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Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby subhrojyoti » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:02 am

I'm planning to buy my first Ski Mountaineering gear and wanted some inputs. Below are few things which would best describe my needs-

1. Primary use is Ski Mountaineering and some Backcountry
2. Lightweight, but offcourse I don't want to compromise on stability when going downhill.
3. Waist width and side-cut- want to stay around 80-90 around the heel, for better turning radius and responsiveness.
4. Tip and tail hole for rescue sleds and backpacks
5. Length - around 160-170

Based on the above I'm planning to go for the following combination:

1. K2 Wayback Ski - 167cm
2. BD Fritschi Diamir Eagle - Medium
3. Scarpa Maestrale
4. BD Coltex Skin
5. BD Traverse poles (telescopic)

I also did consider other brands - BD Aspect, Dynafit Manaslu, Trab Ripido.

Questions:
1. Whats the general feedback of K2 Wayback when going downhill? Is it stable enough? On icy slopes how well does in perform?
2. I usually ski at 167 and type 3 skier. I weigh around 160lbs and stand at 5' 10''. For downhill/backcountry may be a 176 would work better, but for ski mountaineering I thought sticking to 167 is better. Mostly for weight, jump turns and going down shutes etc.

I know this site isn't specif to skiing, but thought many of you definitely do ski mountaineering. Any suggestions/recommendations would be highly appreciated.

Thanks much!
Subhrojyoti
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby swbackcountry » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:37 am

Your set up choices seem well reasoned for a first set (have you looked for a used set?), and this discussion that follows is a lot of personal preferences so just add my input into the other opinions you've heard. I think, like regular skis, if you use them frequently, they will wear out and you'll change to a new --more fitting-- set up in just a few seasons after this initial purchase, so don't get too bogged down... That said. Cost, outing type, and boot function all seem like factors you've considered.
Waybacks are not the only ski in its class (lightweight, and not-as-stiff). La Sportiva and Dynafit also have good skis like the Wayback, but for an 'all-conditions' ski you want some rigidity (depending on how good of a skier you are). Verdicts or Aspects, Dynafit, or other slightly stiffer skis aren't a bad option for a 1 ski quiver. BDs are on sale right now. Keep in mind that these days ski length is not determined by body weight as much, its more about the shape of the ski, and terrain you intend to ski. For an all conditions ski or a couloir ski, longer is not better. In fact, I'd go wider before I'd go longer. Short skis allow for tight/jump turns in couloirs, or on variable snow. If you are thinking about adding weight in length, think instead about adding the weight in width, width works better in powder. Whether longer or wider, a ski should most likely be more stiff the bigger it is. I would stick to generally what you are skiing now, depending on the shape of the ski. Waybacks should probably be about the length you normally ski, BUT, again, its more about use, not body weight as has been emphasized in the past...

Climbable boots are key, and are perhaps the most important piece of equipment for ski mountaineering and there are many to choose from. Certainly try a bunch on prior to buying, and consider mileage/time climbing vs mileage/time skinning vs mileage/time skiing for that decision. Stiffness and ski performance go up or down together. Your boot decision affects your ski and binding choice greatly. OR, in other words, you outings affect your boot choice, and your ski shouldn't be too much or to little for your boot. I have both a stiff 4 buckle boot, and a flexible 3 buckle boot, and both are Dynafit binding compatible.
I use Mt. Bakers (old Waybacks) with Dynafit for stuff with a lot of carrying or long miles, and a beefier set of Dynafit bindings on some BD Amperages for touring with less carrying and less daily miles. Some folks are not concerned with a lot of weight, because their intent is to enjoy the downhill. But for true climbing weight is huge, and you WILL feel the difference. For more miles I'd suggest checking out Dynafit's various bindings, (although many folks would be jazzed about the set up you are talking about), Dynafits are generally better for most uses (and eventually possibly look at La Sportiva as well once they develop them a bit more and cost comes down). They are light and durable.

Some guides and other true ski mountaineers solely use a racing or near racing set up, or even a beefy xc set-up for long traverses. Or even skating... So good luck with all the decisions.
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby Kai » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:16 pm

I've had bunches of ski mountaineering set ups over the years. My first set was from back in 1985. I've used bindings, boots, and skis from many manufacturers.

Here's my current favorite set up:

Skis: DPS Wailer 99 (pure carbon) This ski is very lightweight, but has great all-around performance. Skis well in powder, hard pack, and crud. No tip/tail holes, but honestly I've been skiing the backcountry for a long time and never needed them.

Bindings: I have Dynafits, Plums, and Sportiva tech bindings. Honestly, I can't tell much difference between them. The Dynafits and Plums are probably the best all-around touring bindings. Much lighter than Diamirs, and downhill skiing performance is equal if not better than any other ski-mo binding I've used with the possible exception of the Duke, which is really too heavy to make a good all-around binding.

Boots: The Dynafit TLT Performance is uber-light and has great range of motion. A much better touring boot than any others I've used, and plenty stiff for the downhill. Runs narrow, but a good boot fitter can adjust width if you have wide feet.
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby subhrojyoti » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:48 pm

@ swbackcountry, I agree that it did come to my mind that in the long run I'm going to own multiple sets. I did get a used K2 Wayback but it had lots of underbody scrapes and the price wasn't to much of a difference. Aspect was a strong competitor dfinitely. Anyway, as you mentioned, I didn't want to bog myself further. Yesternight, I ordered the Wayback 2012 model for $379. Which I think is a great deal since the retail price is at $599. Also ordered the Diamir Eagle and BD Traverse. Boots I'm planning to visit the rental shops in Truckee/Tahoe and try them out first. Then get them custom fit. I have had issues with boots when doing alpine downhill. I will keep your boot selection in mind.

@Kai, I will definitely check out Dynafit TLT although it's rather pricey and discounts are minimal.

Thanks to both of you for your time and advice!
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby subhrojyoti » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:00 pm

Ok, looks like the Dynafit TLT's doesn't fit into Diamirs :(
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby Dane1 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:26 am

Mistral is a decent boot. But in comparison it is not a ski mountaineering boot. Harsh as that sounds. TLT5s or a the new PDG will do everything required and more.

Anyone that buys anything but a tech binding (Dynafit styled and the lighter the better...ie race versions) these days is...well... misinformed to be kind.

Ski? pretty much anything at 160 to 170 is going to be fun at 90 and under.
Some great buys on the 7 Summit or Broad peak as they have been discontinued.

Good luck. If you don't have this set up yet or planning on it. No worries you will within a season or two anyway.
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby subhrojyoti » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:07 pm

Thanks JC and Dane for your reply. I ordered the gears last week because I didn't really want to bog myself with too much decision making.

I did read lot of great reviews on TLT's but thought the Maestrale's would help me atleast take off and set the course. Hopefully I will be more enlightened during my adventures (or misadventures) and be in a better position to decide 2-3 seasons from now.

One side question though - I'm weighing in the option of a group course or a guide for my first backcountry experience. I have read in blogs that there are backcountry ski guides who take you on tours, so I'm assuming there will be folks who might be interested in instructing too. Any pointers or direction?

Thanks much!
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Re: Ski Mountaineering gear

Postby subhrojyoti » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:57 pm

JC, I'm from the Bay Area and Tahoe area is the closest. I'm planning to do some on-piste skiing with my new gear in Heavenly/Sugar Bowl/Kirkwood this Friday (15th Mar). Saturday/Sunday I plan to do backcountry around the areas I mentioned earlier. Does that work?
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