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goldenchild

backcountry AT skis

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I need new backcountry AT skis for next year. Currently using my old K2 Explorers on dynafit bindings. The skis are approx 190 cm and I'm 5'10".

 

The skis have lost their 'life' and I find it a tad too long when I'm skining up those steep slopes and have to make a corner.

 

A couple of questions:

1. For those about my height, what lenght are your skis?

2. Any skis you guys like? I'm an aggressive skier

3. What's the difference btwn regular downhill skis and AT skis? I've heard that ATs are lighter. Is this because they compromise performance? I really don't know the difference btwn these two types.

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1. Skis don't really care how tall you are; they care how much you weigh. I am 6', about 180ish, and for general skiing I like about a 184cm ski. You might want a shorter ski for tight couloir skiing, or a longer one for more high-speed GS-type skiing.

 

2. The Atomic R:ex from a few years ago is a really nice ski for aggressive skiers. It is quite stiff and pretty light for what it can do. Of course, Atomic no longer makes that model, but the same ski shows up each year with a different name in their line. Some gearhead might be able to point you to the right name. This is marketed as a downhill ski.

 

3. These days, skis really cross the boundaries all over the place. A lot of AT skiers use old alpine boards, or new ones. It can be hard to find ones which are light, however, but often weight is secondary to performance. You really don't want to be skittering around on some steep icy thing with a pair of classic Tuas, for example. At least I don't. Even many telemarkers are now using alpine boards, though certain skis are still flexed for the telemark turn (usually a little softer).

 

Hope that helps, I'm sure others will ring in with good skis. There are a lot of them. There are always some good deals to be had on the used alpine market.

 

Another, much lighter option is the Atomic TG.10 Superlight. These are really nice and light, and ski well. I have them in 175cm, which is very short for me, but they are great for zipping around and really nice on the pack. Again, discontinued, but available under another name.

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Something similar to the Atomic R:EX but backcountry specific is the TM:EX, it will be the Kongur for next year. I'm not sure on the downhill specific model however.

 

My absolute favorite backcountry ski is the BD Havoc. Awesome ski for me, tho I am fairly light and only moderately agressive. The BD Crossbow is a stiffer but narrower ski, I have found that heavier and/or more agressive skiers prefer this one, at least in harder snow pack. Havocs definitely float better in powder though.

 

I agree with Iain(ps. I miss the dinosaur avatar!) that many people use alpine skis for backcountry and vice versa. Weight is the main difference. Whatever you are comforable on is what you should be skiing.

 

fruit.gif

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I echo most of the same points made, especially the one about sizing to your weight. That's really how you want to narrow down your size. I'm 5'11" 185 and 181cm-185cm is perfect for me. I really enjoy K2 Shuksans. They have been sort of the Randonee main-stay for awhile, and I really like they way they ski. bigdrink.gif

 

I'm also considering some BD Crossbow. Though I have never skied them, I've heard great things about them. thumbs_up.gif

 

Good luck! wave.gif

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Something similar to the Atomic R:EX but backcountry specific is the TM:EX, it will be the Kongur for next year. I'm not sure on the downhill specific model however.

The TM:EX = R:EX = 10:EX all the same ski, just different marketing spin. For touring many people your weight like something in a 180cm to 185cm for the fatter boards around. BD/Atomics are decent planks, so are K2s, so are most skis made to today - buy something cheap this summer, if you hate it you can resell it come winter for as much or more than you paid for it.

 

Whats the difference between AT and Downhill? Depends on the skis. For some its a different topsheet (see above Atomics) for others they've lightened the weight. As for "compromising performance" all depends on what performance you want. Everythings a compromise from 220cmDH boards fruit.gif

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Everythings a compromise from 220cmDH boards fruit.gif

I miss the days when longer was better. I used to ski some awesome Atomics...203cm...LOVED THEM. Nice GS turns and sweet figure 11's all the way. bigdrink.gif

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I need new backcountry AT skis for next year. Currently using my old K2 Explorers on dynafit bindings. The skis are approx 190 cm and I'm 5'10".

 

The skis have lost their 'life' and I find it a tad too long when I'm skining up those steep slopes and have to make a corner.

 

A couple of questions:

1. For those about my height, what lenght are your skis?

2. Any skis you guys like? I'm an aggressive skier

3. What's the difference btwn regular downhill skis and AT skis? I've heard that ATs are lighter. Is this because they compromise performance? I really don't know the difference btwn these two types.

I'm 6'3" and about 220, and am not a finesse skier. I ski 188 Miras and 184 R:EXs. The R:EX is ridiculously easy to ski, forgiving, easy to throw around, etc, which is why I bought them short. I'll sacrifice some big turn soft-snow performance for performance on steep tight terrain. People describe the ski as stiff and aggressive; ski them short and they're casual.

 

I'd take the 191 any day for most of my skiing, but the 184 is so nice to hop around (or maybe I'm just a pussy). Some fat 195s would be fun for winter. A friend of mine weighs about 170 and bought the 168 R:EX; he's a good skier and loves them in tight terrain. Length doesn't seem to matter so much anymore (as far as I can tell). You'll find 165lbs skiers on the same ski as 200 pound big dudes, and they both rip equally well on the same boards. One of the telemarktips.com ski testers, Big Tim, is about my size and writes that he loves the 176 Karhu Kodiak. Go figure. And K2 caps lots of their AT skis at 181 (WTF?).

 

Most manufacturers make their skis in S,M,L, sometimes with XS or XL. Decide how big you are, and choose accordingly. Longer or shorter depending on preference.

 

Alpine vs AT skis: there is no difference. You want a light ski, buy a light ski. You want ultimate performance, buy the alpine board you want. The R:EX and 10:EX (the same ski) is an alpine board. The TM:EX is the same ski for telemark. This year they killed the R:EX and only market the 'telemark' TM:X. It's all the same ski.

 

Plenty of AT skiers on Gotamas or Explosivs or Seth Pistols, none of which are light and all of which are marketed as alpine boards. And lots of AT/tele skis are alpine skis with different graphics. Examples: Seth Pistol/Hippy Stinx, R:EX/TM:X, etc, etc.

 

In conclusion, pick a ski you think you'll like. Something midfat, not noodly, and not ridiculously heavy. There is no such thing as a bad modern ski. Enjoy.

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All that advice is good and there are many great skis today. Most people feel that shorter and fatter is where its at - particularly for the b.c. I'm a Rossi guy (6'0, 165, kinda old with bad knees <g>) and I like 185 Hellgates (tele) in the area, 177 Bandit XX (tele) in the b.c and for volcanos, and 177 MegaBangs (AT) for my back country touring. If you are buying new skis I would seriously look at the T4 Rossi in something around 180 cm.

 

I also mounted an old pair of 180 BD Resolutions with Fritchis for loaner skis - that way my buddies can join me on a tour using their alpine boots.

 

The TM:EX has been highly rated and I happen to know where there is a pair of 185's in very good condition in Seattle with Fritchi's and skins to fit - PM me and I'll give you the beta (I think he's got some size 11 Lowas too).

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175, 5'9", female late 30s. Use my skis for inbounds off-piste and easier AT (newbie) with no overnight touring in my forseeable future. Ability level is advanced, well above intermediate most days but definitely not an expert. In the backcountry, less so on the ability front.

 

I've been pretty happy on a pair of K2 T9Xs with Freerides on them. The T9X is a women's performance alpine ski, and the first pair of women's specific ski that could handle both my weight and my skiing style. I like the setup so much I ski lift-serviced with it except when it's icy.

 

Skiing inbounds on my AT setup has made me a much more graceful skier as the gear seems to require a more delicate touch. Even if I never skied another day in the BC, I'd never go back to an alpine setup.

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the key is to not just know how aggressive you are, but what kind of skiing you are going to be doing. multi-day touring trips where you're not skiing the tram line in chamonix are going to require a different ski than actually skiing the tram line in chamonix. well, maybe "require" is not the right word ... but having tools more suited to the task is going to make the task a bit nicer. i have naxos on dynastar little big fats ("alpine" skis) that i use, and this year i added dynafits on volkl norbert joos (an "at" ski). i also have "telemark" skis that i use in a downhill setup, and downhill skis that i use in a tele setup. (and the tele skis i have are actually a bit stiffer in the flex than their twin alpine counterpart - to support the flex of the tele turn.) cantfocus.gif pick the ski you want (or find a good deal on the type of ski you want), put the binding you want on 'em, and ski your ass off!

 

ps - i know aggressive dudes who like the seth pistols and havocs.

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I am just under 5'10" and 165 pounds. I have used various skis over the years and am now skiing on BD Havocs with Diamir bindings and the new K2 Shuksans with Dynafit bindings. Both skis are close to 180 cm in length. The K2 Shuksans are by far the best all around AT skis that I have found! Shuksans ski great on all kinds of snow. The Havocs are also effective on a wide range of snow conditions, but the Shuksans are much better for making lots of quick tight turns in the trees or in steep narrow gullies. Also, the Shuksans are lighter and are narrow enough under foot to work perfectly with the light Dynafit bindings. I tried to use dynafit bindings with the Havocs, but the lower bindings made the wider ski kind of a handful, too tiring when I skied run after run (lift served skiing). The Diamir bindings help tame the Havocs, but add a lot of weight to the package, and you still can't turn the Havocs on a dime the way you can with the Shuksan's. I use Garmont Mega ride boots, which are also superb. Get K2 Shuksans; they are superb skiis for mountaineering! Quick and easy to turn but still plenty stable and floaty in the deep wet stuff.

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are narrow enough under foot to work perfectly with the light Dynafit bindings. I tried to use dynafit bindings with the Havocs, but the lower bindings made the wider ski kind of a handful, too tiring when I skied run after run (lift served skiing).

88mm isn't "too wide" for Dynafits - it's narrow for skis now. I use Dynafits on things almost as fat, others around use Dynafits on Havocs. If I could find a stiffer boot I wouldn't bother with other bindings for anything short of hucking.

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cj001f, that's what i was thinking about nick's response. i think nick's problem isn't the binding, but the fact that he's talking about different skis - as in, havocs are not supposed to turn on a dime. lots of people use dynafits on fat skis -- without control issues.

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Not to take over this thread, but which dynafit bindings do you use?

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I have 2 pair of Techs of varying vintage (one gray/yellow, one black/pink just acquired from our fearless leader to finish his gallavanting). They are quite nice. Don't have brakes, don't think I'll get them as the brake design isn't impressive. Since I'm not small(nor even medium), and neither are my skis (several recent additions have pushed max waist up to 110mm), the big problem is getting a big beefy Dynafit compatible boot. I currently have modified Lasers (reinforced tongue, big Thermofit liner) and they are great with my 187 Crossbows, but are a bit weak for the bigger members of the quiver. From ancedotal reviews, the Megaride/Matrix are stiffer, but not substantially enough to buy one. I'll probably put freerides/alpine binders on some and buy Adrenalins (or Tornados)

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I rock bd crossbows 187. I am 155. They are a little big for cutting hard but great for cruising and steeps.

 

And of course the k2 shuksan are always a crowd pleaser if you can get a hold of a pair

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Yeah, sure, the Havocs were fine with Dynafit bindings in the back country, it was only doing lift served skiing that I didn't like the combination. My skiing style probably has more to do with my preference than does the gear. The Shuksans are more versatile though.

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I rock 188 cm Voelk G4s with Alpine Trekkers and full alpine boots in the backcountry. People laugh at me on the way up, I laugh on the way down.

 

But seriously... "True" AT skis, as in skis billed as being for AT (Shuksan, Norbert Joos, Vertical, Dynafit,...) are typically built lighter, which usually means a loss of stiffness. Some of them though sport a wooden core (disclaimer: I am totally partial to wooden cores, sorry R:ex fans) which makes the ski stiffer and more lively IMO; constructions such as the Atomic's beta whatever and the BD crossbows (made by Atomic) claim to achieve the same rigidity. Maybe true, at least in the short term (foam doesn't take hard skiing as nicely as wood).

 

Different brands have different biases. K2s are usually softer, Volkls are stiff, Atomics are surprisingly stiff for a foam ski. Try a few if you can. Telemark versions of alpine skis are very popular for AT because they're somewhat lighter and have a different flex pattern (the Tele Daddy is a very popular choice for fans of fat backcountry skis). At the end of the day, it's a pretty personal decision and your own tradeoff. I can live with the Alpine Trekkers (though I hate traversing on high heels), but I am lusting after a different setup for more difficult ski mountaineering; I will then sacrifice ultimate fun on the way down for something that will be lighter and work better in tight chutes (188 cm means I spend way too much time with only the shovel and tails touching snow in couloirs).

 

Good luck picking a setup. Dynafit bindings can drive anything. And if anything, a setup with a lower DIN will help your skiing smoothness (unless you like finding skis and stepping back into your bindings a lot). Don't forget the boots, which will be a critical component of your setup. Bad boots will ruin everything.

 

drC

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I think the shuksan is an awesome all around ski. Plenty stiff and torsionally rigid. With the older models I found that they like to go fast, but it seems like they solved that with the newer ones. I really liked my Havocs when I had them, and I'll also fully endorse the Naxo Binding. If you have a few extra bills in the pocket, the Dynastar 8000 is wicked. Same dimensions as the Shuksan, but lighter and stiffer. Uses a Sisal stiffener (Sisal is that same crap that some doormats are made of). A super fun ski, I've had it on hard pack on bachelor and knee deep in snowbird. Havn't had a chance to skin with it, but I don't see why it wouldn't perform as well as the shuksan. Its about 200 bucks more than the shuksan though. That might be the ski that I get next season, if the pocketbook will allow it.

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Anyone know anything about these?

 

I like the Shuksans, but these seem to be a good price and I like that they're almost a pound lighter...enough for a couple extra bottles of the brew! bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

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They are pretty rockin' for a lightweight ski. They use a similar construction to some of the fischer XC skis. Basically they hollow out ribs in the wood core. To make up for the missing wood, they use a carbon top sheet. It makes a pretty stiff, light, rigid ski. Durability would be suspect though. I look at the HK as a great quiver ski to have dynafits on. But the Shuksan would be a better do it all ski...

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I wouldn't buy the Shuksan for a few reasons:

 

Too much sidecut. 39mm? That's a 16m radius. Compared to the BD Ethic's or Atomic R:EX's 23m. Why do they market this as a steeps ski? Philfort says his are really sketchy on firm steep stuff, and I'm not surprised.

 

Way too short. It's capped at 181. For a softer ski I'd want a 190.

 

There are better all-around skis for strong skiers. Like Black Diamond's entire line, several Atomic models, some Volkls, etc.

 

Kioti, I'm wondering why you feel that a tendency to go fast is a problem to be corrected. confused.gif

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Kioti, I'm wondering why you feel that a tendency to go fast is a problem to be corrected. confused.gif

It's not that I don't like to go fast. I felt like the 1st Gen. Shuksan ONLY went fast well. Lower speed were hard to load and jump turn IMO.

 

Also I think the Shuksan's TR is closer to 21m boxing_smiley.gif

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According to backcountry.com (K2 site doesn't list turn radii), the sidecut radius is 16m. Which makes sense, as I mentioned above, the Ethic and R:EX share a SR of 23m, and both have 32mm of sidecut tip to waist, compared to 39 on the Shuksan.

 

The Sahale has a more reasonable sidecut design, but it's too skinny. K2 loves name-dropping in ski marketing, but I suspect that Volken and McLean's personal preferences were secondary to building a ski that appeals to the masses. After all, the guys who get skis for free don't call the shots, K2 does.

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