XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

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TomBrooklyn

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XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby TomBrooklyn » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:30 pm

Experience: Total Newb. No ski experience of any kind.
Weight: 275 lb
Height: 5' 10"
Expected Use: flats, gently rolling hills, steeper hills as experience and skills allow
Desires: Maximum control. Minimum speed.
Snow conditions: Probably mostly crusty and icy

Which backcountry cross country skis should I be looking for? Which length?

I'm familiar with some of the most popular BC skis from watching OCR video on youtube. Mainly I was wondering if I need a particular ski or a longer ski because of my 275 weight.

On the other hand, I understand shorter skis are easier to control and don't go as fast. I want maximum control. I'm just trying to learn how to ski. I don't want to go fast. In fact, I want to go slow. Nice and slow. As long as they glide a little.

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lowangle al

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lowangle al » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:13 pm

Tom, I think you need some pretty stout gear to keep you safe. If you have a thousand bucks to put into it I would get a vector bc (440..00 on sale) and a T4 or Excursion plastic boot and a 3 pin Hard Wire Voile binding. If I remember correctly you are an older guy from the Pocono Mts. There are lots of good forest roads with a gentile grade that don't take much snow to ski back there. There are also resorts that allow uphill travel (Camelback for one) and you might be able to go up and down on the green slopes and learn how to kick and glide and do snowplow and wedge turns. It would be a good place to get some consistent excesize and learn the fundamentals.

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lowangle al

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lowangle al » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:23 pm

Tom, if you didn't want to put that much $ into it I would check out a cross country touring center and rent some gear and see if you feel comfortable on light gear. If you do it will be cheaper but I wouldn't recommend using it at the downhill resort.

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lowangle al

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lowangle al » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:34 am

I don't remember if you plan to go to the resort or not, but if you are relying on natural snow you may not get out enough to make much progress, unless it was a really good winter. You'll still have fun, but watch out for the rocks.

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby Cannatonic » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:56 am

I like the idea of going to XC ski areas and renting gear. This will help you find the boots that fit and skis and bindings you like. For general XC skiing in the woods I'd go with NNNBC bindings and boots and a pair of long skis, 205-210cm classic XC skis.

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lilcliffy

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:40 am

Hi Tom,

Where are you- and what is the typical snow like that you would be skiing on?

I am assuming that you want to ski "off-track" on ungroomed backcountry snow- and at this point- you clearly do not want to do any downhill skiing.
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lowangle al

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lowangle al » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:45 am

Canna, generally speaking that is good advice. I made my recommenation based on Tom's desire to stay safe and a post I had read elsewhere by Tom stating his interest in going to the resort to learn telemark.

I think anyone in Pa. that wants to learn to telemark will either need to go to a resort or be willing to drive north to find snow to get in enough practice.

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XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby Lars » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:08 pm

Depending on how you feel with balance type activities, I recommend that you go wider than you otherwise would for your desired conditions.

For what you describe, I think you’d do rather well on my setup. I’m a solid 5’8” 235# for reference.

Fischer excursion 88 in 189 length
Fischer BCX6 boots
Nnnbc magnum bindings

You could, of course, go with different boots, non magnum bindings, a slightly narrower or wider ski, but I have found these skis to be wonderful for touring and I get the control I crave on downhills while not sacrificing climbing ability or glide on the flats too much.

The Fischer skis also allow for the easy skin system that can be helpful for ski control and slowing down or climbing.


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lilcliffy

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:41 pm

Lars' recommendation is excellent- the addition of the Easy-Skin integrated kicker skin would be a particular advantage of that setup- because of GRIP.

Traction is a big deal period- but, reading your post my impression is that it is of particular concern for you.

The other option I have been thinking of is the Altai Hok. The Hok is incredibly stable and has a permanent kicker skin underfoot, that gives excellent grip and reasonable glide. It is wide, and has a low-profile single camber- which makes for very relaxed XC skiing and responsive downhill skiing.

The universal X-Trace binding is very supportive and it allows you to where whatever boot you choose- you wouldn't need a proper ski boot with the universal binding.

The Hok particularly excels in deep soft snow. I know I have said that the Hok sucks on hardpacked snow- but this is mainly from a performance point of view- they just don't have enough camber and length to be fast on hardpacked snow. BUT- if speed is not important- which isn't the Hok's strength regardless- the Hok might well be the best place to start.

The Hok is no high-speed performance ski, but it is stable, responsive, has incredible flotation, is a trail-breaking machine, climbs like a goat, is easy to turn, and is incredibly maneuverable in the woods.

I love have faster XC and downhill skis- but, if I had to choose just one bushwacking ski for the Northwoods it might have to be the Hok- you can ski ANYWHERE with this ski.

The updated 145cm Hok has a stiffer and more torsionally rigid flex- this will improve its performance, especially for a heavier skier.

I did have NNNBC bindings on my Hoks- which I loved- but I have gone back to the universal binding for its utility at work.

With a single pole ("tiak") you can use it like an outrigger on steep slopes, to both give you tripod stability and as a brake. I HIGHLY recommend the use of a single pole with the Hok.

If one wants to seriously downhill ski with the Hok (i.e. carve and hold it on edge) I would recommend a Telemark binding and boot.
Gareth
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TomBrooklyn

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Re: XC Backcountry Skis For 275 lb Newbie?

Postby TomBrooklyn » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:47 pm

Yes, I'm in the Poconos. There hasn't' been much snow here this year so far. Just a couple of 6" storms where the snow lasted a few days each time.

I would eventually like to work my way up to telemarking (if that's realistic, which remains to be seen,) so I'd like cross country skis with a metal edge ski with a 3 pin binding, and a sturdy soft boot along the lines of a Fischer BCX 675. That is based on the theoretical knowledge I've gained from internet research so far.

What's good would be skis I can start out with on flat trails, and then use to climb some hills and make some turns. Small hills at first, and then medium hills, etc. I'm hoping I can ski on the golf course which has some hills. I don't want to mess with skins anytime soon, but I just bought a pair of cheap nylon ones on eBay in case I need them down the road. They strap on without a glue surface.

I will also start going to Big Boulder one night a week with some telemark gear I just got (Alpine TM-22s 180cm, 7tm bindings, Scarpa T2) and practicing on the bunny slopes. But I don't even want to ride the lift yet on the beginner slope until I get some basic skills down, like standing up on skis without falling down, going slowly downhill in snowplow configuration, etc. One step at a time.

I'm 62 and used to be in pretty good shape, but have been sedentary for the last decade or so, gained a lot of weight, got out of shape, and have only recently realized the effect age has taken on me while I wasn't watching, so I'll be taking it gradually.

As far as waxable or waxless, I could go either way. I could appreciate the convenience of waxless, but I could also appreciate the versatility of waxable.

I understand weight doesn't matter much on tele skis, but with XC the camber and stiffness has to be right to work properly with the skiers weight.

There are a couple of ski shops around here that sell XC skis, but they are long skinny ones with wooden edges that from what I understand, only go straight. And I'd rather buy used to avoid a big investment in gear at first anyway, if possible. I can probably find some stuff on eBay or craigslist if I know what to look for.


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