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freeride mid-fat carvers ??? AT boots and bindings for every day?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi guys. I'm looking to switch back to skiing after 10 years of mostly snowboarding. Most recently on a Palmer with Vans boots and Switch step-ins, as if that matters. One of the reasons for the switch to skiing is because I'll be teaching my 3 year old to ski. We picked up a lease program ski setup for him this weekend and he's stoked getting pulled across the carpet.

So about my skiing, 34 years old, on snow for 31 years, 5'10 180lbs, raced slalom and GS high school and college, worked in a high end ski shop selling and tuning in college. Live in MN but will do over a week at Big Sky and probably two more trips through the season to somewhere in the rockies. Maybe a weekend or two in MN, otherwise just teaching the little shaver at the local bump. Only skis the past few years were some Volant demos from maybe 5 years ago, and my father's Volkl AC's last year in too big of boots. Had fun with the "on edge and turn" of the new skis, but I know I won't be afraid to go after the turns either on my new boards. I'd like to be able to lay out and pull some g's - only slower the better (seems weird to see me type that). Not afraid to hit a kicker every once in a while if the landing's okay, and some 180s in the pipe for kicks.

On the snowboard I've been riding mostly off-piste, but end up on groomers with the family occasionally, and actually have a lot of fun riding the soft stuff beside the groomers at Big Sky. Of course carving the snowboard has been fun, while some back foot pressure gets the tip up with enough float for deeper snow - so I'm looking for skis that I can ride similarly. Maybe try some switch but nothing serious there for now.

My gut points me towards the Volkl Mantras, but I get stuck on the radius figures as I'm thinking shorter radius will be more fun for all day, but at the same time I think I want wide enough to float as a replacement for the snowboard. Maybe Mantras but in a shorter length? Am I understanding correctly that maybe the Mantras will carve better than their radius figures show because of the wider tip? If someone can tell me I'll have fun carving them side to side inside a groomer at middle speeds it's a done deal.

I also started looking at the Scott Mission or their twin tip equivalent, but haven't seen many reviews. Sounds like maybe it's softer? But 15m radius sounds appealing. If the only thing I'd be giving up is high-speed performance I'm game.

Now questions regarding the rest of the setup. Since I'm starting all over, I'm actually considering going with Garmont or similar lighter AT style boots and bindings just simply so I'll be able to walk. I'm a photographer and have used my scarpa hard shell ice climbing boots and crampons to shoot in the half pipe, all the while thinking, "man it'd be sweet to be able to just step into skis with these". Seems the technology is there now with maybe the Adrenalins or similar. I could very easily end up on a backcountry trip and be really glad I have them for hiking. The opposite won't be true I don't think. Same thing about the bindings, I wouldn't necessarily need the free heel for any trips I have planned currently, but why not if they ski okay? Marker Dukes maybe if I could get them, or I've read decent things about the freerides. I'm willing to give up a little bit of release safety and give up a little bit of groomer performance to have the option.

Sorry for the long and vague nature of my post. Of course I'm looking to buy before I have the chance to demo - go figure. But there's no place to demo around here anyway, and have Big Sky planned for New Years. Thanks in advance for your responses.
post #2 of 20
i'mma be a a$$hat for a hot second:

"freeride mid-fat carvers" is pretty much a mucho grande oxymoron.

the concept of "freeriding" would be pretty opposite of carving (freeriding tending to lean toward AK skiing, heli and cat skiing, lots of terrain like pillows, and lots of jumping, where longer, wider, and sometimes softer skis are the norm).

Since you were on Palmer snowboards, why not check out the Palmer skis? (there have been a few posts about them here at Epic, so just do a search).

Something else that might be up your alley would be the Rossi B2 or B3 and maybe even the K2 Apache Recon.

I'm sure SierraJim can chime in with some better Volkl rec's and possibly an Atomic rec or two.

Just by your definition it sounds like you'd be more in the ball park for something between 78 and 85mm in the waist.

As for the AT set-up? I wouldn't go that route unless you're really serious about getting into AT. If you want to carve then you really don't want to be on AT bindings (Freerides for example).

Just reading your post it sounds like you want to get a "do everything" set-up (1 set of boots and 1 set of skis that will do EVERYTHING). that would put you squarely in the "All-Mountain" category, which is kind of viewed as not being the most optimal.

Sounds like you need to decide if you want an AT set-up or an alpine set-up and then realistically look at the predominant conditions you will be skiing (powder, West Coast sludge, East Coast ice, etc).
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi dookey. thanks for your quick reply. sorry as I'm now understanding that 'freeride' isn't the right vernacular. but darn it, I just want to have the same go-anywhere that I've been having on the snowboard - and still be able to carve 'em out when the opportunity presents itself.

any comment about the Scott Missions?

Regarding the AT, it seems if I go AT I can use them for lift serve, but the opposite isn't true. True?

Thanks again.
post #4 of 20
I can't weigh in on the Scotts. Never ridden 'em.

I can't weigh in on AT boots as I'm just getting interested in that aspect of things this season (got some Dukes and some Lib-Tech NAS boards to mount up and will try out small hikes with my Alpine boots before plunking down on AT ones first).

In terms of a ski, you'll find that the whole "All-Mountain" aspect is kind of laughed at here on Epic (and also over at TGR). Most folks are rocking at least a 2-ski quiver (one for railing groomers, one for powder), with many rocking 3 (ice/groomers, mid-fat, fat), and those of us who are plain crazy rocking a quiver of 4+.

At any rate, as I'm sure you know, the basic gist is that the wider you go the more edge performance you stand to lose. Some will argue this, but it really depends on where you'll be doing the bulk of your riding. If you primarily ride on the EC, a wider ski as an every day plank "probably" wouldn't be optimal. Then again it depends on your style. The reverse would be if you're riding in Utah, PNW or Tahoe then you might not want a terribly skinny ski (again it really depends on the conditions and your style).

If you're coming from years on a snowboard, you might find a wider plank more to your liking (anything from 88-100).

My buddy who used to race snowboards and now rides tele is going to a 100mm ski as his everyday ride (the Karhu Jak Pro, which is around 100mm). He was on something in the low 90s for years but being a boarder he really liked the wider float.

Since you're considering AT gear, you might want to explore AT skis.

The aforementioned Karhu might be worth looking into.

Black Diamond have been getting rave reviews. One of my buddy's rides the Havoc (87mm) and loves 'em both in pow and on hard pack.

The Verdict and Zealot and Kilowat are also something to consider (have gotten rave reviews in most of the ski press).

There's also G3, which have a good rep. The skis in that line to look at would be the Reverend (93mm waist) and The Hombre (105mm) and the Rapid Transit (91) and the Ticket (81).

And Rossi has their whole "Bird" line with the Sick Bird, Powder Bird, Tele Bird.

These might be options if you wish to go the AT route, but also have a set of planks that will rock in the resort.

Of course plenty of folks mount AT binders on alpine skis, which gives you even more options to choose from. The PM Gear Bro is rather popular in terms of an alpine ski that folks use for AT action.

The possibilities are endless, which obviously doesn't help you in deciding.

I guess you need to decide which route you want to go: AT Boots and Alpine skis; Alpine Boots and AT skis; AT boots and AT skis...

Another option is the Lib-Tech NAS, which are "Narrow Ass Snowboards." I have a pair, but haven't ridden 'em yet. Their basic all-mountain/freeride model comes in a 99mm waist and has their "magnetraction" which is supposed to grip like a mofo on ice. We shall see (they have rave reviews from folks up in the PNW where they were designed).
post #5 of 20
179cm K2 Pe - do anything skis wont leave you hanging in any condition. Its stiffish twin-tip midfat that can carve some very nice GS turns. It will rip bumps, smash crud and float powder.

Dont get hung up on sidecut because snowboards can still be stable with a very short(10 meter sidecut) where as ski would be very squirelly.

s for binding if you plan on jumping and trying ski pipe on binding dont get any At binding beside the Duke. The duke is the only AT binding I would trust in the park/pipe. The Duke actaully skis better than tons of normal alpine binding and wont hinder your carving performance at all.
post #6 of 20
There is no serious difference between an alpine ski, an AT ski, and a tele ski, they are all just skis. Mount and ski them however you want. Unless its a system ski...

I would just look at something around 80-90mm wide plenty of good all mountain twin tips in there.
post #7 of 20
Icelantic Nomad w/ Duke.
post #8 of 20
"There is no serious difference between an alpine ski, an AT ski, and a tele ski"


i would beg to differ as quite a few AT and tele skis are made with less and/or different materials then their alpine counterparts (mostly for weight sake, since their main thrust is a ski that you can pack for long duration).

of course a lot of the majors just re-badge a popular alpine ski and label it a tele or AT ski...

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

scott mission

can anyone comment about the scotts? on paper they seem like they might be a happy medium. or anything else on the wider side that will carve a minnesota turn faster than the mantras? thanks.
post #10 of 20
Nordica Hellcat.
post #11 of 20
Scott Skis are not really well distributed in the US. Ask some euro brethern on those ones. I think TGR had a discussion about them at one point.
post #12 of 20
post #13 of 20
I have the Scott Santiago Mission in a 183, 5'8" 180 pounds but should be lighter. I really liked this ski if the snow is softer. It is not a heavy weight ski. soft through most of the ski and a bit softer in the tip. Actual radius feels like an 18m but it's quick to initiate. In softer snow up to 10 inches it floats great but unfortunately I've not had it in deep snow. Where it sucks is on hard icy or crusty snow. As with any softer ski it deflects rather easily and the sidecut does not lend itself to skiing through the icy marbles like a Volkl Explosive. For a do it all ski I think it does very well. Interesting the new Fischer Big Heat is almost identical dimensions. Scott Skis have been built in the Fischer Factory for the past few years. Hopefully they will get their Provo facility online soon and we'll see some skis built in the US.
post #14 of 20

As the Dook mentioned, your description is about like saying.......Prius/Explorer/F-250 combo. A true combo of the best of those traits won't happen in one pair of skis. However, as in all things, when you want the most reasonable blend of capabilities, you choose the "thing" in the middle.

In this case, there are many superb skis in the range of 80-90mm wide that would be a good choice. There are soooo many that specific descriptions would take forever but....you asked about the Scott Mission.

I think the Mission is a very good ski that is a little hard to find. It is the same guts and has basically the same feel as the Fischer Watea 84. These two are smack in the middle of what I call 50/50 skis. Both share a little more nimble, off trail feel than some other skis in similar shapes that are more grippy, but less playful. I think that either of those two would make a nice compromise choice.

Along with about a gazillion others................

post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
Since you were on Palmer snowboards, why not check out the Palmer skis? (there have been a few posts about them here at Epic, so just do a search).
because they suck
post #16 of 20
I've skied the Scott Punisher (and I own a P4), it's the Mission's twin tipped cousin. I liked it. It feels really damp, smooth, not very lively but solid. I was on a brand new pair and they had excellent hard snow grip... but it was a really fresh tune, ymmv. I like the feel of the Scott dual radius sidecut and the extended tip profile, the ski draws you into the start of a turn strongly but doesn't feel too turny.

I would describe the 'feel' as a K2 made by Austrians.
post #17 of 20
I just got a new pair of Scott Mission's, and love them. I ski mostly in the trees, but I was surprised at the performance on the groomers.
I got the 168's, I'm 5'9", 165lbs.
post #18 of 20
I have a pair of Missions in 178 which I love too. I am 5'10", advanced and about 180lb. Have skied them 12 days on a trip to Hokkaido in January in a variety of conditions, although mostly the deep powder the region is famous for. I tried them back to back with a friend's Monster 88's which felt a little better damped (maybe too damp for my tastes) on the groomers and a little less soft in the pow - both skis felt remarkably similar although the Heads longer raduis was noticable at times. I am surprised how agile this big ski feels. It plows through crud and cut up snow and floats in the trees. Buying them without a demo ( at a bargain basement $500 with bindings) was a bit of a gamble but I couldn't be happier with them as a versatile soft snow ski. I agree with SJ - a 50:50 ski.
post #19 of 20
I like the Nordica line. I'm on the Fet Fuel, but also like the Top Fuel and the Hellcat. They are similiar to each other and really the difference is in the waist. These skis are also made in lighter versions, the Nitrous and Afterburner. I haven't tried these, I think I like the ski with the 2 sheets of titanium. I would ski any one of these skis on any day or conditon at Jackson Hole. I also really like the Dynastar Contact 11/Limited. I would like to try the Dynastar Mythic Rider. I hope this helps. BTW Sierra Jim has a great deal on the Jet Fuel right now.
post #20 of 20
Oh Yea... Boots. I have a pair of Garmont Adrenalines. They are light and comfy. They also have a screw in base to make them fully DIN compatable. I still prefer the standard vibram sole with the rocker for easier walking and better grip on icy steps. The boot is a bit soft for me skiing in bounds, but it does work and lots of people aren't bothered by it. The Duke seems heavy to me. From what I hear it is fust like a normal alpine binding until you tour on it. Almost everyone I know that has it loves it, but has never or almost never used it for touring. Most of the slack country around here doesn't require a free heel and skins.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › freeride mid-fat carvers ??? AT boots and bindings for every day?