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Need AT gear, advice

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Here's my deal: I used to ski a ton, but now only about two weeks a year, with one week spent skiing with family that lives in Telluride both on and off the mountain, and another week skiing local places in Upstate New York and Vermont.

I've been skiing on Rossi 7XKs and a pair of what were good Nordica boots, both of which were bought in 1990.

For the past couple of years, when I go to Telluride I bring my boots, rent skis for the mountain, and borrow skis with AT bindings from my brother for the backcountry excursions.

I just booked my Telluride tickets for this year's trip. This time, it is going to be a hut trip and therefore almost all backcountry. My desire to do everything I can keep up with my high-altitude brother and his pals, plus just a feeling that it is time, has lead me to want to upgrade my gear.

I do have a few things at home that may or may not help me in this regard. I have a pair of used Fritschi AT bindings that are a few years old. They are in fairly good shape, but are missing a few screws. I figure I'll try to make use of them unless I end up buying a used pair of skis that already has better AT bindings on them. I also have a fairly beat-up pair of Rossi Bandits (I think the B1s) that I got at a garage sale over the summer. They've previously been mounted with tele bindings.

So my questions/needs are:

Skis and skins -- Are the Bandits worth using? If not, does anyone have anything for sale that would make a good AT ski for me? I would classify myself as a "competent skier," who gets down almost anything but who is clearly not as good a skier as my brother and friends who have really made their lives about skiing. I'd use the AT skis mostly in and around Telluride or on other rocky mountain trips, although I am tempted to try some backcountry in the ADK and Vermont as well. I'm 35, weigh about 180 pounds, and am about 6 foot 1.

Boots -- I need new boots and am considering getting something like the Garmont Endorphins that I can use both in the backcountry and on lift-access. (I am on a budget, can't afford two new pairs of boots). I am under the impression that buying used boots doesn't make much sense because they may have formed to another person's foot. I am also under the impression that if I am going to go for a combo AT/alpine boot, I'll need to go with something that came out in the past year or two. Any thoughts on this? Anybody with some "lightly" used boots that may save me some money? I wear a size 11 shoe, have a narrow heal and wider toe spread. The Nordicas have always fit me well.

Helmet -- I always borrow a beeper and shovel from my bro, but have never worn a helmet, which he and his friends all do. I think it is time I joined them. Should a helmet also be bought new? If so, any suggested good-value brands? If not, anyone got a used one they are looking to get ride of?

Thanks a lot and sorry for the rambling note. I just wanted to lay it out there. I hope no one minds if I post this to the gear swap discussion as well.

Greg
post #2 of 19
Hi, Greg.

I would suggest that you also post this same question on the backcountry site at http://forums.epicski.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13. That site gets more concentrated reading by Epic members who tend to be backcountry skiers.

To take a very quick shot at your questions:

1. You don't mention how long the B1's are. My off-the-cuff answer would be to *not* try to use those as bc skis. They are pretty narrow by today's bc ski parameters. You would be paying money to mount the bindings AND you would be paying a lot of money to buy skins for those skis. Those skins would almost certainly not be transferable to another set of skis if you decide on wider skis down the road.

My suggestion on skis would be to cruise around this forum and the gear review forum looking for comments on ski models from last year, the year before, and so on. Figure out some models that might work for you and then look for those skis on ebay. An AT ski doesn't need to be nearly as high-performance as a resort ski because you'll be spending 75% or more of your time going up, not down. I think you'd be a lot better off starting with a wider ski than the B1's.

2. AT boots are very hard to buy used unless you live in a hotbed of AT skiing. There's actually not much downside to buying a used AT boot, however, because it's very easy to get new liners for your AT boot shells.

3. Use those Fritschis if you can. A good shop can substitute for the missing screws. It's a good binding that should have a long usable life.

Good luck, and post this on the other site as well.
post #3 of 19
Fritschi makes a good binding. Get a shop to check 'em out, replace those screws, etc. AT bindings can get pretty expensive, so if yours check out, go for it.

The Endorphin is an *AWESOME* boot. Yes, you can use that as your one boot for AT and alpine. If you are thinking of a hut trip, you may want to go a little lighter, but it won't kill you. I myself am hoping Santa brings me a pair. I like Garmonts and have used them for my AT boots for years. My current ones are G-Rides. No complaints. Oh...AT boots generally last a L-O-N-G time and are infinitely serviceable. I would use them on-piste in a second.

As for skis....a lot of AT people use Bandit-series skis, but mostly B2 or B3. They are ubiquitious on eBay. You should be able to find a good deal.

Or you could go to a shop that sells AT/tele skis. It's not uncommon for a shop to have last year's skis still in stock for a good deal (AT skis don't exactly sell as quickly as Atomics, ya know). I'm currently on BD Crossbows, which work pretty well on-piste, too. A friend swears by his G3 Reverends, which are wider and heavier than my skis. Our pinhead, free-heelin' partner swears by his Rossi Sick Birds. We're all pretty happy with what we have and we keep up with each other in the BC.

A lot of people say it is always best to buy a helmet new. If it has been "used," the lining may have absorbed some decent impact already (rendering it to be less protection for you), and you really wouldn't be able to tell from looking at it.

Skins are skins. If you plan on doing a fair amount of skinning, as in a hut trip, don't mess around. Get skins that fit your skis. Make sure that you cut them properly (most shops will do this for a nominal charge or even free, if you buy skins and skis form them).

Good luck gear shopping and post a TR about your AT trip to Telluride.

Cheers
post #4 of 19
Good advice so far, but since you mentioned that you have a narrow heel try on some Scarpa Tornadoes. They may not fit your forefoot but you should give them a try - Scarpas tend to fit narrower than Garmonts.

I bet you could find a shop in Telluride that will rent you AT boots - that would be a good place to start, and maybe they'll sell you a demo pair for a discount if it's near to the end of the season.

You might be able to find used Black Diamond Havoc skis - that's a pretty good all-around AT ski.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks

Great advice.

Greg
post #6 of 19
Telemark Tips Forums

Lou Dawson’s Backcountry Skiing Blog

Telemark Tips probably looks like its only about telemark but it includes AT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post
Good advice so far, but since you mentioned that you have a narrow heel try on some Scarpa Tornadoes. They may not fit your forefoot but you should give them a try - Scarpas tend to fit narrower than Garmonts.
For what its worth Ive found Scarpas to be higher volume than Garmont and here someone else shares a similar perspective --

Quote:
Dynafit compatible burly AT boot fit
I tried on three AT boots. All had uncooked thermo liners.

Scarpa Spirit 3
Garmont Megaride
Dynafit Aero Freeride

Volume, least to greatest:
1) Aero. Small all over. This feels like a Lange alpine boot, overlap shell and all. Not for people with wide feet...I'm not even a C and it was tight. Volume top to bottom is very low, too: if you have a tall arch your instep will get crushed. I can't imagine anyone having room for footbeds in this thing.
2) Megaride. About a C width, more room top to bottom than the Aero. Still smallish in the heel pocket. Enough room for footbeds unless your foot is tall.
3) Spirit 3. This has the usual Scarpa AT thing where the bottom of the shell slopes inward, so it squeezes your foot even though there's tons of room. Put in a footboard or two and you have a solid D-E width. Absolutely gigantically huge above the foot. Big in the heel, too, although the instep buckle helps.
post #7 of 19
Garmonts used to be wider but not any more. They have changed their shape and dropped the volume. The Endorphin is a fantastic boot, I have a pair myself. I would look wider than a B1 though.
post #8 of 19

at out east?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmunno View Post

local places in Upstate New York and Vermont.


Boots -- I need new boots and am considering getting something like the Garmont Endorphins that I can use both in the backcountry and on lift-access. (I am on a budget, can't afford two new pairs of boots). I am under the impression that buying used boots doesn't make much sense because they may have formed to another person's foot. I am also under the impression that if I am going to go for a combo AT/alpine boot, I'll need to go with something that came out in the past year or two. Any thoughts on this? Anybody with some "lightly" used boots that may save me some money? I wear a size 11 shoe, have a narrow heal and wider toe spread. The Nordicas have always fit me well.
if you are only at skiing out west than the endorphin, or if you can pick up some last year's garmont adrenelines,will be great for you. It is my understanding that most appraoches out west are fairly quick to get you to the goods. Here on the east coast in the adirondacks (NY) and Green mts (VT) you will mostly be looking at signifigant approaches. Many time sabout 3 - 6 miles. The stiffness of the endorphin and adreneline and someone else mentioned the scarpa tornadoes can be a detriment here. Stiffness can lead to very achy feet while skinning in.

I had to find a middle stiff boot for AT out east. I went with the garmont g-ride. Stiff enough to push my bigger skiis but not so stiff I kill my feet on the approach.
post #9 of 19
Since knowone has mentioned this yet I will bring it up. What about AT boots in normal alpine bindings. I have been told that AT boots with rubber bottom change the toe DIN setting in alpine bindings (non-AT bindings). The rubber bottom provides a little more resistance, which increases the toe DIN. Many AT bindings like your Fritschi's have a slip plate under the toe, which compensates for the rubber sole resistance of an AT boot.

The other issue is most AT boots curl up at the toe and may not fit under the toe of a regular alpine binding. I read that Salomon Binding toe piece is adjustable position that provides a better fit for AT boots toes that curl upward.

Anyone out there have advice on using AT boots with both AT bindings and alpine downhill only bindings? Do I just have to bite the bullet and buy both AT boots and alpine boots?
post #10 of 19
A good question. Each brand of boot and binding is so unique, I'd ask your local shop tech about the specific set-up you had in mind.

That said, usually people use an AT binding with an alpine boot. Fritschi bindings will acccept DIN standard AT or alpine boots: perfect for the casual BC skier. Others probably do, too.

But...AT boots with alpine bindings... Some AT boots come with an changeable bottom/lower soles to fit alpine bindings or AT bindings. Yes, most AT boots have a slight curve to the forefoot sole (because, unlike alpine boots, they are meant for walking), but higher-end AT boots, like the Garmont Adrenalines discussed above, will have soles for both set-ups, which is good if you have dedicated AT skis and alpine skis and spend one day on-piste and the next day BC. Higher-end AT boots these days are certainly stiff enough for both.
post #11 of 19
Most ski shops will not do binding adjustment or function check with the alpine binding + AT boot combination.

That doesnt mean it cant be done. What Ive read is that the release tends to be more difficult and ends up increasing the effective DIN setting for example you might have the binding set at DIN 8 but with an AT boot it may release at torques normally found in a DIN 12.

Heres some information from some people who have tried to do the AT boot + alpine binding combination
post #12 of 19
Most of the stories I hear about Fritschi's blowing up are a result of using alpine boots with them. Personally, I don't mix systems.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Most of the stories I hear about Fritschi's blowing up are a result of using alpine boots with them. Personally, I don't mix systems.
Most that Ive heard had to do with people using the wrong gear. All stepin AT bindings are designed to work with alpine and AT boots alike. Ask your local Fritschi rep if theres a problem with using alpine boots in the Fritschi AT binding. No problems. I know many people who have only one pair of skis that gets used for alpine and AT alike and they simply switch boots. These people use Silvretta Fritschi and Naxo bindings. No problems. A bit of research will show that most binding failure is related to misuse of nondefective product or proper use of defective product which usually means warranty replacement.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
... For what its worth Ive found Scarpas to be higher volume than Garmont and here someone else shares a similar perspective --
Well, what you've found is the opposite of what I've found. And most others I know as well, FWIW. But whatever...
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post
Well, what you've found is the opposite of what I've found. And most others I know as well, FWIW. But whatever...
Gosh you sure sound pissed off I think you need to go make some turns Bob.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
Gosh you sure sound pissed off I think you need to go make some turns Bob.
Perhaps you should just stick to content instead of conjecture. I skied all day - third day in a week.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
Most ski shops will not do binding adjustment or function check with the alpine binding + AT boot combination.

That doesnt mean it cant be done. What Ive read is that the release tends to be more difficult and ends up increasing the effective DIN setting for example you might have the binding set at DIN 8 but with an AT boot it may release at torques normally found in a DIN 12.

Heres some information from some people who have tried to do the AT boot + alpine binding combination
I worked with the local shop to see if we could make my Rossi FDX/Garmont Adrenaline combo pass (without resorting to the DIN soles for the Adrenalines), and the tech didn't think that the combo would work consistently enough to pass the test after he tried a few times (albeit with a manual test setup, not the expensive version mentioned in the TGR thread). They did, of course, pass just fine with the alpine soles installed rather than the Vibram soles; my solution was to crank the toes way down on the bindings (from the chart setting of 9 to a visual reading of 3.5); to date, I haven't had any prerelease problems and I can twist out of the bindings (so I'm comfortable that the release point in a crash would be the binding and not my tib-fib). The visual reading of 3.5, FWIW, feels much more like a 7 or 8 than it does a 3.5 when twisting out. I'd definitely err as far as possible on the side of caution, and I'd put AT bindings on my alpine skis if the budget allowed for it (or switch soles, which I expect to do for ye weekly night race series here).
post #18 of 19
Anybody have a "guestimate" of the flex index on the Garmont Endorphins?
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbroderick View Post
I worked with the local shop to see if we could make my Rossi FDX/Garmont Adrenaline combo pass (without resorting to the DIN soles for the Adrenalines), and the tech didn't think that the combo would work consistently enough to pass the test after he tried a few times (albeit with a manual test setup, not the expensive version mentioned in the TGR thread). They did, of course, pass just fine with the alpine soles installed rather than the Vibram soles; my solution was to crank the toes way down on the bindings (from the chart setting of 9 to a visual reading of 3.5); to date, I haven't had any prerelease problems and I can twist out of the bindings (so I'm comfortable that the release point in a crash would be the binding and not my tib-fib). The visual reading of 3.5, FWIW, feels much more like a 7 or 8 than it does a 3.5 when twisting out. I'd definitely err as far as possible on the side of caution, and I'd put AT bindings on my alpine skis if the budget allowed for it (or switch soles, which I expect to do for ye weekly night race series here).
I did the same tests with a vermont safety torque tester. A race coach wanted the comfort of an AT boot, so he got a pair of Nordica's. The Nordica rep suggested they work with Marker bindings. I found the Markers, with the moving AFD, to not work at all, due to the soft Vibram sole ovehanging the AFD pad and hanging up on the base of the binding, I was told by Nordica "Oh Yeah, you have to gring down the Vibran sole flat. We did, and it worked OK. On my setup, G-rides, Salomons worked the best, with the toe height all the way up, I got a fairly consistent release, but I wouldn't trust it as my everyday set-up. No telling when that Vibram sole gets hung up, and separates your ankle from your knee. I have Fritschi for my AT boots, and alpine for my alpine boots.
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