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Thread: XC ski choices

  1. #1
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    XC ski choices

    I'm looking into some XC skis for my girlfriend. What do y'all recommend based on your partner's setups? She's 5'8" about 140lbs, an advanced skier, but not very fast or aggressive. Neither of us are experienced nordic skiers, and I'm just learning to tele this year. We'll be mostly off track, a lot of mtb trails, some forest roads. Not planning on using them for big mountain excursions, as she also has an AT setup. However, a lot of my favorite mtb trails have good climbing/descending.

    I'm thinking of something like the Madshus Eon or similar. Not sure what length though. Her AT skis are 165, but the Madshus chart recommends 175 for her weight. Don't know how well she'll turn on longer skis. Really unsure of the binding/boot system for her. Is the stability of 3 pin and light tele worth the weight for her, or would a Magnum BC binding be better? How well do the Magnums turn? I'm using Voile 3 pin cables with Scarpa T4s on an older pair of Atomic Rainier skis. Might be overkill for her?

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    Based on what you say I would go for a little wider ski then your Rainiers or the Eon's--maybe the Alpina Lite Terrain (102/64/87)--or something in the same range. And pair it with a good 3 pin boot that is made for touring--such as Alpina 1675 BC 75mm boot, or Garmont or Scarpa--but with plenty of flexibility. And the Voile 3-pins with detachable cables are simple and proven, and light if you do not use the cables except for a serious downhill. The Alpina LT suggests a 168cm for a weight of 160-180, and a 158 for 130-150. She is 140 but then add clothing, boots, pack, etc. and she is maybe 150-155. I would go for the shorter 158 in this case. Same reasoning would hold for other brands--go a little shorter for maneuverability and ease of turning. So you get warm boots, a good simple binding, and a ski that is very versatile and easy turning. Don't forget half or full climbing skins--a waxless BC ski will only climb to a certain level of steepness, then it is handy to slap on some skins for a steeper climb; saves a lot of energy; yes you can use skins on waxless!

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    go with something narrower, straighter, and lighter for forest service roads and mtb trails. if yer not going mostly all up for turns on the down, go with something like the fischer outback 68 with NNNBC manual, not the magnum version, and the alpine BC 1550 boot or something similar. you give up quite a bit when you are doing the up/down kick/glide thing with the wider shaped skis, 3 pin, and bigger boots.

    rog

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    If your MTB trails are all twisty turny and narrow I would err on the short side to help turning, herringboning and sidestepping (you know what I mean) without getting hung up on the trees.

    I'm more of a back-40 duffer than a backcountry expert, but I've been happy with the BC NNN's for years. My skis are old Fischer E99'2 in 180, and I'm a 5'4" 135 female. 175 doesn't sound too long to me for someone 4" taller.

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    I'm on epochs with scarpa t4s. Voile 3pin and cable. Tried the garmont excursions and they just didn't fit well for me. This is moving from a karhu Pavo and synthetic leather boot with 3 pin.

    FWIW I had the NNN BC on the Karhus. Hated them after a couple of seasons. Moved to the 3 pins on those.

    I'm not an experienced BC skier - just got into tele before my little kn was born and came from snowboarding and a bit of Nordic.

    Planning on using the epochs and scarpas to try Bolton-Trapps by late winter. Otherwise I'll be chasing the kids around Smuggs on them. All easy terrain for me, for now. Unless I feel confident turning these skis at the resort. Or rent bigger gear.

    I try to get out to Little River and Cotton Brook a couple of times each winter. And will be checking out the trails near Camels Hump this year. Would love to get down to the Middlebury area and explore natural turnpike and trails off there.

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    What I wish I had $$ for is a pair of the Altai Hok with universal binding. 'Fast shoes' approach to single track skiing. Could strap them to the Pugsley and pack down break trail on my local woods routes. And use them for exploring. Super short. Built in skin. Super slow, compared to a true ski. But super short for turning and tight terrain.

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    Thanks for all of the responses to think about! I've been thinking NNN for her, so it's good to see a few comments on that side. She's probably not going to use them for sustained downhill, so she'd appreciate the NNN weight savings. Might go slightly wider than the Eons for her, but probably not more than the Epochs. My Rainiers seem like they should handle most conditions and they're between both of those skis. Hoping we'll have some decent coverage in the Upper Valley soon!

    Mike, we had a great time on Bolton-Trapps last season after a big storm -- highly recommended! Your Epochs will probably treat your legs better than our heavier AT gear did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dire wolf View Post
    Thanks for all of the responses to think about! I've been thinking NNN for her, so it's good to see a few comments on that side. She's probably not going to use them for sustained downhill, so she'd appreciate the NNN weight savings. Might go slightly wider than the Eons for her, but probably not more than the Epochs. My Rainiers seem like they should handle most conditions and they're between both of those skis. Hoping we'll have some decent coverage in the Upper Valley soon!

    Mike, we had a great time on Bolton-Trapps last season after a big storm -- highly recommended! Your Epochs will probably treat your legs better than our heavier AT gear did.
    a friend of mine has the karhu guides (madscuss annum?) - he likes them for playing in the woods, and even at the resort with the family - but doesn't like them as much for touring / exploring.

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    Thumbs up to Karhu skis!! I have been on them for 30 years. Learned in Colorado on XCD's, now my "go to" is 10 year old Karhu Dorado, waxless, edges, about 97 at the tip, I think- turns on a dime, has some kick for the tour part, is lightweight, Voile 3-pin cables and almost never need the cables so the rig is pretty light. Karhu always had the best waxless grip pattern. I do not know if Karhu even exists any more or has been absorbed by ?. If the girlfriend is already doing tours with AT gear then she should go to the 3-pins and a touring Skarpa or Garmont or Alpina boot. Still do Alpine turns while learning Telemark.

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    I'll throw in another +1 for a Madshus and 3-pin setup. I like the simplicity and the reliability of the 3-pin stuff. I've got the Annums for use with older scarpas 2-buckles (basically a t4) and I just picked up some Eons for the touring side of things. 1 1/2 camber, good sidecut, wide-ish, I'm thinking it will be a great backcountry ski to play around on hike/bike trails with. If I didn't have the Annums for the more turn-oriented outings, I would probably be tempted by the Epochs as a inbetweener.

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    Another thumbs up for Karhu Guides, or now known as the Machus Epoch.

    In Vermont this is my go to ski. XC in the local park and lapping the sledding hill. Bolton backcountry. Family tour through little river. A few days on the Maine Huts and Trails.

    Sorta like a "trail bike," not the best for anyone location, but can do it all while sacrificing only a small amount.

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    guide=annum. 10th mtn=epoch. both turn well and tour meh unless yer climbing just to come back down.

    rog

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    Karhu actually just got back into nordic skis after being gone for awhile. I think all of the suggestions here are good ones, but I think you should also speak with a knowledgeable shop. There's one in the town that I live in, that is wonderful! Great selection of ski's, and even more importantly people that care... people who are concerned about what you need and hope that you become a lifelong skier... just like they are. The name of the shop is Akers Ski... you can either look at their website or give them a call 207-392-4582. Good luck!!

  14. #14
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    XC ski choices

    Quote Originally Posted by jjabkrvt View Post
    Sorta like a "trail bike," not the best for anyone location, but can do it all while sacrificing only a small amount.
    My "heavy" setup is Guides, Voile Switchbacks, and Scarpa T2x boots. It works well for shuffle and glide. I can make heel turns where I need to on tight singletrack, which is nice. Good for yurt trips, meadow skipping, skiing my MTB trails, and hitting lines off the trails when we have the snow for it. What I really want is a more modern waxless ski: the Voile Vector BC, for example.

    This kind of setup offers a lot more control for a beater like me, compared to my touring setup: Rainers, 3-pins and Fischer BCX875 boots.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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    or come in to EMS Portsmouth. I've been selling Nordic/tele/AT for 20 years, 9 years with EMS.

    i'll set ya up right

    rog

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    got some time chasing the kids on the epochs with scarpa t4s yesterday at smuggs on the learning hill. what a difference with the boots. and of course i now have a shaped ski under foot, compared to my 10 year old karhu pavo's.

    big fan of the epochs thus far. will have to look into a footbed for the t4s. outside of my feet felt like they were collapsing - so some minor pain. can't wait to get this setup to little river / cotton brook.

    and, btw, OGE has last years madschuss on clearance. epochs and annums are going for something like 269 a pair, compared to the new models at ~309.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    btw, OGE has last years madschuss on clearance. epochs and annums are going for something like 269 a pair, compared to the new models at ~309.
    OGE = Outdoor Gear Exchange

    Clearance Camping Gear | Telemark Skis | Rock Climbing Harness

  18. #18
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    Question; Is there better waxless base between brand or do they have almost the same amount of grip?

  19. #19
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    XC ski choices

    There's some variability. How much it varies between brands, I'm not certain, but it can definitely vary from ski to ski. My Rainiers have better climbing grip than my Guides, for example.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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    Waxless- I worked at the Nordic Center in Waterville Valley for 8 years until last Winter. Grip depends a lot on the snow surface ( packed,icy, powder, set track, etc.), also the temperature and water content of the snow can effect the grip-- on packed or groomed surfaces waxless skis really shine on warmer snow with higher water content, such as during thaws or in the Spring. Powder snow that has not been packed or groomed will stick to the waxless pattern if the temps warm above around 30 degrees, and if this is happening you might as well go home unless you use a liquid glide wax such as Swix F4, and even then it might be better to go home. Grip also depends on the skill level of the skier; a skilled skier can coax a little bit more grip out of a ski then a less skilled skier. In the Backcountry or off of a packed trail the grip diminishes rapidly the steeper the trail gets; so if you plan on doing extended climbs I suggest some sort of climbing skins-- either full length or kicker only (meaning the skins are only as long as the waxless pattern under the foot)..... Having said all that the best grip I have ever had from a ski has been from Karhu's ( see above threads saying that Karhu's are now Maddshus--probably with the same pattern). Next would be Atomics over Solomans and Fischers. I have no experience with Alpina. I'm sure Newmarket Rog and others will chime in. I always throw some skins in my pack if I know there are longish hills. It saves a ton of energy to slap on the skins for a good climb instead of herringboning or sidestepping yourself to death. Hope this helps Jozz .

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnation View Post
    Hope this helps Jozz .
    You kinda resumed in one post what I've read all morning! Thanks a lot. I think technique might have something to do with it since I was on skis yesterday for the first time in 25 years. I'm on Rossignol BC90, Voile 3 pins and Alpina boots.

    Just need to practice more, and maybe get some kicker skins for longer climbs.

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    In cold snow conditions, the waxless pattern on the Rossignol BC90s and BC125s is useless, and it creates significant drag on the downhill. Everything else about those skis is great tho, as long as you have some strong boots to drive them.

    For touring rolling, wiggly singletrack, I'd say any fat waxless ski is overkill, but 3-pin bindings do have their advantages over NNN-BC, unless you are a wizard at making really quick step-turns.
    "Gone are the days we stopped to decide where we should go. We just ride." - Robert Hunter

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    the newer fischer s-bound series has the best grip/glide of any of the brands. sintered bases as well. their new waxless pattern is a lot better than the mads/karhu/rossi skis.

    rog

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    the newer fischer s-bound series has the best grip/glide of any of the brands. sintered bases as well. their new waxless pattern is a lot better than the mads/karhu/rossi skis.

    rog

    The old ones were miserable. Glad to hear they corrected that. A friend took 40 grit sandpaper to his and cut up his bottoms for more grip as I often skied away from him as he tried to herringbone.

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    ya, the old ones had "decorative" scales

    rog

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