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Yet another AT equipment question

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Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:41 pm

I've spent way too much time reading reviews trying to decide on an AT ski and would like some help. Here's my situation: I'm looking used on ebay and craigslist for something that would be dedicated mainly for ski mountaineering - I have resort equipment. I have already purchased Dynafit Zzero boots and will be getting dynafit bindings. I’ve rented twice – 178 Manslu's – I loved them on the up and in soft snow but didn’t like them on everything else. The 178 feel fairly short. I’ve also rented a K2 shuksan that skied quite similar to a alpine ski – it didn’t have the float that I would want in an AT ski. I’m big – 6’1″, 215 lbs (hope to be less for season) 48 years old, live out of state, ski only 2 times per year, don’t ski that aggresively, and am probably only an advanced intermediate skill level. I would be mostly on spring corn.

The skis that I’ve considered are BD Kilowatt and K2 Backlash – probably in the same class – a bit heavier and quite versatile. I’ve read that BD skis as a whole are made for more aggressive sking than K2. Would this be true of these two skis? I’ve also read that the backlashes aren’t as turny as the kilowatts. I like the sounds of the metal in the backlashes – it doesn’t appear to be a weight penalty over the kilowatt. I saw one comparo that said the backlash was more stable and forgiving. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Any advise on the differences that I would see between these skis. Which would be more forgiving, and provide better edge hold on the steeps. How much advantage in powder would the rockered tip on the newer backlash provide over the kilowatt.

The other ski that I’m considering is the old K2 Mt Baker Superlight or newer Wayback. Am I too heavy for this light and soft of a ski? Thoughts? Would I be sacrificing a lot of downhill performance – especially on the steeps?

Also… ski length? At the resorts I’ve never gotten comfortable on skis over 180. Is it a mistake to get a ski in the 174-180 size for skimo at my weight?

There seems to be conflicting opinions on K2 sizing. THe backlash review on wild snow claims they ski short – 181 feels like 170. Others say that K2 sizes differently 174 measures 178 or even 180. Thoughts?

I've also posted this question on Wild Snow

Thanks for any thoughts/opinions
Brian

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby COBuckeye » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:49 am

Some thoughts:
Everyone likes something different when it comes to skis, therefore demoing skis can be very helpful.
I have generally heard people tend to like K2s over BDs, but again everyone is different
BD does not make the kW anymore, so you may be able to find a better deal on these
Weight on your feet is significant, especially if you are not touring all the time (read: not in awesome physical shape)
Sorry for the generalities, hope this helps

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby oldschool » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:27 pm

You made a good decision, IMO, in going with Dynafit. You have saved yourself a good amount of weight by doing so. Stay with a lightweight ski. Dynafit makes excellent skis too. Check out their website. Very versatile for back country, ski mountaineering,and even days at the resort. Keep your equipment light...it makes a big difference on long days when you are skinning all day for many miles. The length between 5 or 6 cm is not that big of a deal from my experiences. I have Dynafit FR10.0 carbon skis and Dynafit bindings with awesome lightweight Scarpa Maestrale boots....very lightweight setup. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your choice.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:12 pm

COBuckeye wrote:Weight on your feet is significant, especially if you are not touring all the time (read: not in awesome physical shape)


I know you are saying something significant here - but not exactly sure what. No, I'm not in awesome physical shape - I need to lose weight. But are you saying this should affect ski length choice significantly (go longer) or highlight the importance of lightweight gear or are you saying stay away from skis that are too soft??... Or are you saying time in gymn would be better spent than obsessing over ski choice - no ofense taken by the later option.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby oldschool » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:31 pm

Good question. I think the response was pointing to the fact that weight (heavier gear) is a significant issue. In backpacking we say.." a pound on the foot is like 10 on the back..." All the things you can do to get in better shape is awesome...do it! Don't worry about the ski length too much. Longer skis are heavier for sure, so place some consideration in it. I do a lot of bc stuff on my AT equipment and I know the difference in weight between this choice and that choice makes a difference.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby Bean » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:42 pm

Do you have any specific lines or objectives in mind? "Steeps" can vary from person to person quite a bit. If you're looking at mostly corn, ski choice probably won't matter too much. Find something in a comfortable length in the 95ish waist range and you'll be in good shape.

Like COBuckeye said, BD doesn't make the kW anymore, which is kind of a bummer. It's been replaced by the Warrant which is pretty disappointing, since for a couple years while on the kW I thought "if only this ski had a bit of rocker, it'd be perfect!" All they did was add a few cm and call it good.

Demoing would be best, but there probably won't be much of that in KC, MO. Something 170-180cm, ~95mm waist, and a bit of rocker/early rise is what you're looking for. Getting in shape will of course go a long way.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby ajkagy » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:19 pm

I have a pair of K2 shuksans w/dynafits on them only for spring/summer mountaineering and they are crazy lightweight. I intentionally got them in a shorter length than my alpine/mid winter AT skis due to weight savings, and weight makes a huge difference when it's going to be a long day. If you're going to use them in spring/summer you won't need the float and bulkiness of huge AT skis.

I also have kilowatts with dynafit as well for mid winter type touring. Both are great skis, i wouldn't say one is more aggressive than the other. I do know the 1st model kilowatts are stiffer than the newer versions.

If you're going to only be on corn then the shuksans/mt bakers will be awesome with the weight savings. Remember, in spring you may not necessarily be touring but have the skis on your backpack. if you want more versatility or plan on hitting some pow then the kilowatts or backlash will do you just fine.

I wouldn't fret over ski length too much, like Bean said 170-180 will be fine.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:22 pm

Thanks for the great responses, Bean, ajkagy, COBuckeye, & old school - this is helpful.

Bean: I was hoping you would respond as I knew you used KW's for skimo and have read quite a bit of good advice from you on similar threads. I talked with you briefly on Grays last July 4 weekend about your KW's.

Bean wrote:Do you have any specific lines or objectives in mind? "Steeps" can vary from person to person quite a bit.


I want to ski Box Creek Couloirs on Elbert on spring break (middle of March). I know that doesn't qualify as"steep for someone with your skimo resume. But as I drove by last March, the line just reached out and grabbed me as something I have to do.

I guess my concern with "edge hold on steeps" comes from my experience on the Manaslu's last March skiing sun crust and hardpack. I've only skiied 2 days on mid fat skis - but edge hold felt very different. It didn't feel very confidence inspiring to start down a line like Box Creek if it was anything but soft snow on those Manaslus. I don't know how much of that was due to the Manaslu's known weakness here and how much is common to all 95 ish width skis. I understand the idea that mid fats aren't GS skis.

Everyone:
Corn vs Powder: Your repsonses helped me see this issue is the main one I need to use in deciding which ski. If I'm going to ski mostly corn over Memorial Day weekend then the shuksan/backup or Wayback is probably the ski for me to get. If it will include some powder in March then it probably should be a KW or backlash.

ajkagy: The shuksan/backup is definitely another ski that I'm considering. Your corn vs powder and shuksan vs kilowatt remarks really help me narrow this down. I won't have the luxury of having two setup's. So would it be correct to say that the shuksan will sacrifice more float in powder than the KW will sacrifice in ease in corn. If that is correct, then I think the KW is the way to go.
Last question: can the KW be skied comfortably at slower speeds? I assume the skusan is more at home with slower speeds than the KW. Is that a correct assumption? Ratings claim the shuksan is geared more for a skier with less skill. So I'm asking does one have to be an expert skiing aggresively with a lot of spped to feel comfortable with the KW?
thanks for the help

Anybody want to ski Box Creek in March?

Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby Bean » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:42 am

Oh, you're that guy. Cool.

I just looked at Box Creek on http://www.hillmap.com/ and it looks like it's actually got some decent pitch to it, 38-45 degrees in spots. Mid-March might be a little early (or it could be just fine), depends on how the snowpack shakes out over the winter.

Edge hold is more about torsional rigidity than anything else, and is the main reason my S3s aren't becoming my ski mountaineering ski. Dynafit skis are mostly pretty light and not very stiff, which is what you experienced with the Manaslu. I really, really like the kWs and I'm disappointed that BD didn't make the replacement how I envisioned it. I've happily skied everything from knee+ deep low angle trees to horrible chundery windpack to way-too-steep corn with them. I find them really easy to ski in all conditions. Keep in mind that's the older brown ones, and I'm not entirely sure how they've changed.

If the line is in shape, I might be willing to go up Elbert in March.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby Cruiser » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:41 am

185cm BD Kilowats are available on Sierra Trading Post right now for $239 shipped. PM me if you want the code 40% off code to get them at that price.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby ajkagy » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:06 pm

BKS wrote:ajkagy: So would it be correct to say that the shuksan will sacrifice more float in powder than the KW will sacrifice in ease in corn. If that is correct, then I think the KW is the way to go.
Last question: can the KW be skied comfortably at slower speeds? I assume the skusan is more at home with slower speeds than the KW. Is that a correct assumption? Ratings claim the shuksan is geared more for a skier with less skill. So I'm asking does one have to be an expert skiing aggresively with a lot of spped to feel comfortable with the KW?
thanks for the help


KW is a good all around ski, from corn to deep powder you can't go wrong with it. The shuksans are just lighter because of the smaller ski. I'm not sure about the slower speed, depends on the length you get for the ski, obviously the shorter ski is going to have a tighter turning radius and be easier to get around at slower speed. I have no problem with mine at low speed. When ski manufacturers talk about the skier level of the ski they usually mean the stiffness of the ski. It's mostly just personal preference because any expert skier can ski any ski well. I would definitely get a demo and just try them out for a day. Usually any new ski you get on is going to feel "different", but will eventually grow on you.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby pioletski » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:30 pm

Most of what I could contribute here has already been said, but...
- IMHO, if you weigh 215 then a 175 is just not enough ski for you, especially if it's a noodle like the Manaslu. It would be fine on groomers but would be a bummer in punchy or variable conditions.
- Based on that Cruiser's suggestion about the 185 Kilowatts is excellent, you might consider an even longer ski for pow. Recently the BD Verdict has been available at a decent price too.
- Tip rocker is a nice feature to look for. It's true that it allows a ski to turn like a shorter ski on hard snow but float better in pow or crusty snow. You mentioned you want a versatile and forgiving ski, this is what makes it so.
- You can ski nice corn on any old pair of barrel staves, you need a ski that won't fail you when things turn ugly, i.e. steep icy slopes or breakable crud.
- Bean's right about torsional stiffness (he's not that much of an idiot, no matter what anyone says), plus you need to keep 'em sharp, which takes work as mountaineering skis get trashed almost every time out.
Just sayin'...
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