
I've looked into an AT setup and basically a locally sourced set of marker barons ( mounted) will set me back $450aus + skins (ouch) I can maybe shave off $100aus if I source O/S but mounting will be on me ( I have never mounted bindings before)
I have looked into alpine trekkers (with mixed reviews) and even liked the reviews I read on MFD alltime plates ( until I found out they have gone out of business)

My question is; which AT setup to get????
Touring binding is great but costly ( $450aus )
Alpine trekker ( mixed review as far as reliability but a fair option $150-$200aus)
MFD alltime ( mixed review, manufacturer out of business but some cheap ones available still with no warranty $150aus. Not a bad option considering I have a demo binding and can still play with binding position eg 0 or -2cm etc same for trekkers)
Snow shoeing???( not much good to hear about this)
Rent a dedicated touring set up for the days I want to tour ( cost ?? Potential PITA as far as availability goes)
I understand I need skins for any sort of AT setup. I am looking at climbing skins direct so any input here would be greatly appreciated.

I live in Australia and get a 2 week trip every second year.( I know live is tough)
Travelling with 2 snow boarders that will probably be snow shoeing.
I will primarily be resort skiing with some slack country touring, some guided and some not guided short tours. Hokkaido japan booked for 2015.
Fitness is not too bad for a 40 yr old want to be.

I am after up to date relevant info based on personal experience. I am at a real loss as to which way to go as I can see pros and cons for all set ups. I am probably leaning towards a set of alpine trekkers as they can be picked up cheap second hand and it does not change my alpine setup. I also have read a few reviews of success stories with these with some minor mods. Alltimes are also intriguing but no manufacturer support is potentially a problem.

All posts greatly appreciated.


post #2 of 7

Sell the Griffons and buy a pair of Barons.  You can find nice used ones with no slop for about $200.  A decent pair of skins should run you about $150.

post #3 of 7

Hire snow shoes.  If you are going to Hakuba and heading out with Evergreen or the like you will catch lifts to the top and then hike a boot packed ridge until you find a safe fresh line to drop.  If you getting to AT skiing seriously you will just have to cough up for the gear.


Oh and if you are interested I have a pair of Fritschi Freeride + bindings I'm letting go for a fair price (PM).

post #4 of 7

A strong vote against snow shoes--I've used them a fair bit--pretty worthless in alpine terrain IMO--slow, clumsy, extra weight. Great for cutting down trees in thick forests though.

post #5 of 7
If you're just going to the top of Annapuri, you don't need anything. Its a quick bootpack. Other than that, I'd recommend mounting up a frame touring binding (marker, tyrolia, Salomon/atomic) and buying skins. Snow shoes just aren't the way to go if you're on skis on the local peaks like Iwao, Chisei, and especially Yotei. I know Takanashi-san at Toryu rents touring gear, and yes, you need an avy kit as well for anywhere out of bounds.
post #6 of 7
The demo bindings probably won't work on the Alltimes. Too much mounting plate in front of the toe piece. Trekkers are ok for light touring, but very tall and flimsy; you wouldn't enjoy them for anything approaching a technical up or a long tour (from experience). Best solution: get a set of Barons or other frame binding, except Fritchi; I use Fritchis for a dedicated touring setup, but they aren't up to extended resort use. Snowshoes almost never are the right choice if you'll have skis with you.

Mounting a touring binding without a jig or experience mounting bindings could be problematic. The alignment of the heel hold down piece to the frame is critical.

And don't try to save by getting old Naxos as the break frequently. And at the most inopportune times.
post #7 of 7

If you are going with a guide service, ASK. They will tell you what gear would be recommended for the routs you are looking to ski. It sounds like you are looking for more of a resort set up that can be hiked if need be. The frame AT bindings are the way to go. I like the lower feel of the Sal or Atomic vs the Marker, just my opinion. Trekkers are doable but not my first choice. It all depends on how much you will actually use the touring vs alpine of the binding. I still suggest just asking the service you will be skiing with. On a side note if you and your buddies are planing on skiing OB take your avi 1 and learn about your surroundings. Just because you are near a resort does not mean your are safe. As GI Joe once said "knowledge is half the battle."    

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