I will never have a use for them where I live as the combination of flat terrain and deep snow is just not a thing here, though I think there are definitely parts of North America where they would be fun and useful. (also, they will not fit in my house, shed, or car). Still, I am fascinated, especially when I hear stories of ski tours a bit further north where there was simply too much snow to make any forward progress. If I were to ski, say, from Mont-Laurier to Kujjuaq, I would definitely want forest skis
A couple of years ago I came across this book, Hanki hohtava alla: Umpihankihiihtäjän kirja. My Finnish skills are even worse than my telemark skills but I think this translates more or less as "The sparkling snow underfoot: The deep snow skier's book" (the title is a reference to an Eino Leino poem). However, the contents of the book might better be described as "All about forest skis and what you can do with them". What we know as backcountry skis, lumped into the category of "tunturisukset" (literally fjellskis), occupy just a couple of pages where, from what I can tell, they are described as essentially unsuitable for the 96% of Finland that doesn't consist of open fjell tops. And there is a very interesting discussion of the nearly identical surface area of forest skis, Hok-type skis ("sliding snowshoes"), and traditional snowshoes, as well as the possible reasons why an indigenous ski culture developed in Eurasia and not in North America. From what I can gather it seems that a Finnish adventurer tried to answer this back at the beginning of the 20th century by bringing his forest skis to Alaska and concluded that the snow was qualitatively different here...
And of course there are lots of photos of snow, forests, and skis, and people skiing in Nokian rubber boots with Finngrip Erä bindings. Yes, about the furthest thing from XCD and telemark skiing possible, I know! So anyway, if it isn't too far off topic, I would like to know (and see pictures):
- Are people still using these anywhere in North America?
- Can you turn them, like, at all?
- How is kick and glide with those rubber boots and cable bindings?
- How do you transport them? On a roof rack, like a stand-up paddleboard (they are about the same length)?