Thoughts, advice or experiences on a scene XC ski vs only snowshoes? Anything I may not have considered?
IMO, if you're planning on a) scrambling over rocks b) direct-line climbing steep stuff c) encountering a lot of frozen sun crust, wind crust or frozen potholed tracks then snowshoes are the better choice.
Soft snow, unsteep, wooded terrain - I'd go with the forest/hunt skis.
EDIT: and, if you go either the forest ski or the snowshoe route, please stop thinking of it as a workout - at least for the first few weeks. Get out there, explore, see things in a new way, have fun.
I don't know a lot about the Hok or Jakt, but I'll offer this. Tuna is exactly right about the applications of each tool in the post above. Snowshoes in deep stuff are WORK! I would only go there if I were climbing, clambering, or dealing with crust. Skis glide...... so even though you can get a good workout, they are faster, smoother, more aesthetically pleasing. If your terrain is rolling and even somewhat open, most folks will prefer skis.
If what you want is a hard-as-you-can-make-it workout: Snowhoes
If what you want is a pleasurable tour experience: Skis.
You can get wide, short skis these days that have almost as much float as 'shoes, but glide.......
What you're saying makes sense, but I'm having trouble finding (in Ontario, Canada) BC xc skis that are much wider than my skinny track-set skis, but without really fat tips (vs waist) that are ideal for turning. I won't be making turns.
I want skis for navigating the trails where I live. I've been on these 100+ times so I wouldn't call it exploring. I like getting outside and enjoying nature. I've done this in the winter by running/hiking. Wanted to spice it up and have a new activity that drives the desire to get out there more often.
Given that I have xc skis, and will use them at the local nordic centres, I was questioning whether it's worth it to invest in BC equipment...plus I'm having trouble locating the right equipment (I know it's not yet winter...but I've contacted those shops that sell skis and most have something along the lines of Fischer BC Country Crown...which isn't that much better for blazing my own trail than what I have already). So I thought snowshoes are much cheaper, and would allow me to traverse the small forests in between the same trails I've been running/biking on.
Well, you can choose what you want, but I have been doing what you describe for years with XC-BC gear. Right now, I'm on the Fischer S-Bound 98. Yes, it has sidecut, but in soft snow that's not an impediment at all. The ski glides well, provides float, and is short enough (179), that it's maneuverable everywhere except deep brush (and why would I want to go through a thicket to begin with?). They are great on rolling trails, they break a path, and, for the occasional downhill, they are easily turned. The fairly moderate sidecut (98/69/88) lets them track well, and the ski has a 1.4 camber. I have a pair of fairly strong NNN-BC boots that are warm and only about as heavy as a light hiking boot.
My wife wanted to get into snowshoeing, so she bought a pair. Now, three years later, the only time she has used them is when the snow conditions are so bad (frozen, broken-up crud) that I'm not sure I really have the interest in being out there to begin with. I have xc skied 30-45 days a year for the last 10 years...and never once wished I was on snowshoes.
Get a wide, "short-cut" or medium-length ski like the S-Bounds or the Madshus Annum. Glide....don't plod.
Err.. doesn't MEC stock skis in that category?
includes the Rossi BC90 and the Madshus Annum
prices seem to be relatively comparable to the snowshoe prices, at least on their website.
This vid is a few years old, so some of the specific products described may be hard to find.
Still, some good general info, and ORS might be a place you want to check out if you haven't
Maybe try some native traditional snowshoes? They are far superior to any modern style. Best float in deep pow is had with the long alaskan style with rawhide webbing. Maybe 11x60" Try a pair by lund or if you really want the best, hand made. This guy makes nice ones https://www.facebook.com/pages/Albert-Snowshoes/164258173624878