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Where to buy AT gear in Eastern NY or W. MA?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I come from an alpine background and this year I have decided to mix things up a bit and give AT a try. I need some recommendations on good boot fitters/outfitters in Eastern NY or Western MA. I will be using these skis here in the east and also out in UT. I was also wondering if it is possible to mount AT bindings on alpine skis? I may want to convert a pair of K2 Mod X skis. These skis however already have alpine binding mounted on them. Can they handle another set of holes? Last question, are AT skis lighter than alpine skis? I am really hoping I can use my old alpine boards for the conversion just not sure if they are too heavy.
post #2 of 18
alpine boards are fine for AT bindings. i find a lot of people use regular alpine boards instead of buying touring specific skis. you sacrifice lightness for performance, fine by me. i have mounted two pairs of AT binders to alpine skis, no issues at all. what type of binder are you looking at? backcountry.com has a tremendous deal on last year's freeride if you will fir a large size. most skis can handle a second pair of binder holes. i know the freeride has a different pattern than most apline ski binders i think, not sure how that would effect the redrill process. someone else may know better and pipe in with specifcs on that one, i would be curious to hear myself as i assumed a redrill AT to alpine or vice versa would be a non-issue.
post #3 of 18
http://www.bentgate.com/
http://www.gmolfoot.com/
http://www.exum.ofutah.com/Pages/homepage.htm

As rivercOIL said, alpine skis will be fine - especially in the East. If you plan to spend more time in Utah, you'll want to try some fat skis - they way smooth out the ride. I bought a pair of G3 backcountry skis last year mounted with Fritschis. In the backcountry they kicked butt. On piste though you do give up something compared with regular alpine skis - not a problem since backcountry, except for the last run home maybe, is an all day experience (which, by the way, makes the AT bindings worthwhile).

Most of the guides we've skied with are on roughly 85mm (underfoot) skis - skinnier than the fat skis you'll see many other backcountry types on.

Guiding, if you can get a couple of people together, will typically cost $140-$150 a day. If you figure a lift ticket would cost you $60, you're in for about $100 extra. It's worth it - no lines, just a few fellow backcountriers, safety, safety equipment, and an incredible day. A good - and less expensive - beginning in Utah is the Inter-Mountain tour between Snowbird and Park City (various stops, not all areas visited). This is a guided group, no AT gear necessary (though I'd rent some fat skis) - and you can hook up with other folks interested in hiring a guide (you may be able to get one of this group's guides). Exum provides top-of-the-line guides: http://www.exum.ofutah.com/Pages/homepage.htm (We've used Brian Brechwald and Anna Keeling on separate occasions - both were outstanding - and Tyson Bradley has literally written the book on backcountry skiing Utah.)

As for equipment, the Backcountry store is good (http://www.backcountry.com/), and so is Black Diamond in Salt Lake City, UT - they can hook you up with some of the most qualified guides in the area. Personally, I've liked working with the folks at Bent Gate Sports in Golden, Colorado (http://www.bentgate.com/). I started using them by phone, and last year got to visit the shop. A great place and the people will take pains to make sure you're getting what you really need. There's a place on the Mountain Road in Stowe that carries backcountry ski gear - AJ's maybe? There are a few shops in the East, but the market here isn't very rich for backcountry stuff, so I've always found a better selection out West.

I bought some AT boots... They're useful, but unless you're really going to spend a lot of time at this, I'd skip them... Depending on your feet, they may require more fitting than regular alpine boots - they may have a sloppy fit without it. There are a fair number of good boot fitters around, though far fewer really excellent ones... Jeff Bergeron, who runs a boot-fitting thread here is truly incredible (he fit my backcountry boots) - if happen to be in the Denver area, look him up in Breckenridge (need an appointment well in advance usually). Greg Hoffmann at Stratton Mountain in VT is another excellent fitter. There is another at Killington whose name eludes me...
post #4 of 18
Check out wildsnow.com for good background info and reviews of AT gear. That site also has complete mounting instructions for all the most common AT bindings -- mounting the bindings yourself is easy and may be the only option if you local shops are clueless and concerned about liability (unfortunately this is the norm).

As far as ski selection, you should probably use whatever type of alpine ski you feel most comfortable on. They will most likely be only a few pounds more than a super-light AT ski, and will perform much better in the downhill direction.

You should be able to mount AT bindings on your K2's -- just make sure that there is a reasonable location for the new binding such that the new holes aren't too close to the old ones. Moving a couple cm's forward or backward should fix any conflicts.

Have fun!
post #5 of 18
Kelly,

Get a hold of the guys at High Adventure (Latham, NY). If they can't help you they can get you hooked up.

Where do you plan to go?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone

for the helpful info. My current alpine skis that I am contemplating mounting up are the K2 Mod X in 160. Tips are 111, waist 70, tails 101. I am thinking they should be suitable here in the east. The hubby and I will be moving back out west in a year to year and a half. I don't want to invest in new boards while living here that won't be suitable (fat enough) for backcountry in UT or CO. As far as bindings are concerned I interested in either Fritschis or Dynafits. I like to weight of the dynafits.

Bearberry- thanks for all the info on UT guides. We plan on only doing guided trips in UT until we thoroughly learn the "rules" of the backcountry. We know BD well in SLC. We used to live in N. Utah and spent lots of time skiing LCC and PC.

Cornice- I will definitely check-out wildsnow. Mounting new bindings may not be so difficult.

Paul- Never heard of high adventure. Thanks. Not sure where we will go around here. I was told, not sure how reliable this is, that Pineridge XC touring center has BC skiing. I believe they are located in Poestinkil, sp??. I cannot imagine it would be very good. Do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks again everyone.
post #7 of 18

At Gear

It is not my opinion that one should go out and buy a lot of expensive AT equipment when your intentions are to just try it out. If you can rent it, I would say that it would be better. It's not really a sport which fits the East, either. I would start out with Alpine Trekkers or Secur-a fix. These give you the ability to traverse or do short climbs with your alpine equipment.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATskier
It is not my opinion that one should go out and buy a lot of expensive AT equipment when your intentions are to just try it out. If you can rent it, I would say that it would be better. It's not really a sport which fits the East, either. I would start out with Alpine Trekkers or Secur-a fix. These give you the ability to traverse or do short climbs with your alpine equipment.
I am sorry but long sustained climbs are no fun in alpine boots. I have already tried this option and have no desire to ever do it again. You could get by in the east using trekkers but I certainly do not care to use them out west.
post #9 of 18

O.k.

You might have specified that you were going to use the equipment on difficult climbs in the West and that you have had some experience already. By the way if you look to Wilderness House on Comm. Ave, Boston you can find the equipment you want. They have a website I believe.
post #10 of 18
the mountaineer in keene valley, ny www.mountaineer.com
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the input.

kelly
post #12 of 18
70 underfoot won't be the best for natural snow conditions and (hopefully) powder. you may want to consider 80mm under foot, i think that is ideal for handling a wide variety of conditions in the BC especially when you can't expect pow every time you go out like in the east. nothing wrong with alpine boots on a freeride or naxo, i did tucks last year a few times in xwave 10s on a freeride and no issues at all. now, climbing up tucks in heavy boots was terrible and i have since bought g-rides, ymmv.
post #13 of 18

Beware!

Just a reminder. If you are starting out AT with old alpine equipment you will need to buy climbing skins. Be advised that good skins are expensive and once you cut them for a certain ski they do not work well on a wider ski. If you are using old alpine skis and then switch to a wider more AT specific ski, or a wide alpine ski like I use in the backcounty, you will probably be looking at buying a new pair of skins wtih the new skis, even though the old skins will still have years of use left in them. You should consider what equipment you will be on in a few years so that you can buy something now that will be useful for years to come (if possible).

I know from experience that it gets expensive if you have to buy new skins everytime you buy new wider skis.
post #14 of 18
good point from mudfoot about thinking long term. along those lines, that is why i generally advise against trekkers as people who buy trekkers are very likely to eventually buy an AT binding. that is increasing your free heel binding requirement cost by 33% by not buying a binding up front. trekkers seem to work great for folks accessing sidecountry that have no desire to tour up 2k+ of uphill often. i think a well thought out innitial setup definitely will pay dividends down the road.
post #15 of 18
If you are a serious skier, however you get into backcountry do it. The skiing is everywhere, don't limit youself to the lifts. Apline Treckkers have their use but I have seen several alpine skiers buy Treckkers and skins for their alpine skis thinking they are taking the cheap route only to find out that they like backcountry skiing and really need comfortable and lighter equipment, so they end up having spent $250-$300 on something they don't want after a year in the backcountry. Alpine boots are not designed for going uphill. If you are serious about getting into the backcountry then get the proper equipment and avoid the unneeded expense (and the blisters). With the equipment they are making now it should be a fairly painless experience to ski wherever you want. You don't need the most expensive lightest gear, but you should anticipate where you are headed and buy for the long term.

Earned turns are the sweetest, and the lifts are never closed. Once you have 8ed your own tracks or skied under under a full moon you will realize that ski areas are just the beginning.
post #16 of 18
I know I'm chiming in late, but I have to throw in a plug for Competitive Edge in East Longmeadow, MA. Small shop but one of the biggest AT/Tele shops in the Northeast. Full line-up of Scarpas, Garmonts, Naxos, Fritschis, etc... There's no substitute for trying something on before buying! They just got in Hammerheads and G3 skis this year too. I have bought almost everything I own there. Great guys too! Ask for Chip or Colin...
post #17 of 18

....

Kelly,
Ooooh, the Poestenkill(sp?;-) Creek used to harbor some nice browns in its upper stretches...and a fun stream to kayak. Kelly, once out West...you might want to pick up something a little lighter than the ModXes...(G3s or fat Atomics) and throw some AT bindings(Freerides,Dynafits,Naxos,*Others) on em'. The AT bindings of today are rock solid

$.02....for a great fitting AT last, do indeed find a bootfitter you like. The range of differing lasts for AT boots isn't, IMH_$.02_O, like that of alpine boots. Well made boots YES!...just be ready to have your bootfitter do some shell tweaking(grinding/blow-out)...etc. Hmmm, ...as if that is new info..
post #18 of 18

Sell it in the flat lands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by senator
I know I'm chiming in late, but I have to throw in a plug for Competitive Edge in East Longmeadow, MA. Small shop but one of the biggest AT/Tele shops in the Northeast. Full line-up of Scarpas, Garmonts, Naxos, Fritschis, etc... There's no substitute for trying something on before buying! They just got in Hammerheads and G3 skis this year too. I have bought almost everything I own there. Great guys too! Ask for Chip or Colin...
I was wondering where all those geeks with which I rode the Magic and other area lifts were optaining their expensive gear. :
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
Just a reminder. If you are starting out AT with old alpine equipment you will need to buy climbing skins. Be advised that good skins are expensive and once you cut them for a certain ski they do not work well on a wider ski. If you are using old alpine skis and then switch to a wider more AT specific ski, or a wide alpine ski like I use in the backcounty, you will probably be looking at buying a new pair of skins wtih the new skis, even though the old skins will still have years of use left in them. You should consider what equipment you will be on in a few years so that you can buy something now that will be useful for years to come (if possible).

I know from experience that it gets expensive if you have to buy new skins everytime you buy new wider skis.
Some people think that you don't need any more than a good wax box and some expertise in waxing.
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