Jan 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm #1297747
I used to do a bit of backcountry skiing in my younger days. This winter I dug out the old gear and have gone on a couple tours. However it is time to upgrade my equipment or maybe buy some snowshoes instead. The idea to buy snowshoes instead of upgrading my tele gear is mainly due to much lower cost. Will I be disappointed? I like skinning up as much or maybe even more than skiing back down. Plus I just like to be out hiking around in the mountains. I'm thinking I might enjoy snowshoes as much as skiing. Anyone out there prefer snowshoeing over skiing? I'm having a hard time deciding cause I can't seem to shake the thought that snowshoeing would be a step down.Jan 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm #1941513
Try some Altai hok's for the best of both worlds!Jan 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm #1941693
I'm somewhat of a beginner on XC skis, but I'd rather have skis on flat and rolling terrain with a wide trail so that I can't hit any trees. Otherwise, I prefer snowshoes. Also, snowshoes are simpler and a more natural-feeling way to travel.Jan 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm #1941718
The only situation where I'd rather be on snowshoes is in thick forest, especially steep slopes and thick forest. Anything else, I'd rather ski. Faster up and way faster down. Note that I am not a very good skier. I can get down the hill, but it ain't pretty. If you still have any of your old skills left, I'm betting you'll prefer skis.
For those who have never skied, the advantage of snowshoes is a very short learning curve.Jan 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm #1941725
@gearmakerLocale: Northern California
I've done a fair amount of both (my avatar is a shot of me telemarking the Sierra High Route), and I too greatly prefer skins & skis over snowshoes on any but the steepest forested terrain, where any ski is just too long to maneuver. Nothing compares to climbing some backcountry hill and then getting to carve down it. And for normal climbing, I'm much faster uphill on skis than on snowshoes. When I'm on snowshoes I'm always a little disappointed, especially at the end of a climb when I have to trudge down the hill I just trudged up.
If you've already got decent tele skills but your gear is old, you're going to love it when you upgrade. The gear I own is old school but I've rented a couple different sets of the new tele boots and skis and the difference is amazing.
The Hoks look really cool, and I would like to have a pair of skis that size and shape. But I prefer being able to remove the skins at the end of a climb and ski down unfettered. That being said, my backcountry skiing experience is mainly in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, where the climbs and downhills are long. Perhaps in rolling terrain the Hoks would be faster overall because you wouldn't have to stop frequently to put the skins on and take them off.
The best thing I ever did for my backcountry skiing skills was to take a series of classes offered by Alpine Skills International at Donner Summit near Lake Tahoe. Years of expert XXX backcountry experience and skills packed into a few days. Take a class with your new gear and you'll be able to climb and ski anything you want.Jan 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm #1941732
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
" Also, snowshoes are simpler and a more natural-feeling way to travel."
Dunno about that.
I personally find snowshoes clunky and un-natural feeling. A bit like a duck! :)
A glide through the powder feels almost magical.
A bit like flying….
Ah; good stuff.
I must confess, when I switched from snowshoes to skis about 10 yrs ago, I had similar feelings. Once you get the hang of skiing to at least an intermediate level (I'm better at Nordic than telemarking myself), you'll not want to go back to snowshoeing. :)
Keep at it…and have fun.Jan 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm #1941734
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Why upgrade the old ski equipment?
Snowshoes are fine for the 5% of the population that has poor balance and therefore can't ski.
As long as you have the ability to ski, and you have already expressed desire to ski, then why not?
–B.G.–Jan 8, 2013 at 7:52 am #1941789
I think I have decided to upgrade my tele gear. I'm leaning towards the Black Diamond Revert with 01 bindings. I'll probably use my 15 year old Scarpa T2's until I can afford to upgrade my boots. Currently I'm skiing on some Black Diamond Arc Ascents with Voile three pin cable bindings, all about 15 years old. From what I hear the new skis and bindings will make a big difference.Jan 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm #1941943
We haven't really taken our snow shoes out since we started skiing…modern (fat, rockered and carbon) skis and stiff/light boots make even tight steep trees pretty doable (we ski at with dynafit bindings but tele vs AT is another religious war). My BD Justices are effortless to turn or stop on a dime in almost any condition. They make tree skiing fun right up until the branches start poking you in the eyes.
I've looked at the revert … they have a nice modern shape but are heavy due to more burly side wall construction to increase hard snow/ice/resort performance.
If that isn't important to you you might check out the voile vector which is a similar shaped ski that is about 10 oz lighter in the same length, made in the usa, cheaper and gets great reviews. BD also has a bunch of skis with the lighter no side wall construction including the aspect, drift and justice and g3 is making some cool light skis too. (I have the Justices and my wife has the Starlets which are the women's Drift but i have only heard about the other skis).Jan 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm #1941966
snowshoes are lighter and faster and easier on steep icy trails, particularly if you are summitting. so many trails in the east cant be skied. but you are in Utah, so definitely keep teleing.Jan 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm #1942282
My plastic AT boots disintegrated the first time I buckled them up after 10 years of nonuse. The soles fell off my leather telemark boots when I used them after 5 years of nonuse (luckily re-attached at the Rubber Room in Bishop, CA). My bindings are all old, my tele skis are half the width of modern models. The glue is dried up on all my skins.
Skiing is fun. I love skiing. Snowshoeing is fun. I like snowshoeing. I love turning around at the top of a 6 hour ski climb and planning out the 30 minute ski down. I hate turning around at the top of a 6 hour snowshoe and dreading the 3 hour snowshoe down.
That said, I am older than I used to be (47), budget is tight, and I have two kids back home. We ski downhill together at the resort with professional ski patrol and avalanche control. We snowshoe together on safe (avalanche-wise) terrain. When I go out for the few solo or adult trips each year they are on snowshoes and/or crampons mostly because of cost, but also because I believe that I am at less risk of avalanche and injury when on this gear than skis. I don't mind snowshoeing through bushes and across rocks; skis like to be out in the middle of the bowl.
Still, I drool over the slopes I don't get to ski.Mar 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm #1964128
@rickniemiLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains
My vote is for skis. It's way more fun then snowshoeing.
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