Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

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exlibris
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Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by exlibris » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:17 pm

Hi gang,

Well, the last couple of weeks have been a crash course in XC/D/TM gear, theory, and nomenclature -- all in preparation for my first backcountry hut trip in Utah's Bear River Range. Y'all have been a wealth of information, especially from the likes of littlecliffy, Johnny, and several others. It's a real testament to your passions, and very much appreciated by a newcomer!

After spending most of my 20-ish years of ski experience on-piste and in glades, I've set my sights on getting into the backcountry to combine my loves of hiking, skiing, and camping. This first trip will be over the Christmas holiday and we're looking at an initial trek of about 4 to 5 miles up to the hut, covering roughly 2000 vertical feet. Should all go as expected, I'll be carrying my 20-30lb pack, so on-ski stability is a factor. I also get the sense that keeping skins in the pack may be useful for the approach. After we get settled into the hut, I'm looking forward to day excursions on rolling terrain and -- should I feel confident and comfortable enough to do so -- maybe a few mild descents.

At this point, I'm fairly settled on a 3-pin setup with Alpina Alaska boots, but unsure if I should go with the Åsnes Combat/Ingstad or the Madshus Eon. In truth, I want the Combat, but trying to move forward with what's most appropriate. I'm also rolling in the consideration of waxed vs. waxless (which, of course, could exclude the Combat). I'm keen on learning how to apply and leverage wax properly, but also recognize the inherent challenges.

Originally, I was leaning towards the Eon, but after reading some fairly glowing reviews of the Combat I put it at the top of my list (with additional consideration for the Ingstad to get a similar ski in a waxless option). One area of concern is the stiffness of the Combat as it compares to the Eon, which I understand to be softer. I'm 5'7 and weigh about 135lb, and got the sense from lilcliffy's reviews that the Eon's softer flex may be a better fit for my physique. And given that I'm a free-heel novice, I don't expect to be pushing the skis particularly hard at this stage. But, of course, I also like the idea of having something to advance into as I get more miles under my skis. Lastly, I'd appreciate thoughts on selecting an appropriate length as I'm hovering somewhere between the recommendations for 180cm and 190cm.

Many thanks in advance for any advice to come -- cheers!

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by fisheater » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:58 pm

Hello,
I have never skied the Alaska 3-pin boot, but I have seen a video torquing the Alaska 3-pin and the Alaska NNN side by side. The NNN version was a much more rigid connection. The Alaska NNN is also my first NNN boot. I have a T-4 and an Alico Ski March boot in 3 pin configuration, I enjoy three pin boots. I purchased the Alaska NNN for kick and glide performance, but I will admit I had full confidence I would be able to make turns with the boot as well. I am very impressed with how well I can turn a Asnes USGI with a NNN Alaska boot. I do not believe the soft duckbill on the Alaska 3 pin would offer anything close to the performance of the NNN version.
Now for your ski. If you have the relatively dry snow I think you may have I would recommend a Falketind 62 or a Fischer E-88 for this adventure and similar. My personal recommendation would be for the FT, with the Skinlock Skin, however I believe you can similarly configure the E-88. The FT is a sweet turner, it isn’t an Asnes Combat on the trail, but the distance you site isn’t really far, and on the uphill I am
Not sure the Combat would be that much more efficient. The FT isn’t a trail burner in any way, but I wish I could climb 2000 feet in five miles and get to enjoy the reverse on the downhill in my FT. That would just be awesome!
Good luck in whatever you choose.

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by exlibris » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:47 am

Thanks for your thoughts, fisheater. I had overlooked the Falketind 62, but digging a bit deeper it does seem like it could be a pretty good fit for the hut trip. The obvious downside for the moment is sourcing a pair -- only sportalbert.de seems to carry it, and not in my size. Perhaps they will be restocking with the current season's version in the months to come. I also emailed Neptune to see about a special order.

As for the bindings, I was a little surprised to hear your recommendation for NNN-BC over 3-pin, especially for a ski so favorable to turns. I'm certainly not opposed to NNN-BC (since I don't have direct experience with either tech) but was leaning towards 3-pin primarily for the expected increase in downhill performance (with the Voile 3-Pin Cable Telemark) and better lateral stability for carrying a loaded pack. My conclusions are based solely on research so, again, I very much appreciate the differing viewpoints.

Well, dang, now I have my eyes set on the Falketind.

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by fisheater » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:00 am

http://www.telemarkdown.com/store/boots ... icleather/

If you want to go three pin have you considered the Crispi Antarctic? I have heard Telemark Down is a good dealer. I ski a heavier leather boot with my FT, and I am not converting my FT to NNN. I do ski an Alaska in NNN, and in that particular boot, I believe the NNN to be the superior connection. I could ski my FT quite confidently in NNN and the Alaska boot. I do have more downhill control with my Alico Ski March boot and a 3-pin cable. However, the cables usually just go for a ride in the pack as my terrain is short up and downs. I do ski the FT at the resort with the cables.

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by Woodserson » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:03 pm

This is always a hard call.

NNN-BC gives you a better connection if you get a boot with a very stiff sole, like the Alaska, and you pressure your ball-of-foot correctly to engage the rails on the binding. If you can do this, and NOT pivot off the toe bar, it's a very solid boot to ski connection, but it takes practice. When I was learning to tele coming from an alpine/XC background I found the 75mm binding with a detachable cable (Voile) was more novice friendly combination to get my feet under me (no pun).

I have Crispi Antarctics and they are a great boot, leather, will break in really nice, stiff sole. That being said my friend has the Alaska 75mm and I am thinking of getting a pair for myself this year as well, just because I'm so over the moon with my Alaska NNN-BC. They are comfy right out of the box and my friend's soles are pretty stiff too.

Ski wise... eeehhh if you're going to be mostly on climbs or descents and not doing miles on flat and you are light in body weight I would think a softer ski would be the ticket-- Ingstad, Madhsus, FT... these won't be amazing on harder packed, groomed, flat miles, but otherwise should be fine. I'd think Ingstad and Madshus over FT since you'll have a backpack with gear and the Ingstad has a nice stiff wax pocket. (opinion from owning and skiing Ingstad and owning but not skiing FT).

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by exlibris » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:24 pm

Thanks, Woodserson. And, yes, a tough call -- with no "right" answer. Regarding your recommendation for the Ingstad: would there be any reason to choose it over the Combat (since the latter is, from my understanding, an Ingstad + additional features)?

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by Woodserson » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:57 pm

Lilcliffy would be the best person to answer here since he has both and has written extensively about both of them, but in a nutshell the Combat Nato is heavier, stiffer, less rockered, more camber. Think soldier carrying heavy loads over distance in unbroken snow and less turning. I always wanted one for long distance soft travel but then I got a Gamme 54, read LC's reviews on the NATO (favorable reviews), and since I already had an Ingstad decided I no longer wanted it. That's just me.

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by Nitram Tocrut » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:36 pm

exlibris wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:17 pm
Hi gang,

Well, the last couple of weeks have been a crash course in XC/D/TM gear, theory, and nomenclature -- all in preparation for my first backcountry hut trip in Utah's Bear River Range. Y'all have been a wealth of information, especially from the likes of littlecliffy, Johnny, and several others. It's a real testament to your passions, and very much appreciated by a newcomer!

After spending most of my 20-ish years of ski experience on-piste and in glades, I've set my sights on getting into the backcountry to combine my loves of hiking, skiing, and camping. This first trip will be over the Christmas holiday and we're looking at an initial trek of about 4 to 5 miles up to the hut, covering roughly 2000 vertical feet. Should all go as expected, I'll be carrying my 20-30lb pack, so on-ski stability is a factor. I also get the sense that keeping skins in the pack may be useful for the approach. After we get settled into the hut, I'm looking forward to day excursions on rolling terrain and -- should I feel confident and comfortable enough to do so -- maybe a few mild descents.

At this point, I'm fairly settled on a 3-pin setup with Alpina Alaska boots, but unsure if I should go with the Åsnes Combat/Ingstad or the Madshus Eon. In truth, I want the Combat, but trying to move forward with what's most appropriate. I'm also rolling in the consideration of waxed vs. waxless (which, of course, could exclude the Combat). I'm keen on learning how to apply and leverage wax properly, but also recognize the inherent challenges.

Originally, I was leaning towards the Eon, but after reading some fairly glowing reviews of the Combat I put it at the top of my list (with additional consideration for the Ingstad to get a similar ski in a waxless option). One area of concern is the stiffness of the Combat as it compares to the Eon, which I understand to be softer. I'm 5'7 and weigh about 135lb, and got the sense from lilcliffy's reviews that the Eon's softer flex may be a better fit for my physique. And given that I'm a free-heel novice, I don't expect to be pushing the skis particularly hard at this stage. But, of course, I also like the idea of having something to advance into as I get more miles under my skis. Lastly, I'd appreciate thoughts on selecting an appropriate length as I'm hovering somewhere between the recommendations for 180cm and 190cm.

Many thanks in advance for any advice to come -- cheers!
I can share my own experience with the Ingstad on a 4 days hut to hut trip in Les Monts Valins in Québec. This is pretty steep terrain which the Ingstad are made for according to Åsnes and I can say they live up to their reputation although it was not perfect... and that was not entirely due to the skis. I have the 195 cm and that is a bit short in those conditions for a 6’1 and around 210lb at that time not counting about 40-50lb backpack. They were a bit short due to the extensive rocker those skis have. You can read Lilcliffy review as he explains it pretty well. The rocker make the skis a lot shorter so I would have been better with the 205cm. On the steeper ascent with all that weight I could see too much of my skis not touching the snow and therefore not providing grip. So I would say think that you should pick them as long as you can to benefit for a better grip. But I must say that I was using the full length skins that I bought for my E99 more than 20 years ago (that makes me feel old :oops: ) and they were literally too narrow for the Ingstad... I have a Alaska mounted on Voile Traverse and that was a really good fit for those conditions. The cables were really useful, I think, for the steep descent in a narrow trail with all this weight.

The skis really shined when I took for extra rides around the hut in narrow and steep trails. The rocker was less of an issue but still I would have liked to have an extra 10cm. I am a pretty good BC XC skier but I had close to 0 telemark experience before going on that trip and I had the opportunity to try them on the not so steep slopes around Le refuge Le fantôme for those who have been there. We had about 30cm of fresh snow and they floated really well and I had a great time and that more than compensate for all the climbing to get there.

I can not say anything about the other skis you are considering but I am very happy that I took those skis, except for the length of the skis as mentioned... for a similar trip you are looking for.

One last thing, I warn you that frequenting the TTalk forum can lead to compulsive buying of skiS and be careful with the Åsnes fever... I just bought my third pair of skis in less than a year since I discovered TTalk and 2 of those are Åsnes. Welcome aboard but keep an eye on your wallet :lol:

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by Cannatonic » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:41 pm

FWIW I've had both these skis & liked the NATO Combat a lot more than Eon. The Asnes has a much snappier, responsive feel. Better for kick & glide, Eon didn't have enough camber, and also more responsive when turning. Maybe I like a stiffer ski, I don't know, I didn't care much for the Epoch's I had either.

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Re: Final selection for my first XCD kit: Åsnes Combat vs. Madshus Eon (Wax/Waxless)

Post by exlibris » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:06 pm

I really do appreciate all of the thoughts and feedback. And, Martin, thanks for your direct feedback on the Ingstad for such a similar trip as the one I have planned. By the way, what binding/boot combination were you on? I'm starting to lean towards the Alpina Alaska NNN-BC with the Rottefella Magnum.

After waffling between the Ingstad (Waxless + skins) and the Falketind, I think I'm ready to move forward on the Ingstad. Had the FTs been available, I may have gone this route, but I'm feeling pretty positive about the Ingstad. As these things go, there is of course no perfect solution and I'm hopeful that the Ingstads will be a ski to serve me well in a fairly broad set of conditions.

So with that (mostly) settled, I'm trying to pin down a proper length. Given my size (5'7", 135lb + various pack weights) I'm thinking either 175 or 185: on the shorter side, I'm sure I'd feel more comfortable on the descents but the 185 would almost certainly be better when I'm loaded up with a pack and/or focusing more on XC. Currently, leaning towards the 185...

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