Asnes Nansen Review

Real reviews by real skiers. What a concept! Add your own today. Reviews only please, questions can be posted as replies but new threads looking for opinions should be posted to the main Telemark Talk Forum.
HBS
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:25 pm

Asnes Nansen Review

Postby HBS » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:54 pm

I'm lucky enough to live almost across the street from the sole US distributor of Asnes skies and last year, coming from a groomed trail nordic ski background, I was on the hunt for metal edged waxable touring skis for use in Colorados Front Range. I quickly figured out that the market for such a ski doesn't exist in the US aside from Asnes. I did a little research and settled on the Nansen - a full double cambered ski with metal edges and generous sidecut. I used the ski last year but most of my downhill experience on groomed trails with edgeless skis failed to carry over to narrow steep singletrack ski trails I was using it on.

On an overnight ski trip last year in the Indian Peaks Wilderness:
http://imgur.com/4aQshXl

This year I took a backcountry nordic class from the Colorado Mountain Club. I wasn't alone as many alpine downhills struggled on the skinny free heel skis. The class definitely helped clear up most of my troubles and now I feel at least partially qualified to review the skis although I don't have the telemark background most of the users here do.

A friend of mine describes the skiing we do as "hiking in skis" and I think that's pretty apt. These skis are excellent at the uphill - they kick and glide almost as well as my super skinny Fischer RCS's. The grip is as good as it gets; in group ski trips I am always the last to resort to herringbone because I wax 2/3 of the ski base which blows away short fish scales. The only downside is the weight of a wider ski but that's fairly minor if you're in shape (which I rarely am). You do occasionally notice the sidecut of the ski making it want to wander when kicking and gliding on really wide super packed/icy trails but I just keep a little more weight on the inside edges and they track fine. I don't notice it at all on the usual packed out singletrack because the sides tend to keep your shins in bounds.

I'm a lot more confident on the downhill after the class and find I can drive the edge of the ski in pretty well for short parallel turns in the broken in trail. Offtrail here is tough since it gets steep quick out of the valleys and the trees are pretty dense. 99% of my skiing is either breaking trail or in a broken out track, often broken by snowshoers. I did a little tele practice at a local bunny hill and found I could get the ski to turn pretty tight but getting the balance right was tough. I also ski them with NNN-BC bindings which don't necessarily lend themselves to a beginner telemarker.

Breaking trail they do well - the tips are tall and generally it's easy to keep them above the surface unless you get more than about a foot of fluffy powder. At that point things are just too deep for most skis. I think the waxable base is an advantage on powder as well since you're not relying on the shear strength of the snow like you are with scales.

I've used the kicker skins (nylon - 45mm) with good success uphill but they drag like hell on the downhill. It can actually be an advantage for spring skiing if you time things poorly and head back to the car too late in the day as things start to freeze back up. The extra drag makes getting down significantly easier so I often just leave them in the base of my pack. Also nice if the snow gets sticky as you can rub some liquid glide wax on them although recently a friend showed me how to rub flouro hard glide wax over his kickwax and that works even better but costs $$ for the flouro wax.

Let me know if you have any questions and hopefully I can answer them, but like I said I am not a tele skier.

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby MikeK » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:18 pm

Cool - thanks for the info. Sounds like the perfect ski for what you are doing.

Your BC XC, despite being in the front range, sounds very similar to what I encounter in the east. Typical BC conditions for trail skiing are what you describe - breaking trail, sometimes ski tracks, sometimes snowshoe ruts. Skiing down narrow, steep sections of snowshoe ruts is the part I think most Tele skiers don't understand :lol: Turning is only something you do to stay in the track!

Over the few years I've been into this I've done a vast array of different things with these type of skis, and I'd encourage you to as well. It sounds like you tried a little tele but really working not only on that, but all your XCD skills will really make all of your skiing more enjoyable.

Don't be discouraged by NNN-BC and being a beginner. It seems a lot the experienced skiers want to shoot it down because a) they tried it and it wasn't what they were used to feeling or b) they never even tried it themselves.

Being a beginner perhaps has some advantage in that you don't have those preconceived notions or expectations. If you know what it feels like to get the skis on edge and have them do their thing, the rest is just weighting and balance.

I'd do a lot of tele straight running in the single track context you are talking about when descending. This is one of the best things to do to really get the feel of your stance on the skis. I always found it hard to initiate a turn once I was tele straight running with speed, so I wouldn't suggest it as a useful technique to linking turns. I actually find it easier to stand up again and go back down to initiate - something about the weight and edging of the skis makes it easier (for me) when it is dynamic. Just something to keep in mind.

Also another good thing to do is force yourself to use turns even when you don't have to, but can generate the speed to do so. Once you start feeling more comfortable doing that, the easier they come when you really do need to turn them. I spent a lot of time looking for scenarios in my tours to do this... it helps a little to be on your own or to be with other like-minded individuals. If you are holding up the group goofing around swishing turns and falling, then I don't think you'll be all that popular.

Keep at it, have fun and you'll be able to really get the most out of those skis. Sounds like they are very, very capable!

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1172
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:57 pm

Awesome stuff man- thank you very much for posting this for us! I am VERY interested in the Nansen. Naming a ski after old Fridtjof is no small thing- I am glad it does not disappoint!

I am particularly curious about the flex pattern of the current Nansen. You describe it as "double-cambered", but what is its overall flex pattern?

Is the tip and/or tail significantly softer than the midsection?

When you reverse-flex the ski- does it have a smooth round, full-length flex- or does the tip/tail bend, leaving the midsection straight and rigid?

When skiing in very deep snow, does the ski feel supportive throughout its length?

The current Nansen has a ton of sidecut- that waist is no wider than an E-99/Gamme 54...If the Nansen has a smooth full-integrated and supportive flex- that waist is fine. If not.... :?:
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1172
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:37 pm

HBS wrote:This year I took a backcountry nordic class from the Colorado Mountain Club.

This is really cool btw. 8-)
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

HBS
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:25 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby HBS » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:01 pm

MikeK wrote:
I'd do a lot of tele straight running in the single track context you are talking about when descending. This is one of the best things to do to really get the feel of your stance on the skis. I always found it hard to initiate a turn once I was tele straight running with speed, so I wouldn't suggest it as a useful technique to linking turns. I actually find it easier to stand up again and go back down to initiate - something about the weight and edging of the skis makes it easier (for me) when it is dynamic. Just something to keep in mind.

Also another good thing to do is force yourself to use turns even when you don't have to, but can generate the speed to do so. Once you start feeling more comfortable doing that, the easier they come when you really do need to turn them. I spent a lot of time looking for scenarios in my tours to do this... it helps a little to be on your own or to be with other like-minded individuals. If you are holding up the group goofing around swishing turns and falling, then I don't think you'll be all that popular.

Keep at it, have fun and you'll be able to really get the most out of those skis. Sounds like they are very, very capable!


Thanks for the encouragement - I do a similar thing with mountain biking and jumping. I look for little rough sections to hop over or just lighten the bike and it helps with learning the motion (although I still can't huck for shit).

Skiing the Peaks trail from Breckenridge to Frisco tomorrow - a trail I did last year and fell quite a few times on. It's about 1700' of downhill and 700' of uphill thanks to a Gondola ride and the shuttle bus. The snow conditions look similar so it'll be neat to see how I've progressed a year later. Map here: http://caltopo.com/m/SB90

lilcliffy wrote:Is the tip and/or tail significantly softer than the midsection?

When you reverse-flex the ski- does it have a smooth round, full-length flex- or does the tip/tail bend, leaving the midsection straight and rigid?

When skiing in very deep snow, does the ski feel supportive throughout its length?

The current Nansen has a ton of sidecut- that waist is no wider than an E-99/Gamme 54...If the Nansen has a smooth full-integrated and supportive flex- that waist is fine. If not.... :?:


You'll have to take my analysis with a very large, perhaps even several, grains of salt since I really don't know my ass from my elbow when it comes to flex pattern. That said, when I flex the tip of the ski into the direction of the where snow should be (is that a reverse flex?) the ski flexes to all the way to my other hand at the binding but the majority of the flex is above Mr. Nansens neck where the thickness of the core starts to increase. That would be about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way to the balance point where I assume my binding is mounted. Flexing the tail in the same way it seems more even with similar flex the whole way to the binding.

When I put the skis face to face and flex the bindings in I do notice some rocker where the point that they meet near the tips recedes 8-10 cm down the length of the ski.

I really haven't done a lot of downhill powder skiing but I'll report back when I do.

lilcliffy wrote:
HBS wrote:This year I took a backcountry nordic class from the Colorado Mountain Club.

This is really cool btw. 8-)


Yeah I was surprised at how many people were in it! Seems like everyone either snowshoes or AT skis these days.

HBS
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:25 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby HBS » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:20 pm

I had to pack the skis up tonight to leave early tomorrow and figured you might appreciate a quick video:


The girlfriend gets home tomorrow night and maybe we can shoot one of another flex test since I only have one hand free haha.

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby MikeK » Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:58 am

Definitely looks like Nordic Rocker.

HBS - just something to add to what I said.

http://ski.itrundle.com/techniques/xcd1.html

Not a lot instructional info here, but I like the way this guy groups techniques into basic to advanced XCD. It's a good progression because the way he orders it everything builds upon the the others.

Most people can master basic XCD within a day, and is typically what is used for groomed XC skiing. Intermediate helps get you comfortable in controlling speed and balance for advanced techniques.

The one thing I'm surprised that isn't talked about is kick turns, both up and down. It's not hard to find information on those on youtube though.

HBS
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:25 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby HBS » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:49 pm

MikeK wrote:Definitely looks like Nordic Rocker.

HBS - just something to add to what I said.

http://ski.itrundle.com/techniques/xcd1.html

Not a lot instructional info here, but I like the way this guy groups techniques into basic to advanced XCD. It's a good progression because the way he orders it everything builds upon the the others.

Most people can master basic XCD within a day, and is typically what is used for groomed XC skiing. Intermediate helps get you comfortable in controlling speed and balance for advanced techniques.

The one thing I'm surprised that isn't talked about is kick turns, both up and down. It's not hard to find information on those on youtube though.


I'm not THAT much of a beginner but I appreciate the resource. I think I've got most of those techniques down until you get to "adv XCD".

I actually have kick turned my way down a steep wooded slope last winter but the snow was sticking to the wax so I was basically cheating. Stem turning also comes fairly easily but I don't often get a chance to use it outside the resort.

I think my biggest problem is just not having accessed wide open slopes steep enough to practice the more advanced stuff in. I ski in the trees on my alpine downhill setup but don't trust my skills on nordic skis to risk it beyond playing very safe. In colorado these wide open slopes are generally above treeline (>11,000 feet, most winter trailheads being around 9,000 ft) or avalanche prone if they're below treeline.

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby MikeK » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:51 pm

Oh - I didn't mean to insinuate that you are beginner, but just that I like the way he outlines basic/intermediate/advanced.

Advanced is where most people have to work a bit harder with XCD.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1172
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Asnes Nansen Review

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:57 pm

Thanks for the excellent video regarding the Nordic rocker on the Nansen- Asnes needs to promote that!

I was also wondering what the Nansen feels like- and looks like- when you attempt to reverse-flex the entire length of a single ski.

UTE's flex test describes the Nansen- or at least the model they tested- having a full-length, round reverse-flex. For comparison, they describe the Ingstad as having a more pronounced wax pocket underfoot- I can personally testify to that.

The reason I ask is that I tend to be suspicious of narrow XCD skis with this much sidecut. If one weighs anything- I weigh 185lbs without a pack (I cannot believe how many featherweight skiers there are out there)- a ski like the Nansen needs a lot of integrated flex and resistance in order to support that narrow waist. A soft, round flex on a narrow ski might be fine in a downhill turn- but it really sucks in a XC context if one is too heavy...

I am greatly interested in the Nansen as a xcD ski- but, only if it is strong enough for that skinny waist to support my weight and a powerful kick...
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


Return to “Community Ski Reviews”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest