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12/1/2010 9:19 PM
 

This is another thread that started as a PM conversation. My correspondent OK'd putting the conversation on here. I'll start with our back and forth and then go from there.

Evan

Are these the same skis you use? Price seems to good to be true.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Unused-Karhu-Bac...item51912e916f

Also, what boots and bindings do you run?

Thanks

My response:

It is too good to be true. That's not a bad price for what they are though. My biggest issue with those military surplus skis is that they aren't waxless bases. I was reminded yet again this morning that if I ran waxed bases, I would have had to stop and remove all of yesterday's wax to put on a completely different wax to deal with today's very different conditions. With waxless (fish scale) bases, you just roll.

I just found out the skis I use technically aren't made anymore:
http://www.orscrosscountryskisdirect...ntry-skis.html

I'll tell you what, though. Scot just upgraded to newly available super fat waxless skis to help float his weight. For breaking trail in deep snow, they blow away my 10th mountains. We've only got a couple of weeks of skiing on them so far, so I'm reserving full judgement. Very favorably impressed though. Here's what he's running:
http://www.rei.com/product/805197

Here's a good backcountry travel option that's been unavailable for a while and has just been reintroduced, this time without permanently attached climbing skins (which are what became my biggest complaint with the ones I have as I gained more experience):
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/68748?from=SR&feat=sr
Same basic dimensions as the ones Scot is now running, but 30cm shorter. Also includes bindings that will work with most boots.

Really, I should have started by asking what kind of ski experience you have, and what kind of travel you are looking to do with the skis you're in the market for?

And his response:

I ski in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness(northern mn). I mainly ski across flat lakes but the portage trails can be flat to steep downhill runs. Snow conditions can be anything from packed dog sled trails to deep virgin powder. Right now I am running some backwoods whitetails I believe. They are alright but my buddy runs Kahru and his are much faster. Also my two labs pull me most of the time. I don't do any two track skiing as most a ski-joring haters.



We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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12/1/2010 9:44 PM
 

Speed on skis is a combination of the following factors:

  • Fitness
  • Technique
  • Traction of the kick pocket
  • Stiffness of camber
  • Weight of skier
  • Amount of flotation skis provide
  • Snow conditions

So, when you are trying to figure out how you could go faster, or why your buddy goes faster than you, lets start out by ignoring fitness and technique. Neither of those are dependent on equipment selection.

Traction of the kick pocket refers to how much push off you get on your kick stroke. If you want to mess with waxable skis, you can get traction that is better suited to each individual snow condition than you can with fish scale bottoms. On the other hand, you have to spend time messing with around with different waxes as conditions change. That game is not for me, and I don't know much about it. So, I'll remove that factor from the list.

Stiffness of camber can be observed by putting a pair of skis bottom to bottom and then squeezing them together in the middle where the bindings are (or would go). This shows you how much force it takes to compress the kick pocket and therefore how well the skis will do keeping your weight off of the kick pocket during the glide. Skis that don't have enough camber to keep you off the kick pocket on the glide just won't be very fast.

Flotation of the ski is the second half of this equation. On the glide, you will be sliding along on whatever portion of the ski isn't held off the ground by the camber. The more surface area, the less friction, the faster you go. Surface area is a function of length and width.

Weight of the skier simply means that if you put two skiers on identical skis, the heavier one will depress the kick pocket more and also have more weight relative to surface area, and just won't be able to go as fast.

You can calculate surface area of a given ski based on it's width. I average the three different width measurements (shovel, waist, tail) and then multiply that by the length. Be aware that width is in mm and length is in cm. Then you can divide your weight by the surface area calculation to get a rough measure of how a given ski will float you. This won't tell you everything about how a ski might perform, but it is a decent starting point. You might find out that your buddy at his weight on his skis is running half of the weight per square centimeter as you are at your weight on your skis. That would be an answer right there before you even worry about camber or the merits of fatter or skinnier skis.

I'll get into different types of skis I've used and their performance in various conditions in a later post (and bindings and boots sometime after that), but that gives you some things to think about and look at.

 


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/26/2011 12:48 PM
 

 Any late season review on those wide Rossi's?

What boot binding combination are you kicking them with?

 

 

Jason

 

 
New Post
2/27/2011 12:23 PM
 

 

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any snow between Christmas and the mid to end of February, and what snow that was left was in pretty poor shape where we are allowed to take the dogs. As a result, I don’t have as much time on my skis as I would like. However, I am loving them. I dislike long skis and heavy skis. So the tradeoff that I made with my Karhu 10th Mts was to give up glide and speed in favor of a shorter ski that was easier to maneuver and lighter. After a couple of years I wasn’t sure that I had made the right decision as kick and glide was really not something that I could do with the 10th Mts. They were great for maneuver, but just didn’t give me enough floatation to move quickly, which isn’t as bad as it sounds since I am not a super fast guy to start with but I wanted more. Based on all that, when I saw a wider ski in my preferred length (165) it was pretty much a no brainer to give them a try. The price did give pause, but not all of my bonus money needs to be spent on firearms and ammo. I am very glad I spent the money at this point. To date they have done everything I have asked of them and done it very well. I can kick and glide with ease, at least downhill and on relatively level surfaces; the wider base under my foot gives me better stability so my ankle doesn’t try to roll side to side as often; and they break trail due to better floatation very well. I have spent two mornings at the ski resort doing lift served downhill and was doing better downhill than I have in the past, which I think is due to the wider base beneath my feet being more forgiving. That has in turn given me a lot of confidence getting around on them.
My current set up is the Rossignal BC 125, Fritchi surplus Swiss military bindings (FT88s I think), and Asolo Anapurna boots. When I do lift served I cheat a little and put on a homemade plastic ankle cuff to give my ankles a bit more support as my boots tend to loosen up fairly quickly when just laced if I am driving them hard.

Based on our snow patterns I should have another month or even 2 of good snow to ski them some more.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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2/10/2012 3:18 PM
 

For utilitarianback country travel check out Altai Hoks. They are short, fat and have a partial skin. You can use a 3 pin or a universal binding. I 've been using them on trails and they are great, although skiing a blue run at Telluride, with the universal binding and a mountaineering boot was a challenge.

I also have some Alpina BC skis, with a partial camber and a partial fish scale pattern. I use them with a light tele boot and they are fine. I think I picked them up in the spring for $99.00 or something. I've even skied easy resort runs with those as well. Way more comfy than an alpine setup.

 

Edit: spelling , what no spell check :) 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
New Post
2/10/2012 4:04 PM
 

Ah... somebody who has used the Altais! I'm very interested in these skis. I have a pair of Karhu Karvers which are almost identical to the Altais except in a 130 length. I've got a pair of ancient Trak Bushwackers that are 150s and I find that to be a nice length, but it's really hard to compare to my normal skis (Karhu 10th mountains) because they're not fat modern shaped skis with metal edges. So, some questions about the Altais:

  • I wish the Karvers had an aggressive waxless base instead of permaskins. I can always put kicker skins on as necessary (always when pulling a pulk), but when I don't want them I don't want them. I find that on downhills they grab at the worst possible time and make for unstable skiing. Also, in borderline warm conditions, it's hard to keep the skins from clumping. Do you wish the Altais just had a waxless base instead?
  • The universal bindings on the Karvers pretty much require some toe flex in the boot. You really wouldn't be able to use most mountaineering boots. Are the Altai universal binding more forgiving of stiff soled boots?

Been experimenting a lot this winter, at least as much as snow allows. I've even been giving some Ed T style 21" snowshoes a try as well. Still not liking snowshoes, but I do like the "put them on absolutely any boot, and go anywhere you want" aspect of them. Honestly, right now I'm thinking that Hillsound Trail Crampons are the only thing in my winter travel quiver that get the absolute nod.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/10/2012 5:50 PM
 

I like the skin, although at the ski resort is was a problem. I haven't had a problem using a variety of boots , and my mountaineering boots are probably not as stiff as some.

Here is what I like: 

  • I can put on my snow boots, mountaineering boots or whatever, drive to the TH get out and put on the universal bindings and go. In the spring I can even wear trail runners until snow is a problem.
  • Using my ULA epic, I can strap them down in a minute, so getting in and out is nothing. 
  • I don't have to fuss with skins going up, put skins away for the down. I just go.

For more real skiing, it's probably a good idea to put on a 3 pin, but then you are limited on boots. I probably wish I had the 145 CM ones, I think they would ski a bit better.

I haven't dealt with wet snow, my experience has been wet snow screws up everything , snow shoes, skins whatever.

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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2/10/2012 6:01 PM
 

You've got the 125s then. Virtually identical to my Karhu Karvers. I think those 145s are probably where it's at. Just long enough to give you some stability and power in the turns, but as short as possible otherwise. I think I'm going to commit 100% to the Karvers for the winter rondy this year. I've been using the 10th mountains for everything for the past 3 or 4 years. Going back to a less performance oriented but more all around package may be a very good thing.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/10/2012 6:05 PM
 

Evan, you will have to take my Marquette Backcountry skis for a spin during the rondy. I think you are really going to like them.

 
New Post
2/11/2012 9:59 PM
 

I'm a dedicated AT skier, I prefer the down more than the up. In this years Backcountry gear guide I saw these approach skis that are marketed for snowboarders. They would also be a decent option for hunters and explorers looking for something with universal bindings and some glide. I see these as a better option than snow shoes. They wouldn't be much fun on the downhill though.

http://www.mtnapproach.com/

Chris

 
New Post
2/12/2012 12:23 PM
 

Esstentially a fold up karver? Very interesting. Do you have anytime with them?


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
2/12/2012 3:29 PM
 

I dont have a pair and it looks like they might be sold out for the season.  Kind of expesive,  if they offered them without the pack (mainly specific for snowboarders) for under $500 I might get them next year.  $500 would still expensive but when you consider that would include skis, skins and bindings it's within the ball park of other setups.  Scott, did you check out each individual video on the product page?  There is a video for each feature of the ski, items 1-5.

 

Chris

 
New Post
2/13/2012 10:07 AM
 

I did about a 10 mile tour with 3k of up and down with a few folks yesterday. I was wearing the Hoks with a universal binding, another person was wearing fatties, and another was wearing more of a BC touring setup with partial fish scales. Snow conditions were varied, it was snowing most of the time, but in some places it was nice power while at lower elevation is was more wet. We were on a combination of 4WD drive roads, narrow single track in dense forest with lots of switchbacks and cliffs and about anything in between. Alot of the area we travelled had not seen traffic since fall hunting seasons. It is important to note these are 125cm hoks wiht a universal becasue we are kind of sharing them. The following are observations

  • The hoks were much better for going uphill. I ended up breaking trail on the steeps.
  • Downhill I had some problems with the binding due to snow on the bottom of my boot, once I resolved that I never  popped out of the binding again
  • I could use the 145 cm, in deep powder I could use more float until I get a good speed . It's important to not the recommend that, and with Avy gear, full winter stuff, I was probably 210 LB on the skis.
  • Parts of the downhill sucked for all of us., a little more so for me, it's hard to attribute to what though, as a fat ski goes through wet snow, ices it a bit, and then the person following has a much faster track where it has been tracked and much slower one where it has not. If you were breaking powder it would probably be better.
  • I did have an issue with wet snow on the skin, but that was easily resolved with some wax and it was never an issue again.

Overall I like them. If I purchase some for myself I would go 145cm. If your purpose is much more for skiing then attach a light tele or 3 pin to them and a nice leather tele boot would be a good combination. Overall it really depends on what you are wanting to do. I think the fill a nice void.

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
New Post
2/13/2012 12:47 PM
 

Sounds like the perform about like the karvers.

You wax the skins?

Christian, I didn't notice the videos I will go back and check them out.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
2/13/2012 4:40 PM
 

Wet snow was sticking to the skins at lower elevations, a member of the group had some wax and I tried it and it resolved the issue


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
New Post
2/13/2012 4:50 PM
 

I carry a product made by Black Diamond for climbing skins called "glop stopper" that helps prevent wet snow from building up. My experience is that it works pretty well but may require frequent applications (as in once an hour or more). If you're rocking skis with permaskins, having this stuff along is a must.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
2/15/2012 9:30 PM
 

Evan,

Spot on with the Glop Stopper.

 
New Post
3/12/2012 2:56 PM
 

As always, my thinking on this subject continues to evolve. When I get time, I've got some new thoughts to put out there, spurred by a new set of skis. In the meantime, here's a quick blurb on one piece of the puzzle. Honestly, snowshoes are a given. Why?:

  • Some terrain is too steep to safely traverse on skis
  • In shoulder seasons where your conveyance may be on your back more often than not, smaller and more compact wins
  • Skis are always going to require specialized boots to a certain degree, even if specialized (as in our case)  means any pair of boots with a toe and heel welt.
  • Still haven't found it, but I'm assuming there is terrain that you legitimately would tow a sled on where you want more traction than skis and skins gives you
  • Working around camp is cumbersome even on short skis

Ed T has been talking forever about snowshoes in the 25" range. I finally found a pair of vintage sherpas in 25" and have been able to give them a shake this spring (more on the sherpas in a moment). I've previously observed that if 30" shoes won't float you adequately, it's not like 36" shoes were going to either. Now I'm observing that if 25" shoes won't float you adequately, it's not like 30" shoes were going to either. There just isn't that much of a range between conditions where a 36" will float you but a 25" won't. With each one of those steps down, you're getting significantly lighter and pushing significantly less snow as you travel. If you're going to be sinking in and pushing some snow anyway, might as well have lighter handier snowshoes to do it on. I'm finding that not only do 25" shoes suck less than other snowshoes, I must admit that they are actually enjoyable to use under some circumstances.

I like the vintage (gold anodized frames with tan decking) Sherpas for these reasons:

  • I'm contrary, and these are as retro as you can get without going to wood
  • The bindings lay flat when strapped to a pack
  • Unlike just about all of the modern shoes, the traction claws aren't so pronounced that they impede travel
  • Unlike many of the modern shoes, the whole surface is a little bit grippy, yet pushes through snow when unweighted reasonably well
  • You can get used or barely used ones at used gear shops for $50 or less

There is one modification necessary on the heel strap to make these work well. You have to sew an extension on it so you can wrap it around your ankle once before feeding it through the buckle. Once you do this, the sherpa bindings outperform many modern bindings in terms of staying on your feet.

That's where I am with snowshoes these days.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
3/12/2012 4:22 PM
 

Placing a link here for future reference. I recently heard a rumor that there was a company making Sherpa replacement parts. Thanks to the interweb, it took me less than a minute to track it down. An outfit called IRL out of Canada is making Sherpa snowshoes and all of their parts are interchangeable with vintage Sherpas. Here's the link to their snowshoe page: http://www.irl.bc.ca/Forestry%20Supplies/snowshoes.htm


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
3/12/2012 8:20 PM
 

Cool link Evan! A few weeks ago a local thrift shop had a pair of Sherpa Lightfoot snowshoes for $12. The bindings were fine and the decking looked fine, they just need relacing. I went back a week or so later, figuring that even if I didn't use them, someone eles could and of course they were gone!

 
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