XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

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TheDeerman
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2024 12:49 am
Location: Wisconsin
Ski style: Telemark, XCD, skate, classic
Favorite Skis: K2 Mindbenders (with 22 Designs AXL)
Favorite boots: Scarpa T2X

XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by TheDeerman » Sun Jun 02, 2024 3:51 pm

Greetings all,

SE Wisconsin skier here. After ~15 or so years of classic xc, ~8 or so years of skate xc, alpine, and snowboarding, I finally discovered tele skiing last winter and got instantly hooked. My quiver is quite extensive at this point, but the hole I’m really trying to fill is an XCD setup that fits with the local conditions I have around here.

The closest thing I currently have to XCD right now is a pair of some narrow Fischer S Bounds (70-60-65), 179cm, with metal edges and NNN BC bindings. I got a nice deal on some Rossignol BCX 10 boots and had some good days out on the public golf courses and even some local lift-serviced terrain, but ran into one main problem: it was very hard to make telemark turns unless the hill was fairly steep. With enough slope, I could successfully pull some turns off, but it was definitely a little sketchy and with very limited edge control, though that was part of the fun of the challenge of it all.

So I’m now looking for an XCD setup that fits with conditions I am working with here:
- We only get about 45” of snow annually. Realistically, if things go the way they have the last few years, a lot of the snow I’d be on is either manmade and machine groomed, or not super deep (less than 6”). Of course I’d like some degree of floatation, but whatever I get needs to be suited to making turns in firmer, sometimes icier snow.
- In terms of terrain, it would be mostly rolling hills. The local parks offer some sledding hills that I’d like to be able to make turns on. The biggest hill on public land that I’ve been able to find has about 200’ of gradual vertical drop.
- My top priority with this search is finding something that can make telemark turns on slopes that aren’t very steep. I know there is some tradeoff in terms of speed on flat and uphill travel, but I can accept that. I'd still like to have as much kick and glide speed in those areas as possible without compromising turning ability.

Based on this terrain, my initial thought is that it probably makes sense to stick with NNNBC bindings, although I’m certainly open to 75mm / 3 pin as well. If I did go with pins, I’d almost certainly have to upgrade from the Whitewoods leather duckbills that I currently break out a few times a year for some ungroomed days through the flats. Unless those would be capable of making turns?

I’ve done a lot of reading up on Fischer Excursion 88 and Fischer S-Bound 98s, which both seem to be good options. Am I looking in the right places or should I be looking at something narrower? Length for a guy at about 160-165 lbs?

Also, one other question (perhaps for another thread) - is anyone out there experienced with using the Chariot Ski Trailer with a little one? Any good hacks for keeping it warm? I’m a new dad and got a good deal on one with the ski attachments recently. Curious if they have any turning ability on low angle hills, as well.

Thanks for any help you folks may be able to provide!

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Bavarian Cream
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:53 pm
Location: NW CO
Ski style: Predominantly backcountry XCD: NNN-BC, 3-pin
Favorite Skis: Depends, but anything with scales that turns
Favorite boots: Leather; T2 or lighter
Occupation: Teacher
Website: https://youtube.com/channel/UCqcLpcwu0moS3QVQzAkMbTQ

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by Bavarian Cream » Sun Jun 02, 2024 8:24 pm

You have way more general skiing experience than i do, so filter my input through your own experience. I’d say Excursion 88s if you favor touring and xc performance, and S-bound 98s if you favor yo-yo laps for turns (they aren’t great on really hard snow, but that goes for just about all xcd setups).

I mainly commented because i do have experience pulling a chariot. There are tiny sleeping bags with slits for the buckles to still work, but in the CO sunshine, I’ve rarely needed that — the chariot stays plenty warm for a bundled baby. I am able to do modest turns on low angles with it, but it can flip over if you go into too much of a traverse. Thus, low angles where you just steer a bit and make little squiggles down the slope. And I prefer wider skis and stiffer boots for stability when pulling the chariot. I have a few videos that show what you might expect:

https://youtube.com/shorts/l1U4IxZmqeY ... hBR_oo7255
https://youtu.be/xUJiogZKWjo?si=3kH28OP_u9BaxBjG
https://youtu.be/uHMoGL3eYHs?si=rK6txpFNTq2VjJ5x

Edit: my wife wants to add that cold seems to seep up from the floor and/or baby’s boots get wet and then cold, so squashing a little blanket on the floor where the feet go seems to help.
You can never have enough skis and boots.



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fisheater
Posts: 2553
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:06 pm
Location: Oakland County, MI
Ski style: All my own, and age doesn't help
Favorite Skis: Gamme 54, Falketind 62, I hope to add a third soon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska, Alico Ski March
Occupation: Construction Manager

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by fisheater » Tue Jun 04, 2024 7:54 pm

I’m in Michigan. Similar conditions. Have had an S-112, was not impressed. That was a long time ago, it appears from recent reviews of the S-98, they have improved. I would take one for a loaner and try it if someone gave it to me. Sorry, just my honest opinion.
My ski for XCD is the Asnes Falketind Xplore. It kicks and glides, and it turns. The best ski in its class by far.
The downside for many people is that it is not available in a waxless model.
Not a problem for me. I learned to kick wax from the help of members here. The ski has a half skin attachment system.



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TheDeerman
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2024 12:49 am
Location: Wisconsin
Ski style: Telemark, XCD, skate, classic
Favorite Skis: K2 Mindbenders (with 22 Designs AXL)
Favorite boots: Scarpa T2X

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by TheDeerman » Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:29 pm

Bavarian Cream wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2024 8:24 pm
You have way more general skiing experience than i do, so filter my input through your own experience. I’d say Excursion 88s if you favor touring and xc performance, and S-bound 98s if you favor yo-yo laps for turns (they aren’t great on really hard snow, but that goes for just about all xcd setups).

I mainly commented because i do have experience pulling a chariot. There are tiny sleeping bags with slits for the buckles to still work, but in the CO sunshine, I’ve rarely needed that — the chariot stays plenty warm for a bundled baby. I am able to do modest turns on low angles with it, but it can flip over if you go into too much of a traverse. Thus, low angles where you just steer a bit and make little squiggles down the slope. And I prefer wider skis and stiffer boots for stability when pulling the chariot. I have a few videos that show what you might expect:

https://youtube.com/shorts/l1U4IxZmqeY ... hBR_oo7255
https://youtu.be/xUJiogZKWjo?si=3kH28OP_u9BaxBjG
https://youtu.be/uHMoGL3eYHs?si=rK6txpFNTq2VjJ5x

Edit: my wife wants to add that cold seems to seep up from the floor and/or baby’s boots get wet and then cold, so squashing a little blanket on the floor where the feet go seems to help.
Appreciate the insight! Your YouTube channel has been really helpful for me as I've navigated this decision - lots of really thoughtful content and interesting side-by-side comparisons with skis, bindings, and boots, and you hit a lot of the infinite numbers of questions I've had. Also refreshing to see another newish dad adapting to make skiing possible with little ones!

I am leaning toward the S-Bound 98s. As I've thought about it more, I see these as primarily getting use pulling the Chariot across golf courses and some up-and-down solo tours through the local state forests. It seems pretty versatile for making turns in a variety of snow conditions, and my S-Bound 70s that I already own could probably suffice for getting turns in at the local nordic center with part-manmade snow and groomed natural snow.

There are two things I'm still trying to figure out:

- I'm struggling to decide if I should go with the 169cm or 179cm version of the S-Bound 98s. I am 158 pounds, which puts me just a hair above Fischer's recommendation (they recommend 169cm for 120 - 153 lbs and 179cm for 145-189 lbs). Does pulling the Chariot have any effect on how you'd make the decision here? I'm leaning toward 169cm, but a little worried about the kick and glide tradeoff with a shorter ski. Still, turning is definitely my priority.

-I have a pair of Rossignol BC X10 boots that have thus far been super solid. Would upgrading to the Alpina Alaska's NNN BC make a significant difference (and worth a $250 expense!)? I know they're kind of seen as the holy grail of NNN BC boots. I'm also curious if wearing some compression straps for ankle support under my boots would make any difference for making stable turns.



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timpete
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:54 pm
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by timpete » Wed Jun 05, 2024 11:38 pm

I’m from MN so use alpina Alaska NNN-BC as my jack of all trades light (non track race) boot. I would always recommend them. I’ve skied on lifts in mountain resorts with them to the local twin cities golf course when we get a powder snow day, to the BWCA. Very versatile. Only complaint is they are hard to lace tight.

I have the Falketind skis @fisheater recommended too, but unlike him I haven’t tried them on flat/rolling terrain; I use my USGI skis for that. I should try it sometime. Waxable Ingstads would be the ski from the Asnes catalog I’d buy to split the difference between the two above if I had to do it again, but I’ve never skied them.
Last edited by timpete on Wed Jun 05, 2024 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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timpete
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by timpete » Wed Jun 05, 2024 11:40 pm

I find that it can be hard to pressure NNN BC into a telemark stance at slow speeds, even with red flexors rear foot feels tippy-toed. Adding some speed and dynamics to the ski helps that. 3-pin is easier given where the boot flexes.



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fisheater
Posts: 2553
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:06 pm
Location: Oakland County, MI
Ski style: All my own, and age doesn't help
Favorite Skis: Gamme 54, Falketind 62, I hope to add a third soon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska, Alico Ski March
Occupation: Construction Manager

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by fisheater » Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:11 pm

@timpete I find the Falketind X gives acceptable for me XC performance. I use it in some hilly terrain because in some of the hilly terrain I ski the trails are two track wide and I can drop a knee on all the downhills. I really enjoy dropping a knee and making turns. There is even a steep twisty downhill at that particular area that is roped off and closed to XC skiing. The area is patrolled. Even 3 days after a big snow fall I can get first tracks. I know one Nordic patroller out there. He will always ask me if I’m going out to make figure eights on my private trail!
I believe a Nansen might be better for that area, but I can’t justify another ski. I have a Gamme that I use for all my other trails skiing, and 3 downhill oriented skis. What I lack is snow and time!



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lilcliffy
Posts: 4133
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: backcountry Nordic ski touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad, Combat Nato, Amundsen, Rabb 68; Altai Kom
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska BC; Lundhags Expedition; Alfa Skaget XP; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by lilcliffy » Thu Jun 20, 2024 1:56 pm

TheDeerman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2024 3:51 pm
The closest thing I currently have to XCD right now is a pair of some narrow Fischer S Bounds (70-60-65), 179cm, with metal edges and NNN BC bindings. I got a nice deal on some Rossignol BCX 10 boots and had some good days out on the public golf courses and even some local lift-serviced terrain, but ran into one main problem: it was very hard to make telemark turns unless the hill was fairly steep. With enough slope, I could successfully pull some turns off, but it was definitely a little sketchy and with very limited edge control, though that was part of the fun of the challenge of it all.
So- if the issue is getting up to downhill speed- are you seeking a ski that would be faster than your S-Bound that you already have? How stiff and cambered is your S-Bound (which model is it btw? and year?) Perhaps, you find it "easier" to turn at speed, because you are find it easier to weight and pressure the stiff camber of the ski at downhill speed?

If the stiff camber is the issue- a Fischer 88 is not going to be better- it is a stiff, significantly cambered ski-
the S-Bound 98 has a much lower camber and a smoother, rounder flex- it is MUCH easier to turn.

I have both the 88 and the 98 (the 98 is the 2023-2024 model).
- We only get about 45” of snow annually. Realistically, if things go the way they have the last few years, a lot of the snow I’d be on is either manmade and machine groomed, or not super deep (less than 6”). Of course I’d like some degree of floatation, but whatever I get needs to be suited to making turns in firmer, sometimes icier snow.
If you want to stick with a Nordic touring boot- and want edge-hold on hardpack and ice→ no wider than 68mm- preferably even narrower.
- In terms of terrain, it would be mostly rolling hills. The local parks offer some sledding hills that I’d like to be able to make turns on. The biggest hill on public land that I’ve been able to find has about 200’ of gradual vertical drop.
- My top priority with this search is finding something that can make telemark turns on slopes that aren’t very steep. I know there is some tradeoff in terms of speed on flat and uphill travel, but I can accept that. I'd still like to have as much kick and glide speed in those areas as possible without compromising turning ability.

Based on this terrain, my initial thought is that it probably makes sense to stick with NNNBC bindings, although I’m certainly open to 75mm / 3 pin as well. If I did go with pins, I’d almost certainly have to upgrade from the Whitewoods leather duckbills that I currently break out a few times a year for some ungroomed days through the flats. Unless those would be capable of making turns?
Based on your descriptions-
you do not need more boot than a supportive NNNBC boot.
I’ve done a lot of reading up on Fischer Excursion 88 and Fischer S-Bound 98s, which both seem to be good options. Am I looking in the right places or should I be looking at something narrower? Length for a guy at about 160-165 lbs?
How tall are you?
I am 178cm and 84kg.
I ski the 88 in a 199cm- distance-oriented.
I ski the 98 in 179cm- downhill-oriented.
Also, one other question (perhaps for another thread) - is anyone out there experienced with using the Chariot Ski Trailer with a little one? Any good hacks for keeping it warm? I’m a new dad and got a good deal on one with the ski attachments recently. Curious if they have any turning ability on low angle hills, as well.
We have 4 children and have used the Chariot in all seasons for more than 20 years.
Cold weather- the Chariot insulated liner is pretty good- with a serious snowsuit on.
We also have a thick down bag- designed for a cart/chariot- that we bought from MEC (I think?) which is even warmer in very cold weather and it is "mummy"-style with an integrated down hood.

Turning a Chariot?
On hardpack- yes.
In deep snow- absolutely not.

Best,
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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wabene
Posts: 716
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:53 am
Location: Duluth Minnesota
Ski style: Stiff kneed and wide eyed.
Favorite Skis: Åsnes Gamme, Fischer SB98, Mashus M50, M78, Pano M62
Favorite boots: Crispi Svartsen 75mm, Scarpa T4
Occupation: Carpenter

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by wabene » Sat Jun 22, 2024 2:08 pm

Deerman I have the SB98 and I think it's a great all around backcountry ski that is easy to turn. On the flats is not as fast as a skinnier, more cambered, waxable ski, but covering ground exploring new terrain, it's great. I'm 5'9" 185lbs and ski the 189.



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lilcliffy
Posts: 4133
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: backcountry Nordic ski touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad, Combat Nato, Amundsen, Rabb 68; Altai Kom
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska BC; Lundhags Expedition; Alfa Skaget XP; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: XCD Skis for Midwest Terrain

Post by lilcliffy » Sun Jun 23, 2024 1:46 pm

The current (seems recent years from what I can tell online and at my local shop) S-Bound 98 has a more of a low, round, downhill-camber than it has in some model-years-
Yet- it still has a stiffer, more stable flex than the Madhsus M68/Epoch-
(though it is not as torsionally-stable as the Asnes Rabb 68).

As such- with that lower camber- one can certainly go for a longer length to improve touring efficiency (with a longer turn radius)-

I chose the 179cm 98 for turning- but, if I didn't have a 78/88 as well- and was looking to just have the 98- I would ski it longer.
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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