Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

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Young Satchel
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Young Satchel » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:18 pm

Cannatonic wrote:Nice pictures - looks like a beautiful area - are you near Poughkeepsie? That talus slope would look good with 40 inches of snow on it!


Thanks man.

I live about an hour north of Poughkeepsie on the west side of the Hudson River in a small waterside village. We are kind of at the foot of the Catskills mountains and many of the pictures posted are on trips up there, or the surrounding low-lying nature preserves of the valley.

It's a beautiful place.


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Young Satchel
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Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Young Satchel » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:28 pm

lilcliffy wrote:Hey Satchel,

What is your focus at this point?

Cruising along trails through the hills?

Or- searching for steep terrain to ski on?


Ugh.

This is such a valid question but I really feel like a waffle when it comes to the answer. I think the sensible and more realistic answer would be the former: "cruising along trails through the hills".

I love to explore and adventure, but let's not forget that at least initially, my skill set will be that of a novice when it comes to Nordic BC. I'm not new to the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, etc, and snowboarded for years, but This combined with having a large load as a dad and special needs kiddo may conspire to limit me somewhat, at least for this season. I also do want to try and get out for a couple Mountain overnights as well. But none of the above is likely to be in deep powder or turns focused

This is why the 78 seemed like a nice "middle ground" based on your description. It would be decent for now, but also good for later. But maybe that's foolhardy and I should step down a notch to the 68 as a couple others have suggested? I had a feeling that Confusion would ensue .


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lilcliffy
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:31 am

Young Satchel wrote:Ugh.

This is such a valid question but I really feel like a waffle when it comes to the answer. I think the sensible and more realistic answer would be the former: "cruising along trails through the hills".

I love to explore and adventure, but let's not forget that at least initially, my skill set will be that of a novice when it comes to Nordic BC. I'm not new to the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, etc, and snowboarded for years, but This combined with having a large load as a dad and special needs kiddo may conspire to limit me somewhat, at least for this season. I also do want to try and get out for a couple Mountain overnights as well. But none of the above is likely to be in deep powder or turns focused

This is why the 78 seemed like a nice "middle ground" based on your description. It would be decent for now, but also good for later. But maybe that's foolhardy and I should step down a notch to the 68 as a couple others have suggested? I had a feeling that Confusion would ensue .


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The 78 is a particular class of ski that is intended for covering distance in mountainous terrain. Other skis in this class include the Eon, the E-109, the BC90, the Ingstad. They all have a low profile second camber. That low second camber is intended to offer a small "wax pocket" (like a true double-cambered ski)- but, the camber is low enough that it can be easily squashed, and the full length of the ski can be flexed and pressured- this enables both better turning and climbing performance than a true double-cambered ski. The initial camber varies on these skis in terms of height- but, they all share the fact the initial camber is soft and easily flexed and pressured.

The 78 is not going to be as fast on the flats as a ski like the E99/Glittertind- but, the 78 will climb more effectively, and it will be easier to flex amd pressure it on the downhill. It's a trade-off- one that allows you to find a sweet spot if you want to cover distance in hilly/mountainous terrain.

Whether the 78 is the best option for you depends on a number of factors...The 78 is significantly stiffer than the Eon for example. I find the Eon too soft- but many find it to be just perfect. My children and my wife love the Eon (however as my wife becomes a more advanced Nordic skier (she is first an Alpine skier)- I notice her grabbing the longer and stiffer E-109...AS long as she doesn't steal my Combat Nato we'll be okay!). My friend has a 189cm S-Bound 78 that has always just felt to short for me- I had planned on buying the 199cm, but they stopped making it. You are lighter than me, so the 189cm 78 might be perfect. (I can't remember what length Woods' 78s are...)

As far as choosing a narrower BC ski...(Let's ignore Satsuma's Discovery 68 for a second- I am not sure whether it is double-cambered- every Alpina BC Nordic ski that I have ever put my hands on- regardless of width- has been single-cambered...) Choosing a ski in the class of the E99/Glittertind will enable you to cover distance even faster than the 78. But- it won't climb as effectively- especially with waxless scales (you can adjust kick wax to climb more effectively). And- that higher, stiffer second camber can be a handful coming down a hill- it requires one to use a wider range of techiniques than you can get away with a softer, less cambered ski. IMO- skis like the E99/Glitt are clearly backcountry-xcountry skis (BC-XC)- a ski like the 78 is on the XC end of the XCD spectrum (BC-XCd). I love double-cambered BC-XC skis for cruising off-track on gentle to moderate terrain- it is amazing how much distance you can cover! But would I take my E-99s on a mutli-day trek in mountainous terrain? No- I would take my Combat Natos.

Skis like the E99/Glitt will fit in a groomed track- but they are not designed for the track- their flex is intended for XC skiing on ungroomed snow and variable terrain. I would never take my E99s to the groomed track- I have a pair of Atomic Motions for that!

As far as skipping the class of the 78, and going for wider skis...I am no expert on the 88- but every 88 I have ever flexed is single-cambered. It is also wider (most importantly underfoot), and softer than the 78. If your typical snow was fresh and soft (like mine is), then it would be harder to choose between the 78 vs. the 88. The 88 is definitely going to offer more flotation than the 78- but the 78 is going to be a faster XC ski. That to me is the trade-off between the 78 vs. 88- but, I would like to hear others (with more experience with the 78/88) weigh in on that...

Moving into even wider Nordic skis, you are clearly entering into the domain of skis that are at least equally- if not primarily- intended for making downhill turns.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

Young Satchel
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Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Young Satchel » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:31 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Young Satchel wrote:Ugh.

This is such a valid question but I really feel like a waffle when it comes to the answer. I think the sensible and more realistic answer would be the former: "cruising along trails through the hills".

I love to explore and adventure, but let's not forget that at least initially, my skill set will be that of a novice when it comes to Nordic BC. I'm not new to the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, etc, and snowboarded for years, but This combined with having a large load as a dad and special needs kiddo may conspire to limit me somewhat, at least for this season. I also do want to try and get out for a couple Mountain overnights as well. But none of the above is likely to be in deep powder or turns focused

This is why the 78 seemed like a nice "middle ground" based on your description. It would be decent for now, but also good for later. But maybe that's foolhardy and I should step down a notch to the 68 as a couple others have suggested? I had a feeling that Confusion would ensue .


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The 78 is a particular class of ski that is intended for covering distance in mountainous terrain. Other skis in this class include the Eon, the E-109, the BC90, the Ingstad. They all have a low profile second camber. That low second camber is intended to offer a small "wax pocket" (like a true double-cambered ski)- but, the camber is low enough that it can be easily squashed, and the full length of the ski can be flexed and pressured- this enables both better turning and climbing performance than a true double-cambered ski. The initial camber varies on these skis in terms of height- but, they all share the fact the initial camber is soft and easily flexed and pressured.

The 78 is not going to be as fast on the flats as a ski like the E99/Glittertind- but, the 78 will climb more effectively, and it will be easier to flex amd pressure it on the downhill. It's a trade-off- one that allows you to find a sweet spot if you want to cover distance in hilly/mountainous terrain.

Whether the 78 is the best option for you depends on a number of factors...The 78 is significantly stiffer than the Eon for example. I find the Eon too soft- but many find it to be just perfect. My children and my wife love the Eon (however as my wife becomes a more advanced Nordic skier (she is first an Alpine skier)- I notice her grabbing the longer and stiffer E-109...AS long as she doesn't steal my Combat Nato we'll be okay!). My friend has a 189cm S-Bound 78 that has always just felt to short for me- I had planned on buying the 199cm, but they stopped making it. You are lighter than me, so the 189cm 78 might be perfect. (I can't remember what length Woods' 78s are...)

As far as choosing a narrower BC ski...(Let's ignore Satsuma's Discovery 68 for a second- I am not sure whether it is double-cambered- every Alpina BC Nordic ski that I have ever put my hands on- regardless of width- has been single-cambered...) Choosing a ski in the class of the E99/Glittertind will enable you to cover distance even faster than the 78. But- it won't climb as effectively- especially with waxless scales (you can adjust kick wax to climb more effectively). And- that higher, stiffer second camber can be a handful coming down a hill- it requires one to use a wider range of techiniques than you can get away with a softer, less cambered ski. IMO- skis like the E99/Glitt are clearly backcountry-xcountry skis (BC-XC)- a ski like the 78 is on the XC end of the XCD spectrum (BC-XCd). I love double-cambered BC-XC skis for cruising off-track on gentle to moderate terrain- it is amazing how much distance you can cover! But would I take my E-99s on a mutli-day trek in mountainous terrain? No- I would take my Combat Natos.

Skis like the E99/Glitt will fit in a groomed track- but they are not designed for the track- their flex is intended for XC skiing on ungroomed snow and variable terrain. I would never take my E99s to the groomed track- I have a pair of Atomic Motions for that!

As far as skipping the class of the 78, and going for wider skis...I am no expert on the 88- but every 88 I have ever flexed is single-cambered. It is also wider (most importantly underfoot), and softer than the 78. If your typical snow was fresh and soft (like mine is), then it would be harder to choose between the 78 vs. the 88. The 88 is definitely going to offer more flotation than the 78- but the 78 is going to be a faster XC ski. That to me is the trade-off between the 78 vs. 88- but, I would like to hear others (with more experience with the 78/88) weigh in on that...

Moving into even wider Nordic skis, you are clearly entering into the domain of skis that are at least equally- if not primarily- intended for making downhill turns.



Lilcliffy,

Thanks once again for continuing to parse this out with me. Your attention to detail and vast knowledge bank are making it a fun--though confusing--process. So many options abound!

I think that based on a variety of factors, and posts from several of the TT members both in my topic and elsewhere, what I CAN determine is that the Ski I want for this first purchase will be somewhere between the sidecut/stiffness profile of a Glitt on the narrow/stiffer end, and the Fischer Traverse 78 on the wider/softer side. I think this range is perfect for my needs. Anything above (88+ width) will be "too much Ski" for me. Are there other potential needs? Of course! But I'm covered with gently used older track skis on the narrow end for groomed trails at the XC centers nearby, and can buy a wider softer ski for turns if I get into deeper more mountainous high-country terrain ('daks etc...) in the future.

Also.....did you see my pictures above? While they don't do the best at describing elevation or topography, I think they give a solid, representative idea of the sort of terrain that is abundant in my most popular use cases. Plenty of climbing, some of it over dicey terrain, much of it quite narrow.

I read some reviews here and elsewhere of Fischer's Spider 62 and Outback 68. The former--and even the latter to some degree-- sounds like it has trouble breaking trail, and wants to sink in several offtrack situations. This didn't sound ideal to me. The Outback could be a nice compromise I suppose, as could the Eon. But based on your descriptions of the flex and climbing characteristics of the Fischer series, I was leaning away from Madshus and more decidedly in their direction.

A final note. I'm going to make a strange comparison. I don't know if You Care about cars, or if the Volvo XC70 Wagon is a car you are familiar with. But it sort of doesn't matter l. I will endeavor to explain....

In its stock form, the XC70 Wagon is kind of analogous to the Madshus Glitterland. It's off-road capable, but those capabilities are limited by several factors designed to improve on road-performance, speed on the pave, safety, and comfort. Here it is in its stock form:

Image

Now here is what mine looks like after a variety of modifications (lift, skidplates, ATs tires, rack, performance bits, etc) :

Image

Full album of images here:

These changes all make it a slower car on road with dulled handling characteristics. But they don't turn it into a rock crawler either. It is able
To maintain its utility, excellent mileage, and road worthiness in general. I did this to the car to make it more adept at light off-road and backcountry vehicle-based camping and overland exploration. It's been great fun.

If it isn't already clear, this vehicle will also be my means of conveyance To the trailhead, and sometimes into the Backcountry to explore old logging roads and snowmobile trails on ski. I think that all "XC" ironies aside, the Ski I am looking for for this purchase is one that resembles the capabilities and ride quality of my Volvo in its MODIFIED state.

I hope this makes ANY sense!


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Young Satchel
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Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Young Satchel » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:30 am



This is a fun video of the S-Bound 98 I found while looking to find similar videos of the 68/78 (haven't found any great ones of the latter yet sadly) Definitely way more snow/turns than my use-case, but gets me excited for the coming season and my first forays into Nordic BC regardless!


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Cannatonic
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Cannatonic » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:14 am

Young Satchel wrote:
Cannatonic wrote:I live about an hour north of Poughkeepsie on the west side of the Hudson River in a small waterside village. We are kind of at the foot of the Catskills mountains and many of the pictures posted are on trips up there, or the surrounding low-lying nature preserves of the valley.


there must be tons of good BC skiing around there, the Catskills are an under-rated area, they've been getting some enormous snowfalls in recent years. I remember reading about a BC guide service that takes people skiing the Catskills.

All the skis being discussed here are good, if you get one that's better for XC cruising, you'll start looking for a better powder/downhill one. If Iived there I'd need 3-4 pairs of skis to handle everything. I really like the Fischer 78's, however I have them in 199 size which they don't make anymore. I'd be tempted to go with the 88's in a 189 and get 210cm E99's to go with them.

In the last few years I've played with a lot of ebay & craiglist special skis, paying about $100 each. After using them, I figured out which skis I prefer, then I ordered Asnes from Neptune Mountaineering. They're the best IMO.

Young Satchel
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby Young Satchel » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:26 pm

Cannatonic wrote:
Young Satchel wrote:
Cannatonic wrote:I live about an hour north of Poughkeepsie on the west side of the Hudson River in a small waterside village. We are kind of at the foot of the Catskills mountains and many of the pictures posted are on trips up there, or the surrounding low-lying nature preserves of the valley.


there must be tons of good BC skiing around there, the Catskills are an under-rated area, they've been getting some enormous snowfalls in recent years. I remember reading about a BC guide service that takes people skiing the Catskills.

All the skis being discussed here are good, if you get one that's better for XC cruising, you'll start looking for a better powder/downhill one. If Iived there I'd need 3-4 pairs of skis to handle everything. I really like the Fischer 78's, however I have them in 199 size which they don't make anymore. I'd be tempted to go with the 88's in a 189 and get 210cm E99's to go with them.

In the last few years I've played with a lot of ebay & craiglist special skis, paying about $100 each. After using them, I figured out which skis I prefer, then I ordered Asnes from Neptune Mountaineering. They're the best IMO.


The Catskills are amazing. Not quite as wild, remote, or elevated as the 'Dacks, but my boys and I have had no shortage of fun exploring them in all seasons.

I completely hear you about needing 3 at a minimum to feel properly equipped around here. I'm realizing this is the case, and have concluded that this first pair I buy is in fact going to be "The Compromise Ski". "Jack of all trades; master of none" etc etc. I have access to traditional XC skis of appropriate length with NNNBC bindings on loan from family, and if needed can get a wider (S-Bound112/Annum) style Ski for the following seasons. I need a set-up at present that requires a minimum of thought and effort to get out the door and in to the woods.

While I like that eBay idea, it's to some extent a question of the old "time vs. money" equation. Buying 3 $100 dollar eBay skis and then deciding on which pair of new "fancier"'ones to buy will take several months, and cost 6-700 bucks. Settling on a compromise Ski ahead of this season will ensure that I spend less time bickering about which the "right" Ski is, and more time out In a variety of conditions doing what any novice should do--learning to ski!

After reading nearly every account of their use available on this site and the internet at large, I'm pretty well set on Fischer 78s or 88s. At this stage, it's just a matter of which. 78 feels like striking a sort of "dead center" average between stiff trad and XCD, while the 88 errs on the side of more all-terrain/turning capability at the expense of speed and glide on the flats.

I guess at the end of the day it's a decision only I can make! I appreciate how helpful this community has been already in assisting me :-)


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lilcliffy
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:28 am

Meant to mention it- it was great to see your photos of your local backcountry- the terrain and the elevations look similar to my local BC. I need to travel at least an hour to get into 500+m verticals.

Also, understand and appreciate your Volvo station wagon analogy. My wife- who is significantly more spontaneous and adventurous than I (I am a true homesteader)- drives a RAV4- not as modified as your Volvo, but it is our family BC adventure vehicle for sure.

I love the profile of the 78/88- touring focused BC-XCd skis with limited sidecut- offering efficient XC tracking and a decent amount of width underfoot. Extreme sidecut is a true "waist" of width in skis of this class- IMO. (The profile of the BC90 is ridiculous to me). The 88 is just as wide as the 98 undefoot- and in my experience, there is no reason to believe that a S-Bound 98 (or Epoch) would offer any more effective float than an Excursion 88.

Cannatonic's suggestion of the E-99 and 88 separation is something to consider. Tom (Athabasceae) went through a discussion on this site over selecting an even more XC-focused BC ski (the BC-XC flying class: E89/Voss/BC59, etc.). Tom had mostly flat terrain and dense snow to justify the very narrow, stiff, cambered ski. (I was pondering the same class of ski- but felt the E99 was better for terrain and snow that I XC ski on.) I distinctly remember Tom saying that he preferred a distinct gap in his Nordic skis- the last thing he wanted to do was waste time trying to choose which ski to take on a tour!! One of his reasons for not considering an E-99 class ski was that he felt that there would be too much overlap between an E-99-class ski and his Ingstads (similar to the 78). This distinction makes sense to him and his conditions. In my locality even the XC-focused BC touring I do is over pretty hilly terrain and predominantly fresh snow- the E99 suits me better than the E89. And I still see a ski like the E99 as a different ski than the 78...

BUT- Canna's point remains- there is definitely a wider degree of separation between the 88 and the E-99- than the 78 and the E-99...

But- this brings me back to your particular context:
- relatively green Nordic skier
- desire to XC ski in the backcountry
- hilly terrain
- dense, moisture rich, variable snow

I would suggest that an E-99 class ski- in a true XC length- is going to be a bit of handful for you on steep terrain- at least to begin with.

I would suggest the 78 is a better choice than the E-99- at least to begin with (and as of 2016- there was no Easy-Skin slot on the E-99 Crown...). As your Nordic skills develop- (as you rack up the miles!)- both on and off the track- a ski like the E-99 is going to become very manageable in the context you would use the 78 everyday. At this point you could give up your 78 to your family and fly on an E99-class ski. This would have happened to me but abundance of fresh soft snow makes a ski like my Combat Nato (similar to the 78) better than the E99 in hilly terrain.

The 88- to me- seems clearly targeted at fresh, soft snow- perhaps I am wrong- Woods?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lilcliffy
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:30 am

Forgot about this one- recent discussion on the 78 vs. 88!!!:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1521
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lilcliffy
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Re: Help A Northeastern Trail Runner & Backpacker Build His First Nordic Backcountry Set-Up!

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:33 am

Young Satchel wrote:https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A5q1RfIIkao

This is a fun video of the S-Bound 98 I found while looking to find similar videos of the 68/78 (haven't found any great ones of the latter yet sadly) Definitely way more snow/turns than my use-case, but gets me excited for the coming season and my first forays into Nordic BC regardless!


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Meant to mention this- here is a thread spawned by that video:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1435
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


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