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Crossover setup - intro to AT

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I posted this on the general Gear Forum, but got a recommendation to copy it here to get some Backcountry feedback:

Skier profile: Male, 6'2, 185; Level 7 (on the Crested Butte scale, "Links turns on black terrain, working on technique in various snow conditions and carving blue terrain). Maybe 7.5. Western skier, typically Crested Butte, plans for Park City area this year. Not a big bump guy; would like to have some tight-space versatility. Small jumps, but minimal park. Like the jacket to flap, but not a die-hard speed freak.

Current setup: 05/06 174 K2 Apache Crossfires; Nordica Beast 10 boots

I'm looking to replace or supplement the Crossfires (I recognize many will suggest keeping the K2's and expanding the ski quiver, but that may not be feasible). Crossfires have been fun, but seem a little narrow when I'm on anything other than hardpack or groomers. A buddy is encouraging me to go with him on some guided backcountry, and in between take some early a.m. trips skinning up in the resort. CB appears to have some good terrain that isn't lift-serviced, but still accessible without a full blown AT rig. I'm convinced it can be done as long as I don't expect perfection for all terrain types. Just like a hunting rifle - Beware the man with one gun, 'cause he probably knows how to use it well.

I would like to find skis that I could ski anywhere on the resort, but still have the ability to use for some limited sidecountry / AT trips. I doubt I'm in waist deep pow anytime soon, so looking more for a good intro step into gear that is still versatile.

Any ski / boot recommendations? Research is pointing somewhat towards Garmnont Endorphine boots with Marker Dukes - possibly on something like Black Diamond Havocs, but I'm still wide open to suggestions. I know that the hardpack / groomer capability may suffer some, but will I be miserable on a setup like this? Extensive demo is certainly desirable, but I confess impatience with being in ski shops while the lifts are running. Maybe I'm looking for a setup that doesn't exist and the answer is "keep the K2's and rent an AT setup, moron."

My first post - hopefully I've given enough info to allow for recommendations. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 13
The Garmont Adrenaline/Endorphines have good lateral stability, but are faily soft. So don't expect these AT boots to outperform a good alpie boot. The Duke is a good choice, but there is a weight penalty, which, after use, you do notice. Dont discount the Freeride as your AT boot will not overpower it.

Ski wise, as mudfoot suggested in the other thread, a midfat is easier to skin up with than a true phat. IMO something 85-90mm is ideal. Remember, a 5 minute downhill blast is often followed by a 45 minute climb out.

If you are looking at a side country set up, just get a good mid-phat eg Mmantra, Karma or (M-rock or T-rock). I'm currently using Stoekli Stormrider XXLs for my AT set-up, but for multi day trips I'm now looking at a lighter set-up (possibly Dynafit).
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Taxman. Couple of follow-up: I think it's pretty well accepted the Garmonts will be softer than a good alpine boot, I'm just not sure where my current alpine boots fall in that equation. My Nordica Beast 10s have an advertised flex of 70 or 80. I've seen higher end boots advertised at flex ratings of around 120 (if my recollection is accurate). Any idea where the Garmonts fall, or is it too subjective to try and classify them in that manner?

Also, I noticed you left Black Diamonds off your list. Do you think they don't fit the bill for me, or just not one of your preferences?
post #4 of 13
Sorry, no experience with BD's, although I have hear good reports. BD's will be on my list when I look to put a lighter set-up togther.

There is an excellect thread at TGR that lists the flex index of various AT boots. It suggests that the Garmont Endorphine is a 90 and the Adrenaline 80. On-piste I ski a Lange Comp 100 and I do notice the difference between the Lange and the Adrenaline. However, I only use the Adrenaline for BC skiing, so I dont expect same level of performance. From the sounds of it, the Adrenaline will have the same performace as your Nordicas and the Endorphine will be slightly stiffer.
post #5 of 13
Unless you plan on skinning up and then huck some cliffs I wouldnt use the dukes. Last year I was using 184 Mantra with naxos and the setup skinned quick but not as quick as dynafits and bros has some of my partners used.

My suggestion would be for 179 bros and naxos NX21 some people on here dont like the naxos, I can see that but my stayed in one piece and they tour great.
also one advantage to wider ski is you can skin up steep slopes than a narrow ski.

This year I will have 2 touring setups

184cm Volkl Mantra/ Naxos Nx21
192cm Atomic Thugs/ Marker Dukes

I expect to be able to go straight up stuff on my thugs but we will ahve to wait to a real snowfall to see.
post #6 of 13
Agreed BW, although I would change the Naxo NX21 for Fritchsi Freeride +. The Freeride is lighter than the Naxo and with the new heel lock has solved the release problem that could occur with an over-flexed ski.
post #7 of 13
I think Skiing Magazine profiled the Mt. Bakers + Dukes + Endorphins as their favorite crossover setup. it was an interesting read FWIW..
post #8 of 13
I've been on Havocs for a couple of seasons now and often use them on the few days I'm inbounds. They're very enjoyable skis but their forte really is powder. If you're going to be spending more inbounds days than out-of-bounds I'd probably consider something a little beefier.

They're about perfect for me but my ratio of inbounds days generally hovers at around only 15% - and I just found some Legend 8800's for that application. Wanted something a little burlier for inbounds crud and steeps than what I get with the Havocs.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. Can you give me an idea about what you mean when you say beefier, and maybe even how the disadvantages to something like the Havoc translate into your skiing?

Sorry to be so dense - I'm pretty green in the tech area.
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by OKski View Post
Research is pointing somewhat towards Garmnont Endorphine boots with Marker Dukes - possibly on something like Black Diamond Havocs, but I'm still wide open to suggestions.
Remember it still depends on what fits. The Adrenaline/Endorphine bit works well if you are a garmont fit. You might be more of a Scarpa fit. Scarpa's tend to fit folks with narrower feet. Garmonts, wider. Scarpa has the Hurricane this year that is a pretty stiff AT boot.

Scarpa tends to come with a little more rocker in the soul. Doesn't mean a thing skinning, but becomes fairly important bootpacking and hiking dirt in spring. Garmonts still hike well, but a little less rocker, especially the adrenalines.

Dukes are heavy. I haven't skied or hiked them, but I've played with them, and they are heavy. It works if it's mostly side/slackcountry and you are going to average more days riding lifts then hiking. But if you're serious about getting into backcountry, fritschi freeride +'s have a big enough footprint on the ski to handle some lift riding. And they are noticeably lighter for hiking.

Naxo's are okay for lift riding, but +'s will be better. Naxo's hike great, the toe pivot is butter, when it works. It tends to be a little vulnerable. Either way, they are both great for backcountry.

BD skis should be better this year. People loved them in the past, but they were foam core. And stiff. Stiff foam core doesn't have a lot of dampening. Dampening is kinda like the suspension on your mountain bike.

The new line is wood core. I haven't ridden them yet, but the kilowatts apparently killed it last year. They were kind of a preview of the new wood core line. Don't forget G3 Rev's. And really, if you want something that'll be worth a damn hiking and having someone bump chairs for ya, volkl mantra's are a damn good ski.
post #11 of 13
I know the trend is to go massive, but I get the impression you'll still spend most of your time on the trails. Perhaps they're not so *in* cos they're only 78mm underfoot, but it seems to me that a pair of BD machines wouldn't fit too badly into what you've said. I've heard them described as "bloody fast". I'll be trying a pair out in a couple of weeks, will let you know how they go... Actually I'll be trying a pair of last season's havocs at the same time, so will get to do a nice little comparison.

edit: Actually now that i think of it, I have a feeling that in the other thread you said your crossfires are 68mm underfoot? I thought the older ones were wider than that...? If they're wider, the step up to a 78mm waist might not be enough for what you want. If they *are* 68, I'd think that 10mm was a reasonable increase...
post #12 of 13
My ideal setup would be Volkl Mantras, Fritschi Explorers (I don't need the high DIN setting of the Freeride Plus), and Garmont Endorphins. I ski the endorphins now and they work great for me. With your height & weight you are going to have a hard time getting DH performance out of just about any real AT boot. You could also try the Scarpa Hurricane or Tornados vs. the Garmonts to find the best combo of fit and stiffness. I would get the Fritschi Diamir Freeride Plus over the Dukes as they have been around longer and are a pretty good binding.

Just my 2 cents....

The guys on this forum really know AT stuff: http://www.backcountryworld.com/

Lou is considered one of the world's leading experts:

Might be worth browsing through for info. Good luck!
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by OKski View Post

Can you give me an idea about what you mean when you say beefier, and maybe even how the disadvantages to something like the Havoc translate into your skiing?
Well, I'm no tech geek, nor have I demo'd a lot of skis, so take this for what it's worth.

First, I love the Havocs. They weigh about what a feather does and when you're pushing them uphill all day that's a beautiful thing. They're very responsive in the trees, float beautifully in the pow, don't suck inbounds. Joy on your feet - the first time I rode them I giggled all day.

That said - because they are so lightweight you get tossed around a bit in the crud, which you'll see a lot more of inbounds than you'll likely see pow. The difference in performance between these and heavier/crudbusting skis is marked. No comparison when it came to cruising over whatever threw itself in my path, and the difference in stability on the steeps was incredible.

I've not spent any time on the Legends in trees or anywhere where tighter turning was a big deal. If you're at all familiar with Alta, I took them up on Alf's and similar terrain and they seemed like the perfect tool for the job. Bomber stable and hugely confidence-inspiring. Alf's is a long, steepish run with big (and on that day) soft and not hugely troughed-out bumps.

I've seen the Legends used in AT setups... if I remember correctly LeeLau or one of his partners uses them for some serious BC excursions. I wouldn't want to push them uphill, though - they weigh a ton. If you're concentrating primarily on inbounds and sidecountry and don't anticipate skinning with them all day you might want to give them or a similar crudbuster a look.
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