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Seamstress

Need Recommendations on Lighter Gear

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Folks seem to be fairly helpful. I am a strong downhill skier and have been sampling ski mountaineering. I want a new set-up that will allow me to get uphill more easily without bucking me off the bronco on the descents. I'm a small lady - 5'3" and 125 pounds. I see a huge array of choices out there.

 

Are the La Sportiva RT bindings as light and sturdy as claimed? I currently have very old (2001?)fritschi freeride bindings that weigh a ton.

 

The randonee racer folks seem to be on amazingly light gear. Is that going to kill me with chatter? I currently have BD Crossbows at 163, and I want to reduce the weight by going shorter - 150 - 157. I was looking at the BD Scarlett, but La Sportiva's product line looks pretty light. I am trying to find a site that allows me to compare the products side by side.

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My wife has the starlet (with dynafit radical st's) in that length and loves them in heavy spring slop...haven't had them out in anything hard or dry so can't comment on chatter but they are awesome for typical cascade conditions.

 

She is a bit taller then you but only an intermediate skier and likes to make lots of turns (I hear the starlets/drifts can be hooky if you don't like to turn). Next years are supposed to be a bit stiffer and add a bit of tail rocker I think.

 

You could certainly go lighter by going narrower towards rando gear but the starlets seem to be in a pretty happy place as far as weight vs typical cascade snow performance vs price. Wild snow ( http://www.wildsnow.com/6957/ski-test-review-backcountry-skiing/) and off piste ( http://offpistemag.com/themag/backissues.asp see issue 50) both have good run downs of the more touring oriented skis available. Maybe also look at the manslu and voile vector and charger for something that comes that short but with some width under foot.

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Dynafits are the way to go, period. Plum and La Sportiva and G3 tech bindings exist, but what advantage do they give?

 

Honestly I don't know how much lighter you can get than BD Crossbows, I thought they were a pretty skinny lightweight ski already.

 

There is such a thing as too light for some people, we can't tell you where that lies. Demo if you can.

 

I've heard really good things about the Atomic Century for a skier like you (small, strong, female).

 

There's some stuff here:

http://blistergearreview.com/

 

You can also search TGR's Tech Talk for reviews of specific skis.

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php/8-Tech-Talk

 

Getting some bigger leg muscles makes the uphill easier. I recommend lunges, made a big difference for me last winter.

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La Sportiva RT bindings are 1/2 the weight of traditional dynafits.

 

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Fitness, aging, and size - not all working together. I lifted all winter and run 50 miles per week. I climb 5,000' vertical at least twice a month. On those volcano descents, I'm loving my skis. I have to add a good hour to my probable ascent time when skinning. The 17 pounds that my skis/boots/bindings weigh are slowing me down, and I notice it a lot more now that I am heavily recruited by AARP. I'm looking for a way to outsmart that with technology.

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A buddy has some Goode carbon fiber skis with Dynafit bindings. He's a really strong skier and loves his Goodes. They're so light it's almost like he's cheating.

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a couple quick thoughts. The new backcountry AT boots make a huge difference. The maestrele by Scarpa skins great with almost alpine boot descent. Another one for Dynafits. you can save a mess of weight on this part. For heavier types the new radicals have some benies but I don't think you need them unless you are skiing at a high Din level. As to ski's I know several gals who have been real happy with their new stuff from Fat-y-pus. Sweet backcountry and strong enough they are making a big showing in the freeride world. Keep in mind though you gotta go up. breaking trail with mine (161 tips) is a bit of a workout. I find I float over a lot more but I still have to make trail.

 

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a couple quick thoughts. The new backcountry AT boots make a huge difference.

 

:tup:

 

The new Dynafit TLT series boots would probably save more weight than changing your bindings and greatly increase the ROM in your ankle allowing for much more efficient skinning. They ski great too.

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The TLT's are light. I just put an old and then a new boot on the scale.

 

Individual weight for a boot that fits size 11 feet

 

  • Dynafit TLT = 3 lbs
  • Garmont Mega = 4.2 lbs

 

The pair of new boots is 2.4 pounds lighter.

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I was looking at the various specs, and the TLT is definitely worth investigating. I'll have to find some to try on - the end of season opportunities for them is not as good as others. So I better make sure that they fit well.

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... and I notice it a lot more now that I am heavily recruited by AARP.

 

LOLZ!!! That's a keeper.

 

Yeah, ways to outsmart. I started really using energy gels when I went over the hill, that was a while back.

 

Try REI for spec comparisons, but just on what they carry.

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I agree with other posts that advocate for switching to lighter boots like the TLT and dynafit bindings first, then consider your skis. Personally, my experience with the lite-weight end of the spectrum in skis has convinced me that adding a little bit of weight is worth it, so I'm riding on K2's. Not the lightest ski in the market, but I think the best compromise between savings grams and performing. I only went down a size for my spring/mountaineering ski, which is 82 underfoot. My midwinter and powder boards are both my "regular" preferred length. If you're trying to go for a quiver-of-one, I wouldn't recommend getting a shorter ski than normal. You'll hate it mid-winter, and won't notice the difference in the spring.

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Appreciate the advice. I began ski mountaineering with fat snow blades, so virtually any ski feels stable in comparison - and heavy. I have skied a wide variety on piste. Want a better weight and performance balance. I don't want to drill more hills in my skis - and the new ones will be lighter. Realistically, the skis won't be that much shorter - going from 163 men's skis to probably 156 ladies skis. The Starletts are 2 lbs lighter.

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Update - bought some Dynafit TLT5 TFX boots, dynafit vertical bindings and Black Diamond Starlett skis. Had just a few hours to try them out on Sunday, so I ran part way up St. Helens. The whole set-up is about 3.5 lbs. lighter than my old set-up and weighs 12.5 - 13 pounds.

 

The boots were were such an improvement hiking uphill, and performed almost as well as my mountaineering boots. I didn't feel any restrictions on mobility, and they are lighter than some of my winter boots. I had them molded in the shop. My feet did not overheat like my old scarpa boots. The hell stayed firmly planted in the heel cuff, and I had no blisters depite a rapid 6 miles of up and down, with lots of sweating. If it was really cold out, not sure how well these would do. However it rarely gets that cold here in the Cascades, and the overheating with the old boots required stopping and taking my feet out of the boots every 1.5 miles. I was a little worried about my toes walking downhill. The boot cable held my foot back just enough that I didn't jam them.

 

Based on a friend's recommendations and the shop, I practiced manipulating the bindings a few times in the living room. Out on the hill, I had no issues, and the transitions were fairly quick.

 

The trail was so filthy, alternating between dirt and snow, that I didn't want to put my skis and skins on too early. The skis were light enough (5 lpbs 6 oz) that I didn't really notice the weight on my back. I charged up to 5,500', thoroughly testing the boots climbing performance, before stopping. So I still need to test the new set-ups skinning performance. I am optimistic that I'll like it.

 

The snow was cardboardy with a glissading trench and a bootpack in the slope. Rocks are now sprouting from the snow. I found the skis easy to command, and they navigated around and floated over obstacles reasonably well despite the light weight. I haven't tested the edges on ice, nor was I faced with deep powder. They should float well. I'll probably try some icy sections of low consequence before committing to a tricky icey section. I found myself migrating towards the steeper parts of the wall, enjoying the ski, rather than shopping for the lowest angle. That is a good sign.

 

So far, thumbs up. Thanks for the advice.

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