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Ski mountaineering / backcountry recommendations

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I'd like to get some feedback for a backcountry/mountaineering ski setup I'm putting together, I'll be skiing exclusively in the California Sierras.

My background is I'm a second season skier, though I dabbled off and  on in years past (never really got the hang of it back then I'd say).

 

Last season I set out determined to get the hang of it. Since I have a rollber blading background, I decided to try skiboards (99cm - 120cm) and shorty approach type skis (130cm ish). I was able to ski black diamonds on my first day without falling.  Rest of season went well by end I was starting to ski double blacks at a place like mammoth.

I want to transistion to full size now and start with some easier ski mountaineering and touring. I'm thinking of something like a 167 in the K2 Backup, K2 Wayback,  or K2 Backlash with Marker F10 AT bindings, or Dynafit Ft. I've been skiing  in Garmont Radium boots which I want to stick with.


I'm just at six foot tall, 153 lbs. I alpine climb, run marathons, bike, etc very athletic. My ski style not so super charging aggressive, but leans more to finesse.

 

Charts seem to push me more towards a ski in the 170s, but given that I'm still new, and longer skis have given me trouble in the past, I'm inclined to stay on the short side of things. Also knowing what I can do on shorty skis/skiboards inclines me to stay on the shorter side.. I don't want to go so short though that the skis are unstable for times where you have to open it up, say a narrow steep section in a couloir - so I'm not sure what length.

 

Back to bindings, I like the Dynafits but reading a few things about unwanted release on the Wild Snow FAQ gives me pause.  Also I'd like to use this same setup on the resorts, basically for training, so am thinking maybe I should go with Marker F10s.  I don't actually care if I have to replace the bindings early due to beating them up, I'm more concerned about unwanted release when in a nasty section in  the mountains. Fitness is my current strength over descending so am thinking to err on side of heavier binding.

 

cheers for your time and any suggestions!

 

Danny

post #2 of 14

You might want to check this place out...

 

  http://www.alpineskills.com/cat_BAC.html

post #3 of 14

Did you read this thread?

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/96592/tele-at-gear-advice-needed
 

Given your weight and stated skiing style I wouldn't worry about unwanted release on Dynafit bindings.  

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

You might want to check this place out...

 

  http://www.alpineskills.com/cat_BAC.html



Thanks for the reply, did not know about that one, thanks. I did some Ski Mountaineering with sierra mountain center last year, but that looks like another great outfit to know about.

 

I'm more trying to get my setup as dialed in as I can right now than anything.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Did you read this thread?

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/96592/tele-at-gear-advice-needed
 

Given your weight and stated skiing style I wouldn't worry about unwanted release on Dynafit bindings.  



thanks you yes that was very helpful thread.  Good to hear staying a bit shorter on the skis is the right direction, and positive feedback on dynafits for my weight.

 

I was mostly interested if any one ski really stood out for my application out of what I mentioned (or I'm missing any),  and for my height/weight if 167 seemed reasonable. From my own research 167 seems fine especially since  K2s seem a bit long.

 

Having a hard time to choose between Backup/Wayback/Backlash however. I am not stuck on only using K2s they just seem to be the most appropriate, or best marketing ha.

 

I know I'll be buying more later but it's always nice to get it real close to start.

 

cheers!

post #6 of 14

A few thoughts. At 6 feet and 150+ pounds I would look for something in the 170's honestly. Especially if you're going to be in the Sierras. I offered this advice in the other thread: Coombas/Coombacks. You really can't go wrong with that ski. In the Sierra's you're going to be dealing with good snowfall and some heavy stuff. Bogging down in that isn't much fun.

 

As a frame of reference, I am 5'10" and 188 pounds. I've been skiing all my life and live in Crested Butte, CO.  My BC setups are:

 

1. Armada JJ's, 185

2. Bro Stiffs 188

3. Bro Softs 188

4. High Society Freerides 187

 

I like a longer ski though. So I think something in the 170's will treat you well.

 

Bindings: Sheeesh, this is the age old question. Dynafit is the best - hands down. If you get serious into AT you'll eventually use Dynafit. Good thing you bought a Dynafit compatible boot! I wouldn't worry too much about releasing out of a Dynafit at your weight and skill. So, the knock on Dynafits is that they're not appropriate for resort use. This really stems from twp things:

 

1. They're not durable enough: I don't buy that. I haven't seen anything that supports this claim to be honest. Granted, you don't want to be hucking cliffs in them. You see Euros skiing Dynafit exclusively all the time though.

 

2. They aren't safe: There is some wisdom to this. You can't dial in the DIN on a Dynafit like you can with other bindings. The DIN's aren't as high as well but that shouldn't be a problem for you. They also don't have all this fancy shmancy release mechanisms that normal Alpine or even some of the more conventional AT binders do. I'll grant all of that. I still ski mine all the time in resorts.

 

Eventually, when faced with this quandary people either get a Dynafit BC only rig (okay decision), they get some sort of hybrid like a Marker/Naxo/Fritschie binder (bad idea IMHO) or they say screw it and ski their Dynafits all over (okay in my book).  ONE other thought is to use inserts or a DynaDukeS mounting plate to swap binders on the ski. I'll probably do that with my JJ's this year. You can buy these things at www.bindingfreedom.com.

 

One last thing - since you have the Radium, you have a fixed Vibram sole. So your binder choices are AT (Marker, Naxo, Silveretta, Fritschie) or Dynafit. No Sollys for you!

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

A few thoughts. At 6 feet and 150+ pounds I would look for something in the 170's honestly. Especially if you're going to be in the Sierras. I offered this advice in the other thread: Coombas/Coombacks. You really can't go wrong with that ski. In the Sierra's you're going to be dealing with good snowfall and some heavy stuff. Bogging down in that isn't much fun.

 

As a frame of reference, I am 5'10" and 188 pounds. I've been skiing all my life and live in Crested Butte, CO.  My BC setups are:

 

1. Armada JJ's, 185

2. Bro Stiffs 188

3. Bro Softs 188

4. High Society Freerides 187

 

I like a longer ski though. So I think something in the 170's will treat you well.

 

Bindings: Sheeesh, this is the age old question. Dynafit is the best - hands down. If you get serious into AT you'll eventually use Dynafit. Good thing you bought a Dynafit compatible boot! I wouldn't worry too much about releasing out of a Dynafit at your weight and skill. So, the knock on Dynafits is that they're not appropriate for resort use. This really stems from twp things:

 

1. They're not durable enough: I don't buy that. I haven't seen anything that supports this claim to be honest. Granted, you don't want to be hucking cliffs in them. You see Euros skiing Dynafit exclusively all the time though.

 

2. They aren't safe: There is some wisdom to this. You can't dial in the DIN on a Dynafit like you can with other bindings. The DIN's aren't as high as well but that shouldn't be a problem for you. They also don't have all this fancy shmancy release mechanisms that normal Alpine or even some of the more conventional AT binders do. I'll grant all of that. I still ski mine all the time in resorts.

 

Eventually, when faced with this quandary people either get a Dynafit BC only rig (okay decision), they get some sort of hybrid like a Marker/Naxo/Fritschie binder (bad idea IMHO) or they say screw it and ski their Dynafits all over (okay in my book).  ONE other thought is to use inserts or a DynaDukeS mounting plate to swap binders on the ski. I'll probably do that with my JJ's this year. You can buy these things at www.bindingfreedom.com.

 

One last thing - since you have the Radium, you have a fixed Vibram sole. So your binder choices are AT (Marker, Naxo, Silveretta, Fritschie) or Dynafit. No Sollys for you!


 

Thank you very much for the reply, this is very helpful, especially your sizing and condition comments.

 

I may end up just purchasing some shorter Backups in 167 then the Coomback or Backlashes in what the charts want to put me at 174s.  I found a very good deal on the Backups with Dynafits and can just manage to get another pair to boot. At least then I should have one pair I'm good with if not both.

 

Good to hear the additional info and confidence in the Dynafits for my application, really appreciate your time.

 

cheers

 

-Danny

post #8 of 14

Since you're relatively new to the game I would start with the shorter skis (which you have).  Why?  Because in the back country you will encounter many different snow condtions that you likeley have not experienced skiing even the double blacks at Mammoth.  You will also find that maneuvering in and extracting ourself from tight sitiuations is easier with the shorter skis.  You can always get longer boards in a season or 2 and can keep you same bindings too.

post #9 of 14

Hey Danny. Interesting thread. I'd be keen to know what ski you go with, when you've decided. Cheers.

post #10 of 14

I agree that for serious ski mountaineering Dynafits are by far the best choice, though the new Attacchi race binding might become the future of AT if they can build a comparable general-purpose version.  Anyway, I ski Dynafit TLT FT and ST bindings 100% of the time, and I really don't see a huge difference between them in practice (I do huck cliffs with them, though gingerly, if such a thing can be said).  However, I'm a shorter, lighter, and more aggressive skier than you, and I have had the ST release while jump-turning in an ABSOLUTELY-MUST-NOT-FALL situation, which is why I now always click them into non-release mode when I get onto such unforgiving terrain.  If one lives, one learns.  


Edited by raspritz - 10/25/10 at 4:16pm
post #11 of 14

6ft, 153lb?

 

a. go get a pizza and a pitcher of beer

 

b. at 6 foot, 174 is short, anything shorter and maybe spend some time becoming a better skier.  I'm not trying to be a prick, but my wife is 5'8", a hair under 140, and skis 174's.  Shes not a "radgnar" skier either but,

 

c. she skis in the backcountry mainly, and it's true, something huge is relatively obnoxious and a pain in the ass to slide up the hill, and billy goating through boilerplate is a bitch on anything, but on the pow days anything shorter than that on you is too short.

 

I'm not the core brah that thinks everyone needs huge long superfats.  I just think at 6 foot, if you can't handle a 174, you might want to spend some more time skiing before you head out into the mammoth backcountry

 

 

 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

6ft, 153lb?

 

 

b. at 6 foot, 174 is short, anything shorter and maybe spend some time becoming a better skier....... 

 


Aaay!   Always figured a ski didn't know how tall you were, but did know how much you weighed.

 

FWIW (or my $0.02 worth); I've always gone longer for my BC skis for better float and better fore/aft stability in variable snow.  Caveat, I don't ski or at least try to avoid "if you fall you die" slopes.  I would have though that for mountaineering, shorter would be more valuable - easier to turn, lighter on the climb - try doing a jump turn on a steep slope with 180cm skis, then try it again with 170cm skis - much easier in the shorter skis.
 

post #13 of 14

true, a ski doesn't know how tall you are,

 

but someone 6 foot and 153 probably isn't going to lose a lot of weight,

 

Add the weight of a backpack and for "ski mountaineering", an axe, a 30m rope, and a harness, and he's more like 165...

 

174 isn't long, nor did I recommend something longer, just not something shorter...

 

And, deep snow has an idea how long skis are relative to the center of balance, so there's more potential for something with a high COB going over the handlebars...

 

the main point was, if someone at that height and weight needs something shorter than 170 should focus more on improving their skiing then jumping into the mammoth bc.

 

I'm guessin' considerin' the OP's limited ski experience they aren't going to be jump turning and billy goating the statue of liberty coulior anytime soon.  So, short skis aren't really a consideration as far as that goes.

 

Perhaps something that keeps him further out of the snow and well balanced.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post




Aaay!   Always figured a ski didn't know how tall you were, but did know how much you weighed.

 

FWIW (or my $0.02 worth); I've always gone longer for my BC skis for better float and better fore/aft stability in variable snow.  Caveat, I don't ski or at least try to avoid "if you fall you die" slopes.  I would have though that for mountaineering, shorter would be more valuable - easier to turn, lighter on the climb - try doing a jump turn on a steep slope with 180cm skis, then try it again with 170cm skis - much easier in the shorter skis.
 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Appreciate the replies.  I'm wasn't so much concerned with skiing a longer ski per se, just trying to not go longer than I need to. I also have had two minor knee surgeries, so perhaps a bit paranoid about the longer boards.

 

Anyway moving to Oregon for at least next 6 months for my wife's work.  I have a mate there who's going to lend me his 174 Coombacks + Dynafit TLT Vertical FT for the season, so the choice is mostly decided for me.  I'll probably still purchase a pair on my own but give those a good try first to get a better idea what else I might want in the quiver

 

cheers

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