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advise on AT skis

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Im a beginner skiier looking to buy AT skis.I have no idea what to buy. I want something i can use inbounds, backcountry, and for approaching climbs. Im 180 lbs and 6 ft tall and a size 12 foot. What kinda poles, boots, bindings, skiis, and skins are good. What lenghth of skis would you guys reccomend.

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If you're wealthy and willing to risk $1200 on all new gear that you might decide you don't like down the line, do some one-stop shopping at bdel.com. Just buy whatever sounds like a fit for you, and you won't regret it, except that it is expensive.

 

If you're on a budget, just get something, anything, that will allow you to backcountry ski. Spend as little as you can. Then go spend a day or two tooling around somewhere popular--soon you will run into a bunch of skiers with tons of gear, and even more advice, and they will tell you everything you need to know, or perhaps even have something to sell you, or even take you in to their pack, as long as you are nice and not too slow.

 

Two good places to ask about skis:

 

www.turns-all-year.com

www.telemarktips.com

 

www.bdel.com

www.backcountry.com

www.sierratradingpost.com

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RENT! I don't live where you do so I can't recommend a good store, but find a place that rents. You can try out some great AT gear (that will work great inbounds) and at least narrow down a few key attributes to getting the right gear. It may cost you $30-$50 for a set up, but that's cheap for helping you narrow down what works for you. bigdrink.gif

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Couloir's has great advice - if you want a ski that's going to 'do everything', and you don't already know what you want, go the cheap route for now, and take the time to rent or demo different setups. just get out there and improve your skiing. my first bc setup was $25 skis from play it again, drilled on the floor of my apt. second pair was $15. both were as fun to ski as the $400 boards I upgraded to.

some more specific advice for what it's worth: if you're going to lift ski more than a few times a season, get step-in bindings, maybe even with brakes (ie: fritschis). you can ski these with AT or alpine boots. garmont mega-ride is a popular boot, good balance of performance & weight.

i'm guessing you'd be happy on fairly short skis, like 180 or less, since as a beginner maybe you're not going to go super fast. Shorter boards can be nice in BC since it's easier to switchback & kick-turn on ascent, you can turn quicker, negotiate tighter spaces & they're simply lighter. if you have to pack them, shorter boards are less likely to hit your ankles or catch branches.

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I was in the same boat last year. I bought some gear -

 

Atomix MX-7 skis - $100 on Steep and Cheap.com. It's a beginner tele/AT ski

 

Dynafit Comfort bindings - $180 on Craigslist, NOS. No brakes

 

Scarpa Matrix - $500 at Marmot Mtn. I've got the big dogs at mondo 32, so I had to buy new. You can get used boots for waaaay less than that.

 

BD Clipfix Ascension Skins - $100 at Marmot

 

My assessment - The bindings are difficult to get in. Not a huge deal for me. Sure, I crash and my bindings release, but I can still get back in them.

 

The boots are great. Thermofit liners with the typical AT flex ankle.

 

My skis chatter a bit, but I doubt that will be too much of an issue this year. I plan to get some Shuksans at the end of the 2007 season.

 

It's nice having a really lightweight setup when you decide to embarass yourself in the back country. I skinned up to Muir in July and tried to ski down. It was a nice day and a lot of folks were milling around in camp. They all waited for me to whip out the Mad Skillz and tear it up on the Gnar-Gnar suncups.

 

I fell. A lot.

 

Goodtimes.

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Couloir's has great advice - if you want a ski that's going to 'do everything', and you don't already know what you want, go the cheap route for now, and take the time to rent or demo different setups. just get out there and improve your skiing.

I'll also recommend this approach. Rent to get a feel for the options, and then buy cheap. Once you've got more experience, you can start upgrading. Even then, if you're patient and wait for sales, you should be able to get a sweet setup without ever paying full price for anything.

 

The only piece of gear I'd recommend spending a lot of money on up front is boots, as they make the biggest difference in terms of comfort when touring. If your boots don't fit, it doesn't matter if you have the best bindings and skis available, you won't be having fun. Boot choice can also affect binding choice down the road if you buy a pair without Dynafit inserts.

 

Also keep in mind that if you're a relatively new skier, you'll want to put in a lot of time inbounds (but not always on groomers, seek out the crud) developing your technique so that you won't be too frustrated when dealing with the variable conditions you'll find in the backcountry. That being said, you should try and take any setup that you might be buying on at least one tour to see how it feels. You'll notice lots of things (mostly comfort related) while skinning uphill that will never show up when riding the lifts.

 

For poles, almost everyone I ski with uses BD Traverse adjustable poles in the backcountry. They're cheap, they're sturdy, and they work. Don't waste money on "probe poles", buy a proper avalanche probe. Speaking of which, you'll also need a beacon & shovel to get out into the backcountry, but again, you should be able to rent, demo or borrow these until you know what you want.

 

Most importantly, if/when you decide that you're going to be skiing in the backcountry regularly, take an introductory avalanche course.

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why rent if you can buy cheap? Renting is $30-40/day + PIA. You can buy a setup for $200-400 and sell it for same if it sucks.

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I don't know if they will do it again this year, but Marmot Mountain Works usually does a demo day. Last year it was in January. It was a great way for me to get on a range of equipment. After that I was able to buy new with confidence. If you can wait it might be a good chance for you to try the gear on your short list.

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Hey Fat Kid!!:

I am glad to see you are not boarding this year, can't wait to get out with you!

get everything at Pro Ski in North Bend. For real, they have excellent service and it is the most convienent location as well.

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If anyone needs Dynafits, I have some for sale (new, totally unused.) Please send me a private message for details. (I live in Mass, but will be in Portland Oregon in October for a week or so.)

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i'm looking at randonee bindings and cant descide which pair to get. i wan to be able to ride inbounds and have a high din but still tour. what should i get

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With dynfits, you have only one sole length that you can use for the bindings (drilling)....

Get a pair of fritschis and you can adjust within a few different sole lengths....do you really wanna risk an acl inj with a high din of 14?

 

Go with a pair of fritschi explorers (lighter than free rides) and have a decent din of 10 which I must admit from prior use on 60ft hucks, they never released.

 

There ya go.

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You cant go wrong with the fritche free rides, they have a new one this year; the free ride plus. Both have a DIN setting to 12.

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I dont disagree with you Tyree, I just like the lighter stuff for 8-10 day tours, and drop in on 50+ deg slopes all the time (which included the Mowich face on rainier), and have discovered that the freerides were a bit overkill for the touring that I do, plus I never set my din above 9 anyway......I love my knees.

 

One thing is for sure, Fritschi's will out perform Dynafits anyday.

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Yeah i dont set mine above 9 either since they tore my meniscus 3 years ago when they didnt release laterally. Early season a buried root or tree snagged my downhill ski at the bottom of a turn.

I think that they need to come up with an industry standard to test those things like they test alpine bindings for proper release at the ski shop when you get new bindings mounted.

But for committing lines its nice to crank em down all the way. IMHO FWIW bigdrink.gif

Mowich Face hellno3d.gif

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One thing is for sure, Fritschi's will out perform Dynafits anyday.

 

just curious under what criteria do Fritschis outperform Dynafits? each has their own advantages/disadvantages.

 

yes, Fritschis don't have those fiddely little toe pins and you can use any boot with them (particularly nice that you can use alpine ski boots with them).

 

but, Dynafits are pounds lighter than Fritschis and they have a much better track record for breakage issues. I've seen and heard about Fritschi heel locks breaking (usually user error of forcing the heel into the lock with snow/ice built up in the binding), but I've never seen a busted dynafit or even heard of one falling apart (except for an occational heel lifter breaking, but that doesn't render the binding unusable in the field).

 

Also, you mentioned needing to redrill skis adjust Dyanfit bindings...thats not entirely correct, the standard Dynafit binding is only compatible with one size of boot, but the Dynafit Comfort binding is adjustable to fit several foot sizes without needing to redrill.

 

I like Fritschis for in-bounds out of bounds rigs (so I can use regular ol' alpine boots), but for a dedicated backcountry set-up I'll take dynafits every time.

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One thing is for sure, Fritschi's will out perform Dynafits anyday.

 

slop test

 

perhaps it is better to say that alpine ski boots will generally outperform softer Randonee boots

 

Go with a pair of fritschi explorers (lighter than free rides) and have a decent din of 10 which I must admit from prior use on 60ft hucks, they never released

 

The difference in weight (once brakes are added to the explore's - not a bad idea in avy terrain or ski-mountaineering) is only 3 oz. 3oz for a slightly beefier toe piece, a higher DIN option, and perma-brakes seems almost worth it for the freerides... Then again the dynafits are top-notch 99% of the time.

Edited by dylan_taylor

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I tour with a guy who posts on here regularly. He rides on dynafits and they pop off in tour mode ALL THE TIME. fuck that is all I can say.

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I can only afford one set of gear and was looking for the "perfect" binding to mount on my new Shuksans. I thought it was the Dynafits but a gear head friend of mine is strongly suggesting I pick up a pair of Silvretta Pure Performance AT Bindings. More versatile and very light (1.23 kg) compared to other non-Dynafit bindings.

 

Also, while noodling around on the net I came across this site which has some straight up in on the strengths and limitations of Dynafits: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/dynafit_faq/comfort_faq.html

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I tour with a guy who posts on here regularly. He rides on dynafits and they pop off in tour mode ALL THE TIME. fuck that is all I can say.

 

I'll take a guess and say that your buddy probably is using the Dynafit Tri-Step binding....(that or he's just not locking his binding into 'tour' mode properly). The Tri-Step was a change to the original binding and had a different toe piece design...this design was fatally flawed and Dynafit offered a revised plastic piece that could be changed out to reduce the release-while-touring problem...and ultimately they dropped the design completely after about a year and a half and now only use their tried and true original toe binding for all their various models. I had the Tri-Steps for a season...they sucked...I shipped them back to Life-Link and they gave me a new set of Dynafit Comforts that have worked flawlessly since.

 

If every Dynafit user was blowing out of their binders while touring, I doubt they'd be as popular as they are....so don't assume that all the Dynafit binders have that problem.

 

But hell...if you're happier using Fritschis or Naxos or whatever, more power to ya...its just gear...just getting into the backcountry by whatever means possible is the important thing.

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I currently have and use both Dynafits and Fritschis. Dynafits DO NOT pop out of tour mode when used properly. Dynafits tour way better than Fritschis. Not only are they way lighter than Fritschis, but they have a much better "stride". The only drawback with Dynafits is that you cannot (should not?) huck with them. They aren't very good for in-bounds either. If you can only buy one setup, I'd say go with the Fritschis. And, will you fatties please quit complaining about their weight? Try dropping a few pounds off that spare tire. That should take care of it.

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Try dropping a few pounds off that spare tire. That should take care of it.

 

Lol..Now that's some common sense.

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