Åsnes Nansen Waxless

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Roelant
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Ski style: Backcountry in the wild, cross country on trails
Favorite Skis: BC: Åsnes Nansen Waxless; Groomed trails: Atomic Redster C7 Skintec, Madshus Terrasonic Wax
Favorite boots: Crispi Bre
Occupation: Geologist

Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Roelant » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:11 am

Hi,
This first post in this thread is sort of a first impressions review. We have had several storms bringing in warm weather and rain alternating with fresh snow and strong winds, so the conditions have not been ideal so far.
Background - I started both serious cross country skiing and BC skiing about 5 years ago.
My XC quiver includes Fischer CRS skating skis, Atomic Skintec "classic" XC skis with skin insert, and Madshus waxable XC skis.
My BC equipment started with Atomic Sierra 59 waxless. I did one ~ 100km tour on them in the Sylan Massif near the Swedish border on the Norwegian side, and used them for many day trips. These skis are like track XC skis in terms of camber, and almost imaginary sidecut, but they do have 3/4 steel edges.
Due to poor flotation and turnability these were replaced within a year by Fischer E109 Crown.

The steel edges on my E109 Crowns broke behind the heel during last years multi day tour in Trollheimen (about 70 km). I managed to complete the tour but those skis were written off and have acquired the Åsnes Nansen as a replacement.

Why Åsnes Nansen? I wanted something turnable, offering some support in deep snow but without too much compromise regarding efficiency on distance oriented tours. A jack of all trades of some kind. I was tempted by the Åsnes Ingstad but have read here and on the Norwegian Fjellforum.no that, although offering more flotation, the XC efficiency on flatter sections of hard packed snow of the Ingstad is quite a bit less than the Nansen due to the pronounced nordic rocker on the Ingstad which makes it more of a powder oriented ski, although turnability may be similar. I ski many tours on harder snow, or harder snow with limited amount of powder on top. Not so many in deep powder.
The other Åsnes Waxless contender with steel edges was the Amundsen. However they are seen as the "vidda commuters" ideally suited for efficiently covering long distances on flat-ish terrain where turnability is not really of concern. Åsnes Amundsen users rave about their efficiency but almost universally acknowledge that they are not really fun on the downhills. On the other hand, the Åsnes Nansen skis are very popular here, probably the most popular after the Amundsen, and almost all users are happy with their "allround" qualities.

The Gamme 54 do not exist in Waxless base, otherwise these may have been an option.

From other brands, in terms of Waxless options with steel edges there are Rossignol (few suppliers in Norway, not much feedback from users either), the former Madshus range (now replaced with removable skin system), and Fischer E99, Traverse 78, Excursion 88 and S-Bounds.
The Fischer Traverse and Excursion are made to max. 199 cm, maybe long enough but the Traverse 78 is less cambered than the E109 so less efficient on flat terrain, and I was not sure if this would be a good option.

My partner runs Madhus Glittertind MGV waxless, and I have tried Fischer E99 Crown waxless skis a few times (I keep a pair for my brother when he visits).

Past Saturday was a window of relatively nice weather with promising snow conditions.
I woke up on Saturday to see the MS Fridtjof Nansen from my living room window as it was undergoing sea trials. Fitting, isn't it?
IMG_20200215_075152.jpg
Screenshot_20200216_070155_com.marinetraffic.android.jpg
The Åsnes Nansen Waxless look like the waxable Nansens that I will probably be selling soon, with the exception of the base which is a different colour and has waxless pattern, obviously.
IMG_20200210_181039.jpg
The waxable pattern varies along the length. The total length is 55 cm (compared to Fischer's 90cm for the E99 and Traverse 78). The central 38cm are more pronounced scales, terminated by a cute little "Å" pattern and some smaller scales:
IMG_20200210_180524.jpg
Saturday's destination was Omnfjellet, starting from Våvatnet lake to the North-East:
https://norgeskart.no/#!?project=norges ... tionsPanel

This is a pretty safe destination avalanche wise. I was skiing with a buddy equipped with Fischer Traverse 78 waxless skis. We both use Crispi Stetind NNN-BC boots.
In the lower part of the ski tour the snow was windblown powder of about 10cm deep on a harder base, with some crusty patches.
It became immediately obvious that the Åsnes Waxless pattern, being shorter, has less grip in loose windblown powder than the Fischer Crown, so I put on some 45mm Mohair X-Skins for the climb.
IMG_20200215_130845.jpg
Above 550m elevation, the headwind was in gale strength and the snow became very crusty in patches, between patches of completely refrozen Sastrugi (basically just ridges of ice). Thus, although it was feasible to go to the top (the highest peak seen behind the cabin in the picture with the cairn on the top), we decided to not go higher and give nature the win. Skiing up would have been fine but skiing down would have been very tricky and potentially not fun.
IMG_20200215_120330.jpg
We found a lower powdery section to do some repeated runs and try to do some telemark turns around the little Bakkjølen hill, south-west of Våvatnet lake, although it was not super easy with the crusty patches.
IMG_20200215_125520.jpg
The skis offered sufficient flotation and seemed eager enough to turn. I would have liked to have a longer steeper slope to play on, and some better snow. However conditions were good enough for initial impressions:

1) Grip of the waxless system - It seems that Åsnes designed this to be complementary to the X-Skins, rather than a standalone solution. So in flatter terrain and prepared tracks- use waxless, in steeper terrain - fit short skins, in the steepest terrain, fit long skins.
This is a different approach from the Fischer Offtrack Crown pattern which was designed prior to short skins being available, and is an effective standalone solution except for in the steepest climbs, where full length skins become necessary.
Of note that in the slope angle where the Åsnes Waxless lost grip, the difference in glide efficiency from using skins is irrelevant.
2) Glide of the Åsnes waxless system - tentatively a bit better than the Fischer Crown pattern, and just as noisy on ice. Not yet tested on hardpack (IE groomed trails).
3) Ski behaviour overall - I think similar turnability in the downhills to the E109s but I think that the skis are better at bearing my weight, for the same length. I think the Nansens are stiffer. The skis appear to be more happy to go straight when kicking and gliding than the E109s.
I am happy so far, but I will update this post when I have used them more.
Comparative impressions:
Compared to the Fischer E109 Crowns, the Nansen Waxless offer better flotation (because they are stiffer), better kick and glide efficiency at the cost of less grip (when using the waxless base), similar turnability (the last has to be tested further), and the X-Skin system which is better in uphills than the Fischer Crown pattern.
Compared to the E99 Crowns - the E99 Crowns are maybe more comparable to the Nansen Waxless in terms of efficiency due to their stiffness. However they are less easy to turn due to less sidecut. Although I have not tested Åsnes Gamme 54s, reading around gives the impression that the E99 may be equivalent to the Gamme.
The Traverse 78s have less camber than the Nansen or E109. Less efficient on the flats, pretty easy to turn, but I cannot compare them fairly because my buddy uses much shorter skis (179 cm vs 205cm in my case)
Regarding Madshus Glittertind waxless - I dont really like them, they are like E99s with a worse (IE, both less efficient AND less grippy) waxless pattern, and they are difficult to turn with.

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Franz
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:05 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Franz » Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:57 pm

Awesome review. Thanks.

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treehugger
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:08 am

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by treehugger » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:30 pm

Roelant wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:11 am

The Åsnes Nansen Waxless look like the waxable Nansens that I will probably be selling soon, with the exception of the base which is a different colour and has waxless pattern, obviously.

The waxable pattern varies along the length. The total length is 55 cm (compared to Fischer's 90cm for the E99 and Traverse 78). The central 38cm are more pronounced scales, terminated by a cute little "Å" pattern and some smaller scales:

It became immediately obvious that the Åsnes Waxless pattern, being shorter, has less grip in loose windblown powder than the Fischer Crown, so I put on some 45mm Mohair X-Skins for the climb.

1) Grip of the waxless system - It seems that Åsnes designed this to be complementary to the X-Skins, rather than a standalone solution. So in flatter terrain and prepared tracks- use waxless, in steeper terrain - fit short skins, in the steepest terrain, fit long skins.

Of note that in the slope angle where the Åsnes Waxless lost grip, the difference in glide efficiency from using skins is irrelevant.
2) Glide of the Åsnes waxless system - tentatively a bit better than the Fischer Crown pattern, and just as noisy on ice. Not yet tested on hardpack (IE groomed trails).
Great review and informative observations! Curious why you only considered waxless and how they compare to your wax Nansens? How much do you think conditions and temp effected grip of scales?
Note: Just saw your review of wax Nansen so understand your logic for waxless.

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Woodserson
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:25 am
Location: New Hampshire
Ski style: Bumps, trees, and steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile V6, Altai KOMs, XC: Asnes Gamme 54, Classy Woodies
Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Alaska
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Flailmeister. E99 Nerd

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Woodserson » Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:26 pm

Great review. Can you please remind us of:

Your weight
The length of the E109
the length of the Nansen WL (205?)

Thanks1

User avatar
Roelant
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Ski style: Backcountry in the wild, cross country on trails
Favorite Skis: BC: Åsnes Nansen Waxless; Groomed trails: Atomic Redster C7 Skintec, Madshus Terrasonic Wax
Favorite boots: Crispi Bre
Occupation: Geologist

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Roelant » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:52 am

Woodserson wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:26 pm
Great review. Can you please remind us of:

Your weight
The length of the E109
the length of the Nansen WL (205?)

Thanks1
Hi,
Thanks. I really need some more time to get the feeling for different snow types in downhill etc.
To answer your question:
105 kg / 230 lb
Both Nansens in 205cm
the E109 Crown Extralite also in 205cm

User avatar
Roelant
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Ski style: Backcountry in the wild, cross country on trails
Favorite Skis: BC: Åsnes Nansen Waxless; Groomed trails: Atomic Redster C7 Skintec, Madshus Terrasonic Wax
Favorite boots: Crispi Bre
Occupation: Geologist

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Roelant » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:57 am

treehugger wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:30 pm

Great review and informative observations! Curious why you only considered waxless and how they compare to your wax Nansens? How much do you think conditions and temp effected grip of scales?
Note: Just saw your review of wax Nansen so understand your logic for waxless.
Hi,
The waxable base Nansens were a warranty replacement for broken edge E109 Crowns. I only used them on a few outings at just slightly below freezing, on old snow. These were conditions which never required any specific though or preparation with the Waxless E109 Crowns.

During those, I tried first with full length Swix Blue, only to find that I had no grip, and I had to do the full outings with kicker skins (Åsnes X-Skin). I have those in 45mm nylon, 30mm mohair and 45mm mohair.
I find the kicker skins pretty good on uphill but in flatter terrain, especially on hardpacked snow, I find that they offer very noticeable friction when gliding, much more than the waxless pattern. They do provide better grip in icy refrozen snow conditions than the both the Fischer and the Åsnes waxless pattern.
When alternating between slight uphill and downhill several times over shorter distances (IE when skiing up along the edge of a flatter river valley), I find that removing and putting on the skins is not so much fun as it kills my pace.
Yes I could wax with softer wax and maybe have success. But then this rules out using skins at all unless I scrape the base to remove the wax completely.

NMskier in the other thread comparing the E109 Crown with the waxable Nansen appears to have similar experience.

Obviously many people on this forum have great success with grip wax, perhaps it is to do with the cold winters with predictable snow temperature, combined with more experience waxing in general.
I suppose that my relative lack of grip waxing experience, combined with the ocean influenced climate here in Central Norway results in waxless being easier, and therefore, better overall, for my use.

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lilcliffy
Posts: 2482
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by lilcliffy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:46 pm

Roelant wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:57 am
treehugger wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:30 pm

Great review and informative observations! Curious why you only considered waxless and how they compare to your wax Nansens? How much do you think conditions and temp effected grip of scales?
Note: Just saw your review of wax Nansen so understand your logic for waxless.
I find the kicker skins pretty good on uphill but in flatter terrain, especially on hardpacked snow, I find that they offer very noticeable friction when gliding, much more than the waxless pattern. They do provide better grip in icy refrozen snow conditions than the both the Fischer and the Åsnes waxless pattern.

When alternating between slight uphill and downhill several times over shorter distances (IE when skiing up along the edge of a flatter river valley), I find that removing and putting on the skins is not so much fun as it kills my pace.
Yes I could wax with softer wax and maybe have success. But then this rules out using skins at all unless I scrape the base to remove the wax completely.

NMskier in the other thread comparing the E109 Crown with the waxable Nansen appears to have similar experience.

Obviously many people on this forum have great success with grip wax, perhaps it is to do with the cold winters with predictable snow temperature, combined with more experience waxing in general.
I suppose that my relative lack of grip waxing experience, combined with the ocean influenced climate here in Central Norway results in waxless being easier, and therefore, better overall, for my use.
This is a great explanation- and is very true. My day-to-day success and comfort with grip wax is climate and snow dependant for sure.

Though- I do appreciate my "waxless"-scaled skis when the snow conditions are ideal for them.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 2482
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Falketind 62;Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by lilcliffy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:52 pm

Excellent review on this ski Roelant- very much appreciated!
It sounds like a highly versatile BC-XC ski- much more versatile than the Ingstad for example.
My sense is that both the Nansen and the Gamme 54 are intended to be versatile- the Nansen sounds a bit more tuned towards turning than the Gamme- and I would hazard a guess that the Gamme is a bit more tuned towards XC efficiency...
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
Woodserson
Posts: 1688
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:25 am
Location: New Hampshire
Ski style: Bumps, trees, and steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile V6, Altai KOMs, XC: Asnes Gamme 54, Classy Woodies
Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Alaska
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Flailmeister. E99 Nerd

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Woodserson » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:12 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:52 pm
Excellent review on this ski Roelant- very much appreciated!
It sounds like a highly versatile BC-XC ski- much more versatile than the Ingstad for example.
My sense is that both the Nansen and the Gamme 54 are intended to be versatile- the Nansen sounds a bit more tuned towards turning than the Gamme- and I would hazard a guess that the Gamme is a bit more tuned towards XC efficiency...
Uh-Oh, Gareth. I've got the feels for this ski.

I bet I would really like a 200cm. I'm certainly appreciative that this ski comes in 5cm increments. On some days I am too slow on the 200cm Gammes and other days the 210cm Gammes are too long. I would love a 205cm Gamme.

I need one of each. Gahd, this is a terrible habit.

User avatar
Roelant
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 6:33 am
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Ski style: Backcountry in the wild, cross country on trails
Favorite Skis: BC: Åsnes Nansen Waxless; Groomed trails: Atomic Redster C7 Skintec, Madshus Terrasonic Wax
Favorite boots: Crispi Bre
Occupation: Geologist

Re: Åsnes Nansen Waxless

Post by Roelant » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:33 am

Woodserson wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:12 pm

Uh-Oh, Gareth. I've got the feels for this ski.

I bet I would really like a 200cm. I'm certainly appreciative that this ski comes in 5cm increments. On some days I am too slow on the 200cm Gammes and other days the 210cm Gammes are too long. I would love a 205cm Gamme.

I need one of each. Gahd, this is a terrible habit.
Suffering from ÅAS (Åsnes Acquisition Syndrome)? No worries, I have it too.

Talking about cool gear, look at these modern wooden BC skis by Rønning:
https://www.ronningski.no/

I have been looking at maybe getting Falketind 62s / Rabb 68s for more up and down tours. On the other hand, I do like the idea of using one ski for everything, and I should be able to manage that with Nansen as well.

I have been alpine skiing since I was 6 years old and I got bored, the challenges came only by seeking steeper slopes / deeper snow. So about 10 years ago I got "heavy duty" telemark gear with G3 Ascent bindings and while I enjoyed it, I came to realise that I was "faking" telemark all the time.
Thus when I moved to Norway and started XC skiing 5-6 years ago, I was falling on even the slightest downhills, perhaps because I never really learned proper telemark technique with the heavy duty gear.
My first multi day tour in Sylan was amazing but my technique wasn't pretty, it was almost always survival mode, zigzagging and kick-turning to change direction. Granted the skis did not help, but even on double cambered XC track skis I manage some telemark now (when its not to steep or deep).

Now I manage ungroomed, heavy wet snow resort slopes up to red, no problem with "regular" BC skis. Still not always pretty but I am progressing and learning, and looking forward to the next trip, always.

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