Onion River Sports closing...

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Verskis

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Verskis » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:46 am

I think you can not blame Hoks or other "skishoes" killing XCD. At least I did know nothing about XCD skiing before I got intrigued by the ads/articles about the Altai Hoks and OAC Kars. Then I bought the OACs and now I'm hooked on "backyard backcountry" skiing and telemark downhill skiing with a quiver of 3 pairs of skis.
Maybe other Nordic countries are different, because they have the mountains and their fjellski-culture, but at least in Finland skiing means either a) cross country skiing in prepared tracks b) downhill skiing in the resorts or c) backcountry cross country skiing on flat areas with the traditional Finnish forest skis (about 2,5m long with some wimpy bindings designed for leather winter boots or rubber boots). Therefore I had no idea that there were actually skis made to do it all in the backcountry! After buying the OACs I quickly realized that there are quite many styles of XCD equipment, and I'm still trying to learn the optimal setup for my use. I have 75mm bindings on all my skis and I'm using both leather and plastic boots, still not sure when it would be best to use one or the other. I see upsides and downsides on both of them.

Nevertheless, I am skiing on forests with no mountains on plastic boots and Hok-equivalents. You can hate on that, but the truth is that flailing around with this setup made me an XCD skier with an appetite for more challenging skiing, not the other way around.

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Johnny

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Johnny » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:44 am

Verskis wrote:I think you can not blame Hoks or other "skishoes" killing XCD.

I also said that they are also responsible for getting new people into XCD... ;)

Verskis wrote:You can hate on that, but the truth is that flailing around with this setup made me an XCD skier with an appetite for more challenging skiing, not the other way around.

I always encourage people to use the most simple gear on any kind of terrain... That is the real beauty of XCD, it doesn't have to be challenging to be fun... There is no feeling on T4s, you need 45+ degree slopes to have fun... With leather shoes, you can ski 5 degree hills in your background and have even more fun...!

You have to feeeeeeeeeel the snow and the skis... And all the finesse and subtle nuances of the tele turn... Something that is not possible with plastics... ;)

Trust yourself... Just give your leathers some time... Don't succumb to the darkside... :D
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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Johnny

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Johnny » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:04 am

lilcliffy wrote:The legend is that resident Maliseet, Acadian and Metis dismissed the skis that Scandinavian immigrants brought with them. The snowshoers challenged the Nordic skies to a race- you can guess the result!

The snowshoe still has its place- for sure- but imagine what Native Americans must have thought when they saw the first Nordic skier in action!

If you look at history, or at least the history of skiing in Canada, it was all about snowshoes in the beginning... I have a couple of wonderful books about the very beginnings of skiing. The coolest thing about skishoes is that they opened up a whole new concept for skiing. The fact that 210cm skis are fun, but 125cm skis are just as fun too.

I'm a HUGE fan of small skis, just as much as I like super long skis. I just feel sad that the wild, nordic (and backyard!) side of the sport is slowly getting lost... (Parks with fees, packed trails, 4h drives to go ski marked trails, T4 and Excursion boots bla bla bla...)
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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Verskis

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Verskis » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:30 am

I am a beginner, I need support more than nuanced feel of the snow :D

But I have managed to do some turns with my leathers as well, but it is much more difficult. If the terrain was more open and the snow cover always deep enough, I think I would be skiing the leathers all the time, but tight terrain with small amount of snow means that I have to force the skis around all the trees and rocks and other hazards on steepish (but very small) hills, so that's where the plastics come in handy.

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby STG » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:21 pm

Wow! This is such a bummer! I have bought almost all my touring and XCD skis from them. They gave great customer service. So good that I would buy from this Vermont store rather than local stores in Montana where I live. Also bad for the employees who will lose their jobs.

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby MadRiver » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:37 am

I've been lurking on this forum for awhile, but I decided to make an account since this is in my backyard.

This was a shocker to a lot of people in this area, ORS always seemed to have a crowd, and especially on the bike side, seemed to move a lot of product. That being said, I can imagine its hard to compete with the Backcountry & Moosejaw's of the world. I can't comment on the Shoe Horn.

For some context on the state of XCD, I think it might be useful to describe my XCD purchase, and why I started learning the turn. I have skied alpine for about 20 years, most of that resort. As is the progression though,I wanted to move away from the crowds, combined with a pretty healthy backcountry scene in central VT (RASTA, Catamount Trail, Bolton/Camels Hump Area) started pulling me towards earning my turns. So I got an AT setup, which is awesome, and I can use that at the resort too, but I love to hike as well, and other than some skin up/ski down sections of the Catamount Trail, most of it seemed to be geared toward nordic. I rented some Rossi OT65's with NNN BC Bindings which felt ok but seemed to lack control on the downhill (especially for my non-existent tele skills). I went to ORS who rented me some T4's on Madshus Epochs, which I could make some alpine turns on, and ended up buying the Epochs with a Voile Cable Binding and Garmont Excursions (little softer so better on the flat I was told).

Since buying those, I've taken some lessons, attended some of the Catamount Trail sponsored Tele Clinics, and completed a few sections. I added a pair of skins with the goal of finishing the whole trail on that one pair of skis. I also use them for kicking around on some hilly farmland, and have used them for some winter camping trips. That being said, I haven't made the full on switch for tele for a couple reasons.

1. Tele gear isn't getting updated at the same pace as AT. There's a huge push to backcountry (I've heard some crazy growth numbers thrown around) and the weight savings for some of the new AT stuff are crazy. Scarpa's new Maestrale are 1300 grams, Dynafit TLT-7's are 1000. I know its not worth it to get hung up too much on weight, but lightweight on the uphill & confidence on the downhill are hard to ignore.

2. NTN or 75MM - It feels like you're too much of an early adopter if you go to NTN, but the tech-esque bindings like the meidjo are attractive. But where are the NTN boot options? 75mm is available everywhere but is hard to invest in if you think NTN is going to grow.

3. Learning the Turn - I'm linking tele turns, and enjoy dropping the knee, but I have so much time skiing alpine, that its hard to convince myself to go backwards. This may change, but is worth noting that Alpine -> AT is much easier than Alpine -> Tele/XCD if you want to get off the beaten path.

So in conclusions, I think that the growth of AT is limiting XCD and probably hurting Tele, and without some sort of incentive to learn the turn, I don't see it growing much more. There are some incentives out there, I think the Catamount trail is a big one, at least for me, and if you saw flatter or more rolling hill trails, XCD might see some converts.

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby STG » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:47 pm

Madriver:

I also came from an alpine tradition. I took up BC skiing over 30 years ago and started of with AT gear. I went retro and never went back. I ski on three pins (no cable/free the heel), soft plastic old t-3 boots and Madshus or Asnes skis. I also ski on skinny skis when I am not doing turns. XCD equipment may not be popular, but I hope those of us who are passionate about it can support the industry; so we will have to keep buying gear. AT gear is really expensive; almost as bad as downhill. XCD/nordic downhill is still cheap.

In terms of technique, you can mix it up and do both alpine and telemark turns on free-heel gear. The more versatile you are, the more fun.

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lilcliffy

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:54 pm

Verskis wrote:Then I bought the OACs and now I'm hooked on "backyard backcountry" skiing and telemark downhill skiing with a quiver of 3 pairs of skis.

OOOH- A VERIFIED OAC SKI USER!!!!!!
MORE INFORMATION PLEASE!

I THINK I HEAR A REVIEW!!!!
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lilcliffy

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:58 pm

Verskis wrote: c) backcountry cross country skiing on flat areas with the traditional Finnish forest skis (about 2,5m long with some wimpy bindings designed for leather winter boots or rubber boots).

Do you have any experience with said Finnish forest skis?!
What would it take to talk you into shipping me a pair to Canada? :D
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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Verskis

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Re: Onion River Sports closing...

Postby Verskis » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:49 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Verskis wrote: c) backcountry cross country skiing on flat areas with the traditional Finnish forest skis (about 2,5m long with some wimpy bindings designed for leather winter boots or rubber boots).

Do you have any experience with said Finnish forest skis?!
What would it take to talk you into shipping me a pair to Canada? :D


Sorry, no real experience from those really long skis. I have only skied something similar during the military service in the Finnish army, but they were probably something between 2 and 2,5 meters long, can't remember for sure. The army skis were not very good, one of my friends had a pair that didn't glide at all, he had to push with the poles to keep moving even in downhills :D Luckily I had a bit better pair.
Apart from the military service, I used to ski only groomed track XC and alpine downhill in the resorts back in the days. I discovered the joy of backcountry skiing only couple of winters ago, and I am interested in having fun in the downhills in addition to striding along the flats, so I have never even considered those long forest skis.

If you really want to have a pair of those, I can do you a favor and ship them to you if you pay all the costs, but be warned, it is quite expensive to mail anything from Finland to abroad. PM me if you are really keen on doing this.

Regarding the OACs, I can write a review sometime later, but I don't have that much experience from different skis, so I am not that eligible to do good comparisons.


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