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Author Topic: Spring touring setup  (Read 18203 times)
rover
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Spring touring setup
« on: 01/20/17, 10:12 AM »

Yes, I know it's still January, and the fresh snow is still piling up outside. I'll never complain about skiing powder, but I am trying to prepare for a couple trips I have planned this spring.

I'd like to put together a lightweight, somewhat narrow setup for spring skiing. My primary use case is spring corn skiing, long traverses (I’d like to do an Enchantments traverse this winter, plus a Chiwaukum traverse this spring), and ski mountaineering (Baker CD, Adams SW Chutes, etc).

My criteria are – 1) solid feeling on steep/firm snow, 2) fun to ski on corn, and 3) light weight (must be less than 7lbs total, ideally closer to 6). I’m thinking a waist width of 90-95 so they still have some utility for slush season and will provide some floatation for potential spring storms. Length will be somewhere around 180 – I’m 6’4” but going shorter than normal to save weight and add some ‘turniness’ in tight spots. I’d also like relatively flat (not rockered) tails for utility in ski mountaineering situations, and preferably some rocker in the tips. I’m a bigger guy and will frequently use these skis with an overnight pack, so I prefer a ski that is not a noodle. I'm a good skier, but tend to ski somewhat conservatively in the BC. Priority tends more towards a ski being safe and solid, less towards bombing chutes and hucking cliffs (obviously).

For some background, my current BC setup is Dynafit Huascarans mounted with G3 Ions. They’re fat winter skis at 114, lots of fun in powder, but not so great on hardpack or corn. They’re the 186 version and weigh about 8lbs total. I generally like the G3 bindings.

I have three questions for the group –


1)   Am I missing anything super important in my criteria list for a spring ski? Does my suggested width seem reasonable for what I’d like to accomplish?

2)   My shortlist (based on price and meeting my specs on paper) looks like this:
a.   BD Link 95
b.   BD Helio 95
c.   BD Helio 88
d.   K2 Wayback 88
e.   K2 Wayback 96
f.   Icelantic Vanguard 97

Anyone have experience with skis on this list? BD Helio is probably the ‘best’ option, but pretty expensive. BD Link is 10oz heavier, but about half the price. I’m concerned about the Link being too ‘soft,’ but haven’t skied one yet. I have no experience on K2 skis, though they seem a popular and reliable choice, if somewhat uninspiring. Curious about the Icelantic, have always been intrigued by their skis but have yet to try one. Am I missing any 'obvious' candidates? I know about Fischer Hannibal, but left it off due to worries about 'durability'.

3)   Bindings – I have a pair of Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0s that are waiting to be mounted. They’re light and simple, which I like, though I haven’t used them. I am at least mildly concerned after hearing some reports that the ‘speed’ style toe does not provide adequate retention for heavier skiers. I know this can be a divisive question, but curious about any personal experience with the speed toe or the Speed Turn 2.0 in general. My alternatives include a) sell bindings and buy G3 Ion LT or Radical Ft, or b) sell the speed toes and replace with radical toes, keep the turn heels.

Thanks for your input!
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brownc9
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #1 on: 01/20/17, 11:09 AM »

I'd add the G3 Findr and the Salomon MTN 95.
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water
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #2 on: 01/20/17, 11:14 AM »

I'll first say there are other who are way more knowledgeable than myself.

don't think you're missing anything..but you could probably get away with going narrower if you desired. I'm a fair bit smaller than you but have a lot of fun on a hagan cirrus~ ski. 76 or 78 underfoot.. love it on SW chutes.

can't speak to toes but is it really endemic, 220lbs+ pops out of toes or something? feel like there would be caveats and warnings all over if it were so. but maybe i'm missing them, due to not being that size.
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biker
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #3 on: 01/20/17, 11:35 AM »

I am about your size and have blizzard zero g 95s for this purpose in a 185 they weight ~6lbs.  They also make an even lighter 85mm option, but I wanted something better in variable and mush.  They are stiff and poppy, but not super damp (no light ski is), my research last year indicated these were the best skiing option in the weight class for a big strong skier.  Mine have a tts setup so I have no input on the bindings.
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river59
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #4 on: 01/20/17, 12:44 PM »

I am a big guy, 6'4" & 240#. I have skied the speed turn 2 on fat skis and really skinny skis in all sorts of conditions and haven't noticed any toe pre-release even with a 50# pack, but I tend to keep my skis on the ground and don't straightline much.

For pure spring skiing, skinier is better IMO. I have been spring touring on old Atomic tourcaps, ~70 mm underfoot, and I absolutely love them. If you want something more versatile, I would say that 85 - 95 mm should be your target.

I love rocker on Winter/storm skis, but don't really miss it in true corn. I find rocker and slightly wider skis to be much more fun than skinny normally cambered skis in slush conditions.

See you in the chutes...
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kamtron
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #5 on: 01/20/17, 01:47 PM »

G3 zenoxide 88 has been great for me. The findr is the replacement.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #6 on: 01/20/17, 01:48 PM »

90-95 is a great width for a do-all spring ski.

I'm ~6', 180-190 (oops!), and exclusively ski Speeds, Comforts, and Speed Turn 1.0s. I don't ski hard, but at a DIN of 7 (335mm BSL), I stay in. The only place that I see pre-releases is on boilerplate/chattery snow. I no longer seek out boilerplate/chattery snow. One broken ankle from a locked toe is enough for my lifetime.

I can provide a little color for the Icelantic. I'm still evaluating the Vanguard 107 (not the 97), but I heartily recommend you demo before you buy.  It's a turny ski with a more-forward mount (I mounted boot-center on the boot-center mark, which the sidecut really wants you to do).

Edgehold has been excellent, but it wants to be skied very differently from every other ski I own. It is torsionally stiff, and pleasantly stiff/supportive underfoot. I detuned tips and tails last night, and am looking forward to the weekend for another go-round.

So far, the construction/build quality has been up to Icelantic's advertised-par. They're pretty skis, and have, in my very limited experience, resisted both scratches and rocks well.

The weight of my 107s is above spec. If weight is an issue for you (for any ski), bring a properly calibrated scale to the shop. Many manufacturers ship higher-mass skis than they advertise.

I'll make a MeasuredMass post about the ski in the future, but only once I've given the ski a chance to fully demonstrate its habits for me.

For now, I recommend a demo.
« Last Edit: 01/20/17, 01:56 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged

kamtron
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #7 on: 01/20/17, 01:50 PM »

I use speed turn as well and haven't had many issues. Lock the toes on no-fall territory.

Don't forget ski crampons
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Pete A
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #8 on: 01/20/17, 02:54 PM »

I'll put in another vote for the blizzard zero g 95's... I was looking for a new lightweight summer ski with a 95ish waist and thats what I ended up with. 
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Scotsman
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #9 on: 01/20/17, 05:57 PM »

DPS Cassiar 95 tour1.

Im on the Pure Cassiar 95 and its a burly stick for groomers, hard pack and corn.I find myself skiing on them more and more even in the deeper stuff. Love them.

The tour 1 version is even lighter and getting great reviews.
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toddball
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #10 on: 01/21/17, 09:01 AM »

Also a fair bit smaller than you (5'9" 135), but I've been doing well with 177 Huascarans and 170 ancient Dynastar Altitrail Verticals (75mm waist). Have skied both with speed rad, current use rad 2 st on the Huascarans.  The Huascarans have been awesome whenever there's a crust to smash through or heavy cream, but the 75mm sticks are great on ice and corn (e.g. Adams SW Chutes).
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rover
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #11 on: 01/22/17, 09:28 PM »

Thanks for all the input!

River, Charlie, Kam, and Todd, thanks for quieting my fears on the Speed Turns. I certainly want to like them, so looks like I'll be giving them a try.

I've been hearing a lot of good things about the Findr and Synapse from G3 - I hadn't even considered them, but they certainly seem worth a look.

Charlie, thanks for the insight on the Vanguard. I'm certainly still interested. Know of anywhere in the greater Seattle area that offers demos? Maybe someone will have some at Vertfest this year? Thanks also for the advice about ski weights, I'll certainly take that into consideration.

Scotsman, I've been lusting after a pair of DPS skis since they first came to market. The Cassiar 95 seems like a ripper...plus only 1600g in the Pure 3 is pretty sweet. I may need to do some serious looking at their lineup... and my budgets... Are you skiing the Cassiar inbounds as well? If so, what does your binding setup look like?

A question for the folks who suggested the Blizzard Zero G - I've heard it is a fairly 'demanding' ski. Has that been your experience? While I do enjoy the feeling of a super high performance ski, I'm hoping this particular setup will be one that is friendlier to tired legs and a heavy pack.

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #12 on: 01/22/17, 10:26 PM »

Got a tour in on the Vanguard 107 Saturday - they're less squirrely in the pow, but the forward mount is odd when skinning. Light0ish on the up. Loved the confident edgehold on the underlying ice crust. Still kinda missed my reliable/predictable Hombres, though.
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Scotsman
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #13 on: 01/22/17, 11:03 PM »


Scotsman, I've been lusting after a pair of DPS skis since they first came to market. The Cassiar 95 seems like a ripper...plus only 1600g in the Pure 3 is pretty sweet. I may need to do some serious looking at their lineup... and my budgets... Are you skiing the Cassiar inbounds as well? If so, what does your binding setup look like?

I use the Cassiar both inbounds and BC and have them mounted with Dynafits. All my skis are mounted with Dynafits and I have skied only Dynafits  for nearly 4 years now.

They are stiff and love to rip.... I think the softer and lighter Tour1 version would be a very good spring touring set up although I use my Pure 3 versions for that purpose.
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sb
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #14 on: 03/03/17, 08:26 PM »

You like the Huascarans?  Why not Cho Oyus. A very light and very good ski.
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Specialized
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #15 on: 03/10/17, 06:10 PM »

Thanks for all the input!

River, Charlie, Kam, and Todd, thanks for quieting my fears on the Speed Turns. I certainly want to like them, so looks like I'll be giving them a try.


I want anyone who has ever experienced a pre-release on tech/pin style bindings to please try the bindings again with this method. In the future: articulate your toe/ski at least 45*x2 (90* total articulation) three times. This will give the pins opportunity to cut into and clear any remaining ice in the toe cup for the pin.

I hemmed and hawed at first when I got three or four pre-releases in the first week of skiing my tech bindings (I currently ride Plum, but whatever the design is the same). I have employed this foot/ski articulation trick every_single_time I have stepped in since, and have yet to experience a condition where the ski released before it should have.
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Scotsman
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #16 on: 03/10/17, 06:45 PM »

^^^^^^^I have been skiing tech binding only for years  both resort and BC and use the above mentioned technique most times when I step in. It's a good protocol but doesn't completely ensure no pre-release.
In the half dozen times I've had pre-release it has ALWAYS been because there was ice build up UNDER the toe-piece, usually after a long skin track or putting on skis in deep powder. The failsafe protocol is to check  UNDER your toe-pieces for ice-build up every time.

2 Cent worth.



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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #17 on: 03/10/17, 09:37 PM »

Agreed with Scotsman that ice build-up is important to monitor. Removing skins without removing skis helps cut that down by half. Being careful to clear boot soles of stuck-on snow helps too. If you have a sticky-snow day with many transitions, you'll have to clear the space below the jaws sometime.

A trick I use to verify proper pin engagement: After stepping in, pull the toes to full lock, then unlock them if you're skiing down (one lock-toe broken ankle is enough; I only ski unlocked). If the pins or jaws are blocked, it's not possible to reach full lock.

The only two pre-releases I've experienced that were 'memorable' were on bulletproof ice. The chatter is a real challenge for the low elasticity of the Dynafit toepiece. Solution: I no longer ski bulletproof ice. It's turned out to be easier to do than expected. Avoiding icy conditions on November volcanoes took care of most of it.
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David_Lowry
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #18 on: 03/10/17, 10:07 PM »

A question for the folks who suggested the Blizzard Zero G - I've heard it is a fairly 'demanding' ski. Has that been your experience?

I second this request. I skied alpine style last weekend on my new zero-g 85's. I've not skied alpine style since 1983. It was a blast. I didn't miss my freeheel gear. Reviews say the zero-g is "demanding" but are otherwise nebulous. Like descriptions of wine tasting. Only thing I noticed is there didn't seem to be much tail coming out of a turn to slow down before the next turn. That could just be poor technique, I don't know. Can someone explain what "demanding" means for the narrow waisted zero-g's? I want to get better so I want to know what to look for when folks say this ski is "demanding". They carve like crazy. TIA
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biker
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #19 on: 03/11/17, 12:25 PM »

zero g 95s are on the stiff side for light skis, but I do not find my 185cms demanding at 190lbs.  I like stiff skis with a long radius and these are only medium stiff and medium radius so they seem pretty easy to me.  The feel like poppy front side skis and have a decently sized front to back sweet spot.  If you are light they might be too stiff and buck you around, they are also a little bouncy in bumpy snow but that is expected on a 1200g ski that isn't a noodle.
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Specialized
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #20 on: 03/11/17, 05:49 PM »

I second this request. I skied alpine style last weekend on my new zero-g 85's. I've not skied alpine style since 1983. It was a blast. I didn't miss my freeheel gear. Reviews say the zero-g is "demanding" but are otherwise nebulous. Like descriptions of wine tasting. Only thing I noticed is there didn't seem to be much tail coming out of a turn to slow down before the next turn. That could just be poor technique, I don't know. Can someone explain what "demanding" means for the narrow waisted zero-g's? I want to get better so I want to know what to look for when folks say this ski is "demanding". They carve like crazy. TIA

I demo'd a pair a while ago, imo they aren't demanding- except that you can't be lazy with them.

While they have a bit of tip rocker, they're gonna hook if you're not making turns. You can't ski them flat on groomers. I guess what I'm saying: if you're a guy who skis exclusively in the backcountry and your skills are not that advanced (read: many recreational bc skiers are lazy and find themselves in the backseat whenever they hit untouched snow, and get bucked if they find variable conditions), you may want to go with something a bit more forgiving.
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PhilH
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #21 on: 03/12/17, 11:07 AM »

While they have a bit of tip rocker, they're gonna hook if you're not making turns. You can't ski them flat on groomers. I guess what I'm saying: if you're a guy who skis exclusively in the backcountry and your skills are not that advanced (read: many recreational bc skiers are lazy and find themselves in the backseat whenever they hit untouched snow, and get bucked if they find variable conditions), you may want to go with something a bit more forgiving.

You've described my G3 Zenoxide 93's, and me (lazy backseat driver), to a T. Not a marriage made in heaven, but I'm learning to live with them.
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gregL
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #22 on: 03/13/17, 09:15 AM »

I second this request.

The Zero G skis (all of them, not just the 95) don't "ski themselves" - they are not pivoty and easy to ski in all types of snow. If that's what you're looking for you might want to look elsewhere. You need to be a decent skier with a grasp of the fundamentals and realize there are different ways to turn a ski. On the other hand, there's nothing I'd rather have on my feet in a steep and icy situation and I love mine.

Don't know about the others here, but I've de-tuned mine quite a bit. Rounded the edges at both tip and tail about 1" past the contact point, added about 1 degree of base edge bevel at the tip for another 3 inches, and changed the side edge bevel from 3 degrees to 1 degree. They still have better edge hold than anything else in the class and are more versatile than with the factory tune.
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PhilH
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #23 on: 03/13/17, 10:22 AM »

The Zero G skis (all of them, not just the 95) don't "ski themselves" - they are not pivoty and easy to ski in all types of snow. If that's what you're looking for you might want to look elsewhere.

So, with an eye toward "looking elsewhere," which of the skis on rover's original list tip the scales toward the "ski themselves" side of the spectrum? The K2 Wayback 96's?

Thanks for the tips on de-tuning. I've de-tuned my G3 Zenoxide's some but may need to do more (or just learn how to turn them).
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arb
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #24 on: 03/13/17, 11:10 AM »

I got to flog a pair of Zero G 95 demos pretty hard at kicking horse last spring, and I have similar feedback to the others who have posted.  I found the skis to have amazing edge hold at high speed on anything I tried, and I thought they were easy to ski as long as I wanted to make the same radius turn as the skis.  In steep cut up chutes they were a bit of a handful when I needed to force them to make shorter radius turns in crud, but their low swing weight made them easy to throw around when they were unweighted.  Those skis really wanted to run...

I think they would be a great ski for ripping corn, especially at speed!  They would definitely be biased towards providing a better ride on the ice/corn at the top of the mountain than on the isothermal schmoo at the bottom of the mountain (where they will probably suck).  I think a competent 200 lb skier who has a decent amount of on piste experience would have no problem skiing a pair of zero G's as long as said skier kept their weight forward and stayed away from tight chutes and crud.

FWIW, if I was standing at the top of a long, icy volcano contemplating the slide-for-life potential of a chute that failed to warm up sufficiently for perfect corn, I would happily trade out any of the G3's and Dynafits I have tried for a pair of zero Gs....

At the risk of initiating thread drift I should note that it has been much easier for me to keep my weight forward on touring skis every since I got rid of the ubiquitous 16mm dynafit heel delta. 

Good luck in your ski search!
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gregL
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #25 on: 03/13/17, 02:29 PM »

So, with an eye toward "looking elsewhere," which of the skis on rover's original list tip the scales toward the "ski themselves" side of the spectrum

Helio 95 or Wayback 96 would be contenders. So would Salomon MTN Explore 95 and Dynafit Dhaulagiri.
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gregL
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Re: Spring touring setup
« Reply #26 on: 03/13/17, 04:10 PM »

Or G3 FINDr 94 or Volkl V-Werks BMT 94 . . .
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