Ski Touring ala Fischer Excursion 88
Oct 27, 2015 at 7:33 am #1333720
Sleep deprived post warning. My skiing resume is mostly alpine skiing on groomed cruisers. Don't get off piste on the steeps and deeps as it usually results in a lot of profanity and time spent trying to locate my skis and digging them out. I'm interested in some ski touring of the rolling hill variety and well away from avalanche country. For those unfamiliar with PNW snow conditions, most this will be between 3-6 thousand feet of elevation, and, in my limited experience, champagne powder is short lived and transforms into Cascade Concrete in short order. To be more concise, I'm envisioning some non adrenaline touring where my enjoyment will come from winter's splendor on non challenging terrain and have no desire to someday make the cover of a skiing or SAR magazine cover. What are your thoughts on these skis spec/characteristics wise? I'm 6'3", a large mammal, and would go with the 189cm with anticipated terrain and snow conditions previously mentioned. http://www.rei.com/product/891398/fischer-excursion-88-crown-skin-backcountry-skisOct 27, 2015 at 10:42 am #2234328
An excellent choice. Those Fischers are the best skis in that class, and the 88s are a good dimension for cruising around mixed terrain. 189s for sure at your height/weight.Oct 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm #2234353
Another option are the Alpina Discovery 68 or 102. Alpina has the most aggressive scales of any waxless ski. I have a pair of older 68's and love them. The Fischers are probably the least aggressive. My wife has a pair of Fischer skis and after 9 years the scales have worn down almost completely. Ended up getting her and the boys the Discovery 68's. Another option would be to check out Madshus. Good luck and have fun.Oct 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm #2234408Ryan BresslerBPL Member
I think that ski would be great for exploring snowed in logging roads, especially where you can follow a broken trail or snow mobile track. I personally, would go fatter, shorter and single camber if you plan on making turns or venturing onto narrower single track trails where you need to avoid trees and things. I find that width is actually more important in wet and heavy cascade snow conditions then it is in powder. Powder is fun to ski on pretty much any ski but in skinny skis get stuck down in wet slop and crust leading to the aforementioned profanity. Though we have AT setups now, my wife had a pair of atomic Rainier which are similar to the ski you linked and I had karhu guides (now called madshus anum) which are a bit fatter. The atomics were faster kicking and gliding due to the double camber (the single camber karhu's fish scales drag) but the karhu's were much easier to turn in most snow conditions and much easier to break trail with. If I was buying in this class again I'd also be tempted by the rossignol 125 or voile vector BC, especially if you could get away with a shorter version.Oct 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm #2234475
Thanks gents for the feedback. Well shoot… the Alpina Discovery 110 @ 170 cm look interesting and are 19 cm shorter. All things being equal, I'd love to have shorter skis for the trees but of higher importance to me is a ski that won't sink too bad under my weight. I'm losing weight but I've never been a lightweight guy due to my large frame. Both are well within my budget so I'll need to sleep on it and do some more research. Still pretty clueless on the whole boots, bindings, and necessity of skins on wax less scaled skis as I've no experience with them. I know Fischer sells skins for the Excursions but didn't see any at REI or Backcountry for the Alpinas.Oct 27, 2015 at 9:32 pm #2234485
If you buy Alpinas do so from REI. They've had some widespread delamination issues in recent years. There's no free lunch with nordic backcountry skis; skinnier/longer will track better and be harder to turn, and the reverse is true w/r/t fatter skis. The hard part for beginners is not knowing what kind of terrain and trips they'll end up preferring and buying something which doesn't suit what they end up liking best. If you can rent before you buy that's a good way to go.Oct 28, 2015 at 5:01 am #2234515
Ian, your ski and binding choice is based on what you plan on doing most. Scenario 1 – Backcountry skiing with only a bit of rolling hills go with a longer, thinner ski more toward 190cm with a Rottefella BC NNN MANUAL. This binding, I find skis easier on flatter ground. Scenario 2 – Lots of hills where you want to make numerous tele-style turns, go with the shorter, wider ski and the classic 3-Pin binding. This binding with the 75mm 'duckbill' boot turns easier than the above BC NNN binding. Shorter, wider skis suck when you're trying to make mileage. Scenario 3 – Flat, open ground with deep snow, I love my 210 skinny skis. They are long enough to stay afloat and cut through the snow with no problem. Very fast skis. If I could only have one ski it would be a ski with the dimensions nearest the Alpina 68 at 190 cm, no matter the brand. As far as boots are concerned, my go-to boot is a leather boot, the previous iteration of the Alpina 'Nansen'. For much colder, multi-day trips I have the Alpina 'Alaska'. A good middle ground would appear to be the new Alpina 'Montana' that REI has. All of this is of course based on fit. Obviously another brand might fit you better.Oct 28, 2015 at 7:42 am #2234539
Thanks again all for the wealth of information here. Sadly all the local ski shops specialize in alpine and groomed trail nordic skiing. When I shopped last year, none of the local shops (including our small REI store) carried any skis to bridge the gap between Alpine Touring and nordic skiing on groomed trails. I'll likely do all of my online shopping through REI to keep the exchange process simple as I find a boot that fits properly. The statements below could have easily been phrased in the form of a question but here's what I think I know at this time. From what I've read and researched this morning, I'll likely stick with NNN bindings to begin with and save three pin related gear and perhaps AT skiing for another day. Some of the NNN compatible boots, such as the previously mentioned Alpina Montana, appear to be something I could comfortably hike in (fit dependent) if I have to march a couple miles up to where the snow is. I'm by no means rich but I could swing a couple pairs of skis this winter so will likely get the Fischer Excursions and optional skins to begin with, see how that goes, and perhaps get the Alpina 68s later once I get the Excursions figured out.Oct 29, 2015 at 6:39 am #2234771
Well thanks to the magic of BPL and David R. who pointed me in the right direction on ebay, I have a lightly used pair of Aplina 190cm Discoveries headed my way. I *think* they're 68s but couldn't tell 100% from the listing and from looking at them (and the price) didn't care to wait and find out. Didn't see any evidence of delamination and the seller has good reviews so hopefully I'll look back on this as a smart purchase. Thanks again all.Oct 29, 2015 at 10:49 am #2234825
Used skis are always a good option. Low cost of entry and you won't feel so bad when you scratch the bases on rocks.Oct 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm #2234882
The Discovery Ski was called that until last year when Alpina decided it was best to name all their skis Discovery with the Width Number (68, 80, 102cm etc.) The old Discovery and the recent Discovery 68 are the same. It is the perfect introductory ski. I have the Rottefella BC Manual binding on mine. The manual binding is less likely to freeze up on cold overnight trips and easier to clean out. Have fun.Oct 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm #2234942jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
One final note: stiffer camber=better glide but poor turning. I went with a pair of Madshus Glittertinds because I wanted to emphasize glide for easy touring and didn't expect/want to get into steep turns. sounds like this is the sort of scenario you're interested in too. I'll just say: it ain't groomed bombers and locked in heels off track. Even the easy stuff isn't all that easy in some conditions but it sure is fine!Nov 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm #2235438Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I have a pair of Asnes "Combat Combi" skis used by the Norwegian Army. They are similar to the Fischers. Yeah, they are all white but also very durable and fairly light for a completely metal edged ski.Jan 8, 2016 at 8:19 am #3374551
As an update, I took my Alpina Discovery skis on their maiden voyage/day trip last weekend near Tollgate, OR . I used them on and off trail, and was able to ski through some wonderful virgin dry powder. I suspect that I’ll eventually transition to a three pin set-up but for the time being, these skis, binding, and boots are an absolute joy to ski on.
Thanks again all for the assistance and pointers.Jan 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm #3374657Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: Colorado Plateau
I, too, started off on waxless NNN-BC type setup.
Just getting out there and having fun is the important thing…Sep 26, 2020 at 6:20 pm #3677567
old thread, but I just pulled the pin on a pair of Excursion 88’s with 3 pin Voila’s; also found a crazy good deal on Alpina Alaska’s- half price :)
looking forward to winter to give them a go!Oct 7, 2020 at 11:41 pm #3678786Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I also have Voile’ release bindings but I’ve learned to grind off the 3 pins of the XC binding and use the optional heel cables instead. This makes it MUCH easier to get in the bindings.
I know, it seems somehow wrong to remove the pins but I just got SO damn frustrated trying to get the pins into the toe holes of my SCARPA TM3 boots.
I use heavy duty Nordic bindings for backcountry skiing (and on piste Telemarking with my “other” backcountry skis, old Atomic TM 22).Oct 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm #3679000
a little ski porn :)Dec 23, 2020 at 6:13 pm #3690463Garrett McLartyBPL Member
@gmacLocale: New England, PNW, Northern India
Late to the game…..
getting wider skis after years on skinnier cross country skis. I should have worked on this before this point in the season, any ideas on sourcing Fischer traverse 78 skis?
PeaceDec 23, 2020 at 6:23 pm #3690470
these guys have 189, other than that only seeing 199Dec 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm #3690716Garrett McLartyBPL Member
@gmacLocale: New England, PNW, Northern India
Thanks for the link. 169 and 179, the lengths I’d need for my wife and I seem out of stock everywhere. I should have gotten on it before the snow:). thanks again, I guess ill keep an eye on the used market. peace
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