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Comrade

At what point should you buy AT gear?

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This is sort of a followup to this thread from a few weeks back. I was in the same boat as OP. You guys generated a lot of stoke in that thread, so I went to resort a few times and picked up the basics. I am renting boots and skis for now. I still have ways to go before I can call myself a decent skier, but I'll be putting in days to improve.

 

I don't know if I'll be ready for backcountry this year. But is there any harm in buying boots and skis/bindings now and trying them out in the resort before the season ends? Or would you recommend continuing to rent them until I can reach a certain level, say, being comfortable on black diamonds?

 

There are some decent deals going on around right now. Buying stuff one by one will also be easier on the pocket.

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I learned how to ski in the 'same' year--practiced in the resort in the winter and spring and by summer was doing stuff like adam's southwest chutes at a level that was fun for me and didn't involve a shitshow or holding up more experienced partners. Not that that run is particularly bodacious but its solid and a great way to spend a summer day.

 

If your intention is to be in the BC you've got nothing to lose with having BC gear while you learn, imo I think it is better to get to know your equipment and how it behaves in a more controlled setting like the resort. Some people will poo poo about using dynafit inbounds but thats really a personal thing. Maybe if you're going 70 days a winter on lifts theres no reason for dynafits but if its you know 10-15 times while you're learning more nothing to lose.

 

get after it! cheers

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"But is there any harm in buying boots and skis/bindings now and trying them out in the resort before the season ends?"

 

Zero. I know lots of people who ride inbounds with their AT gear, and it works perfectly for what they want to do - which generally doesn't include ripping mogul lines, hitting drops, etc.

 

If your goal is to log mileage and vert so that you can build your skill up to a level where your BC outings are more enjoyable, then buy now and start lapping the resort in them. Get enough time in and you'll be all set to enjoy all of the spring BC skiing, which can easily stretch into July.

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When I learned I rented gear at the resort about 5 times, bumping up the length of my rental skis each time, until I was able to use skis of nearly the length I intended to buy. Then I went and bought a pair so I could stop spending the money on rentals and get into the backcountry. At the time I was probably able to ski blue runs OK or easy black diamonds.

 

I definitely recommend picking up the gear now and throughout the spring as you see the deals. I bought my first pair of skis/boots/bindings at full price during the winter and I doubt I will ever do it again. The spring sale discounts are enormous.

 

If you have any plans of spring/summer touring, be aware things like bindings and skins often sell out. Last spring, I waited a bit too long to put together my volcano touring setup, and had to order the bindings from France because all of my local shops and online stores were out of them for the year.

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Thanks guys. I'll look into buying the stuff. There is tons of info out there, including on this site. I'm still trying to absorb all of it, but do you have any tips for starting out?

 

I'm okay with the boots, but skis are a bit confusing to me. Why is a ski like La Sportiva RST so light yet cheaper than others in their lineup? Do the heavier skis offer better downhill performance and should I stick with them when starting out?

Edited by Comrade

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IMO skis that are good for the BC (light) are a bit skittish on groomers, tracked out powder, etc.

 

I haven't followed BC ski lineups in quite a while, but it might be worth searching the "freshiezone" forum for "One ski quiver" threads.

 

Anything modern, about 100-105 underfoot, 170-180cm with a bit of tip-rocker will probably serve you well. The first ski that come to mind is something like the DPS Wailer - but like I said - do some searching or post your question in the "Freshiezone" and you'll probably get some more up-to-date responses.

 

I'd also add that you should really consider starting out with Dynafit bindings right out of the gate if you're learning to ski with the objective of eventually logging lots of days in the BC.

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Probably you should buy AT gear when you admit you'll never be cool enough to tele.

...or when you finally realize how stupid you've been to have been all caught up in stylin' tele when AT gear works so much better; it just doesn't look cool. :)

Edited by pcg

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i'll second going the dynafits if the intention is BC, get going on them now, fooling around with alpine bindings doesn't gain you any knowledge for BC as far as binding understanding goes.

 

One other thing if you're a new skier, you'll probably rip gouge and scuff your shiny new planks pretty good through your first year. If you roll with that fine, no worries. I considered it badges of honor but at the same time was happy I hadn't opted for some primo full price cottage company ski running $750 and north. No sure where you are with finances but the initial entry cost to skiing.. once you have all your stuff and are 'ski-worthy in ability' the idea of springing for a more primo ski becomes much more palatable and accessible. From someone who put off getting into skiing for a few years due to the initial costs.

 

i was told 90-100mm underfoot of course with rocker. I opted for a ski with a bit less side cut for skimo objectives vs touring. my tails also have a very slight rise which is great for sideslipping, i like that.

 

look up praxis--thats cottage stuff but they have some great deals right now..Also i hear only positive stuff about the offerings from G3--their entire touring line has been lightened.

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No harm at all in getting touring gear and learning to ski on it in-bounds. If backcountry is your goal, I'd say it's pretty smart to figure out and get comfortable with how your equipment handles in a controlled environment (resort) before taking it out.

 

Thanks guys. I'll look into buying the stuff. There is tons of info out there, including on this site. I'm still trying to absorb all of it, but do you have any tips for starting out?

 

I'm okay with the boots, but skis are a bit confusing to me. Why is a ski like La Sportiva RST so light yet cheaper than others in their lineup? Do the heavier skis offer better downhill performance and should I stick with them when starting out?

 

Check out Wildsnow if you haven't already. Enough info over there to make your head spin.

 

In theory, yes, "heavier" skis are generally more downhill oriented and will handle better in firmer snow and in heavy and wet conditions. More mass = more momentum = more power to blast through the mank, thus making skiing variable conditions (which is most of what is in the BC) much easier. Obviously a heavier ski won't go uphill as easily. That's the trade off, and it's a balancing act we play with ski choice.

 

For your first BC ski, go with something middle of the road. It'll go up OK, it'll go down OK, and you'll have fun doing both especially for a few seasons while learning. I'd stay away from the super light skis, they take a lot of wherewithal to ski well in most conditions, and for someone who is just starting out, they won't be much fun on the down. You can add these to the quiver later on once you've developed more as a skier. Stay away from the super heavy "freeride" skis too. They are pigs on the way up, and you'll be spending most of your time going up.

 

Some suggestions for good skis that split the middle of the road between weight and downhill:

PNW Classic - K2 Coomback (Wayback is alright too if you want a lighter ski, but the coomback does the down better)

G3 Tonic- was renamed the District 100 this season, but there are still some of past season Tonics floating around for good prices.

BD Revert or Convert (last year model is the Warrant or Verdict; both on sale now for ~300 too on BD's site)

 

And yes; as was said earlier get tech bindings (lots of offerings out there now). Don't even bother with frame binders if you plan on touring. With the lower prices now, there is no reason to consider a frame binding. Tech bindings in bounds are totally fine.

 

Have fun and stay safe!

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Now would be a great time to start shopping because sales are just around the corner. Just make sure you know exactly what you want and what your priorities are. I went through this last winter. The info is all out there so I'll skip the specific gear recommendations.

 

You'll be fine to head into the backcountry when you can ski your chosen terrain in any type of condition. You'll still want to know how to gingerly get down something steeper in case you get a little off course though.

 

For what it's worth, I much preferred to learn on alpine gear on the groomers because I fell a lot. I'll still take my backcountry setup (with tech bindings) on the groomers when I am skiing stuff I know I can ski but if I am trying to progress, I like the alpine bindings.

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Thanks a lot, guys. I was fully expecting to get flamed because this topic must have been discussed previously. But the search function is not so great and stuff changes from year to year.

 

You convinced me to get the gear instead of waiting a full season. I'm pretty set on La Sportiva Lo5 and Dynafit ST bindings. Not ultra-light, not super heavy. Hopefully it works out. Speaking of ultra light, some of you might be interested in this: http://www.geartrade.com/item/370363/la-sportiva-rt-binding

 

Finally, REI should be good enough to mount the bindings, right? Or do you have any strong recommendations?

 

 

Edited by Comrade

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I wouldn't trust REI to do anything to my skis. I've seen too many botched mounts and shoddy work out of that shop. Unless that's your only option, I'd go elsewhere. I would trust ProSki or Evo to do a descent dynafit mount. Too bad Marmot isn't around any longer.

 

In the future, learn to mount skis (this goes for everyone). It's really easy, takes no special tooling (unless you buy a ski drill bit, which is $10), saves a bunch of money, and you know the job is done right.

Not to mention it's a well of infinite free beer from friends.

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I wouldn't recommend REI for anything, I'm still shocked that members of the outdoor community are still giving them money :(

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Feathered friends mostly, it seems. PMS occasionally, and also online. Considering their treatment of one of our own, I'm surprised REI is even relevant these days

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Incidentally, feathered friends just did it Dynafit mount for me and they did a fine job.

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I had a hunch REI wouldn't come out on top of recommendations, that why I asked. I'll go to FF/Evo/proski.

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I'd also recommend 2nd Ascent. I don't have as much experience with their shop work but last I was there they had a good selection of AT gear and a really knowledgeable salesperson.

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