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11/12/2012 12:42 PM
 

There's been some interest for these skis in previous threads, and given that I've used both quite a bit I thought my reflections might be useful.  As background, I had a proto pair of 125 Hoks for review in the spring of 2011, and bought a pair of the 145s as soon as they were available in December of the same year.  I used the 125s with the universal binding and Voile 3 pin bindings.  I've only used the 145s with 3 pins, and various heavier plastic/leather boots.  I bought a pair of Marquettes late in 2010, and was sent a proto pair to test later that winter.  I skied them with 3 pins and plastic telemark boots.

The most obvious difference betweent the two is weight.  I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the Marquettes are somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 oz heavier per ski.  The Marquettes are great for plinking around for fun, and can ski some serious stuff as long as the snow is soft, but IMO the weight disqualifies them from use as a tool for backcountry distance travel.  The Hoks compare favorably, in terms of weight/surface area, with XCD skis like the Karhu Guide/Madshus Annum.  In fact, the 145 Hoks weight just a hair more than my 185 Guides and have an almost identical surface area.

The Marquettes are not only big, they are exceptionally stiff.  Uniformly so, apparently there isn't a way to tune the flex as you would with conventional skis.  This being the case, I wouldn't want to ski them with anything short of a proper telemark boot (older 2 buckle Scarpa T-2 or bigger).  Less boot would work on very mild terrain, but it'd be very easy to get into something a little too steep or thick, or in snow a little too funky, and end up with the skis skiing you.  That said, with proper boots the Marquettes are an unparalleled rig for bombing steep and tight powder runs.  The huge rockered tip, overall float, and lack of metal edges to stick on rocks makes powder with no base very doable.  Scratches in the bases can be erased with a bit of heat.  On the other hand the lack of edges can be sketchy when climbing over deadfall, or when you unexpectedly find yourself on firm snow.  The fishscales climb better than other scales, but still suffer the limitations of that technology (i.e. the drier the snow, the less grip).  The bases are horrendously slow on anything firm.  On a few BC powder day trips I was left for dead on gentle runouts down snowmachine tracks.  In the end, I sold them because they were just so specialized.

The Hoks fill the role of 60% ski, 40% snowshoe very well, and are a great tool for many types of winter travel.  Lots of the lower altitude stuff around here (NW MT) gets a lot light snow, but is thickly wooded.  The Hoks are great for breaking trail in deep snow, and easy to maneuver in the thick stuff.  The shape and gentle rocker is particularly nice when slithering down steep, wooded, singletrack descents.  I think the skinsert makes since over fishscales, because the Hoks are best in soft snow, and skins grip so much better.  The drag is noticeable on wetter snow, but IMO a good overall tradeoff.  My only disappointment is that my 145s are much, much softer than the 125 protos.  Too soft, even for a soft snow ski.  That the factory edges can rather dull did not help.  They will hold an edge on hard snow, even with relatively floppy boots, but you'll have to work a bit at it.  The Hoks are also a specialized tool, but one which is very practical for a lot of multi-day winter travel.  I've got longer, skinnier skis for trips in more open terrain, but in the dead of winter down in the trees, the Hoks are the best tool for the job.

 
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11/12/2012 12:58 PM
 

Excellent information.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't want perma-skins on any skis. I'd rather carry kicker skins and use them as appropriate on top of waxless bases for a much more flexible system. What's your take on that?

Seems like the 145 Hoks with universal bindings, waxless bases, and a set of kicker skins would be the perfect ski-shoe setup.

FWIW, I'm finding relatively short (169) XCD skis in that ~110 Guide width to be about the perfect all around backcountry setup. I did go up as far as 185 length (Karhu 10th Mountain) in my experimentations but much prefer the shorter skis for general maneuverability in the woods.


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11/12/2012 1:18 PM
 

I think scales and kicker skins are a more versatile setup overall, though I've been impressed with how little the skinsert drags most of the time.  Quite a bit less drag than kicker skins with a front strap/plate. 

That said, for the niche have the Hoks for the skins work best.  It all comes down to your quiver, and the place you want a certain ski to fill.  I've got five pairs of skis at the moment, in lengths from 145 to 200 cm, and they all have a place.

 
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11/12/2012 3:42 PM
 

I used the hoks with a sled ot pack out an Elk yesterday in weather that could be described only as horrible. About 30" of snow fell on our location. I doubt the temps reached 10 and were likely close to 0 most of the day. To add insult the wind was blowing pretty well as well. My partner looked at me like really ... your on some sort of weird ski with a $10.00 sled some rope and trekking poles. It worked well, one trip and a full pelt as well.

Kevin


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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11/12/2012 5:01 PM
 

I would LOVE to pack an elk out with the sled and skis.  Glad you got to have that experiance.

 

One thing that really bites for me concerning skiis is weight.  I've lost body weight but still when fully dressed I weigh about 310#'s and I'm worried that skiis probably aren't constructed to carry or hold up under those loads.  Even my skinny skiis fell apart last year on me, and I can no longer use them anyway because the booties just kill my feet.

 
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11/12/2012 5:58 PM
 

Yes I told my friend this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so he decided to grab the pelt as well. It would have been miserable packing one on your back in knee deep snow. Once we had the sled situated, it went easy. I basically had cut the trail through the snow packing the sled in, so we followed that route out. There was enough new snow in between the up and down to keep the sled form getting out of hand.

It wasn't even an official pulk. It was a $10 plastic sled, with two 6 foot strands of utility rope tied to it. I used my trekking poles on the ski in. We took each line and wrapped the end around the trekking pole baskets to keep it tight. I was on the hoks, and he was in boots. Going downhill, he controlled the speed from behind , really just holding the trekking pole hand strap in his hand and providing some slow down. On small up hills, if it was too much he came to the front and we both pulled. We guided it aroudn downed trees etc by using the back and front method. It wasn't terrible terrain but was a 1200 ft drop probably over 1.75 miles on sort of a bike path. I'm going to eastimate, pelt , bone in quaraters etc were probably 250 lbs. I joked with him that is was like taking the entire family our sledding, with all of them in the sled. 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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11/13/2012 8:08 AM
 

oldpinecricker wrote
 

I would LOVE to pack an elk out with the sled and skis.  Glad you got to have that experiance.

 

One thing that really bites for me concerning skiis is weight.  I've lost body weight but still when fully dressed I weigh about 310#'s and I'm worried that skiis probably aren't constructed to carry or hold up under those loads.  Even my skinny skiis fell apart last year on me, and I can no longer use them anyway because the booties just kill my feet.

This setup will easily handle the weight you are describing:
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. (here is the thread: http://hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/23/threadid/257/scope/posts/Default.aspx)

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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