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Best AT Skis

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm in search of a great pair of AT skis for basic backcountry use.  I'm not doing any extreme stuff and I'll probably only hit the resort a couple days this year.  I'll be doing a lot of backcountry skiing though all just day trips.  Right now I have K2 Shuksans with Naxo nx21 bindings.  My two complaints are they seem to work me pretty bad in weird snow and skinning up the narrow waist makes it tougher to get a grip if the skin track is iced up at all.  The bindings have been very reliable and I like them for that.  What should I look for?
post #2 of 15

Everything is a compromise: what tours well may not ski so well; what is good on ice sucks in soft snow. Go with what floats your boat in the conditions that your experience most of the time.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, normally there is powder at the start and often the snow is worse down in altitude.  If I knew what "floats my boat", I wouldn't be asking.  So, I see an advantage to a wide ski skinning up for sure, more traction.  What are the disadvantages?

I'm not really into the esoteric or "cool", what is the classic AT ski?
post #4 of 15
Superfat skis are slow and get heavy in pow. Go with PMGear Bros. They are classic.

Also I prefer about 1 size shorter for AT than I do at the resort. Makes the skis lighter and easier to manuver.
post #5 of 15
Originally Posted by TerryHowe View Post

..... If I knew what "floats my boat", I wouldn't be asking.  .....

I'm not really into the esoteric or "cool", what is the classic AT ski?

Was not being facetious. What I mean is, if you were just skiing alpine, what would your ideal all round ski be? Then just throw some AT bindings on them.
For me it would be light as possible, wood core, 80-90 mm waist, 20-30m radius (i.e. no big side cut) and about head high.  That would be a versatile ski that would handle ice (which I get lots of) as well as fresh snow. If I was looking for a ski at the moment, probably something like a Stockli Stormrider Pro II or G3 Ace.
If weight is the issue, look at Goode skis.
What is the classic AT ski? How long is a piece of string?
post #6 of 15
I used to use a Gotama/Duke setup for my tours and found they are too heavy, especially when i have to strap them to my pack.  Hopefully my new Watea 101's and barons will be significantly lighter.  Lighter is always good.
post #7 of 15
Hi, Terry.

I think what some of the other respondents are trying to say is that skis - particularly alpine touring skis - are such a personal thing that it's really hard for someone to give much insight without knowing a LOT more about things like where you ski, how you ski, when you ski (affects what conditions to expect), how much you weigh, and what kind of boots you're using.

All of those can have a big impact on how good a fit you could expect from any given set of skis.

Since the Shuksans are relatively narrow-waisted (78mm according to what I found online), you very well might find that something significantly wider would help with your up-track experience as well as the downhill when the conditions get a little funky.

Here in Jackson Hole, several of K2's wider backcountry skis like the Work Stinx (I don't know all the other model names) are VERY popular with AT skiers.  Having said that, if you were to spend a typical winter day polling skiers in Teton Park about their choice of skis, I think you'd see a cross-section that would be at LEAST as varied as what you'd see on a lift-served resort.

Maybe you can demo this winter to get a feel for wider skis that work for you.  You don't say where you ski, but here in the west it's becoming pretty common for many shops to offer demos with AT setups.  If you can demo this winter, you can pick up skis cheap next spring or summer.

I'll just add my $.02 on what I think is really a great AT ski.  It's the Head Monster iM95 O.B. ski.

It's super lightweight, wide enough at 94mm to float in anything.  It skins well on the uptrack but is not so wide as to be clunky going up.  I think it skis extremely well.  I know you like your Naxo's, but if you combine this ski with a Dynafit binding, you'll think you've died and gone to soft-snow heaven.

Only bad part is that I don't think (but haven't seen it confirmed) that Head is making this model anymore.  You can find it here if a 171cm is the right length for you.
post #8 of 15

Here is a link to Sierra Trading Post deals on AT skis and boots that you may find of interest.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
If it is of any help, I'm 5'10", 165#s, in my 40s and I live in Durango, CO.  I've been skiing since I was 4, so I'll generally ski anything at a resort.  I don't look great doing it all.  I'll do a 3'-4' drop, but I don't huck big cliffs.  I've skied some narrow powder chutes, but I normally ski bowls and trees.

I ski around Durango, we normally start skinning up around 10,500 and don't go much over 12,000.  If anyone skied around here, I normally hit Pass Trail, Deer Creek, and about 4 different places up Red Mt Pass between Silverton and Ouray.  Tree line around here is normally around 11,900, but it can be lower.  I normally just ski December(mid)-February every weekend.  I might catch one day in March and then I jump on my bike.

I have a pair of 4 buckle Scarpa boots, they aren't great, but the price was.  I think they work with Dynafit.
post #10 of 15

I agree with Taxman!
Light as possible, wood core, and under 100mm waist.

To add onto Taxman's skis - look at the Dynafit Manaslu.

Great thing about the Manaslu is they are pre-drilled for the dynafit binding.

I have a pair with Dynafit TLT Vertical bindings and they tour and ski increadibly well.  They just don't do well in icy conditions.  But, we usually don't see those kind of conditions in Utah


post #11 of 15
In the heavier end of things, Evogear is running 20% off everything in the Outlet.  2009 Blizzard The Answers or Titan Argos with Dukes will run you $432, and 2009 Blizzard Titan Zeus with Dukes will cost $472.
post #12 of 15
I have the Blizzard Titan Agros and it is an awsome ski.  However, I would not want to have to tour any great distance with it. Great for side country though.
post #13 of 15
Lot of great BC around Durango.  I've enjoyed my trips there.

I have two pairs of skis that I use in the BC - a pair of 2003- vintage Black Diamond Havocs and some Volkl T-rocks.  Of the two I think the Volkls are the more effective all-around ski, although both are great fun.  The Havocs have Fritschi Freerides on them, the T-Rocks have Dynafits.  I LOVE the Dynafits.  So light, such a natural uphill stride, everything I need/want for the downhills.    Great happiness.  My only bark with them is that they're a minor pain to get into on a big powder day.  I've learned to transition on top without taking my skis off, so that solves half of that problem.

I have friends who swear by Volkl Gotamas, and others who love the Head Monsters that Bob pointed out to you.  I think a lot of it would depend on your own skiing style.  If price is an issue and you don't need a ski shop, look around e-bay and you can likely find some from last season still in the wrapper, for a steal of a price.
post #14 of 15
I didn't realize that you can get an additional 10% off at Evo via MS Live Cashback.
post #15 of 15
Bob Peters

Maybe you can point me in the right direction.  I cannot seem to find any where to go to get an answer to my question. 

I am looking for some technical assistance on mounting a pair of Head Monster 95 OB 181 cm with Dynafit TLT bindings.  When I look at the center mark on the 95 OB skis it seems to me to be way too far forward.  When I lay the ski down beside a 186 cm Head Monster 85 IM and line up the boot center marks of the two skis the tail of the 95 OB is 3.17 cm further back that the 85 even though the ski is 5 cm shorter.  If I set the skis so that they line up with the 181 95 OB centered on the 186 85 IM using the points where the base contact a flat surface the center point as marked on the 95 OB is a full 4.5 cm further forward that the 85 IM center.  That is allot and it seems to me that it will be a problem both for skiing the ski as well as for climbing when you want the tip to stay in the track.  Do you know who I can speak to about this or where I can go to get an answer?  Thanks for any help you can give me.

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