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By JSlack
Dec 27, 2010
O Yeaaaaaaa
I am in the market for my first pair of cross country skis. I am interested in a quality setup that will give me the most versatility possible. I hope to use them for everything from short day trips to mountaineering to moderate downhill. I would really appreciate some suggestions. Thanks!

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By matt davies
Dec 27, 2010
Fischer makes some great all-around XC skis, the Silent Spider and Bound series come to mind. I have a pair of Snowbound Crowns and can kinda make tele turns on them if the conditions are right, but mostly they are backcountry touring skis, if you used them for mountaineering you would have to pack your boots. If you want a pair of skis for mountaineering, you might investigate mounting a pair of Silvretta's on some light downhill skis, which are also kinda good for extremely moderate downhill, at least if you're wearing your climbing boots.

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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Dec 27, 2010
For versatile skip pure XC skis, they stink for most everything other than flat and straight.You want something wider, with scales, and a solid but light weight binding.

I suggest getting an old pair of Karhu guides or Karhu 10th Mountains. I think they are now called Madshus - Annum, Epoch, and Eon! I think this is the 10th Mountain or Guide renamed and rebranded rei.com/product/805042

Throw a pair of Dynafit TLTs (tourlite techs) on them and you have a light weight and versatile setup wildsnow.com/articles/dynafit_...


If you want to go cheaper and really light try to turn up the Karhus, a pair of BD riva wire bindings, and a pair of old Scarpa t3s. It will take some looking but you can probably scrounge that setup off of Ebay or Sierra Trading Post and it will tackle a ton of conditions.

I've put hundreds of miles in the back country on the setup above and while it is not the best for more aggressive stuff you can survival ski a whole lot in it and it is great for touring, climbing, and some downhill.

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By Ty Meadows
From Moab, UT
Dec 28, 2010
hellvis
I would agree about the "Karhu" skiis. Great skiis, but you don't want a AT binding(Dynafit)if you want to tour comfortably. I suggest a Voile or Black Daimond binding if you are comfortable telemarking. AT if your not.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec 28, 2010
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
I have the Karhu 10th Mountain skis and took them out on three tours over the last week. They are the only ski I have felt comfortable on hard crust with. I'm using the NNN BC 1550 Alpina boot which so far has been pretty nice. Sierra Trading Post still has them for about $100.

But I would enjoy a new design light Tele boot with a cable binding as well. The Rossignol BC X11 75mm Backcountry Ski Boot is really nice for that.

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By Ralph Kolva
From Evergreen, CO
Dec 29, 2010
selfie
Tried the Rossignol BC X11 on at REI but just couldn't bring myself to buy them when the buckles fell off in the store. Maybe just a bad pair but sure doesn't inspire confidence.

Just picked up the Madshus Epoch (same ski as 10th Mtn) and Fischer BCX 675 boot, had Voile 3 pin cable binding. Worked really well for the stuff we do, rolling back country skijoring with our dogs. Kick and glide well enough and no problem with powder, chop, or crusted conditions. Putting on the cables for the downhill added a little extra control.

We're not expert skiers and not looking for steep terrain but this setup really works better for what we do. We have AT setups (Garmot G ride, Naxo, Atomic ski) but for getting in some miles the AT stuff is f'ing heavy.

Onion River Sports seems to have some decent prices on gear, including complete packages, don't try calling them though, they don't appear to answer the phone but do respond to email.

orscrosscountryskisdirect.com/...

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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Dec 29, 2010
Consider using skins instead of waxless and in addition to wax. You won't have to herringbone up steep sections and have to fight slipping.

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By JSlack
Dec 31, 2010
O Yeaaaaaaa
Thanks for the advice everyone!

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By Chris90
From Unity, Maine
Dec 31, 2010
I just got the Rossignal BC90s for backcountry touring use. They are wide, with metal edges. I am hoping to get a lot of use out of them this winter in the white mountains

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By Kevin Landolt
From Fort Collins, Wyoming
Dec 31, 2010
Isn't Karhu done in the ski-biz? I think they just make running shoes now... Madshus is attempting to produce an XCD line along the same lines as Karhu's. Check out the Alpina X-Terrain too... with a pair of Silvrettas they'd make for a fine touring / approach ski.

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By P LaDouche
From CO
Dec 31, 2010
You dont do a day of X-country on anything but X-country skis. If you want to backcountry ski buy backcountry skis. If you know how to tele ski then there are some great shaped X-skis out there but they suck in the tracks if you ever track ski and you wouldnt want to learn tele turns on them.

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By Kevin Sainio
From Durango, CO
Dec 31, 2010
Climbing the second pitch of Ancient Art
Kevin Landolt wrote:
Isn't Karhu done in the ski-biz? I think they just make running shoes now... Madshus is attempting to produce an XCD line along the same lines as Karhu's.


The huge conglomerate known as K2 owns both Karhu and Madshus. K2 killed Karhu and is producing the XCD line under the Madshus name. Exact same skis, just a different top sheet and name. Still badass skis that many other companies have copied.

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By Robb Kranz
Aug 4, 2011
Really really basic question, and since this thread exists, i'll ask the dumb question.

i don't know if they make a ski binding that a) lets you lift your heal like an xc ski for touring b) lets you lock it down because you don't know how to tele turn and c) fits a regular pair of climbing boots.

My goal here is not necessarily CHEAP, but efficient. I'd like to buy one thing that works for a lot. I live in Asheville, North Carolina. We can do some real easy xc skiing on the BRP in the winter, some slightly more difficult stuff on steeper roads or trails, and I want to use them for some approaches to winter climbs this coming season. I also want to be able to hit our little resorts with friends from time to time if some natural snow covers the manmade stuff, and I don't know if i wanna learn to tele turn. AND, to top it off, I'd like to use either of my ice climbing boots to do this. My lighter boots are a little flexy, but I'd imagine I could manage in my Batura's if they make a binding. AT boots look like they just have a toe and heel bail, but pictures can lie, and we don't really have a "ski shop" down here to go talk to.

thanks in advance.

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By Phillip Morris
From Flavor Country
Aug 4, 2011
1234
You want something like the Silveretta 500

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By Jon H
From Boulder
Aug 4, 2011
At the matching crux
Robb Kranz wrote:
Really really basic question, and since this thread exists, i'll ask the dumb question. i don't know if they make a ski binding that a) lets you lift your heal like an xc ski for touring b) lets you lock it down because you don't know how to tele turn and c) fits a regular pair of climbing boots. My goal here is not necessarily CHEAP, but efficient. I'd like to buy one thing that works for a lot. I live in Asheville, North Carolina. We can do some real easy xc skiing on the BRP in the winter, some slightly more difficult stuff on steeper roads or trails, and I want to use them for some approaches to winter climbs this coming season. I also want to be able to hit our little resorts with friends from time to time if some natural snow covers the manmade stuff, and I don't know if i wanna learn to tele turn. AND, to top it off, I'd like to use either of my ice climbing boots to do this. My lighter boots are a little flexy, but I'd imagine I could manage in my Batura's if they make a binding. AT boots look like they just have a toe and heel bail, but pictures can lie, and we don't really have a "ski shop" down here to go talk to. thanks in advance.


Unless you're an EXPERT (and I'm talking hop turns through mank down a 50 degree couloir with ice patches and mandatory blind drops), skiing in climbing boots is damn near impossible. Skinning uphill is fine, late season hard corn is manageable, but everything else is an exercise in futility. But yes, the Silvretta 500 will work. If you can find an old pair of Silvretta 404, you'll save some money, but they are a pain in the ass if you have to traverse any steep slopes - as a "safety" measure, the heel piece pops out and you have to force it back into its housing.

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By Bill Duncan
From Jamestown, CO
Aug 4, 2011
Leading the 3rd pitch of West Side Story.
Spend most of your money on boots. They are the most important component.
Generally speaking, I've observed a trend where feet seem to fit into either a Garmont or a Scarpa better. If you like the Scarpas, I highly recommend the T3 as Merlin does above. They are light, but stiff enough to make great tele turns when buckled down, but also low cut and flexible enough for a week of backcountry touring comfortably. I've put crampons on mine without issue, and also climbed easy 5th class terrain in them. They are a very good boot.

Skis: anything that is wide and waxable will work OK. Fish scales are for skinny skis and touring on golf courses. I skied for years on old alpine boards, but these tend to be heavier (but cheap). Mountaineering wax of various colors works well for trails, and mohair skins work well off trails.
Backcountry = soft and flexible skis, so they float. Stiff skis submarine in the powder.
Have fun.

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