Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

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rongon

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Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby rongon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:02 pm

My once a year, big trip out West is coming up. A couple of us are hiring a guide for a day in Rogers Pass (can't wait!). We'll also be hangin' out for the week at the Elizabeth Parker Hut, just touring around the Lake O'Hara area, which will include a lot of rolling terrain. A day at Lake Louise will finish out the week. Not bad, eh?

I'm down to one pair of boots, my 3-buckle Crispi CXP's, which are too big for real kick and glide. They're the only boots that don't kill my feet, so that's what I'm stuck with.

I'd like to bring one pair of skis, or maybe two at most. I've collected a few pairs over the years, which makes choosing kinda difficult. (I know, poor little rich kid). So, opinions requested...

I have a pair of 2004-vintage Dynastar Legend 3800 skis (75mm waist) that worked great for me down Hillman's Highway and tour pretty well too. I once rubbed in some Swix Blue Extra and cross country skied with them on the approach to Wright Peak (Adirondacks). They handled the descent just fine, thanks. Old-school camber, no rocker at all, but I always like them when I take them out. I was thinking they might be just barely enough ski for Rogers Pass (maybe), while still being small/light enough for XC skiing around the hut. I use them with vintage Voile Hardwires, using the bungee cord trick for touring. Not optimal, but works well. The thing is, is a 75mm waist ski enough for powder skiing? I mean, I can make them work, but will I be making myself suffer unnecessarily?

If I absolutely have to bring two sets of skis, my options are:

- Dynastar Cham 97 High Mountain w/ AXL bindings
- Voile Vector BC (fish scale bases) w/ Switchback X2 bindings
- Madshus Annum w/ original Switchback bindings

I dunno... Which would you choose?
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fisheater

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby fisheater » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:46 pm

I will bite, with the caveat I am no sure of the conditions you will face, and really what terrain you will be skiing. If you have deep snow I would re-evaluate.
The ski I would take for sure to cover a broad range of conditions would be the 76 mm waisted Dynastar. Then I would decide which ski I preferred either the Vector or the Cham. I would have been monitoring snow conditions for my big trip, I assume you are. You will need to decide whether you want wax or scales. You own both skis, I have not skied either, I look forward to hearing which skis you choose.
I also wanted to clarify the reason I would take the narrow waisted Dynastar, is that I believe it should be more fun to ski on hardpack. Many guys here including yourself, have skied the wider waisted skis. I read that both the Cham and Vector handle hardpack well. I just have not had that experience, I skied a 100 mm waisted Powder Cruise on a day I thought was going to be powdery at Alta. I couldn't wait to get back to the parking lot at lunch and change them out. That is my experience with a wide waisted ski.
Good luck! Have a great trip. Enjoy yourself, but don't take it for granted. I thought my western trips would continue forever, but I skill have my last magnetic ticket from Solitude, March 2001. I am not complaining, just saying savoir the trip, and I hope you run off 30 years in a row!

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby Nick BC » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:30 pm

Having skied all those areas I would say take the Cham 97, or second best the Voiles. It's been a big snow year in the west and anything too skinny at Rogers Pass would probably entail a load of work. Lake O Hara, as you say, is rolling terrain and the waxless Vectors would be a good choice, but Louise, assuming there isn't a snow drought would be way more fun on the Cham's. So on balance, if the the forecast before you go is for snow take the Cham's.

rongon

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby rongon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:01 pm

Hey Mr. fisheater, thanks for rising to the bait!

I've been following the conditions out there. They've had 2.5 feet snowfall over the last week. Avalanche danger in Rogers Pass was High today, but I'm hoping things will settle down by the weekend after next. A lot can happen in two weeks.

The Vector BC is a pound lighter per pair than the Cham 97 HM, but 90% as stable. It's a really good ski. If I hadn't fallen for the lure of the fish scale bases, I'd be taking a smooth based Vector for sure. Oh well...

With all the snow, I think I'll take the Chams for the steep stuff, and ponder what to take for the Lake O'Hara area.
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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby teledance » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:49 am

Another vote on the Cham's, on the ID/BC border we are currently warm and raining on Mtn, temps to drop by Wed-Thur. Wait to see what the changes will be and pack the skis last. You've definitely got a mix of skiing over your visit and I'd bring the skinny dynastars for LL if not for the hut trip. Still sounds fun, hope it cools down for ya.

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lowangle al

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby lowangle al » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:00 pm

What are others in your group taking? Will you be mostly skinning or K&G? Will you be riding lifts?

A couple things I would consider:

For a big trip with time and $ invested I would want my best ski. Probably the Cham, being smooth based will probably ski the best.

The Vector bc will be more versatile in rolling terrain but if the rest of the group is on skins maybe you should be too. If you are expecting spring conditions the Vector would be more appealing.

If you are thinking the Dynastar will be your go to ski but are concerned about it being too narrow you might be right. I wouldn't worry so much about deep powder as much as stiff powder or crust. The extra 20 mm of your wider skis can make a big difference in the skiability of crappy snow.

rongon

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby rongon » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:44 pm

Good questions, good ideas. Thanks. Looks like it's the Cham 97 HM for Rogers Pass and the resort day(s). Maybe I need to bring two pairs of skis. So, what to choose for the hut ski setup?

I wish I could wear leather boots for the time at the hut, but I injured one foot early in the season and it will only tolerate my CXPs.

The group staying at the hut will be on a crazy mixture of ski and ski-like gear.
- One will be on a pair of Altai Hok skis w/ 3-Pins and Scarpa T4 boots. Skins are always on. :(
- One will be on Vector BC skis with Dynafit Tech bindings and (I think) Scarpa Maestrale boots. Fishscales and skins.
- One will be on K2 Wayback 82 skis with Dynafit Tech bindings and Dynafit boots. Smooth bases, climbing skins (kick wax?).
- One will be on Fischer S-Bound 98 skis w/NNN-BC bindings and I don't know what boots. Fishscales and skins.
- I'm leaning towards Madshus Annum skis w/ Switchback bindings and Crispi CXPs. Or will I want to have the 75mm Dynastars for making turns where I can find them? Since the group is likely to be slow, I could have fun playing with kick waxes, and pull out the skins when needed.

So the question is now Annum (fishscales, lighter) vs. Dynastar Legend 3800 (smooth base, heavier) for the hut.

It's nice to have choices...

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lowangle al

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby lowangle al » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:33 am

You can also choose to kick wax the chams if it looked like you may get a dump. Although I never toured with axls. Do you have skins for either the chams or dynastars? Waxing can get tricky if it gets too warm.

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby Cannatonic » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:17 pm

interesting to see how many people are taking fishscale skis, quite a variety of setups, you can take just about anything and keep up with the group.

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Re: Canadian Rockies trip! But... Which skis to bring?

Postby rongon » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:23 pm

lowangle al wrote:You can also choose to kick wax the chams if it looked like you may get a dump. Although I never toured with axls. Do you have skins for either the chams or dynastars? Waxing can get tricky if it gets too warm.


I have skins for all the skis. The Cham 97 HMs have Mohair Mix skins, the Dynastar 3800s have BD Ascensions (gold color).

Touring in AXLs is not that different from touring in Switchbacks. They're both free pivot, which makes them good choices for touring with bigger plastic boots.

I've found that the bigger the ski, the less well kick wax works. I find that I need a warmer (stickier) wax on a fat ski than on a narrower ski. Because of that, I'm thinking I wouldn't use the Cham 97 HMs with kick wax. They're just to big and heavy too work well with kick wax, IMO.

Thinking about Cannatonic's observation, with the crazy mixed up collection of gear the hut group will be on, I can take the lightest possible skis for around the hut and save up some energy for the big/steep days at Rogers Pass, Bow Summit and Skiing Louise. That argues for bringing the Annums, which are a bit more than a pound lighter than the Dynastar 3800s. On the other hand, if I want to have fun playing with waxes (which *is* fun when conditions are good), I could bring the Dynastar 3800s (and skins for those). Plus, bring the Cham 97 HMs for the big days. Two pairs of skis, everything covered.

So I guess it's still a decision of Annums vs. Dynastar 3800s. I'll probably make my mind up at the last minute. Either will work fine, I'm sure.
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