Altai Skis Hok Review

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fisheater
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Location: Oakland County, MI

Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby fisheater » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:53 pm

Great reviews Lilcliffy, ski season is over here. Waiting for a chance for the first paddle on Lake Huron, but still missing skiing, just not enough turns or kicks this season. I my corner of MI, we are not blessed with snow like yours. Most winter we may have one to two feet in the woods, but it does not get refreshed frequently enough. We also seem to always get those days that climb into the mid 30's F, that are not powder friendly. How are the Hoks for the less than powder? My local skiing is sand and gravel glacial deposits, but I get maybe 150-350 vertical feet instead of meters. The most interesting public land I share with snowmobiles. I just push into some terrain they do not care for. A tight woods ski that can handle "compacted pow" would really be worth it.
I believe your 13 year old to be a pretty skilled skier. My thirteen year old is more of a easy blue skier. With a careful dad, would the 145 Hok be too much? I was thinking it could be a dual purpose ski. A tight woods ski for dad, and a backcountry powder ski for the boy.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:04 am

Well, I think that I need to accept that the ski season is just about over here.

We had a week of warm spring weather and rain that knocked the crap out of our snow. Another few days of that will take all of the snow from the fields. Still a lot base in the woods however- may get a few more tours of we get some fresh snowfall on top!

I did manage to mount the Altai adapter plate and a NNNBC binding and test it out before we ran out of soft snow.

Some initial thoughts:

• I MUCH prefer the feel and the performance of the NNNBC binding and boot over the universal binding: greater performance and comfort. I can push the Hok much harder to perform- both in a xcountry and a downhill context.

• The adapter plate and the NNNBC binding stiffen up the mid-section of the ski significantly. My initial impression is that I don’t like this…My assumption is that it should affect the performance of the Hok- but I haven’t skied with this setup enough to make a call…The ski definitely “feels” different, but it still performs beautifully…it may even be more responsive- but that could of course be the boot as well.

As the winter closes I have a bushwacking powder ski ready to go for next season. Will give an update when I get a chance to put some real miles on these.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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lilcliffy
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:38 am

fisheater wrote:Great reviews Lilcliffy, ski season is over here. Waiting for a chance for the first paddle on Lake Huron, but still missing skiing, just not enough turns or kicks this season. I my corner of MI, we are not blessed with snow like yours. Most winter we may have one to two feet in the woods, but it does not get refreshed frequently enough. We also seem to always get those days that climb into the mid 30's F, that are not powder friendly. How are the Hoks for the less than powder? My local skiing is sand and gravel glacial deposits, but I get maybe 150-350 vertical feet instead of meters. The most interesting public land I share with snowmobiles. I just push into some terrain they do not care for. A tight woods ski that can handle "compacted pow" would really be worth it.
I believe your 13 year old to be a pretty skilled skier. My thirteen year old is more of a easy blue skier. With a careful dad, would the 145 Hok be too much? I was thinking it could be a dual purpose ski. A tight woods ski for dad, and a backcountry powder ski for the boy.


Hey man- sorry for not getting back to you- I have been buried in work of late.

I have tried these on consolidated snow and they are somewhat brutally inefficient in a xcountry context- they essentially have no "kick" or "wax" pocket. The flex pattern of this ski is designed for soft snow.

However, on wet spring snow, the Hok performs quite well, and with decent grip- and is certainly more efficient than a snowshoe.

Where the Hok performs poorly is on icy, re-frozen snow...

But here's the thing- what Nordic backcountry ski does perform well on icy re-frozen snow? Both waxless traction and kick wax doesn't work on icy re-frozen snow...Klister is amazing in this snow context, but miserably sticky off of a clean groomed track...Kicker skins are probably the best option- and the Hok has one permanently attached!

My perspective is this- it is what it is. It's probably important not to try and compare apples to oranges too much. A short fat ski like the Hok is never going to offer the glide efficiency of a long, skinny Nordic touring ski. But a long skinny touring ski is never going to offer the maneuverability of a ski like the Hok.

The term "skishoe" kind of bugs me a bit- the Hok truly is a ski. But the a ski like the Hok really does allow you to replace the snowshoe, and ski in a context that would otherwise require a snowshoe.

Everyone in my family has fallen in love with the Hok, including my 13 year-old son. He loves the maneuverability and particularly the grip.

It's hard for me to rate the skill level of my son. My children are still simply intuitive skiers- none of them are performance-orientated yet (my oldest daughter is on Alpine tech though). Up until this point, they have been primarily driven to play on skis- they are constantly charging up and down slopes, building jumps, and hunting for a new chute to scream down. They have yet to develop a real love for a long-distance tour (which is really my passion). However, my oldest son this winter really is beginning to develop an interest in backcountry touring- he is ranging further and further- both with me and by himself. I increasingly come home from work to find that he has already been out for a tour by himself! In general, he tends to choose a shorter, fatter ski than I would- he likes to charge off into the woods whenever, and wherever he feels like it. A 165cm Madshus Epoch has been his favourite ski for a number of years. In general, maneuverability is more important to him than speed. Up until this point, he has not been interested in developing the skills to maneuver long skis. Although with his increasing interest in touring, that may change.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

kumachan
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby kumachan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:00 pm

I received an email update from Altai Skis earlier today. They've tweaked the 145 cm Hok and made it stiffer and the Kom ski is now available in three lengths: 150 cm; 162 cm; and 174 cm.
http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f5d ... b32f2b0182

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lilcliffy
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:01 am

An update:

I wish that the Hok had a full-wrap steel edge. After only half a season on my Hoks, they are showing significant wear on the tips- above the steel edge.

As a bushwacking ski, the Hok would be a lot more durable with a full-wrap steel edge.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

woodchuck
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby woodchuck » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:28 am

I'm a little frustrated with my 145s. Need a clue or two. I've waxed the skis and skin with a rub on wax (Zum). In 6" of fresh snow over ice and frozen ground, they seemed to go okay. About as expected. Current conditions are about 8" of settled powder over crust (breakable) over 6" of refrozen corn. It's deep enough and soft enough that my 185# rockers the ski and I suspect this is where the issue is: I'm hard on the skins and I ain't got no glide to speak of. I can get them going downhill, but the drag is insane and they trying *really* hard to put me on my face. Any ideas beyond "wait for better snow"?

woodchuck
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby woodchuck » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:18 pm

A little more experience with the Hoks now in varying conditions... I am having a blast with them. They are fun in the same way that my fat bike is fun. They tackle terrain that's just hard with higher performance gear and they get you places that you otherwise would not go.

I love the forward binding placement and tip rise for breaking trail. Downhill action is a little weird with the forward placement, short length, draggy skin. They are slow skis. But really, really fast snow shoes :D . On slow snow (see above) they can seem a bit handicapped.

I picked up a $3 can of silicone spray lube that I use on the skins (tip from Altai skis website). This seems to help grip and glide.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:41 am

Hey Woodchuck,

I always meant to respond to your earlier post.

Cool, you like your Hoks- I love mine. They are what they are- and, a high-speed Nordic touring ski they are not.

My students are very jealous of them as I fly around while they trudge on their snowshoes!

Currently- I am hot glide waxing the tips/tails- using a rub on skin wax (Black Diamond) on the skin.

As far as unlocking the grip of that skin- my experience is that if I keep striding them- even on the downhill- (i.e. a step telemark, as opposed to a carved telemark) the glide is much much better.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

woodchuck
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby woodchuck » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:16 am

After discovering that my $3 silicone skin treatment only lasts an hour or so, I decided to try this:



Altai says "Do not hot wax the skin". What could go wrong?! Anyway, I hot waxed the skin as in the video and I not only lived to tell about it, my skis go fine. Better glide, usual great Hok climb. Hope this lasts a little longer than spray...

fwiw, used Hertel hot sauce wax, iron set to 100C. I moved the iron faster than what this guy does. About 2 seconds is all it took me to iron one skin, and a second pass wasn't needed.

12gaugesage
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Re: Altai Skis Hok Review

Postby 12gaugesage » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:58 am

I've been on Hoks for a couple years, and, being a totally inexperienced skier (i.e. snowshoer) often wondered what competent skiers would think of them.
I love them, jeeps for your feet, and I've learned and explored a lot with them, I'm glad to see that "real skiers" dont just hate on them and dog them for their inherent shortcomings, here anyway. I've gotten some funny looks on trails while using them and when I mention them to skiers Ive talked to they look and sound baffled, like "Why would you want those?" "Dont the skins make them slow?"
To me they made sense immediately. They climb like goats, and I can maneuver them through brush, and sidestep steep narrow terrain very well with them, they will go anywhere, anytime, of course with some compromises.


I started on the 125's, went to 145's, for more fore/aft stability. Ive used them with the uni bindings, nnnbc, and now finally 75mm/T4's to try and get a little more DH ability. While I am pretty blown away with the control of the T4, I find myself now going for steeper. longer descents, and again they're getting away from me a bit, the tails coming out from under me and dropping me on my ass.

At 6'1" 210#, am I just at the limit of this skis capability, or is it more a matter of technique? I find myself leaning low and forward to compensate, but thats not a great position to recover and control from, though its a nice place to bail, tuck and roll from, lol.
Any insights?
Thanks
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