A/T ski info--general

Posted by: skillet

A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 01:37 AM

i've decided to purchase an AT ski package this season. two questions: how does one determine what ski length to go with? i usually rent and go with whatever the staff recommends(intermediate skier). i will be splitting my time equally between resort and b/c stuff(daks,greens). also, is there a reputable ski shop (besides the daks) where i can get the bindings mounted. (mail order sans mounting). thanks for any help!
Posted by: zachres

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 05:22 AM


I'm not an expert on AT gear, but the people I work with are... for a good review of the skis out there, pick up a copy of the latest Couloir... www.earnyourturns.com

Posted by: skillet

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 01:21 PM

i can't find that mag anywhere! we used to get it in my shop but i haven't seen it anywhere lately. i went on their web board but everyone there is such a "tech geek" that i don't get half of what they're saying. i'm a total novice so most of the guys don't bother answering my questions and the ones that do help talk way over my head! i've gotten 4 different answers on the ski length query!
Posted by: zachres

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 03:33 PM


Why don't you send me an email/PM with all of your vitals, skill-level, and what type of terrain you plan to ski... I can get an "expert" to answer the question.

PS - you could always subscribe

Posted by: andrew

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 04:36 PM

ski length will depend on your height and weight, type of ski, ability, and the terrain you plan to be on.

i ski bd crossbows, which are fairly fat and very stiff. i'm 6'1", 175 pounds and ski pretty agressively. i use 179s, and i have never wanted anything longer in the backcountry and occasionally shorter when i've been in really tight trees and chutes.

since you say you are intermediate, i would go for the shorter of two skis if you have a question about which to go with.

post up the stats i mentioned and the ski you are thinking about and i'll try to help.
Posted by: skillet

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 08:16 PM

okey doke,here goes: i'm 5'10", 195 lbs. i am (on a good day) an intermediate skier. i live in the northeast and will be primarily using the gear in the daks,greens,whites. i will also split my time 50/50 between resort and B/C stuff(marcy,mansfield etc). i was looking primarily at black diamond stuff and was steered towards the nunyo ski,matrix boot and explore binding. i also thought the "ethic" ski would have made a good choice as well. the "underfoot" measurement is 73mm for the nunyo and 79 for the ethic(don't quote me). does 6 mm really make that big a difference? does anyone in the lower hudson valley deal with this gear (sales,mounting)? thanks again for any help!
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/10/04 09:05 PM

skillit, I have a copy of the latest Couloir sitting next to me (you should pick it up, it has the review of all the 2004 backcountry skis) and the impression I get is that the Ethic is a stiffer ski than the Nunyo. Therefore it is best suited to experts and/or people who are on the heavy side. The Ethic is also suited for a range of abilities, though.

6mm puts the Nunyo on the low end of the Midfat range of skis and therefore it will probably be better on your typical Eastern hardpack and ice. Either ski will probably be a valid choice for you, depending on the type of backcountry skiing you are most interested in and the snow conditions you expect to encounter. If you want a powder rocket or expect to encounter lots of backcountry slop, crud and crust, consider the Ethic, if you expect to do lots of more typical Eastern hardpack resort skiing, the Nunyo (in a slightly longer lenght, perhaps) may work better.
Posted by: andrew

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/11/04 06:24 PM

i agree totally with pedestrian's comments regarding the character of those skis. the nunyo sounds like the best choice for you if you don't travel much, and the ethic would be better if you plan on taking them out west every now and then. at your height and weight and ability level, i would go for the 175cm ski in a nunyo, or 176cm in an ethic.

i would try on both the matrix and the denali tt in terms of boots. the major downside to the denali is that it isn't dynafit compatible, but it doesn't sounds like you are thinking along those lines anyway. i upgraded from lasers(the old version of the matrix) to the denali this year, and it has made a big difference for me particularly when i am resort skiing.

make sure you have a good boot fitter, and that you get the new thermofit liners. they are warmer, lighter, and more comfortable than the old liners.
Posted by: skillet

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/13/04 03:23 AM

cool! thanks for helping me out! what are the "rules of thumb" you guys use to arrive at these various lenghts,widths and underfoot sizes? for example: use ski X at Y length for these conditions. thanks again!
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/13/04 04:46 PM

For length, the manufacturer's recommended size is largely dependent on your weight - since you use your weight to flex the ski, weight determines your turning power. Using your height and ability as secondary factors, you may want to add or subtract a size. Particularly, some manufacturers state the weight range for each size, and you may be within the recommended range for more than one size - in that case, if you are short (less height = less leverage), a beginner, or you want a ski that does short turns, you might want to try out the smaller of the two. But your best bet is to ski various lengths and decide what works best for you.

By the way, yesterday I went up to Killington for the telemark demo being hosted by Mountain Travelers. I demoed a pair of 176cm Ethics, mounted for AT with Fritschi Freerides, and they felt just right for me. I'm 6'3", but only about 147, and an advanced skiier definitely not an expert. Ethics might be OK for you - particularly if they are mounted AT rather than Tele. One of the comments about the Nunyo in Couloir was that "bigger boots and bigger skiiers can overpower this ski when pushed" - that comment probably applies double when mounted AT

Mountain Travelers should be doing another demo in January and one in March. I don't know if they're going to have AT skis for demo again; they are a telemark/AT shop, but there is not a lot of demand for AT on the East Coast so they don't have a full demo fleet. For AT, they did have one pair of Ethics and one pair of Crossbows yesterday - both were 176cm. When I spoke to their guy on the phone a few weeks ago, he made sure to emphasize that they MIGHT have ONE pair to demo.
Posted by: skillet

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/13/04 08:35 PM

yeah, i want to go with an A/T setup. definitely not "joe skier" here! i am trying to cram yet another activity into these short winters! man, i gotta move out west! can i drive the ethics with the matrix boot and explore binding then?is that too much ski for that boot? i didn't know that certain skis were only for tele! d'oh!
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/13/04 08:41 PM

I wouldn't go so far as to say the Nunyo is only for tele. There is nothing stopping you from using it with an AT binding (unlike hole inserts on K2 skis that might get in the way?) but it might not be the best match(?) and some shops don't seem to recommend it for AT - it's a matter of opinion.

For what it's worth, I demoed the Ethics with Matrix boots and I didn't feel that I needed more boot.

Fritschi bindings are fine. The only difference between the Explore binding and the Freeride binding is a max DIN of 10 instead of 12, no brake, and a few ounces of weight. If you buy an explore and buy a brake separately, it will probably cost more than just buying a freeride with brake included.
Posted by: andrew

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/13/04 10:06 PM

the main reason i mentioned the denali instead of the matrix is that you said you were going to do a lot of resort skiing. the cuff and the stiffness makes a huge difference to me in moguls especially, and it is also nice when doing groomers at high speeds. the matrix will handle that stuff as well, but the denali just makes it more pleasant.

touring is just fine in the denali's too. i have done a bunch of big days in mine and they are just fine. the matrix makes a lot of sense if you are thinking about someday getting some dynafit bindings. either the matrix or the denali will drive the ethics just fine.
Posted by: skillet

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/14/04 04:01 AM

cool...probably gonna split my time about 50/50 -- resort/backcountry. what are the advantages to the dynafit rig? do you come out of them in a fall?
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/14/04 02:13 PM

they release, but you have to pop out of the heel first before the toe will disengage. release is inelastic and they can prerelease if you flex the ski hard. there may not be as many angles of relaase. really they are not the binding you want for a 50/50 resort/bc setup - the manufacturer doesn't even recommend them for a lot of in bounds. the advantage is super light weight for pure long distance backcountry use
Posted by: andrew

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/14/04 05:01 PM

yup. i think ideally having at least two AT setups is good. or 10 if you are d-elvis.

setup 1 for resort skiing and pushing it hard in the backcountry would be something like:
ethics or havocs or something similar for skis
denali tt boots
fritschi freeride bindings

and setup 2 for lightweight longer distance touring would be:
a nice light ski of some kind
scarpa F1 boots
dynafit comfort bindings

i haven't had a chance to use the dynafits, but i would treat them like my silvretta bindings - try not to fall and ski conservatively. i ski my freerides pretty hard, and have never had a problem with them not releasing when i've really needed them to, but i could definitely see how you could especially if you lean back too much.

anyone have suggestions for a lightweight ski that still performs ok?
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/14/04 05:51 PM

possible lightweight choices that i had it narrowed down to before i decided to go with more of a 50/50 resort rig,

atomic mx9 (i demoed the equivalent tm22 this weekend, but it was mounted tele and i suck on tele, so i really can't tell you anything about the ski. it felt very light, i would want at least a 180 if it was mounted AT, or for tele 170 until i figure out tele)

volkl mountain norbert joos
volkl snow wolf
k2 shuksan
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 12/15/04 06:36 PM

More AT demo info for East Coasters!

* IME may be able to rent AT gear, but this info seems to have disappeared from their website.

* "some place in Stowe" rents AT gear
* Mad River Glen's shop may rent out some AT gear.

* The Mountaineer hosts a backcountry ski fest
* High Peaks Cyclery might be able to help? (Not sure.)
Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 01/13/05 05:13 PM

well i finally went and bought the black diamond package.

IMO everyone should try one of the fatter skis (around 80mm or so) with a good pair of boots - the stability is great and it even helps on groomed trails. After I bought the Ethics and the new AT boots, I finally figured out how to carve with both feet, after not really "getting" it on a more typical "carving" ski... maybe it just finally clicked... and the Ethic only has moderate sidecut...
Posted by: zachres

Re: A/T ski info--general - 01/13/05 06:26 PM

What kind of boots did you get?

I just switched to Scarpa Lasers and plate-bindings on all of my boards.... getting geared up for "The Big One."

Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 01/13/05 08:49 PM

Scarpa Matrix. It's this year's model of Laser. New Pebax or something, a slightly lighter build and doesn't have the "soft" setting, but is otherwise equivalent. I think most of the weight savings come from the thermofit liners.

I demoed Lasers last month before I bought the Matrix. I remember thinking that the Matrix had a softer flex. But I really can't say for sure because I haven't seen them side by side. And I'm probably mistaken because they're supposd to be equivalent...

One of the splitboarders out here also likes hard boots, but he uses the walk setting on one boot and the ski setting on on the other boot, when he's in descent mode.
Posted by: zachres

Re: A/T ski info--general - 01/13/05 09:27 PM


We're getting in a number of boots to "test" pretty soon. I'm guessing that I'll ultimately end up in either Garmonts or Dynafits.

Posted by: pedestrian

Re: A/T ski info--general - 01/13/05 09:38 PM

I need a fact checking department for my posts. Looks like the Matrix is a bit heavier than a Laser with thermo-fit liners.