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Panos

Introduction to Powder - specific advice needed

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First of all I tried to make clear that I have another set up for the ski areas. Also, do not be fooled Al_Pine, the UW climbing club is sending us notifications about the occasional events. After all I am a member with them.

 

Mainly, I wanted to know whether the geometry (size and shape) and design of the Tacoras or Kailas are suitable for my backcounry needs as a progressing intermediate.

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I have a pair of Tacoras set up with Fritschi Freerides. ( i got them from swaterfall on this site.)

 

I like them ok. They float ok on powder, but i wish they were fatter, they aren't very responsive edge-to-edge on hardpack, and they're also not as light as I was expecting. However, they definitely do the job and I'm pleased with them overall.

 

Next season i might keep the bindings but mount them on something lighter, fatter and shorter.

 

Hope that helps.

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Panos, you seem to know what you want in terms of your skiing... if you are looking for used gear and want to save money I would refrain from getting too specific. Just get out there and shop and when you find something at least mid-fat and big enough for you, get them. Shop the deals. Get the stuff and start practicing.

 

The number one hint for me when I began skiing powder was to focus on the up-and-down motion. I was used to carving, and once I figured out how to exagerate the up-and-down motion that is part of switching from edge to edge, the powder got much easier for me. But I'm no ski instructor.

 

Read, take the avy classes, practice beacon searches, check the avy forecasts, and talk about snow with whoever will listen. Then, just get out there and do it, as safely as you know how. How many people actually were introduced to the sport by paying a guide? Very few. Be careful (read: be scared of avalanches) and have fun!

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First off, you'll learn more skiing off-piste at resorts because you'll make more turns each day, but that's not to say you'll never learn if you just stick to the backcountry. The back country spot called Yodelin that's near Steven's Pass is an easy skin up a road and the bowl that you'll yo-yo is pretty low-angle, probably comparable to a harder blue run. The access road can be icy going down but you could snowplow down it. For miles. Don't go alone though, in case you get stuck/hurt/avvied.

 

As for gear--I've never tried dynafits but I love my fritsches. They ski just like an alpine binding and tour pretty well too.

 

#1 Gear requirement=beacon, shovel, probe, and ski buddy!

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That is why I wrote "alone" in my beginning message.

To echo Korup: Ski buddy is an essential. Even inbounds on a deep day, you can end up hopelessly stuck in a tree well, or asphyxiated. A ski buddy who can ski powder is also nice because you can follow and imitate. That's how I learned - following my old man for years.

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There are experienced friends who would happily take me to break trail after I have learned how to ski down in one piece.

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I struggled for years trying to teach myself tele in the backcountry. Two days of resort skiing did more for my skiing than 2 years in the backcountry. Spend the time at the resort, maybe take a clinic if you dont have a friend to help teach.

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Hey Panos.. it is my thoughts that the concept of skiing pow is not a whole lot diffrent than skiing groomers. your center of balance is the same. (Im sure this will spark a debate.) but a bit of guidance from a ski instructor will certainly get you on the right track, balanced and all..

As far a skis go anything thats wider than 80 under foot im sure will be more than enough. I back country ski 3 to 6 days a week and I use a pair of 2006 model rossi B2's 182cm (76 under foot) and they do just fine. im 5'11" and 215 lbs. they are outfitted with dynafit bindings.. I might not reccomend DF's for groomers but they great bindings a bit finiky but great. I have been pokin around the mountains for 20 sum years and to help you make a transition safely beyond the ropes would be a great pleasure.

 

Chris..

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The only general advice I have for skiing deeper snow is that you need a certain amount of speed to turn easily. Things are much more difficult without a bit of momentum and the faster you go the more lift you get from the snow. This, of course, reduces the margin of error and can lead to some spectacular wipeouts.

 

With deeper snow the fore/aft balance becomes tricky and being able to read the relative resistance of the snow as well as the presence of barely buried obstacles are the hardest parts. That just comes with experience.

 

As for Dynafits, I think they are a marvel of engineering. They have a solid connection with the heel down and an efficient pivot for the climb and they are the lightest on the market. I've used mine in bounds and in the BC. They've released when needed and stayed on when needed. The only problem I've had is with the fittings at the toe icing up.

Dynafits :rawk:

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Dynafits ... can be broken by skiing hard-pack groomers.

so can Fritschis.

Can anyone explain how they break? I'm having a hard time imagining a groomer being so harsh compared the BC that it could break a binding. Unless you're talking about some spectacular wipeouts by a newbie on hardpack.

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i think the mechanical advantage of carving them on groomers may be hard on em. although I have never broken a pair.. i have broken a few pairs of diamars (the original titanals) they had well over a hundred days on em when they broke... usually the metal bar the holds the toe to the heal break. oh and a few toe pieces. then I upgraded to a set of Diamar freerides. and they got there run threw their paces and I retired them in good shape as I upgraded to dynafits.

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