The narrowest class of XCD Skis

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athabascae
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The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by athabascae » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:30 am

Okay, I got it in my head that I'd like a pair of long and light, stiff and springy, XCD skis for long, fast day tours in varied terrain on hard pack.

Many years ago I had a pair of Bonna Conquest skis with the regular width NNN BC bindings. I absolutely loved those skis and they were a workhorse. I used them for long fast day tours, (stupidly) learning to telemark, and overnight backpacking tours. Unfortunately I broke them a long time ago (after much abuse), and Bonna (a Quebec company) went out of business, so I never replaced them. I can't remember the dimensions, but I believe they were somewhere around 60-50-55, and with a 3/4 steel edge, and I skied them in a 210 cm. (Does anybody know what the specs were for these Bonnas?)

Anyway, I'm looking for a ski reminiscent of those cherished Bonnas, my intent would be simply for fast, fun day touring on hard pack in flat to rugged, rolling terrain - I have a pair of Asnes Ingstads on the way for other situations where I need "more" ski... I'd stick with a waxable model, and these would also replace my Fischer classical track skis (which I use in a light-duty BC context).

I'd be interested to hear of others experiences with the current offerings in the narrowest class of BC skis that have a (3/4) steel edge. To the best of my knowledge, this class of ski includes:

- Madshus Voss (60-50-55)
- Fisher e89 (59-49-55)
- Rossignol BC59 (59-49-55)
- Asnes Vikafjell (60-51-55)
- Asnes Mountain Race 48 (60-48-53)

UTE has the following review - http://www.utemagasinet.no/Utstyr/Smale-fjellski - but alot seems to be lost in translation.

Additionally, I'd be keen to simply to hear a discussion on the merits of this class of BC ski in general, and how people use them - a niche ski or daily workhorse? Personally, I could see one of these skis being the pair of skis I grab the most to simply go for a quick ski close to home.

Thanks for your time.

Tom

MikeK

Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by MikeK » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:20 am

Tom,

Did you look through the ski review section for the the Voss and the E89?

http://www.telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=540

http://www.telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=592

Both waxless version, but should compare.

I don't know that I made any concise conclusions about the two, maybe some ramblings in the E89 thread. If I were smart I would have measured these and done a less subjective write up on the specs. Then talked about how they skied. I'm learning as I go here - hopefully the S78 and Eon comparison will give a better picture... anyway...

Long story short, I could sum up those two skis in a few bullets.
  • Fischer has a much higher initial tension. Feels springier and livelier on the foot but makes it hard to control on hills.
  • The Mashus has less pop but a heavy second camber. Feels dead, but still glides OK due to maintaining a 'wax' pocket. Handles hills a bit better in the RIGHT snow (not too hard, and not too deep) by letting the tips and tails flex a bit.
  • Bases are nicer on the Fischer, but probably less of an issue on the wax version as both are sintered.
  • The Fischer feels much more like a traditional xc ski.
Both my skis have the normal NNN-BC on them. Fine for these skis I think. They could take pins too if you wanted to use it to keep a common boot with another set of skis.

I kept the Fischer because, well, I generally like Fischer skis better AND more importantly, I felt it did what I wanted a ski in this class to do better - stride and glide.

No clue on the other skis but from the little I know about the Rossi double camber skis, I'd bet it's a stiff little sucker. I'd probably guess the same about the Asnes Vikafjell.

Personally, if I was going to buy knowing what I know now, I'd probably be aiming for the BC59, E89, or the Vikafjell - whatever I could get in the size I wanted and at the best price.

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by athabascae » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:23 pm

Thanks alot Mike. I forgot about the seperate gear review part of TT.

I'd really like to hear from anyone using the Asnes in the narrow class. ...and more thoughts on how these different skis compare, and how people use skis of this class.

What's the deal between extruded and sintered bases? Apparently the Vikafjell has extruded, not sintered, base - I'm not sure if that should be a deal-breaker...

Finally, do any folks use 75 mm on such skinny BC skis? How do you find it? I definitely would lean toward NNN BC for this, but the appeal of a one boot-binding system for a quiver sure is appealing, and I'm leaning the other way for the other half of my planned quiver.

Thanks.

Tom

MikeK

Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by MikeK » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:40 pm

If you can get some feedback here on the skinny Asnes, that would be a bit surprising. Those skis might be more rare than the others, and the influx is relatively recent around here.

Extruded is generally not as good, and as you saw on my other thread, doesn't hold wax as well (I didn't know that was an issue until now but have been fighting with them).

I've used 75mm on skinnies, a few other here have as well. They are fine. The slightly annoying thing is the drag of the sides of the wings when skiing in tracks. Teleman assures us that it's a good thing as you can use it to ratchet yourself up hills. I've yet to have that happen or master that technique... my boot is usually in the way, and the snow is not stiff enough to hold my weight back by that little bit sticking out past my boot.

Now that I've been skiing NNN, I find I like it a lot better on my more xc oriented skis, for obvious reasons.

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by gfwp » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:42 am

Fischer Powerlight (51-46-49) w full stell edges

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by Cannatonic » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:38 pm

my preference is for edge-less skis in this size - going with something a little wider for an edged ski (e99 type). If there's not much sidecut and not much turning is happening then I don't feel the need for adding the weight of edges.

I have been using Super Teles on this type of ski - mostly because I have to use 75mm boots. the last couple years I've been running around on these - 51mm waist -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KAZAMA-HIGH-COU ... SwQItT47bI

I don't ski in pre-set tracks so the toepiece "wings' aren't a problem. I've been buzzing around a couple XC areas in this setup, very enjoyable, although the 75mm sole boots are heavier than NNNBC boots.

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:44 pm

In my experience the steel edges are worth it – if you are truly going to be skiing “off-track”- at the very least they offer considerable protection to the ski’s sidewalls.

I think that a ski in this class could easily be a either a niche ski- or an everyday ski.

“It depends…”

First and foremost, I see them as traditional BC-XC skis- primarily designed to offer classic xcountry K&G performance- and as such- they offer the best of that ability in a trad xcountry length (which of course is why they are made in lengths up to 210+cm)- and on gentle to moderate terrain (i.e. none of these stiff, double-cambered skis are going to offer great downhill performance in a traditional length). (Atypically- people can and do use them as downhill-focused skis in short lengths- but not without losing the xcountry performance).

And I agree with you Tom- they are in their element on dense/hard snow- where flotation is not an issue.

So- if one’s everyday BC-skiing is on gentle to moderate terrain- and the snow is typically hard/dense- then this class of ski would easily be the best everyday choice.

This class of ski would be a “niche” ski for me…my everyday skiing probably could fit the terrain bill (if I avoid the steep stuff)- but I typically have 12-24 inches of fresh snow to ski on- and this class of ski does not offer enough flotation for that depth of snow- at least not in my experience- hence my current tendency to reach for a ski as wide as the Eon/Ingstad/E-109 for my everyday skiing.

Which one? I am under the impression that the BC-59 and the E-89 are made in the same factory- the E-89 has a higher quality base. As Mike reports (I have skied the E-89)- I can confirm that the E-89 is stiff and double-cambered, and fast on a dense base. That stiffness supports a very effective Nordic “kick”, but if the snow is too soft/deep- you just end up driving the tips/tails into the abyss- without effectively engaging the wax pocket.

The Voss has much softer tips/tails…That soft flex should offer better performance on soft snow- allowing a more effective engagement of the wax pocket.

Although it is a niche class of ski for me- I do get those ideal conditions- especially at the “bookends” of my ski season. I have been considering this class of ski for a few years…

My current top pick? The Vikafjell. Why? Asnes quality, durability and performance. I think that Asnes just gets it- they do not compromise the strengths of traditional Nordic skiing.

To end my ramble- I’ll throw another you another thing to consider…Something I haven’t resolved myself…

Why choose a class of ski this narrowly-focused?
Why not step up into the next class of BC-XC? E-99/BC-68/Glittertind/Amundsen/Gamme 54?
The place I end up, when I am considering this class of narrowest of BC-ski, is- why not take a step up in width? Yes- you lose a bit of camber/stiffness, and also lose some xcountry speed. But- you gain a much more versatile ski- one that both offers excellent performance on dense/hard snow- but also offers better performance on fresh snow.

For example, personally, I keep wondering whether a ski like the E-99 isn’t a more practical choice than the E-89…
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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by MikeK » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:00 pm

Valid questions...

I actually find I like the E89 to S78/Eon spread better!

Depends on what you want your 'versatile' ski to be. For me it's the Eon/S78/Ingstad class of skis. Good do it all in most BC snow skis. The E89 then becomes a specialty ski. For hard and fast. Or tracked out BC where you don't need dh control.

I would also say the edges are key. Not sure how many rocks you might encounter with a hard snow ski, but in the spring maybe?

I'd certainly rip the bases and sidewalls right out of my skis if I didn't have the edges to protect them. I can dress or gummy stone them to get rid of the burrs from hitting rocks. A lot of times I don't see them... just hiding below the surface, covered by a thin bit of dust.

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by athabascae » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:24 am

gfwp wrote:Fischer Powerlight (51-46-49) w full stell edges
Thanks. I'm not aware of that one, but I like the specs you provide - not far off from my Fischer track ski, but with a touch of sidecut and a metal edge. I assume its a speedy little ski.
lilcliffy wrote:I think that a ski in this class could easily be a either a niche ski- or an everyday ski.
For me, I would envision it as an everyday ski. While we don't ski at the XC ski club on tracks, my family all has track skis and we ski on packed down trails a lot around home. I would also use a narrow BC ski to ski around the excellent lake system we have near home - which is flat and often hard packed from sun and wind.

There is a ~30 km circuit out of my driveway that takes me from river valley bottom up into the alpine and then back down on abandoned mining roads that are packed down by snowmobiles. It would be fun and fast on ultralight XCD skis, and the scenery and wildlife are fantastic. Similar old mining road circuits are also within an hour radius of home.

Having said that, Mike, I too see the eon/e109/ingstad class being the versatile ski for me, the one to use when venturing away from the familiar hard packed trails around home. Its just that I would be skiing those lake systems and hard packed trails more frequently (even if I'd rather be doing a multi-day mountain tour...); hence, the narrower ski being the everyday (but not most versatile) ski.
lilcliffy wrote:In my experience the steel edges are worth it – if you are truly going to be skiing “off-track”- at the very least they offer considerable protection to the ski’s sidewalls.
I agree. For occasional lake ice, hard pack fast forest trails with rolling hills, and some protection.

I also agree about an Asnes ski. But, I'm currently eyeing their new one - Mountain Race 48 (60-48-53). At ~1600 grams its considerably lighter than the Vikafjell or any of the skis in the next category (which are all around 2000 grams). It can be found in Europe for about the same price as the Vikafjell in Canada.

As per your question of why not go to the e99/glittertind/gamme class instead: I tend to like to have a fairly wide gap in a quiver of outdoor products (e.g. for me, fly rods). If not, I hum-and-haw too much on which one to bring for a particular outing. I prefer to have a big gap and a pretty obvious choice about which tool to use for a particular day. Maybe that doesn't make sense to alot of folks, but it works for me. The e99/glittertind/gamme class is too similar to the e109/ingstad/eon class for my liking - I'd never be sure which ski to take!

Moreover, I really am looking for a lightweight, fast ski, similar to my old Bonna Conquest, that can do light BC duty, and in effect replace my track skis too. I think the e89/BC59/voss/vikfjell class is perfect for that.

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Re: The narrowest class of XCD Skis

Post by bgregoire » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:18 am

athabascae wrote:
gfwp wrote:Fischer Powerlight (51-46-49) w full stell edges
Thanks. I'm not aware of that one, but I like the specs you provide - not far off from my Fischer track ski, but with a touch of sidecut and a metal edge. I assume its a speedy little ski.
lilcliffy wrote:I think that a ski in this class could easily be a either a niche ski- or an everyday ski.
For me, I would envision it as an everyday ski. While we don't ski at the XC ski club on tracks, my family all has track skis and we ski on packed down trails a lot around home. I would also use a narrow BC ski to ski around the excellent lake system we have near home - which is flat and often hard packed from sun and wind.

There is a ~30 km circuit out of my driveway that takes me from river valley bottom up into the alpine and then back down on abandoned mining roads that are packed down by snowmobiles. It would be fun and fast on ultralight XCD skis, and the scenery and wildlife are fantastic. Similar old mining road circuits are also within an hour radius of home.

Having said that, Mike, I too see the eon/e109/ingstad class being the versatile ski for me, the one to use when venturing away from the familiar hard packed trails around home. Its just that I would be skiing those lake systems and hard packed trails more frequently (even if I'd rather be doing a multi-day mountain tour...); hence, the narrower ski being the everyday (but not most versatile) ski.
lilcliffy wrote:In my experience the steel edges are worth it – if you are truly going to be skiing “off-track”- at the very least they offer considerable protection to the ski’s sidewalls.
I agree. For occasional lake ice, hard pack fast forest trails with rolling hills, and some protection.

I also agree about an Asnes ski. But, I'm currently eyeing their new one - Mountain Race 48 (60-48-53). At ~1600 grams its considerably lighter than the Vikafjell or any of the skis in the next category (which are all around 2000 grams). It can be found in Europe for about the same price as the Vikafjell in Canada.

As per your question of why not go to the e99/glittertind/gamme class instead: I tend to like to have a fairly wide gap in a quiver of outdoor products (e.g. for me, fly rods). If not, I hum-and-haw too much on which one to bring for a particular outing. I prefer to have a big gap and a pretty obvious choice about which tool to use for a particular day. Maybe that doesn't make sense to alot of folks, but it works for me. The e99/glittertind/gamme class is too similar to the e109/ingstad/eon class for my liking - I'd never be sure which ski to take!

Moreover, I really am looking for a lightweight, fast ski, similar to my old Bonna Conquest, that can do light BC duty, and in effect replace my track skis too. I think the e89/BC59/voss/vikfjell class is perfect for that.
My understanding is that the Mountain Race is new version of the Holmenkollen:
http://www.utemagasinet.no/Utstyr/Smale-fjellski

Huge difference between the e99 and something like the ingstad, as far as i am concerned. I do understand your intention for a reduced quiver though. Its a sane concept.

In my quiver, a double cambered touring ski is a must for tracks: no metal edges that slice through the side of the track, a camber unemcumbered by metal and lightness, be it an old woodie or a news carboard core race ski, you gotta have at least one ready to go!
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