I had the great pleasure of skiing with my friend, Amata, last month in Val d’Isere.
Amata is a very good skier – incredibly fearless and committed as well as smooth and elegant. But (I hope she’ll forgive me for saying this!) she’s no longer young and I think that she needs some new equipment. At present, she’s skiing on some Dynastar 4*4s (65mm in the waist, 110 in the shovel) mounted with a pair of Fritschi bindings. God knows how old they are! We had a couple of afternoons off-piste and Amata coped wonderfully well (here’s a picture of our tracks).
The first thing is that I think that she needs some wider skis. Also, in Val, one often needs to be prepared to walk up to find off-piste snow. This isn’t true “ski touring” but, as we’d call it, “lift-served off-piste” – skinning for anything between 30 and 90 minutes. She hasn’t done this for years but thinks that she’d like to try again. I’m using a pair of Legend 8000s with some Naxos bindings and ordinary alpine boots for that kind of thing, but I think that she should be looking for something lighter.
So here’s where I need help. What skis should she be looking at is the first question? One thought is just to get new skis and move her Fritschis across. But a better solution, I think, would be to go the whole hog and get some Dynafit bindings (and, presumably, the touring boots to fit them). That would save the most weight by far.
Skis first. She is a tall lady (5’7” or 5’8”) but very lightly built – I’d guess at 120 lbs. Another senior lady I know who skis off-piste and skins had a pair of K2 Miss Bakers and something like that – light touring skis in the 80-95 range – sounds to be a good solution. Val d’Isere doesn’t (often) have deep, ultra-light powder; you can find all sorts of stuff off-piste, but a decent touring ski should cope with it all – and any sacrifice of on-piste performance would be worth it.
I’ve never skied with Dynafits and don’t know much about them. Quite a few people in VdI had bought Dynafit “Low Techs” and said nice things about them (including a very hard charging young lady I know). And, as for boots, I suppose it’s just a matter of finding a good boot fitter and going with what s/he says (I’ve rented Scarpas and liked them a lot, but that was 5 years ago).
Thanks in advance.