I'm on my second season with 145cm Altai Hoks and no-cable Voile 3 pins/soft boots (new skier, experienced snowboarder) and this setup is super fun and versatile. Sure they can be slow on the flats, but I don't mind too much given how well they thrash through bush and run up the hills.
But it's the downhills that I really want to improve on. I'm competent at linking up tele turns now and can get down most anything in control, but I'm not yet 'charging' the downhills as I'd like to. The Hoks are great when the conditions/slope angle are perfect (~6" fresh powder, ~30' slope), but trying to hold an edge on crust/crud/ice/steep/deep with these wide-boys is a real challenge haha! I'm starting to tear out the pin holes on my boots from torquing them too much.
I picked up a used pair of Scarpa T4's thinking that they would be a game changer for me, but I actually really dislike them. They climb and tour so poorly - I can't pivot up onto my toes so my stride length is super short and they keep wanting to 'pop' my heels up like like I'm being ejected from the ski or something - but maybe that's more of an issue with the binding they're matched to? And the downhills feel robotically limited in movement, but not in the productive way that I imagined they would. Since I still can't really torque/edge the ski with the plastic boots I've just gone back to the soft boots which are far more comfortable and surprisingly perform better for me.
So when it comes to charging the downhills, what has the biggest impact on performance: skills, conditions, skis, boots, or bindings? I'm hoping you can guide this noobie with limited gear experience. In particular I'm wondering if a slightly longer/narrower ski might turn better or if a cable/wire binding might make the difference for torquing downhill turns on the Hoks?
These videos all have snappy riding styles that really impress me in terrain that is similar to mine, and I'd like to get looking more like that:
OAC XCD GT (slightly longer/narrower version of the Hoks?):
Altai Kom (how well do the fishscales climb?):
Voile Objectives (look nice but very expensive!):
Even this guy is shredding with just skinny skis with nnnbc!
Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!