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Thread: back country ski ?

  1. #1

    Default back country ski ?

    OK, I'm a snowshoer and run a lot of my trapline on foot. But have been thinking that I could improve efficiancy with skis, especially on a snogo trail. Usually pulling a sled with about 100 lbs tops and/or a light pack. Looking for input on what type of skis and also boots-bindings. I make a point to get out every day even if its only a 3 or 4 mile stint (which is enough at -40 ) and would want boots that work at those temps. Any input appreciated.

  2. #2


    Fairly flat country.

  3. #3
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Delta Junction AK


    I use Madshus XC back country boots and bindings. I snowshoed for several years but I like skiing better in all but the brushiest terrain. They sell boot covers to help in very cold temps as the boots don't have that much insulation in them. I also use Neos winter trekkers for times I'm hiking or otherwise off the skis and just stick the entire ski boot in there. Not perfect but it helps.

    I have waxable skis and like them (the maintenance isn't as bad as you think) but I think my next set will be waxless. You can get better efficiency from waxables but I think thats more of a purist technique- I'm mostly a rank amateur so I likely get no benefit.

    I've not pulled a pulk that heavy in skis but I don't think it would be too problematic on flat ground. A pulk half that is no problem. I carry a light pack all the time.

    Man, this post has got me jonesing for skiing!

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    All over the US but i base out of AK


    I ski a pair of Atomic Chugach backcountry ski with a Black Diamond riva binding and a Karhu XCD traverse boot. I believe Atomic changed the design of the ski a bit and the name to the Rainier but the ski is bomber (i found the chugach on EBAY though), a nice metal edge and just enough weight to break through some crust but still lighter than seems able when you see them (5 lbs for the pair), they are fish scaled which i like just for ease of getting out and the unpredictability of back country snow, i do throw on a layer of all temp glide wax at the start and halfway through each season and if i do any exteneded trips (over night) but that may be my @nal nordic past sticking with me. The Binding is an old cable black diamond riva binding i dont know if they are available new anymore but go to any used sporting goods store and they are there, i just canabalized a set i got for 10 bucks at a ski swap. I prefer cable bindings because they dont get fouled up by ice if you will be in and out of the binding. The boot is the part i am the least happy with but like said i can be picky, not the warmest, but in that respect though it is all about comfort and i don't mind, really just choose a binding then find what is comfortable. Mind you the skis are wide and shaped because i like to play around making some turns sometimes but this setup is something that has taken me years to fine tune and it works like a dream for me.

    There is also a ski called the Europa 99 they have been around for at least 30 years and probably longer. They are the gold standard of back country touring, narrow and long. I dont use them often only because i try and make a few turns every time i am out and they dont turn as well as the chugach, But i do have a pair and keep them with the thought of doing long flat touring trips they are tried and true, i have seen them with every binding known to man and they always preform, the even work well with the old school military rigs that fit a bunny boot also they are cheap and nearly impossible to break. They are waxies so you will need to learn kick wax, though i think they may make scaled versions and it has the metal edge that i love so. The big question to ask is will you be breaking trail or following the same path a narrower longer ski is better for a set trail.

    As i said i prefer cable bindings because they are simple and do not ice up as easily, but my dad uses a modern NNN (new nordic norm) bar binding in the back country 100% of the time and rarely has a problem so i may just have that in my head from my ultralight nordic gear, once again ask how packed will the snow be where you are getting on and off the skis

    Boots are the worst part of the whole deal what works for me may hurt the heck out of your feet. Choose the binding first then look new and used to find the right boot for your foot. that is all personal pref, hodgeman is right though those little over boots are a gift from god, the bots i got are none too warm, i like them light but when its cold over boots are a must.

    Whew lots of info sorry for being so long winded, hope this helped you, i do recommend you make the switch, anyone who has the ability to to ski everyday will only be enriched if they take advantage.


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