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a little help putting together a 50-50 backcountry/sidecountry - on hill pow set up :)....too many choices

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have toured before, but first the very uncomfortable way - snowshoes and snowboard ....then crossed over and starting teleskiing, which BOY what a difference (well once I figured out the tele turn :))


I have now been on alpine for a few years and would like to put together a bit of a backcountry set up...in all honesty, with having Whistler Blackcomb just 5 min from my door it is more likely to be a slackcountry set up :). But still plenty of skinning options just outside the boundary.

Note that I would also likely ski this setup on pow days I the resort (although I also have a pair of Volkl ones, so I do have options :))


I want this kit to be capable and stand the test of time - the backcountry gear is definitely more expensive then your usual resort kit so I rather get it right the first time and ski on it for several years then built a starter kit and sell it next year.  I'm looking for performance based on current technology, but still keeping in mind that I do need to work for that money, so this is not one of those "if money was no issue"...money definitely counts as a factor :)...


Now to my thoughts.


First some stats:

Female 43 I can ski anything, but I tend to get quite gripped on steep and gnarly and forget how to ski...so I tend to prefer the non gnarly places. In whistler, my favorite runs would be Harmony and Symphony Chair....


5'11"; 175 pounds




For a ski I am planning on the 178 DPS 112RP2. I have the older version of this ski and I like the way it skis and how versatile it is. I have the hybrids...my question here is are the Pure3 worth the difference in price...yes they are lighter, but is there any difference in ski performance?, i.e is the difference noticeable in swing weight? I am thinking, if I go pure I should probably demo them before buying them....does anybody know if there is a difference in stiffness between the Wailer and the Yvette? (since I may buy the yvette, but likely can only demo the wailer). I have considered the 184's which I have skied before, but I tend to prefer the 178 in trees and bumps since they turn so much easier. I expect to ski more trees in the BC so a shorter ski would come in handy...:)...

PS I do love this ski - so even at their high price I think they are worth it ...tried may skis inbetween and always end up back on the DPS....I just simply find them confidence inspiring...so although I shall grimace when I pay, I'm not against paying for the Pure's if they really do make a difference...




This is where I'm lost. I'm thinking Dynafit, since the weight advantage is tremendous and at least based on the oh so mighty internet, they ski just as well as an alpine binding on soft days...BUT WHICH DYNAFIT??? I am guessing I really don't need the beasts, since I am not a super aggressive skier...no hucking over here. I like to ski fast, but that's fast for me and a whole lot slower then most people on the hill :).


So that leaves me with Dynafit radical ST or FT (whats the pro con?) or Dynavit vertical (again whats the pro con?





I currently ski in Krypton KR2's for alpine - its way more boot then I need, but they fit my feet well and were on firesale - so why not. I don't really need the level of stiffness, but I certainly do not complain as that boot is reactive side to side on the hardpack. I used to have a pair of Lange 100's, which were fine on powder days, but on warm days or hardpack days I easily twisted that boot. Then again my technique is now better (ski more from the hips then the feet), so maybe now the Lange 100 would be just fine...


So again I'm guessing no need for the Vulcan boot line , possible the TLT's? Mercury ?

I'm also intrigued by the Dalbello 5/5 , but cant find much detail on them. I certainly like the Dalbello cabrio design, but not having skied an actual dynafot boot, I have nothing to compare too. What would be a good backcountry boot for somebody with a narrow foot and a high instep ..and a high Achilles ....my bootfitter here always says I have the perfect Lange foot...


So if you were me, what would you built :)...Any pro's and cons of choices....


I'm in no rush since I can always keep boot packing flute but I want to keep an eye on sales so knowing what I'm looking for will help :)...

post #2 of 19

It sounds like you have your heart set on DPS skis, so I won't comment on that -- the Pure and the hybrids are all light and for what you say you'll be doing, either one should meet your needs as far as weight goes.  


As for Dynafit bindings, yes, they are amazingly confusing.  I ended up getting the Diamir Fritchi bindings because of their claim to have a better toe piece that releases a bit more like an alpine binding.  Mounted them on a pair of Ski Logik Yetis and love them...although they're a bear to initially figure out how to step into.  That's my lightweight, lighter snow set up.  I also have some Tyrolia Ambition bindings (these are non-tech bindings) mounted on my Salomon Q98s and this is my bombproof setup I ski in and out of bounds in.  It's a bit heavier, but the bindings are super easy to use and are very sturdy.


Having gone through the trial and error over the past several years, my biggest piece of advice is to try boots on and get one that fits and feels right.  There's nothing worse than an ill fitting AT boot.  I started with Garmonts that never fit right and gave me blisters, and I've made the move to the Scarpa Maestrale RS, which fit live a slipper, are super stiff, and have met all my needs...except I they technically won't work in an alpine binding.  Try on all brands and don't get a side country boot.  Get a full up backcountry boot if you want the proper range of motion.  Here in SLC I had the good fortune to try on many different boots before getting the Scarpa.  My only regret is that I didn't get them earlier.


Good luck and I hope you find a setup that works for you.





post #3 of 19
For your weight, get the cheapest dynafit you can find.
Mercury skis better than the vulcan.
I dont like dps skis, I would get something with a lot less rocker profile, more versatile in the bad snow you're sure to find in the backcountry.
post #4 of 19

Our guide in NZ Anna was rocking Scarpa Gea, DPS Wailer 99 Pure and Dynafiddles.... handled hard and soft snow with ease


post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice!!!..keep it coming :)...


Yeah - I have been pretty happy with my DPS, and I truly feel confident on them, which at least for me, my head always gets in my way :)....I may consider the 105 - will need to do some demoing.


The problem with the binding is that there is really no demoing :(....I read a LOT of reviews the last few days ..one more confusing/hyped or completely biased by somebody's obsession with 50g weight difference...as with my bike, the biggest weight factor is my doughnut obsession....


Any input on the G3 Ion vs the Dynafit Radical ST?


Going to go try on some boots tomorrow - I doubt the Scarpas will do me well. I have had them for tele skiing (Scarpa T1 and the yellow Scarpa NTN), they were way to wide for me in the heel,/ankle area...nice toe room though.....But what I'm hearing is stay away from the alpine boot with walk mode , say Lange or Dalbello Lupo? I'm hoping the Mercury will fit my foot , since on paper it sounds right :)..narrow in the heel and ankle but wider in the toe area....that would fit my teradactyl feet..wide up front silly narrow in the back...




post #6 of 19
The Head collective 105 is a ripper in my opinion! I ski it every day for 3 years as my every day ski! My question is this? How many days are ya doing backcountry skinning up mts? If you r taking a sled or helicopter, who gives a crap about weight. Your only standing on them and riding them down. Skinning up a bunch, like everyday hikes go light as possible I don't mean hour skinning, I mean weeks of skinning hills. Every set up has a purpose. Just because a guide rocks a set up doesn't mean it's the best! It's just his personal set up for working with the common folk that works for him or her while working. When charging with their bros, usually is different. Pick what works for you for what you are doing. There is no one ski quiver. That why it's called a quiver in my opinion.
Happy new year!
post #7 of 19

.and... And I was rocking DPS Wailer 105 Pure with Dynafit TLT Vertical... boots Scarpa Maestrael



My skinnier set up are G3 Barons with Onyx bindings (don't know what I was thinking....)

post #8 of 19

No difference between the Wailer and the Yvette.  Color and graphics is the only difference.


I personally prefer the way Pure3 skis versus the Hybrids.  Snappier, better snow feel, low swing weight, torsionally stiffer, powerful...  Pure3 construction is however not very forgiving of  poor technique where as I think the hybrids are ok.  In less than ideal snow conditions they will give you hell if skied lazy or with poor technique.  A good tune and de-tune is more critical on a Pure3 than a hybrid.  The weight difference is noticeable.


The new Wailer 112 RP2 has a lower rocker profile in both the tip and the tail and they mellowed out the side profile of the tip.   This makes them plane better in variable snow.  They don't have that stop/go feeling in cut up snow or transitioning from light to heavy snow.  Stability in variable snow is also better.   Less twitchy and hooky at high edge angles in soft snow and variable snow conditions.


I had a first generation Wailer 112 and had a love/hate with that ski.  Purchased an RP2 this year after a demo. For me, the little design tweaks fixed all the little quirky issues I had with the first generation.  Lives up to all the hype I didn't quite feel from the first generation.


Dynafit has been the benchmark tech binding forever but I think there are some decent alternatives currently available and soon to be released.  Also a lot of hype to wade through.  Another downside is that a lot of options are first generation product, despite rigorous testing, often develop issues once released to the public.


The G3 ION is in its first season.  I have not heard of any issues yet.  I would say it is very refined versus being revolutionary.  Very robust feel in the hand compared to a Radical.  Nice brakes, asymmetrical heel and risers, nice toe stop, and nice details that should help clear snow/ice from the toe.  They are like a better made Dynafit.  I have a pair in a box waiting for new skis to arrive.


The Vipec is on season 1.5.  Last year there were a lot of pin failures in the toe.  Also heel failures from ice build up inside the heel plates.  Design changes were made over the summer to address the pins but the heel issue has yet to be addressed.  The toe piece on the Vipic is unique in that it has a lateral release feature which also incorporates lateral elasticity allowing you to release laterally from the toe.  The heel also lets you go from tour to ski without stepping out.  A little plasticy but a sweet binding that might still have some teething issues.  Distributed by Black Diamond who have excellent customer service so not too risky of a choice.


Dynafit Radical is on season 2.5?  LOT of issues the first year but all have been addressed.  You do still see some failures but I would bet that most of it is pilot error.  TLT Radical ST would be the pick unless you think you need a 12 DIN in which case you want the TLT Radical FT.


Dynafit Beast is over priced and over engineered - Rube Goldberg comes to mind.


Marker Kingpin is a mid year release.......and some have already had problems with the pins falling out.  Sweet heel!  Traditional tech heels are a little sloppy in firm conditions and the Kingpin heel address this weakness.  I think its a better freeride tech binding solution than the Beast.  Sweet binding but I would pass.


Best advice I can give you on touring boots is to go try them all on.  Think a LOT about what they might be like to stand in/walk in for an hour or two and how easy they are to transition from walk to ski.  You might also be able to find some of these boots in a demo.


Second, don't go for an aggressive shell fit.  I measure a 10.5, my alpine boot is an 8, and my touring boot is a 9.  You will spend a lot more time walking/skinning in them than actually skiing.


Don't bother with any of the alpine style slackcountry boots.  None of them have any backwards range of motion.  The short stride equals slow going on the climbs.


Vulcan and Maestrale have a lot of thunder in the market place but I think they are a bit over rated.  Very high fiddle factor with both boots. Try them on anyway.  Sleepers in the category that you should try on would be the Dynafit Radical CR and the Scott Celeste.


I currently own a Dynafit Radical CR which replaced a Maestrale RS.  I punted the Maestrale because it was an absolute pain in the ass to get in and out of and I had a few repeat hardware failures.  Once in, it skied well, walked well, and transition from walk to ski was easy.  Radical is easy on easy off.  More toe box room.  Good heel hold.  Easiest transition of any touring boot.  I like the flex better than the Maestrale.  Flexes more like a 2 piece boot than a 3 piece.  Progressive with modest rebound.  It was also very affordable.

Edited by rug wheelie - 1/1/15 at 5:16pm
post #9 of 19
For skis, I'd also take a good look at Praxis. The new UL core brings the weight down and Keith is pretty good on what to suggest!

I'd guess a GPO 182 full rocker ultralight might be a great option! Or the narrow backcountry 180 also UL core!

Praxis quality is outstanding and they should last you many seasons!
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Wow, @rug wheelie that's a lot of great info, especially on the DPS!!!!....I totally hear you about the weird hooky sensation when going from soft to manky ( common here in Whistler) - I definitely love my Wailers but they are not perfect :). I may just get my current wailers mounted and pick up a demo 2015 Wailer at the end of the season. I did also ogle the Black diamond convert today - such a pretty ski, but not sure how it will ski. So I think I will stick to my old DPS for now and hopefully demo a few other pairs later in the season and maybe pick up something new in the summer....only so much cash to go round :)....


I spend A LOT of time the last few days trying on boots and actually checking out bindings in the store.


Bootwise both the Maestrale and the Dynafit Mercury fit me well...I'm between sizes, aka in Alpine a 25.5 but it usually requires a bit of making room for my big toes that sticks out ....Three was no way I was going to be comfi in the Mercury 25/25.5 shell without major modes - the perfect fit ended up using the Scarpa liner in the Dynafit Mercury boot..leave it to me to make an expensive boot even more expensive????.


I did really like the walking motion on the dynafit better; but since both fit well, I will simply keep an eye out for sale on both....I spend about 2 hours in both boots buckled up with no pressure points whatsoever...so yeahhh :)....


As for bindings, I'm quite torn since I have longstanding knee issues (including cartilage replacement surgery) I'm definitely worried about the fixed toe issue, the guy at the shop today did a fantastic job showing me all the subtle differences in the different tech bindings, and based on my use and my knee concerns his recommendation was to the Vipec, but he was also very mindfull to the fact that they are new to market and will likely go through a few changes. If I do go Vipec, I will buy them at the shop I was at, so if there is issues the warranty wont be a problem. I have never skied a tech binding so I really don't know what to expect.


Any advice on skins :)....

post #11 of 19

@LittleSkiNut  sounds like you foot is similar to mine.... really wanted a pair of Dynafit Vulcans but they did not like my feet.  I just spent a week in the NZ Alps ski mountaineering (hut based after heli lift in) with the Meastrale and did not have a problem with the boot. A bit fiddly putting on and taking off as you do have to open it right up and fold the side hinged tongue back but hey you only do that at the beginning and at the end of the day.  And the hut didn't get much above freezing all week so it was cold boots on in the morning without much difficulty.

post #12 of 19

BD Ascensions or G3 Alpinist.  Both are synthetic, have good glue, tail clips, and tip clips.  Mohair and Mixes are more expensive and generally gives a better glide and are lighter.  Great in dry snow but can sometimes be a little finicky when things get warm and wet.


Ask around about Colltex.  Hard to find in the states but should be pretty easy to find in Canada.  I had a pair 10 years ago and they were pretty awesome.  They are kind of a big deal in Europe and make a lot of private label skins for Ski Companies.

post #13 of 19

This is great info - I'm looking to switch over to AT from telemarking and want a decent setup.  Boots are my biggest concern, looks like I'm going to have to go around and bug all the local shops for demos :)

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm strongly leaning towards the Fritschi Vipec Binding....albeit a fairly new release I am keen on the Toe Elasticity ....I have read about the earlier issues with getting in and pin stripping but it looks like that has been solved for 2015...and since I'm new to tech binding, stepping in will be a learning curve to me no matter what. My only concern is with the few reports on the rear icing up? I wonder if this is just a few reports that keep being referenced or a true problem I cant seem to find more then a one time actual user account (earnyourturns).....certainly wouldn't ant to deal with needing to take the binding apart to switch into ski mode....although I goes I could always return to the tele turn :)....


Anybody on here have experience with the Vipec?

post #15 of 19

Word from a few hard core BC'ers who were putting the Vipec through its paces out of Wanaka in NZ this past southern hemisphere winter is that it works, no major issues.  Re icing, all tech bindings are more sensitive to ice build up, hence treat them no differently to Dynafit or any others.

post #16 of 19

Interesting topic.... I'm not a major touring type. But I'll offer an opinion anyway. :D  


The first thing that jumps to mind is that many of us have put rigs together for "50/50 at one point or another". It rarely seems to work out that way. Seems most folks either get the touring bug and want to refine a true tour oriented setup, or they (like me) fall into the "skin here and theree, now and again" crowd. Point being that odds are you will not get it right on your first shot. My experience says that there  is a certain amount of "tuition" in dollars and experience.


So you are left with best guess trade offs for your first shot. You say this is a powder oriented rig. Lots of  trade offs... For powder, fatter and more reverse just wins. But you always run into other stuff. So versatility is good. And from experience, I can say that side hilling on a fat r/r ski is less than optimal. And despite many people loving them, tech bindings come with their own issues. Including a more limited selection of boots (which matters to me, among other reasons, because I have hard to fit fat feet).


I'd sort of second the earlier Praxis GPO comment. Being a Praxis fan, I think it is tough to get a better ski in this genre. At 8.2 or so pounds, the UL touring edition of the GPO 182 would be a good call - with no need to custom order CCR. The standard camber/rocker would do fine. With the usual discount codes, it'd be maybe 4 hundred+ or so bucks less than the DPS Pure. Another path would be something like the UL 177 Protest. Less versatile, but similar weight and an uber powder ski - outside the zone of your existing ones. Likewise maybe a L120 or even 138 might be worth a few moments contemplation. There are likely some others out there worth consideration. I'm just not up on all the options this year. All that said, I have not skied the DPS 112s in any version - so these are just my random thoughts on the ski part of this.


As for bindings, you might consider something like a Marker Tour 10 or 12. Or Tyrolia Ambition. Or even check current weights on the slightly more Alpine biased touring bindings.


The bottom line from my perspective is that few rigs end up really being 50/50 - despite the initial intent. So in a sense, take your pick and see how it plays. If you go for the more Alpine oriented approach, you could put a 12-ish pound (ski+binding) setup together for maybe 1200 bucks or a bit less all-in. A bit more going the DPS Pure route. Not a long-tour oriented setup - but fine for a few hours of side country messing about. And excellent for mixing in a bunch of inbounds powder. And if your current boots are light and comfy enough - off you go. If you get touring boots for the usual reasons - fine. If you find yourself doing more skinning than not, remount the skis with a tech binding. Etc.


IMO this is just one of those things that is hard to "know" until you are in the middle of it. If it turns out you peg it 100%  right on the first shot - I'll tip my hat to you for sure. 

post #17 of 19
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by LittleSkiNut View Post

My only concern is with the few reports on the rear icing up? I wonder if this is just a few reports that keep being referenced or a true problem I cant seem to find more then a one time actual user account (earnyourturns).....certainly wouldn't ant to deal with needing to take the binding apart to switch into ski mode....although I goes I could always return to the tele turn :)....



Careful with that. AT bindings are not designed to handle the forces of tele turns.

post #19 of 19

@spindrift Your observation is pretty spot on.  I first ventured into touring / backcountry around 8-9 years ago; spent a lot of money on various frame bindings and between rigs including Garmont Adrenaline boots (gone 4 years ago), Technica Cochise boots with swapable soles (now only used as an alpine boot) and various skis with Fritschi Freeride + and Marker Duke bindings.  I finally decided my main skiing was in the backcountry; lodge based day touring and multi day hut to hut touring and have ditched all of the between gear and gone light weight tech.  I still have my alpine gear and still love running gates from time to time.  But for my main skiing pursuits I could have saved myself may $'000s and a lot of less than optimal skiing time if I had committed to tech at the beginning.


If I was looking at a side country rig I would most likely use a Marker Tour 10/12 as it skis pretty much the same as a Duke (i.e. solid) but without the weight.  On the few occasions I skied in bounds last southern hemisphere winter, I did it mostly on my tech gear. That said, when I come over to Tahoe in mid February, all of my skiing buddies there are strictly lift access skiers, so the touring gear will be left this side of the big pond.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › a little help putting together a 50-50 backcountry/sidecountry - on hill pow set up :)....too many choices