Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

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Crayefish
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Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Crayefish » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:44 am

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum, though I've been reading the posts for a little while now, so first off; hello!

I'm sure you're sick of these sort of 'which ski' posts, but I'm hoping your collective expertise can help me; the choice is pretty bewildering for a newcomer. I've recently got into pulk expeditions from my background in mountaineering (partially the solo element I love), and having got back from a solo expedition in Sarek (Sweden) this winter, its definitely time to get myself a dedicated set of back country/expedition skis... AT boots are just a pain (literally).

So, about me and my needs: I'm 193cm and 95kg, so definitely on the heavier side. I've long been downhill skiing, but not much real telemark/BC experience to speak of. I'll be pretty much just using the skis for multi-week solo expeditions with a pulk, so probably leaving the short skins on 99% of the time. Pulk weight will be from 35kg upwards and no rucksack.

Expedition-wise, at least in the short term I'll be focusing on Nordic locations in winter; Sarek again, Hardangervidda, Finmarksvidda etc. In the mid term I'll be looking at Iceland and Greenland crossings. I won't be aiming for summits (I have my powder skis for that), so mostly on the flats or low angled slopes. Though, based on my recent expedition, some capability to deal with deeper, softer snow would be helpful (especially given my weight). Efficiency on big icy plateaus would probably be the main consideration, however.

For boots, I love integrated gaitors and synthetic materials, so drawn to the Alfa Polar APS and Alfa Outback APS, rather than the more old school leather duckbills, though it will come down to what fits best of course. I don't get cold feet, even at -35, but given the money to be invested, some future proofing is desirable. As such, and with the limited downhill I'll be doing, I think the NNN-BC is my thing.

Looking at the Asnes offering, the Gamme, Nansen and Amundsen all seem suitable, though the Ousland is a fair bit lighter. And of course I guess the E-99/E-109 could be considered, though I get the impression they aren't as good. Any thoughts, recommendations or experiences on which would be most suitable for my needs? I'd probably head to Norway this year to buy boots/bindings/skis all together, but I don't want to walk into a shop clueless!

Sorry for the long text... I can waffle. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Eärendil
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Eärendil » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:45 am

Hello Crayefish,
I am glad to hear that you enjoyed Sarek. Most people here follow the regular hut trails. If you went up the Rapa valley, I would guess you did not meet a lot of people?

As you already have some experience, which skis were you using? Did they work for you?

Åsnes Amundsen seems to be the popular ski for pulk expeditions. From what I read, the new Ousland was developed specifically for being even more efficient on flat ground. Fischer E99 would definetely work as well, but both Nansen and E109 are more oriented for downhill.

//Rickard//





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Musk Ox
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Musk Ox » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:59 am

Yes... I have seen Nansens with pulks, but it seems more a family-oriented overnights in cabins affair.
Efficiency on big icy plateaus would probably be the main consideration, however.
I think I'm right in saying that the Ousland was developed for difficult polar terrain, hence the rocker... which I imagine (that is, I have read persuasively argued here) probably makes it less efficient than the Gamme and the Amundsen on the icy plateaux you mention. But it is an expedition ski by design.

Greenland is wonderful. The Amundsen and the Gamme are absolutely made for Greenland and the flat parts of arctic Norway.





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Crayefish
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Crayefish » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:22 am

Eärendil wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:45 am
Hello Crayefish,
I am glad to hear that you enjoyed Sarek. Most people here follow the regular hut trails. If you went up the Rapa valley, I would guess you did not meet a lot of people?

As you already have some experience, which skis were you using? Did they work for you?
Thanks for the replies Richard and Musk Ox. Actually, I was using my alpine touring setup as I didn't fancy buying another set of skis, bindings and expensive boots just yet before even starting my first pulk trip... had already had to spend cash on the Satellite communicator/GPS and the pulk system, so didn't want to go overboard until I tried it. So... I used plastic touring boots (Fischer Ranger Free 130s) and my Rossignol Soul 7s (powder skis) with frame bindings. Totally not suitable I know! The skis, aside from being heavy, were actually ok, and at times I definitely appreciated the float in the deep snow. But, the boots destroyed my right foot, so I had to cut the trip short. Only met one person there, who was a local doing a month solo tour.

So Gamme and the Amundsen are the leading contenders. What's the difference between the two, other than the face staring back at you?

I would of course love to do Antarctica one day, but I figure by then I'd have worn out the first pair by then ;)





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Smitty
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Smitty » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:33 am

Welcome. I would love to see pictures / writeups of your future expeditions, please consider coming back and posting them!

The Nansen is a solid all-rounder, but I think I would want something more efficient for the multi-year pulk trips you describe.

There's other folks with direct experience on the Fischer Xtralite skis that I'm sure will chime in, but I would say that regardless of ski characteristics, there are some toughness / longevity concerns with the current e99 / e109 as far as multi day expeditions go.

I think you're on the right track with Gamme and Amundsen - have you looked at the Amundsen Fram? It's an Amundsen with even higher and stiffer camber, for maximum efficiency when carrying a heavy load or pulking. At your size, that might be the best combination of durability and efficiency for what you're planning.





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Crayefish
Posts: 12
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Crayefish » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:05 am

Hi Smitty,

Actually I'm in the process of writing up the trip for my website (link in my profile)... only just started the website recently for some of my more interesting trips, but should have first Sarek post there in a week (once I've processed photos). Very amateur stuff, but feel free to have a peek :)

I hadn't looked at the Fram because the only one I can see on the website is the waxless. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I figure with a heavy pulk I'd need skins all the time, so fish-scales would only make keeping the skin stuck on more tricky. Or is there another version?





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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Musk Ox » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:49 am

Crayefish wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:22 am
So Gamme and the Amundsen are the leading contenders. What's the difference between the two, other than the face staring back at you?
The Gamme is the fun-time Amundsen.

The Amundsen is for pointing at the horizon after telling your children you'll see them at Christmas.

The Gamme is for CRUSHING MILES and DOING QUICK STEP TURNS ON WINDY TRAILS and TRYING TO TURN IT LIKE IT SAYS YOU CAN ON THE WEBSITE BUT FALLING OVER A LOT and FUCKING CRUSHING MILES and DOING OVERNIGHTS IN CABINS and I DON'T MIND IT'S PROBABLY MY TURN FOR THE PULK WHO CARES






Actually it's probably a really good ski to do expeditions on, I don't have a clue. It is ridiculously enjoyable to use.





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lilcliffy
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by lilcliffy » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:13 pm

Hello and Welcome Crayefish!!
(Crayfish -yum! Yet another fishy username on our site!)

I have asked Asnes directly for clarification on the Amundsen models-
- the Amundsen Fram is indeed a different model than the Amundsen BC- and at one time was offered in both waxable and then waxless versions. The waxable Amundsen Fram was discontinued.

I cannot really properly compare the four Asnes expedition skis (Amundsen BC/Amunden Fram WL/Gamme 54 BC/Borge Ousland BC)- I own both the orginal and current model of the Gamme 54 BC, both skis are 210cm.

While the geometry of these four skis is different- they all share a fundamental characteristic- that is specific to long distance expedition skiing- carrying/pulling weight-
- they are all longitudinally-stiff and rock-solid stable in their flex.

Most- if not all- other Nordic touring skis with similar geometry (e.g. E99/Glittertind/BC55, etc.) do NOT share this longitudinally stiff/stable flex pattern- most other skis have a relatively soft shovel-tip (i.e. relative to their stiff midsection/tail) and many of them have a relatively soft tail as well.

My perspective on all of these skis from the "distance" of only knowing the Gamme 54:

- I am confident that the Amundsen/Fram is the most efficient true XC ski- with the longest glide zone and the least sidecut. I am confident that the Gamme 54 BC would be a more efficient XC ski than the Borge Ousland on consolidated snow- as the Ousland ski has a lot more Nordic rocker than the Gamme 54. As the Ousland is described as being longitudinally stable- the Ousland is likley as efficient in deep snow- but all of that rocker will give it a much shorter glide zone on consolidated snow.

- I would think that the Amundsen Fram releases the grip zone/kicker skin even more efficiently than the standard Amundsen or Gamme 54. Photos and descriptions of the Gamme 54 vs Amundsen BC show a very similar camber underfoot. I don't know about the camber of the Ousland, but I have this impression that it is more cambered underfoot than the Gamme 54- which would release a skin more effectively.

- As far as stiffness- I cannot speak for the other skis, but the Gamme has a stiff resistant flex, that more than resists being bent into an arc- it doesn't. Ben's- @bgregoire - personal experience with the Amundsen would sugggest to me that the Amundsen is stiffer than the Gamme 54- making length/weight selection more important with the Amundsen if one was going to expect some steeper climbs on the expedition...

- Breaking trail- I am confident that the non-rockered Amundsen is the most effective trail-breaker- both in deep snow- but expecially in breakable crust. The Gamme is very good here- if it had more tip rocker it would be useless in breakable crust. I bet you that the Ousland sucks in breakable crust.

- Unbreakable frozen crud, ice, crap- or whatever they call all of that "snow" in the Arctic...I specifically asked Asnes about the Ousland's stiff rockered shovel and I was told that it is specifically designed for the changing climate in the Arctic- more snowfall; more mixed precipitation; more variable and extreme temperature changes. My understanding is that the Ousland is designed and go up and over frozen crap- not carve a track through it...

Again- welcome! And please continue to share your ski story with us!
Gareth
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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Crayefish
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by Crayefish » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:36 pm

Great description Musk Ox! I did chuckle at that :)

Gareth, thanks so much for such a detailed reply. I appreciate the effort (even if some of it might have been a bit lost on me). Clearly a Gamme fan... but don't you get creeped out sometimes with the curly-haired-wonder staring at you the whole time? ;)

Clearly the science/way of thinking between alpine and Nordic is a bit different in places. Your post states that the Amundsen has no rocker so is good at breaking trail in powder. I'm used to rockered alpine skis (such as my wide Soul 7s which have a LOT of soft tip and tail rocker) being very good at breaking trail (excellent float), but poor turning/control on harder surfaces. What's the effect of a hard or soft tip (no pun intended) when it comes to Nordic skis while breaking trail? In my simplistic thinking, I would have guessed soft better in powder and hard better in crust.

I guess with my weight, and probable lack of finesse, I'll be breaking through things, rather than climbing over them!

Any recommendations for a site or post which will help me with the advanced ski design considerations of Nordic skis? EDIT: Just found your tech post on Nordic rocker... will start there!

And thanks; will let you know when my first trip writeup is done.





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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
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Occupation: Forestry Professional
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Re: Asnes Ski Choice for Pulk Expeditions

Post by lilcliffy » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:54 pm

Crayefish wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:36 pm
Great description Musk Ox! I did chuckle at that :)
@Musk Ox Me too! :lol: 8-)
Clearly a Gamme fan... but don't you get creeped out sometimes with the curly-haired-wonder staring at you the whole time? ;)
Though I must admit I don't really notice the topsheet of a ski while I am skiiing- I am usually too mesmorized with the scenery-
I do not care- at all- for Asnes' portrait topsheets-
The first-gen Gamme 54 topsheet is tolerable- almost cool with the portrait-expedition artwork-
the current Gamme 54 BC portrait topsheet is like a fashion magazine cover- not a fan.

While I get- and appreciate- naming skis after ski heroes/heriones/etc.- the portriate topsheet gets old- fast.
Clearly the science/way of thinking between alpine and Nordic is a bit different in places. Your post states that the Amundsen has no rocker so is good at breaking trail in powder. I'm used to rockered alpine skis (such as my wide Soul 7s which have a LOT of soft tip and tail rocker) being very good at breaking trail (excellent float), but poor turning/control on harder surfaces. What's the effect of a hard or soft tip (no pun intended) when it comes to Nordic skis while breaking trail? In my simplistic thinking, I would have guessed soft better in powder and hard better in crust.
The early-tip rise performance of a rockered tip-shovel can really only be leveraged at downhill speeds- no one can travel fast enough on BC snow to get a ski to plane at XC speeds. Rockered XC skis definitely plane at downhill speeds, but not when XC skiing.
A soft shovel on a XC ski causes a XC ski to be unstable in deep snow- especially if it is "short" (Finnish "forest" skis appararently have soft tip-shovels, but they are also more than 270cm long...)
A XC ski does not necesarily need a stiff tip to crush breakable crust- it just need to be raised and attached to a shovel that is stable and is not too rockered.
At XC speeds- a ski with a lot of rocker in the shovel is useless in breakable crust- the shovel rides on top of the crust and the skier endsup breaking trail with the mid-section of the ski- yuck.

Skis with rockered shovels have a shorter glide zone ( and shorter effective edge) than a sinliar geometry with no tip rocker.
Nordic-rockered XC skis that have a stable shovel are stable and efficient in deep snow- are less efficient on consolodated snow due to the shorter glide zone.
For example:
- a 210cm Gamme 54 has a longer glide zone on consolidated snow than a 210cm E99 Xtralite-
- I would expect a 208cm Amundsen to have a longer glide zone on consolidated snow than a 210cm Gamme 54-
- I would expect the glide zone of a 201cm Amundsen to have at least as much glide zone as a 210cm Gamme 54...

I have yet to find a XC advantage to tip-shovel rocker in my local skiing (i.e. I am not climbing up and over frozen Arctic "snow" and ice rubble).
Tip-shovel rocker on a XC ski is DEFINITELY a game changer once you point those thingies downhill though.
I guess with my weight, and probable lack of finesse, I'll be breaking through things, rather than climbing over them!
I am thinking that there is some refrozen crap and rubble on the Arctic ice cap that even a Mammoth wouldn't be able to carve through...
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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