Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

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pollymath

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Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby pollymath » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:56 am

Hey all,

This forum seems to have the mostly lively discussion of the current snowski/shoeski market, and my questions on other forums were met with "why in the world would you want those?" I've been XC skiing, snowboarded for years, downhill skiied bit, and more recently have spent winters postholing around in too small snowshoes (I'm 240 and post-holing). I got tired of lift served ski slopes and the crowds. That being said, I live someplace that can get considerable snow amounts, and I have rolling, untouched snow and terrain right out my back door...and I miss the little rush of going fast downhill. I also really enjoyed the "go anywhere" ability of snowshoes - they were more fun going up then coming down! Normally I'd go out and get some XC skis, but I HATE XC skiis. I hated how terrible they were in fresh snow, how terrible they were going downhill, how you can't climb anything steep, how cumbersome they were, just hated them. That's how I got into snowshoeing, my hate of XC skiing!

Which brings me to my question - the pros/cons of the current snowski market options, and how their downsides might impact "room to grow":

Altai Ski Hok - I've heard good things about these as a the next step up from snowshoes - but that anything hardpack is scary. That may be ok because I really hate resorts, but I may in the future decide to go with friends.

Altai Kom - all of the Hok's good traits, but improved downhill performance. I've read some people ski fresh snow at resorts with these, and it works ok as long as it isn't terribly icey. These seem like they'd give room to grow, especially with stiff boots and proper bindings.

(I assume everything that makes the Altai skis so good at snowshoe replacements (wide, flexible, scales) is not compatible with what makes a ski good in hardpack (stiff, metal edges)?)

Hagan Off-Limits - uses skins, but better in hardpack.
OAC Kar 147 or Wap 127 - People seems to prefer the Atlai stuff over OAC.
Black Diamond GlideLite 147 - haven't heard good things
Asnes Fjorin 92 - uses skins, an actual ski.

Is there anything similar to the Ski Hok or Kom that might do better in hardpack? Something with built-in scales/skins? Or am I better off going with the Hok and adding AT binding when I get to that point?

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby TomH » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:02 am

You could look at the Marquette Backcountry ski (if they still make it) as well, which would be a pretty good snowshoe substitute. You won't want to take it anywhere near hardpack though, as it doesn't have metal edges, but is pretty easy on the budget. It's big scales as opposed to the Hok having a skin, so the Hok would probably grip a little better in most situations, but I think the Marquette may have a little more surface area/float (could be wrong on that). I've never skied either one, but think they'd both be fun in the right application.

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby connyro » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:22 am

The marquette backcountry ski is very limited and not much better than snowshoes. It climbs well but they are very heavy, not flexible, and do not glide well. The are very similar to snowshoes IMO. I've skied/owned them and won't again. Considering your size, you may want to look at some of the Voile skis with scales (https://www.voile.com/voile-skis.html) Any of the models with "BC" in the name are scaled. I've skied the Vector BCs and the V6 BCs. The Voile BC skis are similar to the Koms (I've also skied these) but offer longer lengths and IMO better glide. Both the Koms and the Voile BC skis get about the same amount of grip for climbing. The Voile skis work fine on hardpack, but it's not their strength.

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby Baaahb » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:36 am

Have you tried a regular (mid fat to fat, full metal edges, designed for turns) backcountry ski or splitboard with full length skins? (There are literally dozens if not hundreds to choose from.) Why is that not a good option?

pollymath

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby pollymath » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:43 pm

Baaahb wrote:Have you tried a regular (mid fat to fat, full metal edges, designed for turns) backcountry ski or splitboard with full length skins? (There are literally dozens if not hundreds to choose from.) Why is that not a good option?


I have not. I'm new to skins and BC skis in general. I've come here looking for that type of feedback - what else is out there?

I will say that it would be nice to glide a little bit on flat land, and aside from the high peaks, most of my surrounding terrain wouldn't be much fun on a splitboard, I'd spend more time snapping them together than my downhill run would take. That's my worry with skins - taking them on and off might take more time I actually spending going downhill. Although I do know of a few local hills where the opposite might hold true - there is a lot of mellow elevation that permanently attached skins/scales might slow me down too much and wear stripping a set of skins off a waxed ski might yield a lot more fun descent.

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby lowangle al » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:59 pm

I poke around the woods using my vectors like skishoes. They work real well as long as it's pretty flat. They climb well in a xc skiing context but probably not as good as a Hok(never skied them). With the addition of a skin I think it would be a versatile set up.

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby Inspiredcapers » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:40 pm

You’re getting some good responses here.

I’ve got a pair of Hoks set up to use my 3 pin Alicos. Decided to try a bit of an experiment so I could provide you with a more informed answer.

I come in at 200 pounds. I added 40 pounds to a pack and headed out for a couple of hours. I’ve always felt the 200 pounds was pushing it but 240 REALLY made them work. Some of the difficulty I experienced was due to the extra weight being carried up high so that created a bit of a balance issue.

Today’s snow is about a foot of somewhat consolidated powder on a firm base that has a bit of an icy crust. At 200 I was able to do a bit of kick and glide (not as much glide as my xc skis but there was a bit), at an unbalanced 240 it was more of a stride with a lesser amount of glide. When I did some climbing (straight up on mild inclines, side stepping on steeper) the results were comparable (although I did have that feeling of unbalance).

I like the Hoks as a snowshoe alternative (I have MSR Lighting Ascents with the optional tail) depending on conditions. Striding with the Hok is a lot less work then trudging with a snowshoe when the snow is softer and the terrain is moderate. When the snow is harder or I anticipate steep trails the the MSR’s are a better choice.

In the three years I’ve owned my Hoks things I’ve discovered...
...they really don’t like any kind of groomed trail (including snowmobile tracks, other ski tracks, even returning on your own tracks!). They wander all over the place and drag horribly on packed surfaces.
...when the temperature gets in the zero Celsius range the skin can ice up (I haven’t had any success with anything to prevent icing) and the ice/snow buildup is a fun-killer.
...they are way easier to control with a three pin setup than with the Universal binding.

I enjoy my Hoks when I use them. I’ve learned what their shortcomings are and what their strengths are. My opinion is that they won’t be ideal for you, the suggestions of something like a Vector or similar ski with a skin would likely be more suitable.


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TreeFallin

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby TreeFallin » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:51 am

IMHO your quest description and followup answers are on the point with the exception of commenting concerns about skiing on hardpack. IMHO you should look for a second pair of skis to ski resort snow with plastic boots and skins. In general, you need the beefy heavy boot to push the edges into hard packed ice or corduroy.

I'm still assuming you are looking for equipment for deeper snow and moderate hills:

If your small snowshoes are postholling so will the short hok skis. But they will be better than your small snowshoes. I have the hok skis and they are ideal up and down narrow wooded trails that may get dangerously fast on regular long skis. The hok will slow it down to more manageable level and their short length gives you the room and agility to turn. My most fun on them was skinning up to Greeley Ponds from rt112 via the hiking trail during a developing snowstorm and shussinf down the designated skiing trail in about 15 inches of unconsolidated and freshly fallen snow.

I'm pretty close to your weight and for that weight to traverse in deep snow I enjoy 195cm Madshus Epoch ski with kicker skin and full skin in the backpack for various situations. I tried madshus glittertinds 175 in those conditions and was hopelessly postholling on the flats and it wasn't much fun. Again I'm assuming we are talking about deep snow.

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby Baaahb » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:18 pm

pollymath wrote: what else is out there?


There are a lot of choices. I've never tried the Hoks or things like them cause I have never seen the advantage of them over a pair of light wide skis that actually ski well. I have snowshoes but wear them only when doing chores like shovelling my roof...out touring I always prefer something that skis and you need snowshoes rather than skis only when getting into mountaineering type situations.

This is what I would recommend but there are other alternatives. https://www.rossignol.com/us/rossignol- ... -2019.html Fischer, madhus, etc also make comparable skis. Vector BC is highly recommnded by others but more pricey and you probably don't need the enhanced downhill performance.

IMO you want a very wide light ski...not a snowshoe alternative. IMO you want fishscales as there is little reason not to have them for the activity you describe (unless you dig kickwaxing skis...a skill I never really enjoyed). You will also want a pair of skins and they are not that hard or time consuming to put on/take off after you have had a little practice...really not much more of an effort than stopping to getting anything else out of the backpack. IMO kicker skins will serve your purpose...they can climb over 20 degrees and do not need to be cut to fit so the same skin can be used on a variety of skis.

As to boots and bindings...well, lots of choices, lots of tradeoffs and there are other ski forums where that is about all they discuss. Short answer for you: 75 mm leather boots and 3pin bindings.

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Inspiredcapers

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Re: Snowshoer Gone Skiing Help

Postby Inspiredcapers » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:05 pm

Inspiredcapers wrote:You’re getting some good responses here.

I’ve got a pair of Hoks set up to use my 3 pin Alicos. Decided to try a bit of an experiment so I could provide you with a more informed answer.

I come in at 200 pounds. I added 40 pounds to a pack and headed out for a couple of hours. I’ve always felt the 200 pounds was pushing it but 240 REALLY made them work. Some of the difficulty I experienced was due to the extra weight being carried up high so that created a bit of a balance issue.

Today’s snow is about a foot of somewhat consolidated powder on a firm base that has a bit of an icy crust. At 200 I was able to do a bit of kick and glide (not as much glide as my xc skis but there was a bit), at an unbalanced 240 it was more of a stride with a lesser amount of glide. When I did some climbing (straight up on mild inclines, side stepping on steeper) the results were comparable (although I did have that feeling of unbalance).

I like the Hoks as a snowshoe alternative (I have MSR Lighting Ascents with the optional tail) depending on conditions. Striding with the Hok is a lot less work then trudging with a snowshoe when the snow is softer and the terrain is moderate. When the snow is harder or I anticipate steep trails the the MSR’s are a better choice.

In the three years I’ve owned my Hoks things I’ve discovered...
...they really don’t like any kind of groomed trail (including snowmobile tracks, other ski tracks, even returning on your own tracks!). They wander all over the place and drag horribly on packed surfaces.
...when the temperature gets in the zero Celsius range the skin can ice up (I haven’t had any success with anything to prevent icing) and the ice/snow buildup is a fun-killer.
...they are way easier to control with a three pin setup than with the Universal binding.

I enjoy my Hoks when I use them. I’ve learned what their shortcomings are and what their strengths are. My opinion is that they won’t be ideal for you, the suggestions of something like a Vector or similar ski with a skin would likely be more suitable.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Just finished duplicating the same experiment with all the above conditions (same location, time of day, temperature, 40 pounds in the backpack, etc.) with the exception of a different ski (used my 208cm Alpina Discovery 80’s). It was way easier regardless of weight load or terrain. I think I had about 30 seconds of wishing I had the Hoks skin, out of a couple of hours that’s negligible.

Flotation was far superior, kick n’ glide was more than acceptable, and climbing was effortless.

If I was forced to replace the Alpinas today I think I seriously look at a 205 E109 Easy Skin xtralite. Similar dimensions to the Alpina I use but that Easy Skin addition would be hard to pass up.

Good luck in your quest...


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