Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

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Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by NMskier » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:37 pm

Let’s start with the obvious - both the Asnes Nansen and the Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite are very capable skis for the back country. The dimensions are similar. The Nansen is 76 58 66, shovel waist and tail. The Fischer is a big larger in each dimension - 82 60 70. This is the pre-easy skin version so modern Fischer skis might be slightly different. The length is identical - 200cm for both ski. Both are mounted with 3 pin Voile bindings, thought the Fischer binding accepts cables (which I virtually never use).

Rest of the kit - I ski on Alico leather boots, and carbon Karhu BC-1 poles (more about those later).

I ski almost exclusively in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque. The remainder is near Santa Fe, with very occasional trips up to Colorado. Yes, NM is a desert, but in good years we can have 6 solid months of skiing, even more for those who ski summer chutes in the Rockies to our North (I am not one of those people.) Luckily this year is a good year and we have had above average snow.

My previous kit was a set of Karhu Pavos that I bought in 1998 I skied for 15 plus years until one ski broke. Back in the day ignorance was bliss and I was totally happy with my metal edged Karhu skis. But now I needed a replacement, so I started down the rabbit hole of the internet, and ultimately I bought more skis than I need, of course.

After reading this forum I got the Fischer E109 Crown in the Offtrack Crown waxless version. The ski I have is pre Easy-skin (so no hole in the ski). i also bought a Fischer Traverse 78 in 189cm length with Easy Skin. Between the e109 and the Traverse, I absolutely liked the e109 better. It is a longer ski 200cm vs 189cm and the increased speed and improved glide is much appreciated. The camber is greater in the e109s too leading to a glorious springy feeling when there is fresh powder on top of old hardback. I find the e109s turn easier too. This might be that I am just more comfortable on the skis, or as I suspect, that the camber helps the edges engage and initiate turning better.

I bought the Asnes this year because I wanted to try out the ultimate, hard to obtain Norwegian ski. I was influenced by this forum, also by Andrew Skurka's blog and videos made by the staff of Neptune Mountaineering. I had never used a waxless ski, but I figured it was the next step up to get even better performance. I visited Neptune this summer and placed my order, and then I waited a couple months for the new stock to come in in late Fall. At first I was afraid to use them, thinking I would scratch these beautiful skis. Not to worry, I already did hit a rock and they are no longer pristine.

The Nansens are great skis. The dimensions are very similar to the Fischer. The length is identical. I first took the ski out on one of the coldest January days here after a big snowfall. The feel of the ski on fresh powdery snow is sublime. They turn beautifully. The ski glided in a buttery smoothness that I had not experienced with other skis, owing to the lack of fish scales. The absence of noise from the scales was welcome. I discovered that the lack of scales comes with a cost. I had injured my ankle earlier in the season, and with the wax the grip was not as good as fish scales. So a few times my foot slipped back suddenly and involuntarily. This caused jabs of pain in my sore ankle. I have since recovered, but this was an early lesson that waxed skis do not offer the grip of waxless. However, I still have not figured out the waxing thing. I am just using the temperature recommendations on the Swix wax kit, and waxing the entire ski fore to aft, but it is possible I need to improve my wax technique.

I have taken the Nansen out several times and only was able to ski in the manner that I am used to, charging up sometimes steepish slopes, when I use the climbing skins.

My feeling is that climbing ability of the Nansen with the skin is similar to the waxless Fischer crown E109. The performance of the Nansen with the climbing skin is as good as the Fischer with the waxless grip. Of course with the skin on, the Nansen loses some of its buttery glide. I would love to get some advice in case I can improve my waxing and enjoy the skis more.

One issue with using the Nansen climbing skins as backup is that the adhesive is it supposed to be applied to recent wax, since it interferes with adhesion. That presents a problem, doesn’t it? You can’t easily go back and forth if you cant use the skins on a waxed surface. I also got some warm temp wax on the fiber of the ski wen I tried to wax along side the skin. I won’t make that mistake again.

My main takeaway is for the skiiing that I do, waxless is just better. The Fischers are a fun, capable ski that excels at climbing and executes turns in soft snow like a champ. I also like the Fischer’s for their versatility. It performs better for most of my local snow conditions. We have wide variation in snow temperature, affected by time of day, elevation, sun exposure etc, that can all vary during the course of a single ski outing. In my mind, it is not reasonable to change wax during one ski outing, and being required to take skins on and off is an extra hassle.

For me the Nansens will be special occasion ski for cold snow and fresh powder when I am skiing on relatively low angle trails, and I will use the skins as backup for uphill. My primary go-to ski is going to remain the Fischer, which meets all my needs.

A couple other things I notice are that my binding on the Fischer is mounted further forward than the Nansens. I left the mounting decision to Neptune (so I'm not sure if its chord center or balance center), when I ordered the skis. I am not I sure if the position makes as difference in my preference for the e109.
IMG_9779.jpg
Nansens with 45 mm mohair climbing skins
IMG_9772.jpg
Big difference in camber - Fischer's got more
IMG_9771.jpg
Local terrain
IMG_9773.jpg
IMG_9775.jpg
More Nordic rocker on the Nansen
Skiing Fischer e109 and Åsnes Nansen

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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by Cannatonic » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:54 pm

Good review! With the 2 skis you have, E109 crown and Nansen, I would divide them up by tempurature. I'd ski the E109 above freezing and the Nansen below. That way you can keep harder wax on the Nansen, like BLue or Blue extra, and the skin shouldn't have a problem sticking to the wax when you need to use it. I wouldn't use the skin unless it was icy or frozen granular and below freezing.

Kick wax should be able to climb nearly as well as offtrack crown on dry cold snow (below freezing). Not sure why it's not gripping for you. I've got older Sbound 78's and I never use them if I can use waxed skis instead - the glide is so much better on dry snow. The scales can get hung up on dry powder for me and drag. Maybe they work better on your typical snow conditions...or maybe you just climb more hills.

do you have Swix Blue Extra? It's "money" for me in the teens and 20's, always seems to work well. I apply it like a crayon, usually it takes a few passes to cover the base, then I rub on cork over to flatten & spread it a bit - always works better inside when everything is warm. is this what you're doing??

I'm sure Neptune mounted the bindings at "balance point", the BP of the E109's is probably in a slightly different spot.
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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by NMskier » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:46 pm

Cannatonic wrote:Good review! With the 2 skis you have, E109 crown and Nansen, I would divide them up by tempurature. I'd ski the E109 above freezing and the Nansen below. That way you can keep harder wax on the Nansen, like BLue or Blue extra, and the skin shouldn't have a problem sticking to the wax when you need to use it. I wouldn't use the skin unless it was icy or frozen granular and below freezing.

Kick wax should be able to climb nearly as well as offtrack crown on dry cold snow (below freezing). Not sure why it's not gripping for you. I've got older Sbound 78's and I never use them if I can use waxed skis instead - the glide is so much better on dry snow. The scales can get hung up on dry powder for me and drag. Maybe they work better on your typical snow conditions...or maybe you just climb more hills.

do you have Swix Blue Extra? It's "money" for me in the teens and 20's, always seems to work well. I apply it like a crayon, usually it takes a few passes to cover the base, then I rub on cork over to flatten & spread it a bit - always works better inside when everything is warm. is this what you're doing??

I'm sure Neptune mounted the bindings at "balance point", the BP of the E109's is probably in a slightly different spot.
Thanks for the advice. I think I will ski the Nansens when it is cold as you recommend. I need to pick up some Swix Blue Extra, and see how that works for me. I have tried applying the wax both inside and out.


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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by lilcliffy » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:54 am

Thank you for this excellent review! An enjoyable, interesting and informative read!
Perhaps you should include the Traverse 78 in your title and review as well! Your preference for the E109- over the 78- tells me quite a bit. Very helpful. I have not skied a 78 since years before I bought my E109 Xtralites- I figured that the camber and flex was similar underfoot between the 78 and the E109- it is very helpful to know they are different. Do you think that they might "feel" different underfoot because of the different lengths?

I have the exact same model of E-109 Crown Xtralite- in a 205cm. It is currently my best distance-oriented waxless-scaled ski- for hilly terrain. (I have a 210cm E-99 Crown Xtralite as well- it is excellent on gentle terrain- but it is too cambered and stiff for hilly terrain- a 200cm E99 Crown would probably be better for hilly terrain at my weight.) If I am not mistaken- Fischer is no longer making this ski? I don't think they ever offered it with the Easy-Skin attachment.

Your comparison with the Nansen is marvelous and helpful. I have been intrigued by this ski for years!

How would you compare the camber and flex of your Nansen versus the E109?

Have you ever used these two skis in very deep snow? If so- how would you compare the flotation and stability in deep soft snow?

The Offtrack Crown insert offers excellent traction. Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the Crown insert on the 78 positioned differently- isn't the Crown insert on the 78 longer and further forward than on the E-109? And- if so- do you find that the 78 has even more grip when climbing? And- if so- do you think this, plus the shorter length may also affect your glide?

On the turn initiation piece- does your E109 have more tip rocker than the 78?

Your comparison of grip wax vs scales may well be experience- but, it could also be climate.
I don't know if you already mentioned it- but, when you do use the Nansen what temp/color wax are you using?
And did I read this right- you are applying grip wax to the entire base?

My experience here- skiing very hilly terrain- is I get better grip and glide with grip wax on my E109 Tour- for example- than I do with the E109 Crown- when the snow is cold and fresh (e.g. Swix "Blue"-V30 and colder- though in recent years I am frequently being able to use V30 on soft snow that I used to need Violet or Red...) This winter I am getting better climbing grip on cold fresh snow, than other skiers are with glide wax and the Fischer/Asnes integrated kicker skins.

That being said- when the snow is warm and wet- the grip of the scales are excellent- and the Offtrack Crown offers the best traction of any scales I have tried (except fat Voile BC skis- but that isn't really a fair comparison considering the massive difference in width and camber).

I do wish that my E109 Crown Xtralite had an Easy-Skin attachment. In early spring skiing here, it is often still very cold in the morning and then warms up above freezing in the afternoon. Add to that steep terrain, ravines and multiple exposures- backcountry grip waxing at this time of year is an exercise in frustration. Klister does do the trick- but then I cannot use my skins for steeper climbing (and no matter what I am not about to start klistering the entire base!!!!)
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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by NMskier » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:25 pm

lilcliffy wrote:Thank you for this excellent review! An enjoyable, interesting and informative read!
Perhaps you should include the Traverse 78 in your title and review as well! Your preference for the E109- over the 78- tells me quite a bit. Very helpful. I have not skied a 78 since years before I bought my E109 Xtralites- I figured that the camber and flex was similar underfoot between the 78 and the E109- it is very helpful to know they are different. Do you think that they might "feel" different underfoot because of the different lengths?

I have the exact same model of E-109 Crown Xtralite- in a 205cm. It is currently my best distance-oriented waxless-scaled ski- for hilly terrain. (I have a 210cm E-99 Crown Xtralite as well- it is excellent on gentle terrain- but it is too cambered and stiff for hilly terrain- a 200cm E99 Crown would probably be better for hilly terrain at my weight.) If I am not mistaken- Fischer is no longer making this ski? I don't think they ever offered it with the Easy-Skin attachment.

Your comparison with the Nansen is marvelous and helpful. I have been intrigued by this ski for years!

How would you compare the camber and flex of your Nansen versus the E109?

Have you ever used these two skis in very deep snow? If so- how would you compare the flotation and stability in deep soft snow?

The Offtrack Crown insert offers excellent traction. Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the Crown insert on the 78 positioned differently- isn't the Crown insert on the 78 longer and further forward than on the E-109? And- if so- do you find that the 78 has even more grip when climbing? And- if so- do you think this, plus the shorter length may also affect your glide?

On the turn initiation piece- does your E109 have more tip rocker than the 78?

Your comparison of grip wax vs scales may well be experience- but, it could also be climate.
I don't know if you already mentioned it- but, when you do use the Nansen what temp/color wax are you using?
And did I read this right- you are applying grip wax to the entire base?

My experience here- skiing very hilly terrain- is I get better grip and glide with grip wax on my E109 Tour- for example- than I do with the E109 Crown- when the snow is cold and fresh (e.g. Swix "Blue"-V30 and colder- though in recent years I am frequently being able to use V30 on soft snow that I used to need Violet or Red...) This winter I am getting better climbing grip on cold fresh snow, than other skiers are with glide wax and the Fischer/Asnes integrated kicker skins.

That being said- when the snow is warm and wet- the grip of the scales are excellent- and the Offtrack Crown offers the best traction of any scales I have tried (except fat Voile BC skis- but that isn't really a fair comparison considering the massive difference in width and camber).

I do wish that my E109 Crown Xtralite had an Easy-Skin attachment. In early spring skiing here, it is often still very cold in the morning and then warms up above freezing in the afternoon. Add to that steep terrain, ravines and multiple exposures- backcountry grip waxing at this time of year is an exercise in frustration. Klister does do the trick- but then I cannot use my skins for steeper climbing (and no matter what I am not about to start klistering the entire base!!!!)
Those are great comments and good questions. I need to check the location of the scales on the Traverse versus the E109. I have used the Black Diamond GlideLite kicker skins on the E109 and that works well, although it is not quite as convenient as the Easy-Skin attachment. And those skins cover up the metal edges of the skis, which does not happen with the Easy-Skin or the narrow Asnes climbing skins


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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by Roelant » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:21 am

Hello!
I just came back from my first longer outing on my new Nansens (205cm waxable base). I had tried them only on shorter hills before.
In the earlier outings, I did try the Nansens with full base swix polar but perhaps the snow was too warm for it to grip for me, and I then used Nylon 30mm and Mohair 45mm short skins (both impregnated with Swix Yellow glide wax) in the remainder of those trips, only to find that I did not like the nylons due to the huge friction.

I skied Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite 205cm until they broke last year.

Back to yesterday's trip:
Temperatures were around freezing, the tour was a total of 21 km, of which about half were on groomed ski tracks. There were many elevation changes (550m cumulative elevation gain, although total difference between highest and lowest points was only 200m) thus it involved lots of skiing up and down smaller hills on the way. We had "fresh breeze" winds against us on the way back and it was snowing wet snow.
I used Mohair skins for the whole trip, which I did not take off because the descents were never continuous, and often included extended flats. Furthermore I was concerned that I would not get them to stick again once removed and wet.

On hard packed snow and groomed ski tracks the Nansens with mohair skins are much less efficient than the E109 crowns, although it was easier to make the Nansen go straight while kicking and gliding (the E109 always had a desire to turn).
My girlfriend with waxless Madshus Glittertinds was systematically waiting for me in the flatter sections or downhill sections of the groomed trail, whereas usually, when I was skiing the E109s, this was the opposite; the Madhus Glittertind MGV+ are pretty poor gliders compared to other waxless patterns.
I also have a pair of Fischer E99 Crown at home, I keep them for my brother who lives in the Netherlands and comes to Norway for skiing. The E99's are faster than the E109s, partly because they are more keen to go straight, but otherwise the difference in efficiency on hard packed snow is not night and day.

In deeper snow sections I would say that the kick and glide efficiency of the different skis is about the same. Perhaps the Mohair skins had some better grip but both the Glittertinds and Nansens with short skins managed pretty well.

It seemed to me that the Nansens were easy to steer, perhaps even easier than the E109 Crowns, however I failed to pick up significant speed due to the always on skins. Also, my impression was that the Nansens carry weight a bit better than the E109s.
On a side note, I find the Glittertinds pretty tough to turn.

Obvious conclusions, often said by others before, but perhaps worth writing anyways -
- In certain or varying snow conditions, waxing may be tricky. If softer grip wax fails, then this has to be removed before applying skins.
- On hard packed snow, waxless is noticeably faster gliding than mohair kicker skins, perhaps above certain gradients skins provide better grip
- In deep snow, in the flats and slight uphills the difference in efficiency seems negligible, however the downhill glide with kicker skins was noticeably less good, also in powder
- In the kind of trails that I usually ski, removing skins and putting them back around short-ish downhill sections does not seem like a good solution.

So I share NMskiers opinion, waxless is just better for me. It allows me to focus on the skiing rather than the conditions.

And I am just about to place an order for Nansen Waxless skis.
I doubt that I will keep the waxable Nansens. There is a good used market for them here in Norway. I can see that they would be great as a "faster" alternative if the snow is right or, on a purely up and down trip without extended flats, or if I know beforehand that temperatures will remain significantly below 0 for an entire trip. We will see...
As I got the waxable Nansens as a warranty replacement for the broken E109's, it is not a major financial impact.
Cheers

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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by Woodserson » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:56 am

This thread is really fantastic with solid info on two popular but harder to get (as in physically handle in a shop). I certainly appreciate all the typing!

Roelant wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:21 am

I skied Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite 205cm until they broke last year.
Can you tell us how your E109 broke? I don't believe that the 109 Crown ever came with an EZ Skin attachment but if it did, did it break around the attachment point? Very curious about this.

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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by Roelant » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:37 am

Woodserson wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:56 am
Can you tell us how your E109 broke? I don't believe that the 109 Crown ever came with an EZ Skin attachment but if it did, did it break around the attachment point? Very curious about this.

Hi,
As far as I can tell the Fischer E109 Crown is not made anymore. My version did not have an "easy skin" hole, and I am not sure whether such version existed.
As far as breakage is concerned, I noticed that one ski had a cracked steel edge which was subsequently peeling off towards the side, on day 3 during a multi-day easter trip in Trollheimen. My main concern at that stage was safety. I could conceivably impale / cut my opposite leg, or cause nasty cuts while handling the skis. The breakage was near the heel.
I could not notice the problem while skiing, but humidity got into the ski inevitably, this would at some point lead to further failure ("lightweight" wood core...)
Curiously when I got home on day 5, and I was inspecting the skis, I noticed that one steel edge on the other ski had broken in more or less the same place. Faulty production run maybe?
I did not do any jumps or remember hitting massive rocks, and this is the first time that I had a steel edge fail on any ski.
The skis were 2.5 years old. I contacted the shop, who forwarded pictures to Fischer. Fischer provided the shop with a warranty replacement (E109 waxable, as Crown was not available anymore last year) but I asked the shop if they could swap out the replacement with Åsnes Nansen instead. This was free of charge. I had to prove that I was not going to use the E109s anymore (I cut them in 2).
Otherwise I was very happy with the E109 crowns. Better glide than Madshus Glittertinds MGV waxless, easier to steer than E99s. They did not float very well in deep snow (they would bend through quite a bit), and as mentioned before, they were a bit "squirrelly" on packed snow. Of minor importance, whereas the Nansens, E99s and Glittertinds appear to "almost" fit in prepared XC tracks (rub a bit but passable in straight sections), the E109s definitely do not. This was never of real concern for me though...

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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by bgregoire » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:20 pm

That's precisely how my first generation of E99 extralites failed (the ones with the mountain landscape on them, 2013 or so). I had to contact the Fisher rep directly and haggle my way into a free replacement. Mine failed on their 50s or so day of skiing. I had to stress that my partner skied all those 50 days with me on her early 2000s era E99s + at least an additional 10 years of skiing...and other than a roughted up p-tex base, hers were still nearly pristine!

I since bought an older version. Sure, they don't turn as well but those at least are built to last.
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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Re: Ski Review 2018-19 Asnes Nansen versus Fischer E109 Crown Xtralite

Post by Cannatonic » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:42 pm

these are useful reports! The fishscales do excel at up & down tours or doing laps for turns. I'm surprised people find the Fischer offtrack pattern gliding well though, that is my one complaint about them, the glide seems terrible at times. Maybe it's better on the E109's due to the wider tip & tail sections. I've only used E99 and Sbound 78 offtracks.

I would love to hear how those waxless Nansen work - I am thinking of ordering some in the spring sales. However I'm concerned the pattern won't be strong enough. I would like something a little smoother than Offtrack but the current Asnes pattern on my MT51's is fairly low-traction and generally not good for up & down climbing tours. The shape of the pattern is the same as my older 210 Karhus replaced by the MT51's but about 1 foot shorter in length.

Another suggestion would be trim your Asnes mohair skins back to just past the boot heel for better glide.
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