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Backcountry/AT ski setup

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Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby GSracer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:42 am

All,

Looking to do some more backcountry and touring this winter, need help on ski setup as all I currently own are a couple sets of race sticks...a little heavy and would like to be able to do some skinning. I plan to use my plug boots(yes I am anal ex-racer guy), looking for suggestions on ski binding set up with versatility that don't feel like noodles on my feet, as that has been my past experience with an all mountain type ski....thoughts? Thanks.

Ps-have backcountry experience, just tired of using race gear for it!

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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby Girlslovesnow » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:06 am

I am a former racer as well. I have Black Diamond Kilowatts with Fritschi Freeride bindings. The Kilowatts are the tan ones from 08-09 season, last years got softer. I have a few other friends that are former racers turned backcountry ski bums with Kilowatts as well. You may prefer Marker Dukes more than the Fritschis they ski more like a regular binding, but I personally hate the extra weight and set up of them, but thats just me.
When I first started I had trouble ditching the race boots. I was touring in Tecnica Diablos....stupid me. I've since learned that AT boots are the greatest thing on the planet. The whole "I need stiff boots cuz I was a racer" thing is so dumb. If you were a racer is means you should be a good enough skier to ski on anything. I now have my wonderful Dynafit Gaias, somewhere around an 80-90 flex...screw the race boots.
"I wish people would quit telling me I can do anything I want. I never thought I couldn't"

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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby weissea » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:08 am

Dynafit seems to be the best setup out there. Expensive, but light and stable. I can't speak to it because I don't use it, but I am hoping to get it soon.

Anyways, if you want to use your boots and have a race background think about the Marker Duke or Baron binding. It is a super beefy binding that feels just like an alpine binding when the heel is locked down, actually the whole footplate gets locked down, which makes the bind to the ski super rigid. Weight, however, is compromised.

As for the skis, the Rossignol S6 is a good choice. I believe this year's ski will have a bit of rocker in the tip and tail and zero camber under foot, which will be nice for good snow, but may become squirrely on crud. Last year's ski was a nice, stiff, traditionally shaped ski that kicked butts.

So I rode the S6/Baron setup with a Technica 130 flex alpine boot last year. The S6, either year, is a fat backcountry ski and requires a big skin. So, coupled with the Baron and the boots I was pushing a lot of weight and hiking/skinning was pretty uncomfortable. However, It was all worth it on the downhill. If you are looking for one of the best quality setups for the descent and willing to sacrifice on the climb, this is a good way to go. I, however, will be trying to get on that lightweight Dynafit program, as my interests have shifted to longer, deeper tours and climbs.
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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby mtnfiend » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:43 am

Most all of the main binding manufacturers have good stuff these days. It just depends on what you want to do and how you want to use your set-up. I've got titans with fritschis and use them in the resort no problem. I purchased the fritschis with a pair of K2 Mt. Bakers as I used my alpine boots the first year (I didn't have the cash to buy a BC set-up all at once) and wanted a binding that was compatible with both AT and alpine boots. But I know people who ski dynafit bindings in the resort too. I'd stay away from marker, simply because you have to release your boot from the binding to switch between skiing and skinning (which isn't that big of deal for some).

But +1 on the sentiment that if you're a good skier you won't have a problem skiing on the equipment available.

Go spend some time in the bent gate (or any knowledgeable shop for that matter) and talk with the sales people to get a better feel for what will work best for you.
Didn't I ever tell you.....Bumble's bounce!!!

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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby GSracer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:46 am

Thanks guys.

Girlslovesnow-
Are you serious about the AT boots? Have they improved much? When I was working race crew on BoP I used to wear some TR9's for work that felt like they were made out of cheese whiz while slipping the course, and those were supposed to be the "stiff" rando boot at the time...in fact I still have em. If they have significantly improved, what models would you guys recommend? Thanks again for the advice in advance.

Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby Bean » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:53 am

If you insist on using your race boots, go with Dukes for your binding choice. I strongly suggest going with Dynafit bindings though, they ski great and the boots are solid now. I ski in Factors, not the best tour mode in the world but they ski well and, most importantly, fit my foot. The Dynafit Titan is a killer boot too. Hit up a shop and figure out what will work for you; long gone are the days of "stiff" AT boots feeling like a sack of mashed potatoes.

As for ski choice, there are a lot of options. There's no need to go narrower than 95mm underfoot though.
Last edited by Bean on Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby GSracer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:58 am

Ok, I will look into it....i guess by the TR9 comment you guys can figure out how out of the loop I've been since moving to the Midwest. Nothing but boilerplate to ski on here:P

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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby Girlslovesnow » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:07 pm

Yes they have improved. It is not going to be 100% like your race boots obviously. You will have less forward lean (which is way better on your knees while skinning, or in general), and they will feel a bit softer, but it's just something to get used to. The people that think they have to have stiff boots or you can only ski little wimpy skis with AT boots drive me crazy. I can ski 175 BD Justices just fine with AT boots and I'm a 5'3" 120 lb female.
They are not going to be mush you are imagining. You may start to notice that wearing race boots all these years was just stupid. I think it's something you should look into.

Oh yeah, as far as what brands/models you should look into. They are just like every other ski boot, try on everything and go with the brand that fits your foot. I picked Dynafits for the sole reason that they fit my foot the best.
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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby gsliva » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:10 pm

Backcountry skis and bindings are of two types. All about the downhill descent or the uphill "skin up". It depends on your goal. I prefer the uphill skin up versions with ultralight gear. www.wildsnow.com is a good source.
Live for the Climb and the search for commitment.

Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby Bean » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:16 pm

gsliva wrote:Backcountry skis and bindings are of two types. All about the downhill descent or the uphill "skin up". It depends on your goal. I prefer the uphill skin up versions with ultralight gear. www.wildsnow.com is a good source.

Dawson certainly is an all-about-the-up type. His idea of a "powder machine" is a 165 Kilowatt.

The gear is rapidly improving all around. I hope to demo a TLT5 Carbon this year, skins like wearing sneakers and supposedly skis darn well, though I'll need a gigantic discount to consider making a purchase. Dynafit bindings compromise nothing on the up or down, unless you are hucking hudge to flat or landing switch in the park. There are countless options for skis that are light but still fairly stiff, have a decent width, plus rocker. You don't have to sacrifice anymore, unless you're a rando racer or want to show off how strong you are with heavy gear.
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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby GSracer » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:25 pm

So...on the topic of skis, suggestions on make/model/length? I'm 5'10" 175 and ski somewhat aggressively...old habits die hard. My emphasis is more on the down.

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Re: Backcountry/AT ski setup

Postby Girlslovesnow » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:35 pm

I still stand by the Kilowatts. Super awesome carver in bounds, but perform pretty damn awesome in powder as well. Closest thing to a super stiff, snappy race ski that I've found. Dimensions are 127/95/116 mm cm for the 185s. Length is kind of up to you. My boyfriend is almost the exact same size as you, he skis the 185 Kilowatts pretty damn aggressively. I'm tiny so I have 165s. My slalom skis are 151, GS are 175 and in the midwest I free-skied on 150s. So I kind of went for in between all sizes and a little longer for free-skiing around here.
I also looked into getting the BD Verdicts. Dimensions are 131/100/118. They lean a little more towards powder with wider dimensions and an early rise tip, but are still quite the carvers.
"I wish people would quit telling me I can do anything I want. I never thought I couldn't"

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