Rec for new skis?

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QuentinDemo
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Rec for new skis?

Post by QuentinDemo » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:59 pm

Howdy all-

I'm looking to add a couple of skis to my collection, and I was hoping you might be able to lead me in the right direction.

I've been skiing the USGIs for the past couple of years in the U.S. midwest, but recently relocated to the west coast and am looking for gear that can handle deeper, wetter snows and, potentially, steeper terrain. Given the significantly higher temperatures and bigger snowfalls in the Sierras where I'll be skiing, I'm guessing I should go waxless. Based on all the reviews I've seen on here, it sounds like I'm ultimately looking for two skis: a skinnier, faster ski that can handle more open trails with some moderate turning capabilities on low-angle descents; and a bigger bushwhacking ski for deeper off trail work with a bit more DH capability.

For the faster trail ski, it looks like the Asnes Nansen or Fischer Traverse might be the best bet, but I'd love some other ideas.

For the bigger deep snow ski, I really have no idea what's best. I have almost no alpine downhill background, so I don't need something that's capable of handling avalanche territory or anything, and I'm planning on pairing it with some Alico Ski Marches, so it has to be something that can be turned in leathers. I'm guessing I'll be using it as much for light up and downs in truly deep snow as attempting some beginner turns on steeper hills. Maybe the Altai Kom / Hok? It sounds like there's a real lack of good wide waxless skis, so not really sure where to turn for this.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

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Woodserson
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by Woodserson » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:46 pm

Both the Nansen and the Traverse 78 are solid options.

I have the Traverse and I like it, I wish I got the 199cm option, my bad. Fischer's offtrack crown is really banging, you will get more grip from the Fischer than the Asnes (if you get the Nansen in the WL variety). The Asnes X skin system is better/stronger than Fischer EZ Skin, but Fischer's isn't bad.

As far as a wider turnier ski goes... The HOK will definitely be easier to turn but it is more like a snowshoe than ski in terms of gliding and climbing. So don't expect much glide or speed. They are so easy to turn my wife, with little to no experience, was turning them down a friend's hill. Skin based grip system, really good, but again, slow. The KOM's are a ski and while some experienced people can drive them with leathers they are a plastic-boot kind of ski for most. Also, waxless base, so if it get steep you may need additional skins.

The S-Bound 112 keeps getting play and people like it, though I've never skied it. The newer models seems to be tuned a little softer which I think is totally key, the old ones were quite stiff. It would be two notches up from the Traverse and you could use one EZ Skin on both skis. Go with a shorter length than the Traverse for easier turning ability.

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fisheater
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by fisheater » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:15 pm

Quentin,
Woods offers great advice, but I’m kind of surprised by his post. So I will start in reverse order. I have an S-112, skied it for at least 4 seasons. There are much better designs today. My point of disappointment with Mr. Woodserson is that he doesn’t mention a Voile Objective. Hopefully Woods will pipe back in. The S-112 is decent downhill in soft snow. It lacks torsional rigidity. It just isn’t a great kick and glide ski. My biggest question about the Objective is would there be a size long enough for you.
I have two USGI skis, one mounted 3-pin, the other mounted NNN-BC. My Gamme may have rendered them almost obsolete, or at least loaners. I’m not even using them as rock skis. I should, but I would rather ski my Gamme. If I tear them up, I’ll buy another Gamme and then have a Gamme rock ski.
That brings me to my thoughts on the Nansen. They are one of the most popular skis in Norway. They are supposed to kick and glide reasonably close to a Gamme. They are available waxless. I prefer kick wax in SE Michigan. To each his own. My question to you is your snowpack deep enough that you would be better with a Ingstad? I have never skied a T-70, but if I could afford it I would choose between the Asnes offerings. It is only my opinion, but I really like my Falketind 62, and my Gamme 54. I didn’t ski a set of Tindan I had due to snowfall, timing of purchase, and length. I now have a longer pair, and I have every reasonable belief that they will be far superior than an S-112. My FT have already made the S-112 loaners!
The Tindan and Falketind are not available waxless, therefore I recommend Voile models, either Objective, V-6, or Vector.
I see you’re planning on using a Ski March boot for your “big” ski. I can easily handle the S-112 with the Ski March boot. The S-112 just doesn’t have the torsional rigidity. In contrast I found a limit to my Ski March boot on the far narrower Falketind skiing inbounds chopped up mush. While this reply does ramble as I write and think. The Ski March and a Falketind can handle some deeper snowfall, say a foot. They are good when touring for turns as long as you’re not on hardpack trails, as the Falketind is kind of dead on hard pack. So if you’re looking for waxless, with a Ski March I’m back to Objective. I know I could ski that combination, but I’m not sure it will work for you. I guess if you can Telemark turn your USGI you could Tele turn an Objective. My last thought is if you believe the Objective is too short, go V-6 or Vector. You should be able to get by on sift snow days this season. You can buy a T-4 next year. I think you are further ahead buying quality pieces that will serve you in the long run, rather than compromise pieces that you put into “loaner gear”

Good luck. My job is pretty stressful for next month or so. My brain is pretty cooked, my thoughts not so ordered. However I am a Midwesterner that shares some of the same gear, so I thought I would pipe in

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Woodserson
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by Woodserson » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:44 pm

Oh man, Fish... what would we do without you?

Yes, definitely, the Objective BC with the scales. I have this ski and I love it, it's super smeary. I take it out in the spring a lot or wet snow. I don't drive it with my leathers but you could, especially with doubles in forgiving snow. Great grip, easy to turn, light. A real winner of a ski. I love mine.

You'll void the warrantee putting tele bindings on them as they are the super light "hyper" construction and don't have re-enforced binding area and the possibility of pulling out goes up, but I haven't had any problems and I ski bumps in mine routinely. I'm also not super heavy, so YMMV.

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QuentinDemo
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by QuentinDemo » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:57 am

Thanks for the advice!

I've looked at the Objectives, and I'm definitely intrigued, although if being "super heavy" might unreasonably increase the risk of ripping the bindings out, that may be a concern, as I'm 220+ lbs when fully geared up. The larger Asnes (FT, Rabb, Tindan) all look really interesting too, but since there are no waxless versions, I'm reluctant to consider them (although from the other Asnes thread, it sounds like they may be producing wider waxless skis in the near future?).

I suppose that raises a question that I should probably get answered before totally writing off waxless, at least for my larger skis: what's the loss in efficiency/speed in K&G between a waxless pattern and just keeping the EZ skin/X-skin on while on the flats? How much does that change when it's trail breaking vs. following packed trails? Basically, I'm wondering if it might be better to get a waxable ski with the short skin attachment option, since that opens up a much larger range of ski options if the only downside is, say, a 5% decrease in K&G efficiency on days when it's too warm to properly wax.
fisheater wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:15 pm
I have two USGI skis, one mounted 3-pin, the other mounted NNN-BC. My Gamme may have rendered them almost obsolete, or at least loaners. I’m not even using them as rock skis. I should, but I would rather ski my Gamme.
This raises another question that's been nagging at me: is a Traverse/Nansen/Gamme-class ski too similar to the USGI to justify buying a whole new kit just to get a waxless base? Since the Sierras where I'll be skiing offer such a wide range of snow conditions, perhaps it's better to diversify the quiver more? Maybe an even narrower, more efficient K&G ski like the Amundsen would be better?

It's starting to seem like the answer to all of my questions is "just get better at waxing..."

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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by fisheater » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:31 pm

I like the USGI ski, it’s a nice ski. The Gamme is so much faster, it’s like a different sport. I personally don’t believe the Traverse 78 is in the same class as the Gamme. My guess is it is somewhere in between the two.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:07 pm

Welcome QD!
QuentinDemo wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:59 pm
a skinnier, faster ski that can handle more open trails with some moderate turning capabilities on low-angle descents;
E-99 class ski if you want a ski that will perform on variable snow and hilly terrain.
Examples: E-99; Gamme 54. Nansen if hills are more important than crushing miles.

Narrower, more cambered ski for pure trail skiing on dense snow:
Examples: E-89; Mountain Race.
and a bigger bushwhacking ski for deeper off trail work with a bit more DH capability.
This is a bit vague for me to help you...
This could be everything from a deep snow BC-xcd ski (e.g. E-109, Ingstad, Fischer 88); to "wide" single-cambered compact xcd skis (e.g. S-98, S-112; Epoch, Annum); to an AT ski (a billion options).
How deep is the snow?
You going Noric touring- or downhill ski touring?
Fischer Traverse might be the best bet
Blah- I am sorry- but I find this ski to be heavy, slow and boring. And at your weight even the 199cm Traverse is going to be slow as a XC ski.
For the bigger deep snow ski, I really have no idea what's best. I have almost no alpine downhill background, so I don't need something that's capable of handling avalanche territory or anything, and I'm planning on pairing it with some Alico Ski Marches, so it has to be something that can be turned in leathers. I'm guessing I'll be using it as much for light up and downs in truly deep snow as attempting some beginner turns on steeper hills. Maybe the Altai Kom / Hok? It sounds like there's a real lack of good wide waxless skis, so not really sure where to turn for this.
The Kom is too heavy for the Ski March boot as a downhill ski- same with the Hok. As a deep snow XC ski- the Ski March would be great with the Kom/Hok. If you are going to charge downhill with either you need a burlier boot.
...............
It would help us help you if we understood the snow and terrain you want this "big" ski for...
And- also- I am not sure if I understand the objective of this "big" ski- Nordic touring or downhill touring?
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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lilcliffy
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:09 pm

QuentinDemo wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:59 pm
It sounds like there's a real lack of good wide waxless skis,
https://www.voile.com/voile-skis.html
Voile calls the waxless versions "BC".
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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QuentinDemo
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by QuentinDemo » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:15 pm

Thanks for the very thorough reply!
lilcliffy wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:07 pm
E-99 class ski if you want a ski that will perform on variable snow and hilly terrain.
Examples: E-99; Gamme 54. Nansen if hills are more important than crushing miles.

Narrower, more cambered ski for pure trail skiing on dense snow:
Examples: E-89; Mountain Race.
This makes sense. It sounds like I'm really in the market for a Gamme or an Ousland—something versatile but distance-oriented that can cover a variety of snow conditions over rolling terrain. Versatility / efficiency are the key for me here.

The main issue I'm grappling with now is the lack of waxless versions of those Asnes skis. It looks like the Amundsen is the only waxless Asnes ski in that range, but from what I've read, it's much worse for turning than the Gamme or Ousland, which I'm not too keen on. Getting wax right in the warm, wet Sierra Cement where I'll be skiing sounds challenging, so I'd probably have to resort to using the X-skins quite a bit if I went with a Gamme. I'd presume scales are more efficient / better glide than relying on X-skins, but I've never really used them before, so I have no idea. If X-skins were close enough to scales in terms of K&G speed/efficiency, I'd probably grab a Gamme/Ousland without much hesitation. Would I be crazy to get waxable skis if I had to rely on the X-skins, say, half the time?
How deep is the snow?
You going Noric touring- or downhill ski touring?
I'll be going all over the west coast (mostly Northern California, maybe up to Oregon), and snowfalls get pretty deep here. I guess I'd call this more Nordic touring than downhill ski touring. I'm from Wisconsin originally where the highest point is a hill, so the type of "downhill" I'm looking to do would probably seem absurdly mild to you.

Basically, I'd want something that I can use when the snow is too deep for the Gamme-class ski or if I want to do some very mellow downhill turns, maybe tighter turns down packed trails to check speed, etc. I'm definitely not planning to charge down anything right now, although it would be nice if there were a ski that I could use for those purposes as well in the future with a heavier boot.
The Kom is too heavy for the Ski March boot as a downhill ski- same with the Hok. As a deep snow XC ski- the Ski March would be great with the Kom/Hok. If you are going to charge downhill with either you need a burlier boot.
...............
It would help us help you if we understood the snow and terrain you want this "big" ski for...
And- also- I am not sure if I understand the objective of this "big" ski- Nordic touring or downhill touring?
From what I've read of the Hok, it sounds like it checks the box for deep snow use and turnability, but might be slow/inefficient in many use cases. I figured the Kom might do a lot of the same things with more speed on the flats than the Hok, although if it's really best used as a downhill ski, maybe that's overkill for my use? Ultimately, I see this more as a deep snow XC ski that I can use as kind of a go-anywhere ski in the Sierras with the ability to do some low speed cruising on not-too-steep descents.

The Voiles sound nice too, although I got the impression from other reviews that they might not be as good for deep snow use, and in any event I might be a bit too big for them.

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Woodserson
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Re: Rec for new skis?

Post by Woodserson » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:09 am

QuentinDemo wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:15 pm
The main issue I'm grappling with now is the lack of waxless versions of those Asnes skis. It looks like the Amundsen is the only waxless Asnes ski in that range, but from what I've read, it's much worse for turning than the Gamme or Ousland, which I'm not too keen on. Getting wax right in the warm, wet Sierra Cement where I'll be skiing sounds challenging, so I'd probably have to resort to using the X-skins quite a bit if I went with a Gamme. I'd presume scales are more efficient / better glide than relying on X-skins, but I've never really used them before, so I have no idea. If X-skins were close enough to scales in terms of K&G speed/efficiency, I'd probably grab a Gamme/Ousland without much hesitation. Would I be crazy to get waxable skis if I had to rely on the X-skins, say, half the time?
No this is perfectly acceptable. The mohair skins are very glidey and I often use them in conditions where waxless would be fine. Several skiers here just use their mohairs and forget about it. I will say if the snow is a little crunch frozen and firm I find the front plastic protector on the ski can drag a bit, but it's still not too bad.

On long days, the mohair can get wet, and it loses effectiveness, so good treating of the skin is important. I also carry a spare if it becomes problematic. Scales, don't have this problem, but they have others.

Still, I like having scale skis here in NH where the snow can be dry or wet. Sometimes it's nice to not have to hassle. I have my E-99's with scales, which are just an awesome ski. Get them in a 210cm for you weight. I use these when the snow is wet or transformed ice glaze, or weird, or what have you. Nice rocker to get you over the weird stuff, and you can turn some nice turns in them too if you have nice snow.

Then, I have my Gamme's for the same kind of skiing I want to do with the E-99s but with good waxable snow. This is probably my favorite ski. A crushing tip, rocker, stable. If the snow gets weird during my ski, I can slap on an X-Skin and still be totally A-OK.

Basically, I'd want something that I can use when the snow is too deep for the Gamme-class ski or if I want to do some very mellow downhill turns, maybe tighter turns down packed trails to check speed, etc. I'm definitely not planning to charge down anything right now, although it would be nice if there were a ski that I could use for those purposes as well in the future with a heavier boot.

Ultimately, I see this more as a deep snow XC ski that I can use as kind of a go-anywhere ski in the Sierras with the ability to do some low speed cruising on not-too-steep descents.
You know, the new longer length of the 196cm FT62 might just be the ticket here. Good rocker, still a nordic ski, it will support you better, K&G, X skin. If it starts to get deep and steep, well, maybe you should start thinking of upgrading your telelmark game and get some skis and boots to match. But if you want to do mellow low speed nordic cruising, that could very well be the ticket. Pair with a Voile Traverse binding, keep the cables in your backpack, I barely use mine with the FT but nice to have for longer descents. I have this ski in a 188cm, it's a ton of fun. Surprisingly fun. Very capable.

There are trade-offs right? Fatter skis will be slower and float better, skinnier skis will be fast but sink and harder to turn. You will probably want a library of skis.

The Voiles sound nice too, although I got the impression from other reviews that they might not be as good for deep snow use, and in any event I might be a bit too big for them.
The problem with the Objective is that 178cm is the longest length and probably too short for you. I have written them many times to extend the length of the ski and beef it up a bit but they are not interested.

The biggest thing here is skill. The Amundsen "doesn't turn" and the Gamme "turns." This is relative. The Gamme "turns" because I can turn a XC ski with skills I've been working on for over a decade. They both suck when it comes to turning, one sucks a bit less than the other, but it's still nothing a beginner is going to notice. Yes, go for the easier turning ski, especially since the rocker is nice on ungroomed backcountry travel, but don't expect magical turning experience right out of the gate.

The FT is a more downhill oriented ski that does actually turn, and easily, if you already know how to turn a ski. Just don't get too frustrated. Take your weapons, and get ready to eat it. But once you get it, holy smokes it's fun. PRACTICE! Over and over!

I think you need 3 skis. Wax and Waxless E99 class ski, and then the FT's. This is how your addiction starts.

Keep an eye out on ebay, etc. Older E-99's come up all the time. Go long. The older ones (pre-Xtralite) are burly skis with no rocker and they just CHARGE. Awesome and cheap. I have an old pair in the basement that are unstoppable. The crown isn't as good as the new Offtrack-Crown, so maybe look for a WAX. It could be a good Gamme replacement (but no rocker or XSkin!)

LIKE THIS: https://www.ebay.com/itm/215cm-Vintage- ... 4300810932

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