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rob

What's the story with waxless BC skis?

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So apparently the Voile Vector BC ski this year has a waxless fishscale base -- i.e. no skins?

 

I'm familiar with this kind of base from XC skiing, but how do these work in a touring setup? Anybody tried them before?

 

It's an interesting idea -- how much hill can they handle?

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I saw a guy heading up to Muir with these last spring. They seemed to be able to go up stuff about half as steep as our BD Ascension skins could, in mostly firm but thawing corn. He kept stopping to take off his skins, talking about the benefit of getting the weight off of his feet, only to have to put them on again 10 minutes later when the slope pitched back up.

 

They would be super useful for those flat or slightly rolling approaches and exits, letting you avoid wasting time messing with skins. I think they can be a bit slower on the downhill though. I haven't heard enough about this yet to be convinced to try a pair.

 

You definitely still need skins.

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They have had the BC fishscale version for a few years now. You will still need skins for typical skin tracks. The advantage is that you can get by without them on the flat sections and gentle rolling sections. There are definitely times where I wish I had them on my skis for the trip down to the car.

 

I have talked to a few people that used them and they said they aren't too noticeable on the downhill.

 

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I ski a fair bit with a guy who's been rocking them for a while now. He loves them for rolling terrain, but he has the good sense to leave the skins on once he puts them on. They definitely slow you down on the downhill, but if you're doing short laps or on rolling terrain, you more than make up for it by not having to slap your skins on, or rip them off.

 

Kirk's a better skier than me, but he could easily get 3 short runs in in the time it took me to slap the skins on, skin up, and rip them again.

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I have a pair (Fischer S-Bound112) that I've been using for a couple of years to tow my daughter up and down stuff like Amabilis or Gold Creek road in a chariot ski carrier, and the occasional tour

 

Here's my take:

 

-Great for rolling terrain. Also potentially useful (when paired with skins)when you heading to/from an objective with a ton of gentle ups-and-downs on the (long) approach.

 

-Grip is best on heavy/wet or spring snow.

 

-The advice to commit to keeping the skins unless you know that you'll only be encountering mild ups and downs is spot on.

 

-The texture significantly slows you down on mild descents - like longish logging roads with a packed-down surface that only have a slight pitch. Your friends with regular skis will quickly/effortlessly glide out of view while you are striding away a long ways behind them. Not an issue if you won't be using them on that sort of surface.

 

If you spend a lot of time touring super-mellow terrain and want to minimize the hassle/weight associated with skins then they might be worth picking up. They could also work out if you want to make some turns on super-mellow terrain, and might be handy for accessing/exiting side-country stuff from the lifts and want to save yourself some skating/booting.

 

 

 

 

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Just bought a pair of Madshus Annums. I have a pair of Fischer S-Bounds but only have NNN bindings on them for the trails. The Madshus Annums are mounted with Silvrettas and great for approaches -- but I'd never take them out on anything where I'm actually skiing. The Madschus fishscales work great for gentle rolling terrain - but the second you climb anything steep you either herring bone or need skins. Likewise coming down they're pretty slow.

 

I think it's interesting that Madschus skis dominate for races like the Alaska Winter Classic whereas lightweight rando gear dominates in races like the Elk Mountain traverse. That said - this probably has more to do with economics being that a lightweight rando setup costs over a thousand whereas every alaskan has a pair of beater scaled skis.

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My wife and I both have the Madshus no-wax tele skis mounted with releasable tele bindings linked below.

 

Everything said above is true but I will add this:

If you do Mazama Ridge at Paradise, and then have to ski up the road to get back to Paradise...these no wax tele skis are awesome! They don't track as well as a true skinny ski due to the narrow waist...but it's much easier than skinning. There is a real "kick" just like with old skinny skis. Also, as with old skinny no wax skis, you do need to skin up on steep hills.

 

These skis are not that much slower that it matters. I actually like the subtle braking effect on the downhill...but I'm old and feeble and speed is not my main goal, I'm after grace.

 

I use these same skis and bindings at Crystal, and I can ski all day no problem, they go plenty fast. It's true that an alpine skier can pass me on the moderate flats...he doesn't have fish scales like I do. But on the other hand, I can climb up to the lift on my fish scales...he has to take his skis off and walk.

 

We like these skis a lot. The only thing I sometimes think about is going back to my skinny skis for backcountry telemarking. They worked fine for 30 years. I kind of got talked into upgrading to new tele gear...it works fine too, but it's much much heavier under foot. There are a few folks out there retrograding backwards simply for lightness. In good snow, skinny skis telemark fine.

 

http://www.backcountry.com/garmont-7tm-power-tour-releasable-telemark-binding

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I've been on the Rossi bc 125 for three seasons now, and I would recommend them for any long approach, meadow skipping, or as a general volcano ski. The fish scales hardly reduce your speed. The movement on flats is far superior to skins. Best suited for rolling, or flat terrain with no skins. With skins, they're just like any other alpine ski. I did a review of the bc 125 a while back...might answer some more questions. http://kickturner.blogspot.com/2013/06/gear-review-rossignol-bc-125-skis.html#more

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