Forum Index > Gear Talk > Recommendations for skis on forest roads and trails?
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Eric Hansen
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Eric Hansen
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PostThu Dec 15, 2022 7:11 pm 
Good points. I hadn't checked the prices vs AT gear. The whole new set of skills part may be for some, not for others. I'm among those without an Alpine skiing background.

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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Dec 15, 2022 8:59 pm 
Back in the day we did with XC track skies and little blue shoes for logging roads, “track turns” and wedge brakes if things got tough. Survived and prospered, the best years of our lives. Later we tried to preserve our craniums. But Oh what a day.🤪 now we have AT, Tele, legal passes, and XC gear but something is lost. Once we were cowboys, now just an old man.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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hbb
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 1:27 pm 
I am a little surprised to see the Xplore binding. I wouldn't have thought someone would come up with yet another nordic binding system in light of all the other standards out there already. As Randito noted, you could put together a nice light AT set up for the same price, and avoid having to learn how to make a passable telemark turn. If I was doing a lot of Forest Service road travel and had the money for Xplore bindings and boots, I think I'd be tempted to try a light skimo binding/boot on an XCD ski. Something like a Dynafit Superlite mounted on a 10th Mountain.

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Randito
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 3:55 pm 
hbb wrote:
I think I'd be tempted to try a light skimo binding/boot on an XCD ski. Something like a Dynafit Superlite mounted on a 10th Mountain.
My "forest service road" skiing setup is something like that. Madshus Glittertind MGV (waxless) skis mounted with Ski Trab Titan race bindings and Scarpa Alien RS boots. It's nice and light and on the flats I can kick and glide reasonably well. I also use those boots with my "late spring / summer skiing" setup which has very light 80mm wide skis that carry well on my pack and ski corn and mushy snow fairly well. For mid winter skiing I have wider skis and taller stiffer boots. I don't like to think about how much I've spent of ski gear, especially when you add in the cost of owning and operating a 4WD vehicle to make it easier to get to the mountains when it is snowing.

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 4:10 pm 
hbb wrote:
As Randito noted, you could put together a nice light AT set up for the same price, and avoid having to learn how to make a passable telemark turn.
Can you folks recommend anything specific? Just to give everyone else a better idea what you're thinking of? I looked into AT gear and saw $600 bindings that weigh twice as much as my Nordic skies.

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 4:16 pm 
Randito wrote:
My "forest service road" skiing setup is something like that. Madshus Glittertind MGV (waxless) skis mounted with Ski Trab Titan race bindings and Scarpa Alien RS boots. It's nice and light and on the flats I can kick and glide reasonably well. I also use those boots with my "late spring / summer skiing" setup which has very light 80mm wide skis that carry well on my pack and ski corn and mushy snow fairly well.
I bought a pair of Glittertands at Big Steve's advice. I put NNNBC bindings on them and bought leather boots. It was a disaster!! It took everything I had and sometimes more to get those skis on their edges, I didn't have enough control for it to be enjoyable. I gave the skis away to a different nwhiker. I think the boots flexed too much, maybe it was the bindings. I just bought a pair of Madshus m50, which I think are 60/50/55 mm. I'm using them with regular NNN bindings and stiff carbon S/Race boots. So far this is working well. I'd like a wider pair for when I need that. I think I've more or less maxed these NNN boots out at 60 mm.

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Randito
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 5:42 pm 
All of the NNN-BC and SNS-BC boots I've owned have been disappointing in terms of their torsional stiffness. For light XC performance skate boots aren't too bad, but typically these don't work so well for diagonal stride due to the limited fore/aft ankle rotation. Rando Race category boots have quite good torsional stiffness while in "ski mode" , the boot lowers are also quite stiff while in "tour mode" , but typically don't provide above the ankle support in "tour mode". Rando Race boots aren't cheap, but the difference isn't that shocking compared to Salomon S-Lab XC boots.

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Eric Hansen
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PostFri Dec 16, 2022 9:52 pm 
So, what would be Rando Race boots you would see as worth considering? Would it be reasonable to mount them on Karhu 10th Mt. skis? They are "camber and a half", soft Nordic camber. Would they work well for something like a spring time circle tour of Crater Lake? Extensive horizontal travel, kick and glide?

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Randito
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PostSat Dec 17, 2022 5:57 am 
This is a decent collection of boots in that category https://skimo.co/race-boots?sort=price&order=ASC#sort For doing the Crater Lake loop, they will work fine. I think they would be overkill, since you are following a snow covered paved road that doesn't have steep grades like a logging road, the steepest section being 9%. I would probably choose a lighter double camber ski for that route. And perhaps some "combi" XC boots. Step turns and stem turns suffice.

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Eric Hansen
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Eric Hansen
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PostMon Dec 19, 2022 9:22 pm 
All good on the boots. Interesting. Worth mentioning. Crater Lake veterans say there are some spicy spots sprinkled among the mellow miles. Road sidecuts steep slopes, snowdrift fills in the road and you are traversing above a drop-off. Not a good place for a boot or binding without some torque. Yep, late season some of these spicy slopes melt out and Nordic skiers on light gear cruise through.

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Randito
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PostMon Dec 19, 2022 11:08 pm 
There used to be an event called the Hogloppet that traversed from Mission Ridge to Blewett pass. The route was 98% logging road suitable for double poling. But there was 1/4 mile offroad section that was steep. Because of that 1/4 mile section some people choose to use Telemark gear for the entire 20 mile route. I choose to use light XC gear and on those days when the snow on the off road section was too firm for edgeless XC skis , remove skis and boot.

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hbb
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 12:17 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
hbb wrote:
As Randito noted, you could put together a nice light AT set up for the same price, and avoid having to learn how to make a passable telemark turn.
Can you folks recommend anything specific? Just to give everyone else a better idea what you're thinking of? I looked into AT gear and saw $600 bindings that weigh twice as much as my Nordic skies.
Sure. Xplore bindings retail for $275 on Amazon. Here's a light AT binding for $244: Bindings Xplore compatible boots seem to range from $325 to $635. Here's a fairly light AT boot for $265: Boots That's just a real quick skim of the sale section on TP's website. I'm sure you could go lower buying used off one of the various forums or searching online retailers more efficiently.

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rossb
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PostThu Dec 22, 2022 8:27 am 
Randito wrote:
Alpine Touring and Rando Race setups aren't that much more expensive than an Xplor setup and you don't need to learn a whole new set of skills.
You don't need to make Telemark turns with Telemark gear. You can make parallel turns just as easily. For that matter, if the conditions are good, parallel technique comes in handy with cross country skis. If you look at folks going down a groomed run with cross country skis, rarely do you see a Telemark turn. It is mostly snowplow, stem christie and when conditions are good, parallel turns. But that is a lot tougher in deeper snow, especially if the snow is wet (which is common in the Northwest). This reminds of that skate skiing video. By all means the guy is an exceptional skier. But he is also skiing perfect Spring corn (I assume) and a lot of intermediate skiers (myself included) would dance around and look impressive on skinny skis in those conditions too. Only a handful of people can Telemark with skinny skis and floppy boots in tough conditions. Most of the folks who Telemark have stiff plastic (Telemark) boots. As with A. T. gear, the boots (and bindings) provide very stiff control, which allow you to drive bigger, fatter, curvier skies. Ski gear is not that different than the different types of bikes. On the one end, you have very lightweight, expensive road bikes. These are similar to high end cross country gear (including skate skis). They aren't meant to take off the track. At the other end you have very strong mountain bikes with big tires and shocks that can handle anything. Great for when you need it, but not much fun on the road. This is similar to A. T. and Telemark gear. Wonderful going down, not as much fun going up. In between you have a range of cross bikes. Same with ski gear. One step up from really skinny, no-sidecut cross country gear is what I use for logging roads. These are regular cross country boots (SNS) along with skis that don't have metal edges. There is just enough sidecut to initiate a turn, and just enough flotation to avoid sinking too deep when I break trail. Boot the boots and bindings are the same as my super skinny skis. I find the that my NNN-BC setup (which I also have) is just gathering dust. Not as light or comfortable as my regular cross country gear, and yet not stiff enough to provide a lot of control. If I'm doing steep backcountry, I want A. T. or Telemark gear (AKA, plastic boots). That being said, I can see why people are drawn to it. It takes a while to get the hang of cross country skiing, and the more control the better. I find that much of cross country skiing is picking the right gear for the terrain (or the right terrain for the gear) and lot of it has to do with determining the conditions. Get it wrong, and you fall a lot. Personally, almost all of my skiing is on two sets of gear, even though I have more. I have that cross country setup, which is what I use most of the time. So far this year I've skied Amabalis (twice), Kendall Lake Road (twice), Deer Creek Road, Mountain Loop Highway (to Big Four Picnic Area) and my local golf course. I have skinnier skies, but find that I only use them on trips to Bend or the Methow. For Amabalis (which is often groomed much of the way) I like those wider skis, as they perform better when I go off the track. Likewise, I use those same skis when I ski a really tough road, like Kendall Lake Road (which also has plenty of backcountry opportunity). I just pick the days when the snow is in good condition (and there aren't that many people) like yesterday. This is the gear I use 90% of the time. But I also think an A. T. (or Telemark) setup is a great complement for that type of gear. If you are going to Paradise, Artist Point or similar places (Park Butte or Sunrise in the Spring) then your best bet is A. T. gear. You can ski those areas with different gear (I have) but you will have less control, and have tough sections where it is nice to have that control. It is a personal thing. Kendall Lakes Road, for example, has skiers like me, and folks in A. T. gear. Personally I find the approach too long to warrant A. T. gear, but then I let my gear choose my trip, as much as the other way around. I just like skiing with my cross country skis. I should mention that I have Telemark gear, but it functions just like A. T. gear. The main reason I have Telemark is that I find it just a bit easier on my feet (I have sensitive feet -- long story). But that gets back to the NNN-BC/3-Pin range of gear. They are trying to balance control with comfort. If you find something that is really comfortable (and more comfortable than A. T.) then it is could be a good choice. But personally I would go with the two types of gear I mentioned. A decent all-purpose cross country setup is fairly cheap, while A. T. gear is not (although you can probably get deals).

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Randito
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PostThu Dec 22, 2022 2:09 pm 
rossb wrote:
You don't need to make Telemark turns with Telemark gear. You can make parallel turns just as easily.
I have 3 decades of telemark experience, including using telemark gear to ski double black inbounds and out of bounds runs at Alpental, Crystal and other lift served areas. I also have a decade of AT experience. It's true that one may "paramark" on freeheel gear. But frankly it is just not as effective or as stable as skiing with the heel locked down. Plus as an old fart I have grown to appreciate having bindings that release when I tumble.

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rossb
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PostSat Dec 24, 2022 3:40 pm 
Quote:
it is just not as effective or as stable as skiing with the heel locked down.
Maybe, but the difference is subtle. It is like saying a four-strap boot gives you more control. Yeah, sure, but there are plenty of people who can ski just fine on a two-strap boot. In contrast, the difference between (plastic boot) Telemark and NNN-BC is huge. I really don't see myself ever needing anything more than what a plastic boot Telemark boot can offer. I'm not saying there aren't slopes where it becomes essential, but I'm saying I'm not going to ski those slopes. Nor are most people. This is well beyond "logging road" level skiing, or even the vast majority of backcountry. Anyway, this misses the point. The idea that you need to "learn a new style of skiing" if you buy Telemark gear is simply not true. This goes for every type of Nordic gear you could buy. At most you simply have to learn the limitation of your gear, but that is true whenever you change what you are using. I am an excellent case in point. I don't know how to make a good Telemark turn. Yet Telemark gear gives me enough control to ski anything I could ever imagine skiing. In contrast, NNN-BC doesn't. I tried skiing Blueberry Chutes on a day when the snow was stable and nice. The upper part was great -- I was really digging my setup. I was making nice, smooth parallel turns. But once it came time to do tight jump turns, I was toast. I simply couldn't do it. I fell repeatedly. In contrast, I've done similar stuff with my Telemark gear just fine. Maybe if I learned how to Telemark ski I would have done better, but I doubt it. Very few people can Telemark that well. The guy I was skiing with is an outstanding Telemark skier, but he was making parallel turns (on his Telemark gear). The move towards A. T. gear is all about weight, not control. Telemark gear is still pretty darn heavy. In contrast, A. T. is ridiculously light. If the situation was reversed, there would be a ton of people skiing Telemark in the backcountry, and most would be skiing parallel. It is just what most people grew up learning (which is in part why they go back to it in a pinch). It is why you see so many cross country skiers making stem-christie turns (and even parallel turns) instead of Telemark turns on the groomed runs. You can get releasable bindings for Telemark gear, but most people don't. Maybe because there is enough movement to prevent the worst injuries. But there are plenty of people who have really hurt themselves (e. g. torn ACLs) using releasable bindings. I don't know if anyone has every done a definitive study to show that it is fundamentally safer to have releasable bindings over the (albeit limited) flexibility that Telemark gear offers. I've never actually heard of anyone being seriously hurt with Telemark gear (i. e. feeling like releasable bindings would have saved them) but that isn't a fair comparison since way more people use downhill gear.

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