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Yet another AT equipment question

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:56 pm

ajkagy wrote:When ski manufacturers talk about the skier level of the ski they usually mean the stiffness of the ski.


Beginner skis are softer? K2 on the shuksan/backup says beginner to intermediate, most of the other skis discussed will say advanced to expert. Shuksan apparently has metal layers, KW does not. Backlash does. Not sure I follow this.

Bean wrote:it looks like it's actually got some decent pitch to it, 38-45 degrees in spots


Bill's route description here says the middle (easiest) couloirs don't exceed 37 degrees. The outside chutes are apparently steeper. How did you determine slope from that site? Just measurements and math from the topo? ... or did I miss a map layer? Thanks for the maybe on March - it would be great if it worked for you to go. I won't try this without someone along with good avy skils.

Bean wrote:Keep in mind that's the older brown ones, and I'm not entirely sure how they've changed.


According to BD's own promo copy, the newer blue ones have a softer tip for easier turn initiation at slower speeds. This sounds positive for what I'm looking for. Jordan White's review of the blue one vs brown one on Wild Snow made it sound like there wasn't much difference though.

Bean wrote:I'm disappointed that BD didn't make the replacement how I envisioned it


Maybe if you changed your signature line BD might do things more as you envision. They must be confused and don't know which to believe, "Bean is an idot" or "Bean is always right", ...it would be hard to figure out.

Crusier and pioletski:
I know I should be on 185's, I need to take a couple of days to get used to turning the bigger sticks, but when I only have 6 or 7 days per year to do the best sport ever its hard to force myself to "eat my peas and carrots". I'm not sure I want to risk the $239 on being able to make this transition. $239 is a great price though.

Thanks everyone this was extremely helpful.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby ajkagy » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:16 pm

beginner skis are usually more forgiving with their flex so yes you could say they are "softer". I have the first generation (brown) KW and they feel stiffer than the shuksans. I wouldn't pay much attention to the rating since it doesn't tell you very much. Dimensions/length/rocker/no rocker will give you a good idea of what the ski will be like. Actually demoing the ski will be the best bet since the same pair of skis will feel different for everybody.

Most skis will be good in corn as it's one of the easiest surfaces to ski on...nothing better in late spring or summer than steep corn. Remember, it's the skier not the ski :)
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby GravityPilot » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:06 pm

I figure I'll add my near meaningless dollar amount. Comparing the Kilowatt (brown or blue/green/white) to the Shuksan is just comical. All very different skis. First, the dimentions between the BD and the K2 are very different. The diffenences between the brown Kilo and the Blk/Grn/Wh Kilo are just big to start. The 1st gen Kilo (brn) was a stiff, less easy turning, charging ski. The 2nd gen (B/G/W/) was made more forgiving for all the folks that liked the dimentions but disliked the skiablity. Enter the Orange Verdict. Totally sick, charging, easy to manuver, and not overly fat. Ski slow, ski fast, these things have literally no speed limit. Still a tad harsh for the unsuspecting, but not unskiable. The Shuksan is a way more forgiving ski with a much shorter radius (~16m vs. ~25m). You could compare this ski to something like the BD Stigma which is a fantastic ski.
BD skis this year have completly changed again by adding side wall construction and metal sheets to what they call the "Power Line" (vs. Efficient Line). The Warrant (think old Kilo dimentions) is a much friendlier ski, easy turning and very capable in most terrain. The new Verdict seems a bit more forgiving than last years, but provides the width and stability that you would expect. The BD skis have changed so much they should have renamed some of them (Especially the Zealot).
For me my "magic, do all, year round ski mountaineering" ski dimention is somewhere around 125-95-115 in a 185cm, plus or minus depending on stiffness, weight, and general skiablity. Personally I don't ski on a general purpose backcountry ski shorter that 183cm due to my skiing style, but that's me.
I say try to ski on something before you buy, though it's hard for some folks due to location and time.
I've skied all these on Fritchi, tech, and Marker bindings. I'm not going to tell you which ski to buy and I'm certainly not going to assume what kind of skier you are. Toil over your decision, and certainly don't settle for something only because the price is right.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby COBuckeye » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:15 am

BKS wrote:
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.


I was simply saying that for weekend warriors (myself included) who only get out once a week if we are lucky, the weight on your feet is very noticeable. If you consistenly toured 10,000' vert/week you might not care as much about an extra 1-2lbs. No offense meant regarding your condition, more of an observation of my own condition and the gear I have used.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:44 am

What I think is really cool about the site and forum is the willingness of experienced and knowledgable people to share expertise with people like myself on the outside looking in (and drooling at the pictures by the way) who are trying to find a way to get started in something that by its nature is fairly exclusive. I know this has been a guiding principle of this site from its beginning (thank you Bill) and it sets this site apart from others. Steve Gladbach has reminded users here that people on other sites that operate from a more "tend the inner circle -exclusive mindset" about this sport and make fun of all the newbie questions that get asked here. So I appreciate the willingness that exists here to share some helpful things for people like myself who ask things that at times look stupid. I've read all remarks here several times over the last few days - its been very helpful.

If you would indulge me again, let me come at it from another angle. I know that there is no substitute for demo ing these skis that I'm asking about. In doing that, I'd spend half of the money in a day that I would spend on buying skis used - I'm wanting to buy a pair for $200-250 without bindings. Its also hard to find a way to demo a ski when you know you aren't going to buy new or a ski that is currently manufactored. That leaves me trying to beg from the people I talk to on Craiglist to let me demo before buying. I've had varying luck with that. It also leaves me without the help of a knowledgeable sales person at a retail store. Thus, I'm askking all these questions, hoping to get enough of a feel that I might make a lucky decision with a ski purchase.

I know the kilowatt vs shuksan questions are apples vs oranges. Here's why I'm asking them, I know how the shuksan skis - its my main point of reference. It a very safe ski for me - it didn't feel much different than an intermediate alpine carving ski. The extra width (over the basic alpine) made it a little harder to put edge and it didn't feel as stable at speed on hardpack due to less stiffness and mass. But I was very confortable on the ski in everything but deeper soft stuff. However, my concern with getting this ski is that it won't help me advance to greater skill to ski harder stuff on 14er decents. And it won't have the float a wider ski would have if I get lucky and get to ski in powder.

On the kilowatt I read and hear all the "perfect quiver of one" and best ski for skimo ever and am interested in it. However, there are some ratings and reviews like Gravity Pilot's that make me realize its probably a much harder ski to ski at my current skill level. These comments are fairly consistent in their criticism - turn intiation is harder and its made for charging. My only point of reference to try to figure how KW must ski - is my time on the manaslus. They were harder to keep on edge, harder to turn, and the edge hold on hard snow wasn't very good. Again I realize the manaslu and KW are also quite different, but its my only experience on a mid fat and the best way I have to evaluate what people are saying about the KW.

So I'm trying to figure out how long it would take for me to improve enough to be able to ski a ski like the KW with greater confidence in a variety of conditions. And... how long it would take if I got a shuksan type ski before I would be wishing I had a wider more aggresive ski.

Anybody skied on a K2 backlash? I know it isn't made anymore. Seems to be fairly similar to KW in weight, versatility, and dimensions. One direct comparo I saw rated it quite higher in stability, forgiveness, fun, and hard pack integrity than the KW. Seemed to be the two main skis on the Wild Snow Denali trip were the K2 backlash and Kilowatt.

Anbody have an idea of how to demo a backlash and kilowatt next time I'm in Colorado?

Again thanks

Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby Bean » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:48 pm

BKS wrote:Anbody have an idea of how to demo a backlash and kilowatt next time I'm in Colorado?

Bent Gate might have a Backlash, no one will have the kW, only option will be to borrow one from somebody with a similar boot size. The kW really isn't as hard to ski as you think. Ski mountaineering involves lots of skiing crummy conditions on tired legs with a heavy pack, with so many people loving the kW for ski mountaineering it has to be pretty forgiving.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby ajkagy » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:07 pm

Bent Gate or Neptune will definitely have full AT rentals, not sure what models they'll have though.
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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby lordhelmut » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:16 pm

Edgeworks on the corner of 9th and Broadway has the Backlash's for demo and a plethera of Icelantic's and Volkl's. BD wasn't on display, but I think I recall seeing some Justice's, Verdicts and maybe some Aspect's.

Wilderness Sports in Dillon will have all the BD line as well, not sure on the kW's though.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:47 pm

Just made the calls. Edgeworks does not demo K2 this year.
Bentgate has the Coomback and Sidestash in K2 line.
Wilderness in Dillon only rents/demos new skis so Warrant not kilowatt. No K2.

I have a 29.0 dynafit boot . 326 bsl. just in case someone's into loaning/renting skis.

Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby benners » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:19 am

BKS wrote:However, there are some ratings and reviews like Gravity Pilot's that make me realize its probably a much harder ski to ski at my current skill level. These comments are fairly consistent in their criticism - turn intiation is harder and its made for charging. My only point of reference to try to figure how KW must ski - is my time on the manaslus. They were harder to keep on edge, harder to turn, and the edge hold on hard snow wasn't very good.

So I'm trying to figure out how long it would take for me to improve enough to be able to ski a ski like the KW with greater confidence in a variety of conditions. And... how long it would take if I got a shuksan type ski before I would be wishing I had a wider more aggresive ski.


Just to provide a different perspective, the Kilowatt was my first backcountry/ski mountaineering ski. When I was first getting into the sport I would haved called myself a strong intermediate skier and I had little to no experience with the kinds of conditions typcially found in the Colorado backcountry. That said, I loved skiing the Kilowatt and had no issues with it being too demanding of a ski for my skill level, in fact I would say it was just the opposite; a relatively forgiving, easy ski that worked well in just about all conditions. Then taking into consideration that the newer Kilowatt (blue) is softer and even more forgiving than the 08'/09' model (tan), I would highly recommend it as a first backcountry ski for a strong intermediate skier.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby BKS » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:23 pm

thanks Ben. thanks all.

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Re: Yet another AT equipment question

Postby JDgreen » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:22 pm

Just curious if you ever considered Coombacks? I ski some older Coombas and enjoy them immensely. I am no pro-skier but see them on the feet of several guides I have skied with. Maybe K 2 just has really good pro deal but most seem to like them. I think JAX in Ft Collins is renting a full line of AT gear also, I think just BD brand.
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