Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

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lilcliffy
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:25 pm

So- I am saving my pennies for a new touring for turns "Nordic" ski- intended for steep terrain, deep snow, and low vertical hills.

I use quotations for "Nordic" because for the first time in my life I considering an "Alpine Touring" ski for this skiing context.

The context is as follows:

- Up to 15km XC skiing to reach decent hills to do yo-yo loops on.
- Verticals ranging from 100 to 500m.
- A mix of moderate to very steep downhill terrain.
- Downhill skiing through the forest- need to be able to ski tight lines.
- Lots of low-angle approach options.
- Deep, moisture-rich, soft, fresh snow.

I am open to considering any boot and binding kit. My current favoured boot for this context is my Scarpa T4s- although I would also use a heavy-duty leather boot in ideal conditions. The traditional binding I have used is the 3-pin cable- am looking hard at the 3-pin hardwire- and would perhaps consider a free-pivot binding- but, I would prefer to XC ski without a heel cable.

At the moment I am considering two classes of "Nordic" skis- at least based on width:

1) Wide XCD skis: examples include Madshus Annum, Rossignol BC110, Alpina Discovery 110, Fischer S-Bound 112, Voile Objective, Asnes Tind, etc.

2) Fat XCD skis: examples include Fischer S-Bound 125, Rossi BC125, Altai Kom, Voile Vector, Voile Objective, Asnes Tind, etc.

As you can see these two groups include both "Nordic" and "Alpine" skis; as well as skis that could be placed in either group (e.g. Voile Objective, Asnes Tind).

It also includes a ski that I will not consider as I already own it in two unchanged incarnations: the Annum/Guide.

Here are my at least starting questions:

Given the above context, what are the advantages/disadvantages to moving up to the widest "Nordic" skis?

Also- is the answer as simple as splitting the difference with the Objective/Tind?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lowangle al
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lowangle al » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:36 pm

I was out yesterday on Tua Sumos 110 at the tip and 78 at the waist and it is the widest ski that I would feel comfortable on with leather boots in all conditions. I thought it was a good combination of being wide enough for crud and powder and thin enough to hold an edge on a steep icy one turn at a time kind of decent. My vectors at 96mm in the waist are too wide for icy steeps with the leather boots. I think my leather boots are pretty similar to T4s. I would also recommend some kind of cable binding.

I personally would look for a smooth based single camber ski 75-80mm in the waist with a soft flex, and use kick wax. If waxing conditions were bad you could sill use the guide\annums. If you were willing to spring for the Vector or Kom I don't think you would be disappointed either.

I hope the 15 km is the roundtrip distance of your tours, otherwise you won't get many laps. But you are a lot younger than me.

STG
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby STG » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:25 pm

lilcliffy:

When I use to ski in avalanche terrain in powder/soft snow conditions, I used the Madshus Guide. I think it is an amazing, light-weight ski that feels more like a single-cambered cross-over ski (telemark/alpine touring). You are already set up with the equipment to do the kind of skiing you want. But I know there is always another/possibly better ski to try, so I understand wanting to check out some other ski options. At the asnes website ( http://www.en.asnes.com/) there are some fatter skis that might fit your needs? I guess it depends on how much money you want to spend and if you are looking at second hand or new equipment. I know asnes skis are hard to find in this country. Neptune mountaineering has a few asnes skis (http://www.neptunemountaineering.com/sk ... kiing/skis). If you go wider you will be working harder on the flats and uphill, but it might be worth it for the downhill? So many choices.

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lowangle al
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lowangle al » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:29 pm

IMO all skis are Nordic skis once you put a Nordic binding on them. Single camber skis are mounted either way today.

I also don't think it's the width of a ski that makes them harder for touring, it's the weight. More surface area can actually give you better glide and a better kick. I think the fastest I've ever gone on nearly level ground doing a K&G was with my biggest ski, free pivot binding and a big plastic boot. It felt like a freight train.

STG
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby STG » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:37 pm

lowangle al:

Yeah your right. I am assuming more width means more weight.

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lowangle al
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lowangle al » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:41 pm

True dat brudda.

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connyro
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby connyro » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:58 pm

The conditions and terrain that you describe are very similar to what we have here. IMO, the best setup for the type of skiing and terrain you describe, the Voile V6 BC with BMD Spike 3-pin/Excursions. I prefer a stouter binding, so I like the SBx2, but I have no problem getting decent K+G with the free-pivot. You may be surprised at how well these skis and bindings tour once you get used to them and get the right K+G technique. The Excursions are surprisingly flexible and comfortable for touring and provide just enough power to command those skis. I feel that the V6 BC/Vector BC tour about as well as the Guides, but blow the Guides away for turns and climbing. We'll do 10+ miles/several hours on this setup, mostly touring for turns to/in steep, deep, low vert hills.
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lowangle al
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lowangle al » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:52 pm

connyro wrote:You may be surprised at how well these skis and bindings tour once you get used to them and get the right K+G technique


Thats right Conny, it's almost like learning to K&K all over. You have to figure out how to pressure the boots. My advise to anyone moving up to a bigger class boot is to ski w\o poles so you are forced to use your feet. My guess is that an experienced xc skier would figure it out in 5 minutes. It's surprising how much downward energy you generate by weighting the cuff. If I loosen the cuffs on my T-2s I can get a more traditional kick, a little bit tighter and I can do either. This helps with foot fatigue a lot. The other thing I like about plastic boots for touring is that on packed lumpy multi use type trails my skis track well, without giving them a thought.

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MikeK
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby MikeK » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:30 pm

I've really been holding my tongue here, but I would say what is holding you back from going Objective + NNN?

Think about when you'll want to hit this terrain... likely after a big powder dump? A long ski and climb will be much nicer with NNN boots and you'll have that floaty feel on the down... It'd probably be comparable to skiing your Annums but lighter...

Or do you want to be able to handle whatever the conditions throw at you? In which case suffer with your T4 and go for a free pivot (what I would do if I were going to deal with plastics for touring). In that case, anything from Objective up to the V6 is on the table, as well as maybe something from G3?

Scales for either though - you may need to use skins sometimes, but I'd guess it's probably nicer to use the scales and resort to a skin here or there rather than to HAVE TO wax or skin, and have to deal with wax on a near flat ski that will wear off very quickly, and not glide that well to boot.

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lowangle al
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Re: Steep and deep backcountry Nordic ski

Postby lowangle al » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:02 pm

MikeK wrote:and have to deal with wax on a near flat ski that will wear off very quickly, and not glide that well to boot.
I have to disagree with you here Mike. I've been waxing single camber skis a long time and it's just not true. The only time my kick wax came off quickly was when I put it on top of a freshly hot waxed ski. I can go for days without reapplying wax on normal snow. On abrasive snow it will wear off both double camber and single camber skis, especially if you are making turns. I would like to note that many times I'm on single c and the wife is on double c so I had a lot of opportunities to compare.


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