Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

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Ernst R
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Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by Ernst R » Fri Dec 01, 2023 6:54 am

Dear All,

I'm planning to do the arctic circle trail (ACT) in Greenland in early march 2024. It's a 160 km trip with mostly a thin (5-30 cm) cover of old frozen snow (see pictures). A few hilly sections, but also a lot on frozen lakes and almost always following snowmobile tracks.

I did the trip last year, also solo and with pulka (weight 55kg), but on microspikes (see pictures) and have previous arctic experience as well.

Now, I have a lot of classic alpine skiing experience in my youth (I'm now 53 years, 1m77 and 70 kg) but almost no experience with cross country skiing. I tried a few days in march 2022 on Hardangervidda on loaned (as advised by local shop in Geilo) waxless Rossignol BC 65 (65-52-62) and I felt VERY unstable on the icy snow (I should add that that was with backpack and so I was top heavy). I only felt secure using full length skins for almost the entire trip.

So, I'm leaning towards broader ski's with x-skins (the underfoot skins) and an Xplore binding as I think this would give me more stability (am I correct in this assumption?). I'm NOT primarily concerned with speed or efficiency, but with safety (I'm alone out there; and will have full length skins and my microspikes as backup). And I will take some time before departure to train and familiarise with the ski's.

I already have the shoes (Alfa Polar in Xplore binding) so Xplore binding is already fixed. And I was leaning towards the Nosi 76 from Asnes, but I'm completely open to suggestions. Thanks for helping this newbie with your collective knowledge.
Greenland winter - 85.jpeg
Greenland winter - 53.jpeg
Greenland winter - 31.jpeg
Greenland winter - 21.jpeg
Greenland winter - 8.jpeg

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Ernst R
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by Ernst R » Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:09 am

Maybe I should rephrase my questions more specifically.

Am I right in assuming that in the conditions described above (no fresh snow expected, thin & icy snowcover crumbled by snowmobiles) a wider, shorter ski would give a beginner more "easy" stability (at the expense of speed & efficiency)?



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tkarhu
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by tkarhu » Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:44 am

Maybe a short length of a narrow ski could work as well. I guess it might have been stiff double cambers that felt unstable, and excess length. Shorter skis are softer too, in XC skis. With narrow, I mean ~50-55 mm underfoot.

With Xplore, maybe less than 70 mm underfoot would be my first thought, if you want to go slightly broader. But for long distance skiing, broad skis will heavier, and I think it is mainly excess length for your experience and background that makes a pair of narrow skis feel unstable. How long were the Bc55’s?

I would not go for ultralight skis (Sverdrup, FTX etc.) alone in the wilderness. Yet I would still consider weight, when choosing ski width.
Last edited by tkarhu on Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:48 am, edited 4 times in total.



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spopepro
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by spopepro » Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:45 am

Welcome Ernst. Great pictures.

I would say your assumption is not correct. My experience is that snowmobile trails are some of the slimiest feeling, hard to track straight, conditions around. I believe you actually want a firmer and straighter ski than you are considering, and since you're not making turns length can be kind of whatever. I think a shorter ski, especially a shorter ski with sidecut, will really, really want to wander all over the place.

People here will almost certainly try and talk you into faster skis (most of us appreciate the efficiency of a good touring ski), but I will say that your plan for using skins for confidence and stability is solid, especially when pulling a sled. I suspect the thing that may help you more than anything is just trying to get some time on skinny skis--the instability you felt fades fast with a little practice.



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tkarhu
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Ski style: XCD | Nordic ice skating | XC | BC-XC
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by tkarhu » Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:49 am

@spopepro Good point, in that landscape and even with a snowmobile track zero sidecut would be a benefit.
Last edited by tkarhu on Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Ernst R
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by Ernst R » Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:03 pm

tkarhu wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:44 am
Maybe a short length of a narrow ski could work as well. I guess it might have been stiff double cambers that felt unstable, and excess length. Shorter skis are softer too, in XC skis. With narrow, I mean ~50-55 mm underfoot.

With Xplore, maybe less than 70 mm underfoot would be my first thought, if you want to go slightly broader. But for long distance skiing, broad skis will heavier, and I think it is mainly excess length for your experience and background that makes a pair of narrow skis feel unstable. How long were the Bc55’s?

I would not go for ultralight skis (Sverdrup, FTX etc.) alone in the wilderness. Yet I would still consider weight, when choosing ski width.
Thanks for this! The length of the Rossignol BC 65 was 195 cm (I'm 1m77).
I was certainly not going for an ultralight ski, although if I have a failure I know I can complete the trail on my microspikes as I did last year.



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Ernst R
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by Ernst R » Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:06 pm

spopepro wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:45 am
Welcome Ernst. Great pictures.

I would say your assumption is not correct. My experience is that snowmobile trails are some of the slimiest feeling, hard to track straight, conditions around. I believe you actually want a firmer and straighter ski than you are considering, and since you're not making turns length can be kind of whatever. I think a shorter ski, especially a shorter ski with sidecut, will really, really want to wander all over the place.

People here will almost certainly try and talk you into faster skis (most of us appreciate the efficiency of a good touring ski), but I will say that your plan for using skins for confidence and stability is solid, especially when pulling a sled. I suspect the thing that may help you more than anything is just trying to get some time on skinny skis--the instability you felt fades fast with a little practice.
Fully agree on the practice, by day 3 in Hardangervidda I felt quite a bit more confident already. The idea of using the x-skins is really what is driving me towards those skis with the ability to mount these (and long skins as a backup). Can you give me some suggestions?



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tkarhu
Posts: 316
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:58 am
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Ski style: XCD | Nordic ice skating | XC | BC-XC
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by tkarhu » Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:09 pm

Fischer has also good waxless bases. Fischer Country Crown 60 may be a good fit in a short length. By short length I mean body length +0-10 cm. Your BC55’s were of a classic XC length. But length depends on model, so one should check body weight vs. ski length charts.

The CC60 model is lacking half length skin compatibility. Yet with a pulk, full length skins, for example 38-40 mm mohair or mix Colltex, would be safer anyway. Also, the waxless bases should work much like the half length skins I would use personally.



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spopepro
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Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by spopepro » Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:19 pm

Ernst R wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:06 pm
spopepro wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:45 am
Welcome Ernst. Great pictures.

I would say your assumption is not correct. My experience is that snowmobile trails are some of the slimiest feeling, hard to track straight, conditions around. I believe you actually want a firmer and straighter ski than you are considering, and since you're not making turns length can be kind of whatever. I think a shorter ski, especially a shorter ski with sidecut, will really, really want to wander all over the place.

People here will almost certainly try and talk you into faster skis (most of us appreciate the efficiency of a good touring ski), but I will say that your plan for using skins for confidence and stability is solid, especially when pulling a sled. I suspect the thing that may help you more than anything is just trying to get some time on skinny skis--the instability you felt fades fast with a little practice.
Fully agree on the practice, by day 3 in Hardangervidda I felt quite a bit more confident already. The idea of using the x-skins is really what is driving me towards those skis with the ability to mount these (and long skins as a backup). Can you give me some suggestions?
The Amundsen BC is the classic ski for this kind of trip. That's the ski I think most of us would want to bring. However, if that feels too skinny and unstable, I would bet the Combat NATO would be an excellent ski. It has a reputation as a sort of "crud buster" with a very stable and firm tip. Others can probably help more--this isn't my area of expertise, but it is for others.



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tkarhu
Posts: 316
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:58 am
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Ski style: XCD | Nordic ice skating | XC | BC-XC
Favorite Skis: Gamme | Falketind Xplore | Atomic RC-10
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard | boots that fit

Re: Help needed for ski choice for solo pulka trip West-Greenland

Post by tkarhu » Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:29 pm

Amundsen would be good. Yet it is a stiff XC ski by nature, so it is not a most "XC beginner, alpine pro" friendly model. But in short lengths Amundsens are soft, too.

Combat NATO would not be bad either. Maybe I would just think what else you want to do with the ski besides the expedition.

Yet Amundsen and Combat NATO would bring mainly deep snow benefits over the CC60. Åsnes skin plastic parts will also create an annoying drag on a snowmobile track.

But on a ski expedition, skis are actually not the most critical part of gear, especially if you have deep snow. It will be walking with skis on in that context mostly.

On the route concerned, you could ski a XC length Amundsen and go really fast, but that would require XC training beforehand. The CC60 would be nicer than Amundsen for the training because it will fit in all tracks. Amundsen fits in most tracks, too, especially in areas of low snow depth. a Combat NATO will not fit to groomed tracks for training.
Last edited by tkarhu on Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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