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Gear Recommendation for Sierra Cement

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
New to Tahoe area after a significant time away from the sticks.  I need to re-gear completely and looking for some recommendations.

Where I will be skiing:  Heavenly, Sierra, and Kirkwood and Mt. Tallac.  Probably a 70/30 resort:B.C.  I am not into free-riding or park skiing
Level: Intermediate--->trending toward adv. but plan on skiing lots of days and progressing quickly
Gear:  All mountain ski/ medium fat ski 79+mm underfoot with the ability to make reasonable sharp turns through the trees but be able to handle Sierra Cement& powder days
Height/Weight: 5"9"/160's

I know in the coming seasons I will probably amass a quiver of skis but for my first season in the Sierra I want to do it right and be well equipped.  Getting days in the B.C. are super important to me as well.  So I am wondering if an randonee set-up is the way to now or should I wait a season or two.  Thus, getting an alpine set up and a inexpensive backcountry set-up as well????
Is there a good cross over ski (resort to A.T.)?

The Black Diamond Kilowatt has caught my eye...

Any suggestions would be helpful.  I have been reading lots of reviews on-line and its becoming a little mind boggling.  I am hoping to hear from some Sierra veterans who can point me in the right direction as far as a good All Mountain Ski, and a little advice on good set-up for getting off into the back country

Thanks!  Look forward to hearing your thoughts...
post #2 of 6
your parameters are slightly contradictory. You mention sierra cement, so I assume you want to be able to handle it. and then b.c.  The heavy snow is best handled with a fairly stiff, heavy ski. for b.c., most people want a ski light enough to hike uphill. You may have to pin it down more, or decide which criteria is more important. some people just use something redundant in ther quiver for BC, others buy a ski specifically for the purpose.

sierra cement, off piste: around 95 waist, fairly stiff
b.c. off piste, usually untracked: 88 waist, softer and lighter
post #3 of 6
That's quite a menu of needs but I think there is one near perfect solution. The Blizzard Cronus with the "slider" binding setup.

The Ski:

The Blizzi Cronus is 88mm wide underfoot but don't let that put you off. It is firm underfoot but softer in the extremeties and handles most Sierra conditions really well. The cronus has a nimble feel despite the width and manuvers really quickly in tight spots plus it has a pretty high tolerance for speed and for rough snow. I have lived, skied, and sold skis for a living in Tahoe for 20 of the last 30 years and this is among my favorite skis for 2010.

The slider:

This is the thing that should seal the deal for you. Blizzi makes the Cronus (and several other models as well) with an integrated binding track milled into the core of the ski. If you choose, you can buy the ski with an alpine system binding that slides right into the track and away you go. However, you can also get the ski with a "slider" which is a blank mounting plate that slides into the track. You can mount any alpine binding that you want on this plate and probably do it cheaper than the system. You can also buy an extra plate and mount any AT, Tele, (whatever) binding on your extra slider and slide the bindings in and out at will. This allows you to have one ski that works very well in almost all Tahoe conditions and have two instantly interchageable binding setups according to your needs of the day.

I'll have a Cronus with an alpine binding as one of main skis for this winter.

post #4 of 6
dav, he said he's considering making it a two ski quiver -- resort and inexpensive AT.

Problem is, "inexpensive AT" is, more often than not, an oxymoron.  It's really hard to find AT bindings for less than $250.  There may be some clearances available on Naxos, since they're being discontinued.

I'd look at a small quiver of used skis.  In my experience, the two skis you really need for resort skiing in Tahoe are something stiff with a waist in the 80s firm days and crudbusting, and something wider and either softer or rockered or full reverse camber for soft days.  In my case, the former slot is filled by Fischer Big Stix 84s that cost me $20, and the latter is filled by Praxis Powders.

If you insist on a one-ski-quiver, I'd think about something in the 95-105mm width range.  179 PM Gear Bro Models could be perfect.

EDIT TO ADD: And of course, what Jim said.
post #5 of 6
Tallac is a backcountry only mountain with a moderately difficult ascent and lots of potential risks if you don't know you descent route well.  Be sure you are fully equipped for backcountry before even considering that.  There are many backcountry and especially side-country opportunities that have lower risk and would be better suited to an initial BC introduction.  With regard to the ski areas, if you are planning a lot of days, be sure to get a season pass at at least one of those areas.   SierraJim's ski suggestion seems as good as any for versatility.  Lots of skiers here use skis in the 90 to 105 mm width as everyday gear.  Your Black Diamond Kilowatt is in that range.  Take a look around and check out the deals Jim is running at Starthaus.  Sounds like you might be shopping REI, and you will find a more specialty ski store can provide a lot more assistance in selection and setup.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for replying to my post and will take the responses into consideration.....anyone have a couple grand laying around they are not too attached too?  What's the better ski shop in town? I will have a look at Starthaus.... any other locals.  I like to support the local shops if I can...
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