Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

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bgregoire
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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by bgregoire » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:22 pm

Leo Tasker wrote:The ski conditions haven't been ideal here, hovering around freezing but I've found even putting on a softer wax than the temps needed hasn't helped much. The only way I've been able to get grip on anything other than flat terrain was kick waxing almost the entire length of the skis, this then killed the glide (which is superb btw, such a fast ski on the downhills!).
Hold up! Breathe! 200cm does not sound like way out of the ordinary length for you.

Is this your first time on a wax ski? If the temps are hovering around zero you should be expecting wax issues. To me, that would be a good time to use the X-skins, cut to your length of course so that they do not drag too much. You should have an easier time with wax on non-transformed snow (by thawing), -3C or colder.

Did you get a camber test done when you bought them? I would be surprised if they are actually stiffer than your track skis.
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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Leo Tasker » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:51 pm

bgregoire wrote: Hold up! Breathe!
:lol:
bgregoire wrote:Is this your first time on a wax ski? If the temps are hovering around zero you should be expecting wax issues. To me, that would be a good time to use the X-skins, cut to your length of course so that they do not drag too much. You should have an easier time with wax on non-transformed snow (by thawing), -3C or colder.

Did you get a camber test done when you bought them? I would be surprised if they are actually stiffer than your track skis.
My Rossignols are waxed but they are a traditonal XC tour ski, about 45mm underfoot with minimal sidecut and in 203cm length. I also have a pair of waxless Rossi OT65 but have fallen out of love with these because they are so slow in most conditions!

This is my first time on a BC boot and binding setup though, so I wonder if I'm just not getting the springy kick feeling that I'm used to? Maybe this takes some time to adjust to a different technique...

It is actually feels easier to compress the Gammes by hand, but the wax pocket visibly stays open whereas the Rossi bases fully touch, this may be because they are a bit old now or because they are a fairly low end model. I did not get a camber test done when I bought them but the sales guy confirmed that the 200cm would be fine for my weight. It's a good shop which i have used before and they had the 190cm Gamme in stock as well, so I am confident he wasn't just pushing for an easy sale!

Temperatures are due to drop here in the next week or two, so I will do a bit more testing with both wax and skins, then I have a multi day mountain trip at the beginning of March so will be able to put them through their paces properly.

I'm not giving up on them yet!

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by bgregoire » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:36 pm

Leo Tasker wrote: It is actually feels easier to compress the Gammes by hand, but the wax pocket visibly stays open whereas the Rossi bases fully touch, this may be because they are a bit old now or because they are a fairly low end model.
What you are describing for the Gamme is the double camber. You are compressing 1st camber, and noticing the wax pocket (2nd camber). I'm surprised the Rossis at more than 200cm are not as stiff. Rossi skis are usually stiff too. So if they are really old, perhaps they are shot?!

So, revisiting what you just said, I would say of the two, its the Gammes that are harder to compress by hand.

You need to go give it some more tries. You might have to kick more than you are used to. You basically have to fully compress the kick ski so that the wax hits the ground if you want to move forward....but you know that already.

This is one of the reasons why Asnes recommends a shorter length, when you are starting out on cambered skis...
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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:17 pm

I would suggest that your challenge is potentially caused by snow that is difficult to wax for (which it certainly is- there is a reason why performance-orientated Classic track skiers have "zero" skis set up for that most challenging context), IF it wasn't for the fact that you are not having any trouble with your slightly longer Rossignol track skis...

It does sound like a camber-stiffness and perhaps technique issue...

If I understand correctly- you were comparing the Gamme to the Rossi on a groomed track?
If so- you may have an even more frustrating problem on soft backcountry snow and steep terrain...If you cannot engage the wax pocket effectively on consolidated, groomed snow, you are going to have even more difficulty on deep soft snow and when climbing steep slopes...

The strength of a ski like the Gamme- IMO- is in its double-cambered distance-oriented touring efficiency.
That being said- it is not a track ski- it is a backcountry ski and one needs to be able to effectively engage the wax pocket on backcountry snow and terrain!

For comparison- I weigh 185lbs (84kg) and can engage the wax pocket on soft snow (though it requires a more focused kick than my softer Ingstad BC for example). Standing on them on a hard surface, there is a VERY shallow wax pocket underneath them when I stand on them evenly- the Gamme 54 has the lowest profile true double camber of any ski I have ever owned (For comparison the wax pocket on my 205cm camber-and-a-half Ingstad BC is completely squashed when I stand on them equally weighted).

In my experience/opinion, you want to be able to relatively easily squash and pressure that camber underfoot if you want to be able to enjoy that ski on deep soft snow and hilly/steep terrain.

I am under the impression that there is still considerable variation in flex-camber between individual pairs of Asnes Fjellskis- is this true? If so- perhaps you just happened to buy an extra stiff set of Gammes? Could you go back to your shop and stand on multiple pairs of 200cm and then multiple pairs of 190cm?

(As another example- mail ordering a backcountry ski as stiff and cambered as the Amundsen is almost scary if there is variation between pairs!)

Those conditions are difficult to kick wax for...And perhaps your Rossi track skis are so much softer that they are not a fair comparison?

Have you tried kick waxing the Gamme on soft snow? If so- results?

In the end- if they are too stiff and cambered for your weight on backcountry snow- you are going to need a different pair of skis- either a softer Gamme or a shorter one...

If there is variation between pairs you could run into the same problem with the MRs or the MTs...

The softer and less cambered Fjellskis are not as much of a challenge to size- though I can imagine buying an Ingstad that was so soft that it did not have enough of an effective wax pocket for my liking..

Reading your report suggests that perhaps I was just lucky in the flex-camber of the 210cm that I received! I do have to acknowledge that I am a relatively assertive skier- I tend to push my skis pretty hard. I regularly tour with other skiers that are heavier than me that have grip/glide problems with a ski I have personally waxed and tested for them.

I obviously cannot speak to your skiing style, technique, and snow-terrain conditions- but I can DEFINITELY echo your frustration with lack of grip. I simply CANNOT tolerate inadequate grip. I prep my skis such that I can kick and glide without the use of my poles.

If you can flex-camber test multiple pairs in your shop I would take advantage of that.
I would test the performance of your set on soft backcountry snow ASAP. And I would be prepared to move them and replace them with a ski better suited to you. Double-cambered skis can be a real bitch to size properly- especially for backcountry snow and terrain.

On a final note-
If I remember correctly- your initial reports on this ski were more positive weren't they?
Has this ski been great- in terms of wax grip- on colder and softer snow?
IF this is true- than I would suggest that the Rossi ski is so much softer that it isn't a fair comparison, and that it is a "difficult to wax for" problem...Did you try klister on the Gamme as well?

If your Gamme has inadequate grip on snow that is easier to wax for, then it is perhaps obviously a flex-camber problem...
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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Leo Tasker » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:27 am

Thanks for the input guys - I think you are both right, it's partly to do with the snow conditions and partly to do with my technique. I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with the skis, especially as so many other people have had such a good time with theirs.

To Lilcliffy's point, the first two times I used them I did have a pretty positive experience, since then we have had a period of mild weather and this has made the conditions difficult to wax for. On the tracks it's currently slightly wet, groomed snow over harder icy stuff - certainly not ideal! I haven't had much chance to test them on fresh snow, but going off the tracks in some deeper, ungroomed snow has actually been more positive in terms of grip, so I'm reasonably confident they will be better when I take them up to the mountains.

My old Rossignols still ski nicely, but they were a beginner to intermediate level ski so it's probably allowed me to be a bit lazy and my technique hasn't needed to progress to a more dynamic style. The OT65 I have are certainly stiffer as you say, but as these are waxless they don't require much finesse to use. I will definitely have to be more conscious of my weight distribution/body position when using the Gammes, as well as learning to be a bit more aggressive when kicking.
I obviously cannot speak to your skiing style, technique, and snow-terrain conditions- but I can DEFINITELY echo your frustration with lack of grip. I simply CANNOT tolerate inadequate grip. I prep my skis such that I can kick and glide without the use of my poles.
Totally agree, I like to use my poles more for balance and rely on the ski for forward propulsion, it's been really frustrating not to have that with the Gammes.

I haven't used Klister on the Gammes, although the conditions probably warrant it right now. My aim was to use the X-skins as an alternative to messy Klister for warmer, wet snow - which definitely worked pretty well when I tried them the other day. I will trim another 1cm off the heel and see if that improves the glide a bit more.

Ultimately I bought these as a mountain ski, and have been testing them like a track ski so the problem certainly lies with me! :lol:

I will keep on with them and report back once I've got a few more miles on them!

Cheers, Leo

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by fisheater » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:54 am

Well Leo you have succeeded in scaring the tar out of me. My Gamme sitting in the corner as the USGI are the only ski going out in the thin cover I have. That is when I have any snow at all! My construction site still has no power despite my best efforts with the power company. It has been very cold during the work week, only to have above average temps and rain on the weekend! I don't know if this is a Norwegian curse for bringing Gamme south of the 45th parallel! I am at 42'40", and this winter has been very frustrating.
You described your snow as being wet. I do not do well on Swix red in those conditions. I find Swix red/silver much better in those conditions. Personally, one of the things that attracted me to the Gamme was the option of the X-skin in those conditions. Right now I have basically ice, it's not hard enough to skate on, but even my dog is sliding around in the yard. If i wasn't waiting for the auto parts store to call me back with my part order I would try blue klister, because my snow is still to thin and my trails to rocky to break out the Gamme.
So while you work on technique, as I also must do. Try red/silver, use you X-skin, use klister if you must. Oh! Very important! Don't apply grip wax behind your heel. It only seems to retard glide, but does not seem to me to help with grip.
Please report back hopefully good results. It isn't nice to scare a snow deprived guy whose Gamme are sitting in the corner waiting for deeper snow! I will be out tomorrow, today's chores completed, even if it is ice klister and rock skis!

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Cannatonic » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:38 pm

no worries, it's just a bad wax day, you have the correct length. I've got 210cm Gamme and MT51 and they both work great for me, I'm only about 10 pounds heavier than you. Semi-frozen conditions around freezing are bad for waxing, the Gamme enables you to use a short mohair skin on those days, it works really well for me on the 210's. Shorten it to under your binding's heel pad and I think you'll be pleased.

Maybe the Rossi skis are working better in the tracks because they're narrower? The wider tip & tail of Gamme may not benefit you in that setting (icy track skiing), it changes the ratio of glide-to-grip surface.

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Leo Tasker » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:21 pm

Haha, certainly not trying to put anyone of their Gammes! The issues most certainly lie with me, and not the ski :lol:

I do have some Swix V60 red/silver wax, but it's such a mess to put on I try to avoid it if at all possible. I did see your post about keeping it in the freezer before applying, I hadn't thought of this but will give it a try! With a very sticky wax like that is there a risk of messing up the glue on the X-skins if I put them on top, or would you take the time first to scrape as much wax off as possible?

Definitely the Rossi XC skis are easier to use locally, the extra width of the Gammes makes them want to lift out of the track or bind up in places so I've been sticking to the flat center of the trail where possible. That's not a fault of the ski, the same thing happened to a lesser extent with my Rossi OT65, these have 3/4 length steel edges so are more flexible at the tip.

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Cannatonic » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:23 pm

I would say yes, avoid using warm-weather wax under the skins. I think you're only supposed to apply the skins to bases with blue or colder wax on them.

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Re: Ski Review: 2018-2019 Åsnes Gamme 54 BC

Post by Leo Tasker » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:12 am

We've finally had a drop in temperature here along with a small dump of snow which has given me a chance to give the Gammes another go. I started by scraping and completely de-waxing the bases, then used some fine sandpaper on the approximate area of the kick zone (from the boot heel to where the Xskin mounting point is). Then I following Lilcliffy's guide agin, ironing in Swix Polar (although I didn't go all the way to the tip, maybe about 15cm back). The temperature was about -4 deg C so I put Swix Violet over the Polar, again from the heel to Xskin point.

The result: Much better! The ski still seems to need a fairly active technique but the grip was almost perfect, only slipping on steeper uphills. I stopped halfway through my 25km route to apply more wax and extend it slightly further forward, and it was pretty much perfect from that point on. I had the mohair skins with me but didn't feel any need to put them on during the day.

The other thing i had done was detune the edges much more aggressively. I took a file to them and properly rounded them off front and back, just leaving the area of the kick zone sharp. I didn't feel any loss of control on the downhills, in fact they were a lot less grabby so easier to keep both skis running in a straight line, It also had the benefit of making them much easier to ski in the cut tracks, as the fronts seemed less likely to ride up and out. I would agree with the point someone else made (maybe on a different thread) about the metal edges being more about protecting the ski than carving ability.

One thing I have noticed is a creaking sound from the bindings (Rottefella BC Manual) when the ski is flexed, has anyone else experienced this? Seems to be where the toe and heel pieces sit on top of the plastic central section. I'm sure it's fine, just annoying, so I was thinking of taking them off and putting something like wax on there to see if it helps...

Overall, much happier with my new skis now.
Thanks to everyone for holding my hand and telling me everything would be ok! :lol:

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