I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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TurboHike
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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by TurboHike » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:30 pm

Altai Hok skis are a nice alternative to snowshoes. Just don't expect to carve any turns.

https://us-store.altaiskis.com/product/ ... ated-2016/








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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by DAVELA » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:10 pm

thank you Turbo...i think altai is chap11?...they are hard to come.by i seem to.remember?
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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by DAVELA » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:37 pm

thx c9.
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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by paul » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:45 pm

Well I wish I knew as much about this stuff as Ian thinks I do – I’d be quite the expert. What I do know is very narrowly focused, on gear for the kind of trips I have taken. It seems like very few folks do what I like to do, which is bascially mellow touring taken to extremes, in the sense that it means trips up to 9 days and crossing the Sierra, but following the line of least resistance sicne I am out for the views and the experience and not the skiing. I am a crummy skier, and not too proud to walk down. So I value light weight and flat/uphill performance over downhill capability, but I do need some downhill control. Since nobody makes gear expresly for this kind of thing, the market being too small, I’ve put a lot of thought into figuring out what seems to work for me.
Dave, I will extrapolte from what you have said – that you rented XC gear and it was fine going up but hopeless going down. From what I have seen, very few places rent anything between light XC gear intended for skiing in preset tracks and on flat terrain and Telemark gear intended for going straight up and straight down. So I expect you had something in the range of a narrow, almost straight, ski, and boots that were very flexible and a toebar that clips into the binding – most likely a light NNN of maybe NNN-BC binding. Sound familiar?
If that’s the case, take heart, there’s better stuff available. It’s just hard to find a store that sells it. You might try Mammoth Mountaineering in Mammoth ( I think maybe they have a store in Bishop, but not sure of that). I think they have a range of ski gear that may have more of what you need. REI sells a lot of this stuff but will they have it at a store close to you? Who knows. The good thing with REI for boots is you can order them delivered to the store with no shipping cost, and return at the store if it doesn’t fit, no hassle.
I would be thinking you want a waxless ski, metal edged, some sidecut, width anything from about 60mm to 70mmm at the waist. Bindings, either NNN-BC Magnums, or 3-pin – and which depends more on the boots you find than anything else. For boots, you want about the heftiest NNN-BC boots you can lay your hands on,, or the lightest 3-pin boots. Alpina Alaska seems to be the likleliest candidate; they make those for both types of binding. And there are some Alfas , like the Stetind and Guard Advance, and Skarvet Advance, that folks seem to like, though those are much harder to find. And Crispi Svartisens seem like good boots from what I have heard, but again, may be hard to find. But they gotta fit, so none of them are any good if they don’t fit your feet.
With a setup like that, I think you’d have a good time. If you want to get more adventurous, then the lightest plastic 3-pin boots, like a Scarpa T4, will give you more control but be more work on the flats and uphill. They will also be warmer and drier for multi-day trips if you get into that. The AT gear is more intedned for skiing up and down mountains; though the lightest of it could be good for long traverse type trips if they involve some steeper stuff. But the light At stuff gets spendy, and finding it used can take time.
Persosnally I’v e skied across the Sierra on the Atomic Rainiers - same ski Ian has, but no longer made. 3-pins and light plastic boots. I mostly feel like the boots have been overkill for what I do, but for week-long trips the plastic boots have the great advantage that you stay dry for sure, day after day in wet spring snow. For day trips I would not have the same concern. For one thing, it’s easier to keep the boots sealed up for a day’s worth of exposure; for another , after a dy trip you can dry them out for the next day.
The light AT stuff that Gazelle describes sounds pretty good – although I am thoroughly wedded to waxless skis. When I thnk about doing more deep into the Sierra trips to the places I have not been to, most of which require a bit steeper skiing than I have mostly done, I think maybe I want a pair of Voile Objective Bc’s – a wider, waxless ski that is significantly more downhill-oriented than my Rainiers, but not much heavier. Probably not so much different from Gazelle’s Hagans except for the waxless base. And of course then I might want some AT boots. And a whole new setup gets costly, so I don’t know what I will do, if anything.
Ok, way too long a post. Sorry!

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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by paul » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:50 pm

Also, for far more knowledge than I have about various skis and boots, etc, and more and various opinions, I highly recommend these forums:
http://telemarktalk.com/index.php
Only thing to keep in mind is that they lean east coast pretty heavily, and so their snow conditions are not our conditions neccesarily

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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by Harlen » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:43 pm

Re. those Voile Objective Bc’s, I just found this opinion from and online Ski review site:
“Entry level ski” = me cringing. Nothing worse than sending entry level skiers out into the backcountry with light skis. Lets face it…the weight penalty going up is irrelevant if you’re skis are deflected 6 ways to Saturday every time you point them down. Light weight skis NEVER go down hill well. They might be “good” if you’ve been backcountry skiing for 15 years…but not if you’re new to the sport.

Expert skiers, sure these might be great…but we really gotta keep beginners out of this type of gear. It’s a recipe for disaster."
And I thought shorter and wider = easier turning-- I didn't think the weight of the skis would make that much difference, compared to the ski dimensions? Is this true especially for hard, spring conditions, and the challenging conditions Gazelle and I just skied in? I'm sorry to belabor this issue-- luckily, it seems others here are interested besides Davela and me.

Dave, you mention wanting to do "mellow" trips like Paul's and mine, but they are made mellow by us booting down the steep sections of amazing ski slopes, like the 4,000' west side of Bishop Pass, and many others. I think all of us are hoping for ski setups with enough control to actually enjoy these, and far lesser slopes too.
Thanks for all of the comments and helpful insights.

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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:08 am

Paul's post about XC skis seems solid. I've always been told cross country skis are built for skiing *to* things, AT skis are built for skiing *down* things. If your routes include a lot of meadows and frozen lakes, cross country skis are built for that terrain. Andrew Skurka has similar ski gear preferences. And XC gear is so much cheaper.

One last thing: don't knock the ski resort too much. Getting better at skiing down happens so much faster at a resort. I can ski down 20K vert in a big day at a resort, and I'm a better skier than my back country only friends because of it. Plus the avalanche control allows me to ski 38 degree slopes alone, worry free.
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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by DAVELA » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:37 am

yes Paul,i rented skinny skis with a toe bar and very flexible boots.I have no interest in skiing in xc groomed tracks etc.
The Galen Rowell store in bishop is now a ski/mountaineering shop...its really big.I need to go in there again.
The gear exchange near eastside had some gear but not the staff at the time to explain the minutae...
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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by paul » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:23 pm

Ian - every other review of the Objectives I have seen has been a rave. I am sure there are conditions for which they are not the right ski, but pretty clearly that reviewer is talking about a different sort of skiing than what I would want to do. I have heard before about wanting more mass in a ski to handle crud, crust, and generally funky conditions, and it may make sense, but I suspect that the actual weight is less the key, it's about the flex characteristics of the ski and its ability to absorb or dampen vibrations. Weight can help with those things but superior design, materials and craftsmanship matter as well. Anyway, any reviewer who makes broad statements like that one tends to lose my interest. Did the guy even ski that ski? And, again, he's talking to skiers for who the down is more important that anything else. Not me, not you, not Dave. Weight certainly won't help turning. If it does anything it is to help crash through crusty, chunky funky monkey snow. Which you would see more of on a winter trip than in the spring. Spring snow is mostly either hard frozen crust in the morning and in the shade, or sun-ripened corn. With a little bit of fresh thrown in now and then, just to pretty things up. The skis that do best in the corn are not probably the best skis for the hard crust, but that's not that big of an issue in my experience; you just plan your routes for it, aiming for uphill in the early morning, skins on; and downhill in the late morning and early afternoon when the snow is nice, and lounging in the late afternoon when it gets too soft.
I would also mention that the dichotomy of XC gear and backcountry/downhill gear is misleading, as there is a spectrum of skis that shade very finely from super skinny XC race skis to pure downhill planks, with no gaps in the line. So you can pick skis that are anywhere on the spectrum you want to be. Boots - not so much, as the gap between the beefiest NNN-BC boots and the lightest plastics is fairly wide, and full leather 3-pins don't fill it very well, being almost as heavy as the plastics (and soggy as well, after the first two days of the trip).
And another point to consider is how you feel about it. A setup might be slightly overkill for what you generally do, but if the extra control gives you confidence and makes your outings more fun, then it's right for you. For someone else, a setup might seem like not capable enough for what they do, but their skill (or willingness to walk down) makes it work and they feel that's worth it for the light weight and comfort on the flats. so it's very personal.
And C9 is right, some skiing at the resort can help a lot in advancing your downhill skills. I have my Rainiers down some blue runs at the resort while chasing my kids around, and while it may have been a bit sketchy at times, it helped my ability to handle terrain in the backcountry.

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Re: I bought used AT skis but now need boots

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:35 pm

And all this should illustrate why a lot of hikers just go with snow shoes. Even with the most expensive, best gear, skiing itself is something you need to practice & enjoy. It takes time to practice and money for gear to be able to go faster than snow shoes. Most people who just want to hike end up going towards the slow shoes, because they're not that much slower, crazy cheap compared to ski gear, and they require no practice or training. While they're not cool, they get you out there in the winter for the minimum money, practice and weight.
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