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Thread: Gear question for a newbie

  1. #1
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Default Gear question for a newbie

    So, I live in the Caribou Hills on the southern Kenai Pen. I've been snowshoeing around my patch for awhile, and figured I'd take the next step with skis.

    Up to REI today, and told the saleswoman what I wanted to do-

    I'm big (6'3", 225), need a lot of flotation, and I want to ski in trees and gently rolling terrain usually off trail.

    With her input, I ended up buying 189 cm 110/78/95 waxless skis (metal edged) with 75mm 3 pin bindings.

    Not wanting to wait till I got home, I went straight over to Kincaid to try them out.... holy crap they were incredibly hard to control! While the hardpack of Kincaid is obviously not the terrain I intend to use them on mostly, I never imagined that they would be THAT hard to control on hardpack.

    So my question is- Do I just need to practice more?, or do I really need 2 sets of skis if I ever want to head down a snowmachine trail?

    My previous experience includes a couple of weekends (many) years ago with narrow track skis, and a fair amount of experience (years ago as well) Alpine skiing- at one point having no problems with black diamonds.

    Thanks for your advice.

  2. #2
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    Boots make a big difference. What kind are you using?

  3. #3

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    that is a lot of sidecut on the skis, indicating they are designed primarily for turning rather than touring. A straighter profile would probably be more desirable for skiing the groomed trails of the caribou hills. That being said, I agree with sterling surfer that boots make a huge difference.

  4. #4
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    These are the boots...Fisher BCX 675's.

    The main controllability problems I had was that I had no directional control. It felt like I had a pair of those dished disk kid's sleds on my feet. When I was trying to go straight on level ground, I was wishing the skis had keels. When I was going down a gentle slope (from the parking lot to the stadium at Kincaid), I had no ability to snowplow... they just skid. I ended up using the backup braking system (my right arm and shoulder as I fell-lol). I fully expect a different experience on fresh snow, but I just had no idea how bad it would be on hardpack. I guess I didn't realize how specialized they are.

  5. #5

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    Personally, I feel these boots are a little overmatched for a ski of this size. And the ski you bought may not be suited for what you want, unless turns are your primary interest. But I am not an expert. If Steve still works at Ulmers he knows his stuff and I would talk to him.
    Last edited by gunner; 03-02-2012 at 22:12. Reason: addition

  6. #6
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I will talk to Steve when able.. thanks. I may have been asking too much, or not properly communicating to the saleswoman. What I was hoping for, was a complete setup where I could go anywhere, do anything. Maybe not the best at deep powder, nor a racing ski for a groomed trail, but an SUV so to speak.

    When you say overmatched, what does that mean exactly? too stiff? The boots actually felt good to me, having a primarily alpine background.

    I talked to another friend with far more XC experience than me, and she says that I just need to learn how to ski... pretty typical from her, but probably correct
    Last edited by Akheloce; 03-02-2012 at 22:31. Reason: spelling

  7. #7

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    your friend may be right. When I said the boot may be overmatched, I meant the boot may not be torsionally stiff enough for a ski of that size. Again, I am no expert- just my thoughts.

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    If your primary experience is alpine skiing, then you're unlikely to find most nordic rigs to be inspiring confidence in their stability when you aren't on a groomed trail, simply the nature of the beast going with narrower lighter skis. Also it's likely most sales people are thinking in terms of what works well for either groomed trails or resorts, not true off trail use.

    If you really want something with some stability for off trail back country use, you would likely be much happier with alpine touring gear, though it is ungodly expensive to get outfitted.

    I prefer either light x-c skis on packed trails or alpine skis for the hills. When it comes to traveling off trail I've yet to find a ski that really gives much of a speed advantage on the flats and rolling terrain over snowshoes. Not to mention snowshoes are much more manuverable in the trees.
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