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Thread: A/T gear?

  1. #1
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default A/T gear?

    I've been alpine skiing for years, actually decades and x/c skiing for years, well not as long as alpine.

    Anyhow, despite that a/t gear is more appealing to me than telemark, and I just picked up some silvretta 404 bindings on e-bay So, do you recomend I just put the a/t bindings on my alpine skis and skin up? What about boots, I have mountaineering boots and alpine boots, and a buddy says he uses his alpine boots for aproaching, and swaps to his alpine boots for the decent.

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    Member jstewAK's Avatar
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    I bought the BCA Trekker inserts and skins... I just wear my alpine boots a little looser for the ascent and pack my inserts and tighten up the boots for the descent, it works great for me.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Alpine boots work, but you'll enjoy yourself way more if you switch over to an A/T specific book. I used to skin up in my Technica race boots, but eventually bought some Garmont A/T boots when I found a good deal. Oh my, I had no idea what I was missing! The skin up suddenly became so much more enjoyable, and Garmont (and a few other brands) now make A/T boots that are plenty stiff enough for the decent, but way, way lighter for the climb. I'll never go back.

    -Brian

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'll keep my eyes pealed for boots, I've got monster feet and my wife has small feet, so it make take some time.

    So how about ski's, and things to keep in mind for skins?

  5. #5

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    There is a gear swap at UAA this saturday, the 7th. I believe the gear check in time is 9 and the swap itself starts at 10am.

    May be a good chance to pick up some A/T gear. I hit the swap there this fall and there were some boots and good deals on skis. I'd get there early as it seems A/T stuff goes pretty quickly at these things!

    My wife and I have gotten into A/T skiing this winter and have had a blast. I agree with Brian though, A/T boots are the only way to go. I had an old pair of alpine boots I was using and recently purchased a pair of Garmonts and can't believe how much lighter and more comfortable they are.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I thought I would make a few posts sharing details on AT gear selection choices that I have made for others out there who might be looking for AT gear as well. Here we go...

    I mentioned above that I am WAY happier with my AT boots than my alpine boots. I don't know if this picture does the comparison justice, but if you look closely you can begin to see some of the weight savings. My Garmont Adrenalins on the right have way less mass and way less weight than my Technica alpine boots on the left. They also have a feature on the back that allows for more flex while climbing, while allowing you to lock in for the decent (small black lever and silver piece on back of boot). This single purchase changed my enjoyment of the backcountry more than anything else.



    Another nice thing about AT boots is that many of them have a much better lug on the soles. These boots can handle climbing if need be much better than alpine boots with their smooth, slick soles.



    The next shot is just a picture of my Garmont Adrenalin boots next to my wife's Garmont G-Rides. The G-Ride is an awesome boot and is more than enough for most skiers. If you're pretty agressive and really want a stiff boot for the ride down then it may be worth the upgrade to the Adrenalin (or other stiff boots out there), but the G-Ride is still quite substantial while being flexy enough for a comfortable climb up the mountain.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    For binding selection I have the Fritschi Freeride, but I bought my wife a Naxo binding (which wasn't available when I got mine). She hasn't used her Naxos much yet, but I've heard great reviews. They're a little heavier, which isn't great, but they're built a little stronger, have higher DIN settings, and have a better pivot point. The strong points on the Fritschis is that they're lighter and have a higher angle heel-rise for skinning up steep pitches.



    Here's a side-view of the Fritschi. Note that the pivot point is right in front of the toe. This makes it difficult to slide the ski while skinning up, and I usually end up picking up my ski with each stride. It's not much weight, but after a 3,000 foot climb I'm certainly feeling it.



    Side view of the naxo. This pivot point is much farther forward, allowing for a more natural gliding motion, thus reducing the need to lift the ski from the surface with each stride.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Top-view of the Fritschi. Note that there is only one support bar.



    Top-view of Naxo. Two support bars running down middle.



    Honestly, I don't know how much difference that feature would make. If I had it to do all over again, I don't really know which one I would buy. I guess that if I were going to get one binding that I could really push at the resort while still using it in the backcountry, I'd go with the seemingly stronger Naxo. If I were only in the backcountry, the weight savings of the Fritschi and their longer experience in the business is nice. Just one man's opinion, though.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Last topic - ski selection. Personally, I stay away from backcountry-specific skis. In my experience, most telemark and AT skis are little more than stripped-down versions of an identical alpine ski. My AT skis are a pair that I skiied at the resort for a few years. When I replaced my resort skis, I threw the AT bindings on them and have been absolutely thrilled with them. Ski swaps are a great place to get AT skis, as you don't need something brand new with razor-sharp edges for the backcountry.

    Two words: Go Fat!!! I don't have the fattest ski out there, but with a 90mm waist and 120ish mm tip, these boys do well in the deep stuff. I'm still able to dive into the waist deep snow, but fat skis are the only way to go in the backcountry, especially when setting a new skin track.

    I use Rossignol Bandit XXX in 188, and my wife has K2 Phat Luvs in 153 (she loves the flowers, and they ski like a dream.)






    Hope this has been helpful to at least a person or two out there. There's still time to make a few turns before summer arrives, so get into the mountains!

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Brian,

    Very helpful! A buddy runs really fat skis and said they are a great setup. He recomended the older silvretta 404's since they can be used with crampon compatable mountaineering boots. I don't know if I'll use the AT skis much to access ice climbs, but having the ability to use multiple boots is nice.

    How about skins? Do you leave the skins on for descents, or have to peal them off, and replace them for the next climb?

    Thanks for going to the effort of photoing your gear and writing it up

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    Default Karhu Meta Ski/Snowshoe

    Hello all,

    Was wondering if anyone had used these things? If so what are your thoughts?

    Thanks
    Kris

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    How about skins? Do you leave the skins on for descents, or have to peal them off, and replace them for the next climb?
    Oops! The new post on this thread made me realize that I never answered this question. I peel off my skins and reapply them before the next climb. Not too big of a hassle, really. 10 seconds to pull off, and maybe another minute to put them back on.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Can't believe it's already time to think about mounting up those bindings for the upcoming season. Now I need to keep my eyes peeled for some appropriate skis.

  14. #14

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    check around the shops an see if you can find something cheap that will work. If not you should be able to find something online cheap that will fit the bill. Soon we might be able to carve some turns

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    The most recent "SKIING" magazine did a well written piece on new gear. It was mainly alpine, but did have a A/Tsection that is pretty informative. It rates boots and how they fit as well.

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