Been lurking and learning so long and so much - I figured it's time to ask people's opinion in the most straightforward way possible. I've had every manner of old xc ski - most without metal edges, NN, NNN - I'm 6ft2in and 210lbs and do several pulk sled trips a year on big frozen lakes here and in the BWCAW. My Epoke 1000s finally are needing replaced, so I'm looking at end of season deals to save a little $$$ for next year.
Current Boots: Whitewoods 75mm, Alico Ski March 75mm, Baffin mukluk 75MM (awesome boots btw for BWCA trips).
I'm looking ski mostly on snowmobile trails and off trail - with the occasional downhill (possibly with some trees). I'd say 75% of my skiing is on frozen lakes and 25% is on some downhill. BTW: I am a terrible downhill skier but am practicing with tele turns on my 3 pins which I'm starting to pick up.
I definitely want a skin for pulling my sled - I used one on my Epoke's and really liked them.
So what ski/skin combo would be best for most of those conditions? I am not above getting 1 ski/binding combo this year, and 1 ski/binding combo next year to get the best of both worlds. I may also do 1 or 2 Wyoming or Montana foothills XCD trips a year.
Skis I had in mind:
-Fischer S-bound 98
I have size 14 feet and not the best at turns - so a ski that's a little wider in the waist and can initiate a turn a little easier is a plus.
PS: New pair of Voile Switchbacks for sale if anyone is interested. I bought a set last year to match with my ice climbing boots (which did work, thanks Tom M), but they ski like crap in Koflach Degrees (my mistake).
I've done those BWCA trips and I pulled my toboggan with 145cm Hoks on the recommendation of my more experienced companions. Meanwhile they had moved on to Fisher E88's and it was a struggle to keep up with them. I plan on using my new Madshus M62's with the Transition skins next time. There are those here who can give you better advise, I would say a ski with a removable skin is the way to go. With the Fischer Off-track crown, my friends only used the skins on steep portage trails.I still also bring a fast, thinner double camber ski for fun day trips from base camp.
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These are VERY different skis.
Why are you considering each of them? Might help us- help you- figure out what you are looking for.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.
-SB98s for better turning but they still glide
-Hoks - well, they just look darn fun
-E99s for the snappy, quick glide and doable turns.
I think the best recommendation I have found (from a PM) was to look at the excursion 88s. They seem to K&G well, removable skin so I can cruise around quickly after I make basecamp, and with heavy boots (my Alico SMs or T4s), they can make a decent turn. I think that adequately meets my 75/25 for touring lakes/rollers with a few turns added in for fun.
If I want a real tree/cruiser/powder/shuffle ski...I think the hok is best used on fun day outings where we are off track in the woods and hills - for anything else...it looks like the E88 would better suit my wide, 14 size feet and weight.
Anyone disagree? Appreciate all the responses - this forum is like a guide book for all things skiing. These pages should be added to the Library of Congress.
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If you want waxless, I can only recommend Fischer from my own experience. Fischer E99 Crown, Traverse 78 or Excursion 88 all seem to fit the general ticket. The E99 Crown is the fastest of these but does not come with a skinlock for short skins. Traverse 78 and Excursion 88 are fine skis, reviews here suggest they perform similarly except the 88 is a bit slower XC, but has more flotation.
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I ski in Wyoming "foothills" and am also pretty sketchy going downhill (notice my user name).
I recently bought Voile V6 BC's which have helped open up significantly more terrain for me -- much more confident on the down. I also like how well they climb. I'm using 3-pin cable with Scarpa T3's. I am impressed with how well they tour for a wider and flatter ski. This is not a big issue for me because my wife is on the same skis rather than faster ones. (Having skis that match well with companions is a good idea.) We previously did this type of skiing with Karhu 10th Mtn. or Fischer Boundless (similar dimensions).
The Voile UltraVector should be more versatile -- if you are not always in Wyoming powder. I found the link below to be helpful in explaining the 2 different Voile designs (they now have a tweener design in the Manti waxable. If you don't want waxless, you have even more Voile options.
(No, I don't work for Voile, just jazzed about my new skis.)
https://www.voile.com/blog/do-i-want-th ... id-rocker/