Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

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dhdaines
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Location: Sainte-Adèle
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Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by dhdaines » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:48 am

I feel like these skis, which seem to keep coming up in conversation, deserve their own thread. They sort of do already, but not quite: http://telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3112

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)?
And whatever other forest-ski related discussion...

Stephen
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by Stephen » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:51 pm

Just out of curiosity alone, I am looking forward to replies to @dhdaines’s post.





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havuja
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by havuja » Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:37 pm

[*]Can you turn them, like, at all?

I visited my neighbour the other day. Parked my Finnmark 54 skis next to 310cm and 280cm wooden and 300cm Järvinen forest skis and pair of shiny Madshus Epochs or whatever they are called nowadays.
Later when topic came to skis instead of fishing or hunting I asked about Epochs. He said they are nice for strolling along snowmobile tracks near home, but otherwise he needs to use real skis since he just cant find a way to turn those odd curved planks.





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iansacs
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by iansacs » Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:25 pm

Hi, greetings from Finland. I use a pair of cheap metsäsukset or eräsukset of 240cm length called Hanki (deep snow) with those finngrip easy bindings you mentioned. I only use them on flat skiing like lakes or very calm forests. I have never tried to turn them (likely difficult with the step-in bindings). To be honest, i didn’t know any better when i bought them and feel they bow too much in very deep snow. I tested the Peltonen Metsä Step earlier this year at the local shop and learned they're so much stiffer that I can use 230cm and still float, so likely I'll get those before next winter, but I'll use the NNN-BC magnums to fit the Alfa Advance Guard GTX boots which i got earlier this year to help my tele turns with Fischer s-bound 98s and immediately fell in love with. At least the 240cm skis fit in our car between the kids, but 270cm would reach the windshield.





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Johnny
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by Johnny » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:25 am

Those 8' Finnish woodies make my 210cm ones look like kids skis!
It's a good thing we have 10' ceilings... 8-)

They have even more midi-chlorians than my Head GTOs! The ride is SOOOooooo smoooooth... Nothing compares to real, long skis. They call me Smooth Operator now...

Thank you so much @jalp and Greg!
(Woods, shipping was 100$ US.... I've seen worse... 8-) )

IMG_6355.jpg
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."





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lilcliffy
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:54 am

@Johnny Wicked photo man!

@dhdaines Thank you for starting this thread! Did you buy the book you referenced? Does anyone know if there is a digital version of this book available so that it can be translated?
Gareth
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.





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dhdaines
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Favorite boots: Alpina Wyoming, Karhu Descent

Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by dhdaines » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:02 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:54 am
@dhdaines Thank you for starting this thread! Did you buy the book you referenced? Does anyone know if there is a digital version of this book available so that it can be translated?
I did buy it! There isn't a digital edition that I know of, which makes sense as a lot of the appeal of it is the illustrations and photos. I could scan and/or translate a few bits here and there when I get a chance.

Quite a bit of it is dedicated to the Off-Track Skiing World Championship and I would be interested to know if any past participants are lurking around here. This is actually how I came across the book as I was looking around for very challenging skiing events :)





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lowangle al
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by lowangle al » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:27 pm

8 feet is only about 242 cm, you must have gotten a beginners model.





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Johnny
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by Johnny » Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:56 pm

lowangle al wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:27 pm
8 feet is only about 242 cm, you must have gotten a beginners model.
Mine is 251 cm to be precise. It's the Ukko model, but you're right, the beginners model must be 242cm. 8-)

dhdaines wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:02 pm
I did buy it! There isn't a digital edition that I know of, which makes sense as a lot of the appeal of it is the illustrations and photos. I could scan and/or translate a few bits here and there when I get a chance.
PLEASE post some scans! The Metsasukset thread needs more than 1 picture... 8-)

I ordered a pair of the great 270cm Peltonen Metsa Step skis last summer... But they sent the skin version, which I didn't want. I was so sad... But an old vintage wooden pair from Finland is a hundred times better!
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."





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fgd135
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Re: Finnish Forest Skis (metsäsukset)

Post by fgd135 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:00 pm

I remember that Karhu, the 1980's-90's ski manufacturer, also sold forest skis, and had apparently brought into the US just a few pair as samples, more than anything else; the sales rep had a pair mounted up with three pins, so we borrowed them for a while...looked like a pair of big Fischer jump skis...8' of Ptex and foam cores, and no side cut at all.
There's not much suitable terrain in Colorado for skis like that, but we did ski the old Shrine Pass Road, and in Montezuma. Never did figure out how to turn, as even trying to step turn was wildly humorous, and stopping was nearly impossible other than simply falling over. Going down even a gentle slope was terrifying if there was no runout at the bottom.





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