Sep 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm #1307480
I was going to replace my ski gear last year but never got around to it. So this year I am gonna give it another shot since most my gear is almost 15 years old. Currently I have a tele setup. However I have been thinking about switching to AT gear. The downside to switching to AT is it would almost double the cost. Most AT bindings are about double the price of Black Diamond 01 tele bindings plus I would have to get new boots. If I upgrade my tele gear I would ski in my old Scarpa T2's another season and get new boots next year. The upside to AT is it would work better in crappy (crust ect.) snow conditions. So what do you guys think? Is it worth the extra cost to switch to AT? I like to do long tours and enjoy the uphill and hiking around as much as the ski back down. I was thinking tele boots may still be more comfortable for long tours than AT boots since AT boots don't have a flexible toe. I do most my skiing in the Wasatch.Sep 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm #2023441
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
First of all, I'm assuming by AT you mean tech bindings (Dynafit et al). No other option is worth considering for 100% backcountry use.
You'd be blown away at how much more efficient tech bindings are for skinning, even compared to free pivot tele bindings. For me, this was a bigger deal than having a locked heel.
I don't think the bellows makes much difference in comfort, at least if you're talking about the more modern, light AT boots. The short, rockered sole walks pretty well for a rigid boot.Sep 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm #2023462
Thanks for the reply Dave. The AT bindings that I have been leaning towards are the Dynafit TLT Vertical ST and TLT Radical ST. Kind of spendy. I think I'm gonna have to choose between ski gear or a packraft. Don't think both are going to fit into the budget.Sep 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm #2023466
This is a great time to switch to lightweight AT gear: the big race scene in Europe has led to stunningly lightweight designs, the growing race scene in the U.S. means you can actually find stuff here now (although buying from Europe is usually pretty easy too), and the combination of the two means that you can get "obsolete" gear for pretty cheap that was state-of-the-art only a few years ago.
If you really have your heart set on a flexible bellows, then the old Scarpa F1 is ridiculously cheap (whether new or used).
For just a bit of flex in the metatarsal, the Dynafit TLT5 definitely helps with off-snow travel, although I haven't missed it in my race boots for on-snow skinning. And now that the TLT6 is available, the TLT5 will be super cheap (both new & used). Even some good off-season deals right now on the econo PDG race boot (~3.5 lb / pr).
The Scarpa Alien is comparable to the PDG, but you need to use the (included in the purchase price, I think?) separate lycra gaiter to keep out the elements. (I finally got it for my Alien 1.0 boots as a separate purchased — very nicely designed, and vastly increases the boot's applications if you're not going to wear a lycra race suit all the time with an integrated gaiter.)
Sportiva has models comparable to the TLT5/6, but distribution is limited.
Avoid the temptation to get anything heavier!
For bindings, avoid those heavy (relatively speaking) "ST"-designated models with brakes and just get the Speed Radical (or the new Speed Turn if it ends up being distributed here). Lots of nearly weightless race bindings, but they tend to be pricey (unless you can find the discontinued Dynafit Low Tech Lite).Sep 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm #2023506
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Jeff, if I had to buy it full retail there's no way I'd own a tech setup. Luck/patience, sales, and discounts off discounts made it possible, and I'm still not enough of a skier for it to totally seem worth it. The used market is still dear. For an example, finding TLT5s super cheap will still mean 350+ bucks (for boots that need the cuff rivets repressed).
As a semi-relevant aside, I put my tech race bindings on my Karhu Guides and skied them that way for a few months. The lack of metatarsal flex significantly decreases the kicking traction in kick and glide. Pleather duck bill boots and three pins are still the way to go for distance touring.
If I had to pick packraft or skis, option one would be an easy choice. But that's just me.Sep 9, 2013 at 6:54 pm #2023517
Jonathan, thanks for the info. Really good stuff.
Dave, I think I may agree with you. The ski gear might have to take a back seat to the packraft unless I can find some really good deals. I'll keep looking.Sep 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm #2023526
@chadlLocale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
Waiting for a sale on Voile Switchbacks may be worth it if you aren't sold on 01's. The switchbacks tour really nicely and are light. Pair them up with a patterned ski like Voile Vector BC's and you can use your T2's and save some time in transitions depending on the objective.
New School: http://www.wasatchski.com/tts.htm Tele Tech seems cool, haven't skied it yet, and would require the same investment as a new AT setup (essentially).
AT: Others have covered this. Ya, they're nice and ya, they're expensive. The ski swap at the Black Diamond store parking lot every fall is a great way to pick up used gear, and there are lots of swaps and resale shops in your area. Watching for demo days at local resorts is a great way to try a bunch of different AT setups, often for free (just have to leave your credit card at the booth).
ChadSep 10, 2013 at 7:57 am #2023661
What do you guys thing about these boots. Price is right.
http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/ski-boots/slant-ski-boot-2011-BD120115_cfg.html#start=1Sep 10, 2013 at 8:12 am #2023663
The BD Prime/Slant is a fairly middle-of-the road AT boot, maybe even lighter than average (depending on how you define the average here), and it's certainly way more efficient than any tele setup, but by BPL standards applied to ski touring, it's heavy and has a limited walk/tour mode range of articulation.
(Although the same is true for all other boots I didn't mention in my prior post. Looking at the spreadsheet summary I created for my avy course students, about 67 different "Tech"-compatible AT boots are currently on the market for this coming season, and that's not even counting women's variations. But only about a dozen make any sense from a BPL perspective, and about half of those are expensive race boots.)Sep 10, 2013 at 10:20 am #2023693
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
For winter ski camping you absolutely need:
1. boots with REMOVABLE insulating liners that can be removed to go in your sleeping bag overnight
2. heavy duty backcountry NNN style boots that will also go (in a stuff sack) inside your sleeping bag overnight.
I post this because freezing feet in the morning is miserable and can lead to serious frostbite.Sep 10, 2013 at 10:41 am #2023703
If you are looking at the Slant I would recommend trying on Scarpa's more affordable boots. Try on the maestrali and/or rush at least in carpet testing.
Most people find the scarpas fit better and have better range of motion and I think they are lighter.
Bd is definitely working hard to improve their boots but the people i know who have used them say they still have issues. The fit is wide/boxy and liners can pack out rather quickly and they don't have the range of motion of the latest generation boots.
The scarpa maestrali on the other hand has a more ergonomic fit and comes with a high end intuition heat moldable liner. Intuitions are widely regarded as the best liners on the market and many people end up buying them and putting them in other brand boots.
There are some great deals on bd skis out there right now.Sep 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm #2023801
Skis are a tough one. Right now my dream setup that is efficient for longer traverses yet still capable for turns is something like the Voile Vector BC skis, Dynafit TLT Speed Superlight and TLT5 boots. Voile's new Charger BC skis are darn tempting too, but a bit too similar to my Rossi S7/Duke/BD Factor downhill oriented setup.Sep 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm #2023841
Jeff – define "long tours". Do you mean long day tours, or do you mean multi-day tours? And are your tours in the kind of terrain that is pretty much all up and down, or do you like (and find) routes that have quite a bit of rolling, mellow or flat in them?Sep 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm #2023844
Jonathan – where would you look for used F1's?Sep 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm #2023845
Paul – Right now mostly day tours. I do most my skiing in the Wasatch Mountains so not much mellow stuff. I would like to start doing some 2-3 day winter trips eventually when I get some warmer sleeping gear. If I did multi day trips they would be somewhere outside of the Wasatch.
I forgot to mention. I also do some resort skiing.Sep 11, 2013 at 6:17 am #2023902
New for $252 in sz 27.5:
New for ~$300 (depending on coupon) in sz 24 only:
New for $280 in sz 24:
New for an overpriced $500 in 25, 26, and 27:
New in sz 25.5 for the stripped-down version (price will probably drop even more):
Nearly new of the same:
Carbon version (price will have to drop even more to get rid of these):
http://gearswap.skintrack.com/ (Will have more once the season gets going.)
Also try the various Craigslist third-party search engines.
Sometimes the sellers want to stay local, but worth an email.
Here's a pretty typical used price:
http://slo.craigslist.org/spo/4034050823.htmlSep 11, 2013 at 7:00 am #2023911
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
You're a mnt runner & you live in the wasatch? Thats a no brainer. Get best AT setup you can afford & don't look back. AT gear is a bargain quality of life enhancer. OK, a little biased too ;)Sep 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm #2024021
While we are on the subject I have another question. I've never skied with AT gear so don't know much about it. I was told by someone that AT bindings release in the heal when you wipe out, which I do frequently, but they don't release the toe. Is this true? I was trying to figure out which type of binding, AT or Tele, would be more prone to injury. I've never had a tele related injury yet and hope switching to AT won't make me more prone to injury.Sep 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm #2024027
Weren't all the Epicski.com answers sufficient?
So for "Tech"-style Dynafit bindings and competitors, both the lateral and forward release springs are located at the heel: first the heel pins disengage, and then when only the toe pincers are engaged, they have an effective release value of about 0.25 or so, and therefore they release almost immediately in sequence.
And remember, if you get good modern ski touring gear (instead of heavy stuff), and you're really a mountain runner in the Wasatch, you can hang out with some fast company:Sep 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm #2024062
@redpointLocale: British Columbia
As others have said, go Dynafit bindings and boots. You can pretty-much go as light as you want. For touring, I'd also look at the DPS Wailer 99 ski. AT gear is expensive, but it's cheaper than a new bike and you're not buying lift tickets. If I skied 10 days at Whistler, I'd have spent over $1000. Additionally, you could also look used, people are always trying to off-load last year's "old tech". A friend of mine picked-up some carbon fibre DPS Wailer 99s with dynafit bindings for about $900 last year [MSRP is about $1800].Sep 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm #2024065
Dynafit TLT5 boots are now on Sierra Tradingpost.
Price is only kind of so-so, although would be very nice with a typical 35% off coupon.
Also, European etailers now have the Dynafit Speed Turn binding (essentially just the venerable IV/Tech/Classic/Speed but with the Radical toe lever and longer 25mm adjustment track instead of only 6mm) for as low as 219 Euros (with VAT, but w/o shipping, which can kind of cancel each other out).Sep 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm #2024134
It's already been said, but I would just agree with it: the main value with Randonee is that you can get really, really light gear (both boots and bindings). This makes a difference for tours or climbing mountains. Unfortunately, the light gear is expensive. There really isn't any point in you getting heavier AT gear, either because you want more control or because you want a bargain. If you want a bargain, stick with tele — it is what you know and love. I really don't think you want more control (otherwise you wouldn't be considering sticking with tele).
I agree with the previous post: for touring, the Voile waxless skis are really nice. You have all the benefit of a modern powder ski, with the advantages of waxless touring. They are just a bit slower than flat bottom skis, but you wouldn't even notice it unless you are passed by someone (who has very fast flat skis). You can try applying kick wax on your skis, but that won't work too well with most of the standard powder skis because they don't have much camber. I've done tours close to folks who are much younger (and have lighter, more expensive gear) and just blown by them with waxless skis. They spent too much time putting on their skins, taking them off, putting them on, etc. Meanwhile, we only put on skins when it got really steep.Sep 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm #2024144
The discontinued Dynafit TLT5 boot combined with the Dynafit Speed Radical or Speed Turn binding is that much more expensive that telemark gear?
"I've done tours close to folks who are much younger (and have lighter, more expensive gear) and just blown by them with waxless skis. They spent too much time putting on their skins, taking them off, putting them on, etc. Meanwhile, we only put on skins when it got really steep."
— You need to watch some fast transitions. Here's from tour mode to ski mode (complete with removing skins, switching over boots, and locking down heels) in only about eleven seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5qDWBvW5QASep 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm #2024369
Impressively fast. But somehow I don't think I'll ever get close to that with a full pack for a week-long tour :-).
Regarding used and discontinued gear – all well and good if you can find your size. I have been looking , off and on, for either F1's or for another pair of Garmont Excursions I can try some hacks on. I can't find my size (29.5) ever. I see lots of small stuff, but I've yet to see any my size.Sep 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm #2024374
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
If you do much skiing you will need a quiver of skis and boots…
I say get one of each…
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