New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

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lilcliffy

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:12 pm

phoenix wrote: I'll offer an archaic suggestion: A book! Freeheel skiing, by Paul Parker. Both first and second editions, preferably... but start with the first. I found it really helpful for me to move from weaning myself from relying on parallel and fake-o-mark techniques to developing a solid, balanced tele turn. This, after several years of working on it.

Of course, for some, it's the other way around: they learn the telemark first, and struggle to acquire parallel skills. Ultimately, best by far, is being proficient and fluid with all manner of turns. I've been on skis for 63 winters now, and am still very thankful, at times, that I was steeped in the basics... snowplow, wedge, herringbone, etc. Still use every bit of those skills when necessary. And switch up tele and parallel when desired, or required. Not uncommon for me to modify a tele turn into parallel, mid turn, when I hit a patch of ice (where parallel is far more stable).

EXCELLENT book, excellent advice and wise perspective.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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lilcliffy

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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:39 pm

yoyoing wrote:I gave the T4s another shot today as suggested. I'm having a hard time finding the fore/aft balance in them while going downhill and can't seem to freely stride a tele turn. I guess they need an altogether different technique than I've grown accustomed to with my soft boots (cheapos from amazon which actually perform much better than expected).

If you are used to a very soft boot it will take some adjustment moving to a stiffer boot- rather than simply weighting the ball-of-foot on the rear ski you will actually have to use the stiffer flex as a lever to drive power into the rear ski- I may not be describing the physics of this very well, but that is how I think of it. Having at least some heel-lift resistance (i.e. heel cable) will actually help you with this.
I actually prefer stiff-flexing boots because of their power-transfer. I find that I have much more of a tendency to go "over the handle bars" with a very soft boot...

So just to confirm - a skinnier ski is easier to turn with a soft boot? But what would be the downsides?

As waist width increases- it requires more and more mechanical advantage (i.e. leverage) to hold the ski on edge- therefore requiring more and more boot support/leverage, and perhaps binding activity to effectively pressure the rear ski in a telemark turn.
The downsides of a narrow downhill ski?
- lack of flotation (a narrow ski must be very long to offer effective flotation in deep soft snow)
- less stability (i.e. a wider ski is easier to stand and balance on at downhill speeds)

And can someone please explain to me to be what wires/cables actually do, as I've never had the chance to try them?

I am not expert here- but this is my understanding:
- heel-lift resistance: both helps maintain balance and stability of the rear ski, but also encourages downward pressure into the rear ski.
- increases lateral stability and leverage as the boot is more securely fastened to the binding than by a 3-pin bale alone.
- adjustable degrees of heel-lift resistance- referred to as how "active" a Telemark binding is. The more "active" a binding the greater the degree of mechanical advantage and power transfer into the rear ski in a telemark turn.

I am no expert on modern Telemark binding tech. You may even want to ask that question in a separate thread to get a more comprehensive understanding of Telemark bindings.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

yoyoing

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby yoyoing » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:40 pm

Thanks again for the great tips everyone!

I think I finally understand what people are saying by keeping a tighter stance and driving weight down through the back toe, and I imagine that is what cable bindings help with. I've got a long ways to go to get this new technique but I'll keep practicing it.

Lo-Fi, I'm interested to get a bit more of your take on the Koms if possible:

I’ve done A/B comparisons between the Hoks and Koms on the same day, conditions and terrain. The Hoks climb steeply and are like having short “kicker” skins on the Koms. Unfortunately, you can’t then take the skins off of the Hoks. It makes the descent challenging: slower, and grabby & stuttering. Still fun, but not nearly the same glide and flow that you can get with skis.

The Koms are real skis and ski as such with geat edging, turning, floating and pivoting (that video is on terrible re-frozen crud). I think they are particularly well suited to yo-yo skiing on our rolling Canadian Shield terrain and tighter bush. They climb well for our terrain, just more gradually than the HOks and you can always add a little grip wax to sweeten the grip as lilcliffy has suggested or carry quick on & off kicker skins in a pocket if you have long ascents.


The Koms have only a slightly narrower waist and a bit more sidecut than the Hoks. Is this enough to really notice with turn initiation and edging? Or is that still just a function of having the right hard boots, cable bindings, and of course technique? I imagine that the absence of skins is a give and take situation, but I've experienced the downhill stuttering with the Hoks that you've mentioned and it can definitely be annoying. I've seen your other videos on youtube though (amazing skiing btw!) and you charge even with the long/narrow Madshus Guides so I can only guess that technique trumps all.

Some how this guy even seems to shred the Hoks in deep pow with nnnbc bindings though, which honestly I don't understand. It's hard to tell the speed and steepness though, and the conditions do look perfect, but again I'm guessing technique must trump all:



That said though, do you think the Koms are the best suited option for the type of yo-yo skiing you do in Ontario? It seems like we have similar styles and playgrounds :) There are also some good deals on the Rossingnol BC line right now at MEC which seem similar to the Madshus Guides. I'm not looking to set any land-speed-distance records but it would be nice to maximize the fun factor, especially on the downhills and especially in variable (hence Ontario) snow conditions. I'm 5'11" 150lb for sizing reference.

And would a cable binding add any extra control with soft boots or is that pointles? Finally, basic Voile cables or Switchback wires?

Thanks!

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lowangle al

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby lowangle al » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:14 pm

The cable will help with soft boots as well. I think they will work as well as hard wires for what you are doing and weigh less.

Lo-Fi

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby Lo-Fi » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:04 am

Image

Those turns and terrain look great!

I think lilcliffy, fisheater, Lowangle al, Woodserson and more on this site have Koms, so I’m sure there are lots of other opinions, but I’ll share what I’ve found.

Because of the longer length of the Koms compared to Hoks, they’ll glide better and give more of a feeling of arcing(thanks teleman) the skis in turns, with way better fore/aft stability. I think they optimize that tele turning arc feeling better than the Hoks.

Because of the lack of integrated skin, the Koms glide better and are quicker (almost instantly) to get up on a plane. Like in ww kayaking, or wake boarding, or surfing, its when your surfaces get up on a plane in the h2o medium that you get that weightless, slithery feeling that is so exilerating. I find the mix of rocker, flex, sidecut, high tip, shortish length for a ski, and width of the Kom make them get up on a plane extra quick(compared to other skis, like my 175cm Annnum/Guide) and make them really easy to float and pivot. Even at slow speeds they can smear turns readily, which is great for picking your way through tight bush and rocky outcroppings (even better when you can ski at speed with more open lines):

Image

I would say Koms are particularly well suited to the type of terrain we might share. Rolling hills, ravines and gullies, thicker trees, with a couple hundred feet of vertical, lines of 400’ length or less, maybe 10-30 turns and then leisurely 8min switchbacks up. My touring for turns usually only covers 4-8km over a couple of hours.

You might find the Koms are a little freaky at first because of the glide, speed and the holding of their edge/arcing feeling. Again, a longer length gives a better flow and turning feeling. If I lived somewhere with more vertical and wide open spaces, I would prefer a longer 170 or more like 180cm ski for the bigger scale of things.

You would also notice a big difference on how fishscales really don’t climb steeply like skins.

In the Hok video, it looks like the skier gets good flow because of sufficient steepness and soft snow, but he is just parallel turning without that tele arcing which is sooo great.

I think that the Koms are great value at $450 CAD and are cool that they are made in Quebec. Objectives,findrs, or Vectors would be great too. I’ve heard mixed things about the Rossi BC skis.

I like simpler pure cable bindings like Rivas, or Cobras, G3s, or original non-3-pin hardwires. I don’t feel good torquing just 3-pins. Try touring and turning with you t4s (I use Excursions, t4s or Merrell doubles) with the upper buckle and laces, and the cable binding, at almost minimum tension for a better kick & glide sensation.

The rest is technique!

yoyoing

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby yoyoing » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:39 pm

Thanks so much for the great feedback :D

phoenix

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby phoenix » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:53 pm

Nice tree skiing there YOYO, I think you've understated your tele skills some! Don't give up the style you have of finishing a turn, and checking speed with your arcs, for a straight down the fall line shuffle... you'll stay upright more!

LoFi's covered everything well in the last post, along with all the good previous insights folks have offered. Just thought I'd add that the Objective's, while a very sweet ski, are very light, and I find they do get bounced around some when conditions are funky. You might not find the confidence you're looking for on the downhills with them. Never skied the FINDr's, but as light as they are, they'd probably react about the same. Not speaking ill of the Objectives, or light skis... I love my Objectives, but I know their trade-offs.
So I'll throw my hat in suggesting the Kom's or Vectors (I've already said elsewhere how I'm coveting of a pair of Vector's; and I would have ended up with Kom's rather than Objective's had they been in stock at the time - no regrets though!).

By the way, my usual terrain is probably similar to yours, generally... Northern Vermont hills out the door; some good mountains beyond.

yoyoing

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby yoyoing » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:18 am

Nice tree skiing there YOYO, I think you've understated your tele skills some! Don't give up the style you have of finishing a turn, and checking speed with your arcs, for a straight down the fall line shuffle... you'll stay upright more!


Thanks for the compliments Phoenix, but I can't claim that tree line skiing to be my own ;)

I am the one above it though. At similar speeds/steepness I can certainly wind through trees just like that and can also float some nice long tele turns in pow, but Lo-Fi definitely has me beat with the steep and snappy stuff! Hopefully I'll get there eventually though and I will definitely be taking all of the advice offered to me into consideration. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some Koms and am hopeful that they'll let me charge a little harder than the Hoks, especially in tougher conditions.

Thanks again!

yoyoing

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby yoyoing » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:39 am

Lo-Fi, one last set of questions if you don't mind!

Do you recommend the 150cm or 162cm Koms? I'm 5'11" and 145lb. My 145cm Hoks start to bury their tips on deeper powder lines (I'm not sure if that's due the binding mounting position though) so I'm guessing that's probably a good hint to consider the longer option... And with the 162cm, could a soft boot with cable bindings still drive it? I think I saw a video of you using leather boots with them but I could be wrong.

Thanks again 8-)

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Rodbelan

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Re: New skis, new bindings, or new technique?

Postby Rodbelan » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:22 am

My advice: stay away from Rossi nordic BC skis... Except maybe for the BC 125 (kind of heavy though by comparison). I use to own a pair of BC 90... for a 2-3 month before I sold it back. Poor design for that kind of skis in my views. I looked at the newer version; they seem to be the same (the graphics changed but...). Look at the promising Rossi Seek7 and compare it to the Nordic BC line; you will understand what I mean when I say that they do not put energy in those skis... Rossi Seek7 with a pair of 3 pins or NNNBC: that would be excellent!


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