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XC ski question?

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:52 pm
by overheadx2
I started XC skiing this season, and have been going relatively frequently in Big Bear. I'm starting to see a lot of sales for skis, and would like to buy a pair. I would like to start doing some day hikes(easier road and trails like in sequoia and rock creek areas) with the wife in the sierra next season and had a few questions. I have read multiple sites regarding ski purchases but all are very generic and while helpful, they don't get very specific regarding back country skiing.
Length - I am 6'5" and 205. I have been using 205's, but should I go shorter for back country use.
Touring vs metal edge - should I pay extra for metal edged skis? Is there much of a difference?
Bindings - is one better than the others?
Boots - will regular touring boots do, or do I need the braced boots more specifically for back country skiing?
Thanks, Phil

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:25 am
by paul
The answers to all of your questions depend on the kind of terrain you expect to enjoy. But let's just say we start at the bottom and work up. First of all, ski length tends to be ski specific; so the right length for you in one ski is not neccessarily the right length in another ski. But for off-trail use, if in doubt go with the shorter ski; shorter will grip better and glide less, and also turn more easily. Also if in doubt go wider, for more flotation.

Metal edges are close to essential on steeper slopes if the snow is icy or crusty, so unless you plan to stick to the meadows or to snow-covered roads, I would go with metal edges. But I will add that I have in the past skied some fairly steep terrain without metal edges and it can be done - but you have to be prepared to turn back if you find things too icy or crusty. I wouldn't go back, that's for sure. I would think that if you look at the narrowest metal edge skis that are being referred to as backcountry, XCD, or adventure touring, you'll end up with something that works pretty well for you, assuming you want to stick to pretty mellow terrain.

Bindings and boots are fully intertwined. The lightest binding you should consider for off-trail skiing is the NNN-BC. If what you want to do is easy terrain and no overnights they ought to work pretty well for you. If you want to get more adventurous or carry a pack, then you'll want to get into 3-pin bindings, they offer more control and stability and you can range uward a lot further in boot stiffness - and thus control.

Once you decide binding then the boots fall into place to a degree; if you get NNN-bc bindings then I'd get the beefiest boots you can that fit well. More control is almost always welcome, and even the beefiest NNN-BC boots are not that stiff.

If you go 3-pin then you will probably want to start with fairly beefy fabric/leather boot, like the Rossignol and Fischer BCX models. If later you want to go overnight or carry a pack or just get into steeper terrain you will want to go plastic, but I wouldn't start there. that's the beauty of the 3-pin binding - you can use a range of boots with it that is much wider than what you can get for NNN-BC.

So now, as an example, here's what I have:
skis - atomic rainiers - width about 68mm waist, 88 tip, metal edge, waxless
bindings - voile 3-pins
boots - Garmont Excursions - the lightest plastic boots

I've skied across the SIerra on this gear. The skis I think are really versatile - with lighter boots they'd be great for most any day tour and with the plastic boots they can get me down from a high sierra pass.

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:07 pm
by overheadx2
Thanks Paul, that was helpful.

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:54 pm
by limpingcrab
The answer to all of your questions is that you should get a splitboard :littledevil: :D

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:00 pm
i met a splitboarder a few weeks ago who was new at it and hesaid if he had to do it over he wouldve gone AT.

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:16 pm
by oldranger
I think Paul's advice is golden. Just want to tweak it a little. That if you are going to go lighter and go with NNN-BC I focus on boots as the core point. Different companies use different lasts and it is important to find a boot that fits, I know what works for me but that may not be comfortable for you. I don't do heavy duty backcountry skiing anymore so the NNN-BC works great for me and I find the heavier boots are more comfortable and supportive than boots designed for the standard NNN and SNS systems. So I use the same boots on my track skiis and on my metal edge skiis. If I were to have just a single pair of skis I would go with metal edges.


Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:14 pm
by Beantown
limpingcrab wrote:The answer to all of your questions is that you should get a splitboard :littledevil: :D
I support this message :thumbsup:
DAVELA wrote:i met a splitboarder a few weeks ago who was new at it and hesaid if he had to do it over he wouldve gone AT.
I wouldn't trade my splitty for AT set up. I just got another splitty so i have a rock board for socal and a pow board for the east side LOL.

I plan to cross the sierra splittin, maybee next year.

Re: XC ski question?

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:11 pm
by overheadx2
As the new season of XC skiing is starting up, i was able to get some really great deals on last years gear. the biggest problem was the fact that there are no places to see it prior to purchase. since I will be doing easier trails and fire roads I purchased some alpina discovery 80s and some stiffer nnn BC boots. Now i need to decide on bindings. I am going with nnn bc, but there seems to be some controversy regarding the different types. Auto seems to ice up, manuals are difficult and magnums are wider for more control. Are magnums over kill on a 80 mm ski with a 58mm waist. Lastly, can any one recommend some easier east side trails and road ends to start out.