or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Need advice on first backcountry setup
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need advice on first backcountry setup

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

Last year, early in the season, I swore I'd get myself a backcountry setup. I demoed some skis, but never took the plunge. I was having too much fun on the slopes (gotta love those cheap season passes in Tahoe!) and the gear was pretty pricey.

Well, this year I'm going to do it. For real. And I'm determined to get set up before the first snowflake falls. I'd welcome any comments on gear, especially skis and bindings. I live on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and will do most of my skiing here, although trips out to the NV backcountry and Utah are definitely on the agenda.

A little background on me...I'm 6', 170, and an advanced skier. I wouldn't call myself an "expert", but I can pretty much get down anything. It just may not always be pretty! When it comes to resort skiing, I like it all...steep groomers, wide open bowls, and trees. Love the trees.

Last year I demoed a few skis. I tried the Rossi B3 (I think...maybe B4? they were white and green), Salomon Gun, K2 Apache Chief, Volkl Gotama, and Salomon Gun Lab. Of course I didn't get to try each pair in the most ideal conditions, but overall my favorite was the Gun Lab. Could have been the killer powder day...or maybe they're the best ski for me?

The Gotama felt like a bit too much ski for me. I enjoyed them very much, but definitely had to stay on top of them. The Gun seemed a little underwhelming. Nice, but compared to the Gun Lab, nothing special. The Rossis didn't do much for me, but I had a great time on the Chiefs. The Chiefs seemed really solid, but rather heavy compared to the Gun Labs.

So...I'm not sure which direction to go. I'm leaning towards picking up a pair of Labs, but welcome any and all comments. I'd like to buy the skis now, but will wait if there's a great pair coming down the pipeline.

I'd also really like some feedback on backcountry bindings. Up here everyone seems to like Fritschi, but I've read really good things about a few other brands (Naxo? and some Italian company that begins with an S). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

-Rob
post #2 of 7
Welcome, robbyx.

One question that has quite a bit to do with the recommendations:

Will your backcountry skiing be mostly lift-served skiing where you'll be going out a resort gate, or will you mostly be skinning all the way and then skiing back down?

Backcountry setups often involve tradeoffs between weight and performance. If you're usually using lifts for the bulk of your up-vertical, you can bias your gear toward heavier boots/bindings/skis which will give better performance. If your skinning almost all the time, you're probably going to want the lightest outfit you can find that will still deliver an acceptable level of downhill performance.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Will your backcountry skiing be mostly lift-served skiing where you'll be going out a resort gate, or will you mostly be skinning all the way and then skiing back down?
Hi Bob. Thanks for the prompt reply. That's a very good question and I'd have to say that it will be more skinning all the way than lift-served. That was my fear with the Chiefs. Heavier than I'd like if the terrain isn't lift served.

Thanks,
Rob
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx
Hi Bob. Thanks for the prompt reply. That's a very good question and I'd have to say that it will be more skinning all the way than lift-served. That was my fear with the Chiefs. Heavier than I'd like if the terrain isn't lift served.

Thanks,
Rob
PmGear Bros are pretty light, and almost unanimously well-regarded. search 'em up here or at TGR.
post #5 of 7
It sounds like you are talking about Alpine Touring and not Telemark. I bought a pair of Naxo bindings, at a local shop, they fell off the work bench , landed on a wood floor, broke, went back in the box and I bought a pair of Fritchis.

If your going to be skinning up A LOT of vertical and want an extremely light binding you may want to think about Dynafit bindings and Dnafit compatible boots. I have no experience with Dynafit but they are the lightest.

Here are a few links.

http://www.ncmountainguides.com/essaybcgp.html
http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/dyn...mfort_faq.html
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx
Hi Bob. Thanks for the prompt reply. That's a very good question and I'd have to say that it will be more skinning all the way than lift-served. That was my fear with the Chiefs. Heavier than I'd like if the terrain isn't lift served.

Thanks,
Rob
If you're primarily skinning, you *should* be skiing untracked, good-quality snow *most* of the time.

That means that things like crud-busting aren't quite so important in the skis and boots you choose. I've never skied the Gun Lab but its predecessor, the Pocket Rocket, has been an enormously popular backcountry ski here in Jackson Hole. If you like the Gun Lab, I'd go with that. I'm not exactly sure how you clip the skins to that rounded twin tip, but I'm sure somebody here does. Si?

As for bindings, I think the "Italian S" you're thinking of is Silvretta, although they're German instead of Italian. Their "Pure" binding is supposed to be pretty cool but I've never talked with anyone who's skied them.

Anyway, Naxo and Fritschi both make good AT bindings which will allow you to use your alpine boots for awhile if you choose not to get AT boots right away (although if you're skinning all the time I *really* recommend AT boots instead of alpine). Dynafit makes the lightest AT binding, but your boots have to be compatible with the Dynafit system, which eliminates any alpine boots. Don't rule out the Dynafit binding, however, because if you're almost always skinning you will love the lighter weight of the Dynafit.

If you're getting AT boots as well, it's just like in buying alpine boots except more complicated. The burliest boots, regardless of manufacturer, tend to be the heaviest. They're best suited for "resort backcountry" unless you're young and strong and don't mind hiking up in boots that are heavier and less comfortable. Buy the boot that feels most comfortable to you, but understand that - generalizing wildly - lighter weight means great uphill performance and less-great downhill performance, Conversely, a heavier boot will ski really well in junky or bad conditions, but you won't like it as much for walking up all the time.

Couloir Magazine and Backcountry Magazine:

www.couloirmag.com

www.backcountrymagazine.com

Have tons of great information in their articles and archives.

Most of all, have fun and stay safe.

this is where we put in the standard disclaimer that the MOST important backcountry gear you MUST acquire is the snow safety gear and the knowledge to use it. :
post #7 of 7
Just seconding some of the above info. Dynafits are definately being talked about more and more because of the weight savings and Naxo's NX21 is the beefiest AT binding out there, but I have tried both and went back to the Fritschi Freeride. They have never broken once (now that you're talking backcountry, that's a major consideration), have had a similar design for quite a while, and have fewer moving parts that eithe rof the other two. I haven't tried Silverettas on the slopes but have checked them out in the shop and they seem pretty nice as well, I just can't speak to them. I will say that I wouldn't like to be out on the ones with carbon rails in the BC, though. I've shattered enough carbon poles in my day to not trust any major element of my AT binding to carbon.

Anyway, if you like the Salomons, go with them and Fritschis - you won't regret it. 2 of our group use that exact setup and I have tried it as well and it is a nice lightweight setup for the backcountry.

Check out the forum at telemarktips.com for lots of info on the questions you're asking.

AND, Bob Peters mentioned it in the small print, but I feel it needs repeating: If you haven't already, take an Avy I course and have the appropriate gear and training if you are heading into backcountry where there is avalanche danger...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Need advice on first backcountry setup