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AC4/AC T for AT Set-up

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thinking about an Volkl AC4 (flat) or AC T as I understand the 06/07 flat version is called for a AT/Randonee set-up. To be used for light back country skiing, i.e. no touring, just for access to the less tracked.

As we get very little real powder skiing in Oz (mostly ice, crud, slush and cement), the AC4 seems to appeal due to its veratility.

Has anyone any opinions on the ski for this type of set-up. Also, what bindings would you use; eg recommended randonee bindings; use of alpine bindings and trekers. etc...

Any thoughts appreciated.
post #2 of 5
AT specific skis tend to be lighter than regular alpine skis. If you are planning on climbing lots of vertical you may want to consider the weight of the ski, but I have always been willing to sacrifice a little lightness for a ski that will perform well in bad snow, since you will updoubtedly find yourself in some of that when venturing off area. I climb a lot and use old alpine Atomic 10EXs, which are rather light for their size. Since for me it is all about the skiing, I would choose the best ski for the snow you will be likely to encounter and not worry too much about the weight or whether it is supposedly an AT specific ski.

As for using alpine trekers, there are several threads on the Epicski Telemark, AT, Backcountry forum where this has been discussed at length. If you get AT bindings you will probably need to get AT boots (although you can use some AT bindings with alpine boots), so the cost could be a lot more than just buying trekers and skins, but the comfort and weight will be much better with a full AT setup. It all depends on how seriously you want to jump into AT skiing as far as time on the skis and money invested.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input mudfoot. I suppose the compromise is always performance whist hiking verses performance on the decent, which is why a lot of alpine skis seem to get used in AT set-ups.

If trekers are used, the downhill performance of the ski should not be compromised. How much of a performance disadvantage is a good randonee binding? How much more difficult are trekers to use on the ascent verses a randonee set up?

The third part of the equation would be using an AT specific boot (eg Garmont Adrenaline) verses a pure alpine boot. Again, how much performance on the decent is compromised for a gain on the ascent?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but Im seriously looking at my first AT set-up and wondering whether to go with alpine skis and trekers + skins or whether to go directly for a full AT rig.
post #4 of 5
If you are going to use AT boots and bindings for on-area use you will notice a difference in performance from a pure alpine setup, but in the backcountry I think the difference is negligible. You can get top line AT boots with 4-buckles that seem to be designed more for the area than the bc.

AT boots come in light models for touring and heavier ones for serious ripping in the bc. Likewise, AT bindings like the Fritchi Freeride have high DIN settings and are regularly used for area skiing. The question really is how do you intend to use the setup. Trekkers were originally designed for Euro skiing where you take a lift up and then climb and traverse a little to ski to another lift. If you were climbing the entire vertical without a lift involved no one would consider using anything but AT gear.

IMHO if you want a taste of the backside off-area or plan on mainly skiing off a pass back down to the highway, get the Trekkers. If you are planning on climbing 3,000+ vertical a day for your skiing then go total AT setup. (Just saw something the other day that the human powered world record for 24 hrs of AT is over 40,000 vert.) Do check out the threads on the other Epicski forum for lots of input from experinced people on the trekker vs AT issue. The Trekkers do have some fans.

You could simply invest in a pair of Fritchi Freerides, put them on your powder skis and use your alpine boots. This will work for soft snow days on the area and bc with skins. If you find you want to go with AT boots for the bc you already have the bindings, skis and skins. I switch my Fritchis bindings back and forth from AT to alpine boot use, so you could still use the setup on area powder days with your alpine boots if you find the AT boots a little to soft (which I doubt you will).

Cautionary Note: Skins are expensive and once you cut them to fit your skis they will not work well with your next pair if you go wider. If you start AT by using your old alpine skis you may end up having to also buy new skins when you buy new skis. Plan ahead for your next equipment if possible. (I've got a pair of 80mm skins cut to 70mm at the waist I am selling for $45 if you need some).
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Mudfoot, thank you very much for this information.
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