- Dec 15, 2011 at 8:46 am #1812434Khader AhmadMember
@337guanacosLocale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
They're too expensive for bushwacking. Period. I don't like thrashing expensive gear.
I love my used dynafit, tlt bindings and boots, there's nothing better. But I can't buy new boards every season, so this might be a really good option (with a tlt binding, of course) for BC travel in my region (not too much snow, plenty of rocks).Dec 15, 2011 at 9:43 am #1812453David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
There are obviously robust arguments on both sides here, and if nothing else this discussion will provide future readers with a place to start when making their own decision. My personal opinion is that while superlight alpine gear is at the forefront of technology at the moment, and will no doubt influence heavy nordic gear in a beneficial way, nordic (distance oriented) and alpine (vert oriented) gear will remain separate. Some of these reasons have been touched on here, some in the article, and some in neither. I stand by my statement that for many users skis like the Hoks and a freeheel rig will be the best way to cover miles in the backcountry.Dec 15, 2011 at 10:04 am #1812456
I don’t see how restricting my posting to my expertise in on-snow travel gear constitutes trolling. (By contrast, I *read* articles and posts on other topics.)
It is a well-known fact (among those who have actual first-hand experience in the field – both figuratively and literally) that rando race gear excels not only in alpine backcountry terrain but also nordic backcountry terrain. (Witness the demise of nordic gear in the *NORDIC* backcountry Elk Mountain Grand Traverse race.) The European rando race market is driving impressive innovations in cutting-edge gear (as well as rendering used gear from only a few seasons ago very cheap), and although that gear is designed for competition in the alpine environment, a side benefit is its suitability for lower-angle lightweight backcountry travel.
The only exception to the superiority of rando race gear for BPL’s "lightweight wilderness travel" is xc skate gear under certain conditions in the Eastern Sierra and AK (although that requires excellent fitness, technique, and route planning).
BPL is seriously undermining its credibility by publishing an article that recommends a heavy backyard plaything setup to “cover miles in the backcountry” and that dismisses rando race gear out of apparent lack of familiarity.Dec 15, 2011 at 10:54 am #1812471Howard E. FriedmanMember
@hefriedmanLocale: New York/New Jersey
The consensus seems that the universal binding is not preferable. Even the Hok website recommends the 75 mm binding as first choice for control and stability. Just curious if the Alpina Blazer boot which has a 75mm 3-pin binding would be appropriate. The binding, however, is described as fitting the 'older' type of 75 mm 3 pin binding. Is there a new type and an old type? Most of the other 75 mm boots I see are heavy and burly.Dec 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm #1812513WV HikerMember
@vdealLocale: West Virginia
"Contempt? No, just referring the company's own website, which uses the term "skishoeing" and quite clearly puts the focus on other than the efficient long-distance transportation that BPL is supposed to bring us
But for "lightweight wilderness travel" that is supposed to be BPL's focus? No."
You state that BPL is about efficient long-distance transportation and lightweight wilderness travel. The mission statement of BPL is:
"To promote multi-day, backcountry travel in a self-supported ("backpackable"), lightweight style."
So, yes BPL is about lightweight wilderness travel. I don't recall ever seeing where that necessarily involved long-distance. In fact, most places in the eastern US are not going to be long-distance unless you're on a long trail like the AT, LT, etc. To denigrate a product because it is not suited (in some people's opinion) to long-distance travel does a disservice to this discussion.Dec 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm #1812530
How can multi-day backcountry travel in a lightweight style not add up to long distances?
Oh, that's right, if you have a really wide ski with inefficient bindings that amount to driving with the parking brake on the entire time, then you won't get all that far . . . but then again, the reviewed setup isn't even lightweight in the first place anyway.
As I've written before, the Hok looks like a great product for backyard fun (and it's cheap too). But even just going by their website's own copy, it obviously doesn't match up with BPL's focus (although rando race gear sure does, even though it's developed for competitive pursuits in more technical terrain).
I suppose the Hok would be an intriguing option if rando race gear didn't exist, but, well, it does.Dec 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm #1812539
Gosh folks, can't we just get along?
I skied a little bit about 40 years ago, and it just isn't for me. As a matter of fact I don't even know what skins are. I do know that the article is Dave's opinion, even though it has a "BPL Recommended Label."
Sounds like the set-up works for him and will work for others. And there are options, although more expensive. A simple statement, like if you want XYZ, you might consider this set up, that include these features and benefits.
Now I don't know anything about mountain bikes either. I suppose a $89 WalMart bike would not hold up well and not do a lot of things well. I suspect a $500 brand bike might do everything I need and not kill my bank account. And there are people who probably own $5,000+ titanium mountain bikes that are the cat's meow. So the heavier and less feature rich $500 bike would probably do everything and more than many people would want, even though it may not be the lightest, fastest, most maneuverable, and coolest product available.
Should we criticize someone who has a 3lb big box backpack with a total base weight of 7 pounds? No, especially if it works for them and they are happy. If they ask for help in choosing something different, we can chime in.
Be nice everyone!Dec 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm #1812544
Nick, yes, if the focus were along the lines of, here's something that's rather heavy and inefficient compared to the optimal gear on the market for this kind of application, but hey it works, well, works good enough (however defined) — then sure.
But instead the article dismiss rando race gear for backcountry touring applications, implicitly concluding that it would be worse that the reviewed gear for the kind of skiing described here.
So in other words, using your own analogy, it's basically saying the $500 brand bike is far better than the $5,000+ titanium mountain bike (even though the actual differential is greater when it comes to ski gear, and in reverse of that posited by the review).Dec 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm #1812546AnonymousGuest
Not knowing what Rando gear is, I wonder if you could give an example of a ski, boot and binding that illustrates what you're talking about.
I've not heard of Rando ski gear before and it sounds interesting.
Cleveland, OhioDec 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm #1812550
Information on rando race gear is unfortunately hard to come by in North America, but both the information and available selection are growing at a rapid rate.
The bindings are unfortunately very pricey:
However, Dynafit Speed / Classic is typically available used for a little over $200 — twice as heavy as rando race bindings, but then again that's still adding only around ten ounces or so (per pair).
You can also try to find close-out specials on last year's Dynafit Low Tech Lite, or get the Dynafit Low Tech Radical from a European etailer (as for some odd reason it's not available in North American this year).
For boots, in this context (both budget & lower angle), the best option is get some used Scarpa F1 boots from between $100 and $200 then essentially modify it into the F1 Race:
For skis, if you want a patterned base, you could go with a model from Fischer, Alpine, Rossignol, or Madshus. These are widely available and pretty cheap, even new.
Full-on rando race skis are absurdly light (a little over three pounds, per pair), although also pricey:
These are probably the least expensive readily available in North America:
http://store.haganskiusa.com/products/Hagan-X%252dRace.htmlDec 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm #1812567
So correct me if I am wrong. Rando gear is designed specifically for racing, is very expensive, and is not readily available in the US?Dec 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1812572
"Rando gear is designed specifically for racing"
— The design goal is the ultimate in efficiency for the alpine environment. So is it overbuilt for lower-angle backcountry touring? Yes, but it's still way better than any other options (especially the gear reviewed here). As I noted before, rando race gear even now dominates a *nordic* backcountry races, for which participants previously used nordic backcountry gear.
— Now, if high-tech gear were specifically designed for the lower-angle environment, it would be even better yet for that context. But no market for cutting-edge nordic backcountry boots & bindings. So instead, the Euro rando race market is so competitive and innovative, the overbuilt gear still outperforms the nordic gear.
"is very expensive"
— It all depends what you get.
— For example, a used Dynafit Speed binding is adding weight, but you'll pay a little over $200. Want to lose another 10 ounces or so? On eBay, it will cost you another $100 or so if combined with some used rando race skis. New, it will cost you much more.
— Boots, as I wrote in a prior post, a used Scarpa F1 is somewhere between $100 and $200. A used Dynafit TLT4 — which is easy to hack down into essentially its even lighter MLT4 — goes for even less, but for the low-angle context, I think the bellows on the F1 has the edge over the TLT4/MLT4.
— Full-on rando race skis, you can sometimes find used Atomic TM:11, MX:11, and MX:20 for really cheap. New full-on rando race skis are similar in price to alpine downhill skis.
— Or, if you want a patterned base ski (heavier just because they're not as current in their designs), those are way cheaper, and available used for cheaper yet.
— Skinny used nylon skins are very cheap. Mohair are pricier, although if you go in with a buddy, just buy a pair of wide BD mohair skins then split them down the middle. Or go with kicker skins. Or kick wax.
"and is not readily available in the US?"
— All of the items described above were written from a U.S. market/buyer perspective. Total hit for a used setup with a patterned base ski is something like $500 for the above. Not cutting-edge rando weight, but lighter than the review gear, and much better performance on both the up, down, and flats.Dec 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm #1812577
For roughly double what I'd pay for a new Hok setup, I could get a used rando setup that's some unspecified amount lighter. In addition, I'd be committing to boots that are impossible to hike in should I find myself in conditions where skiing is impossible or impractical, thus requiring me to carry spare shoes that would likely cancel out any weight advantage I'd gain with a rando setup. That weight differential, of course, could be preserved if I were willing to spend even more for yet lighter rando gear. I gotta say, I'm not really feelin' it.
I understand really loving something and wanting to evangelize for it, but I don't understand why you are resistant to the facts that
(1) not everyone wants to or can spend more,
(2) there is no single system that is the best for everyone in every condition everywhere, and that
(3) people have different needs and desires for their outdoor excursions that are not always compatible with the absolute lightest or absolute most efficient gear.
Would you be less incensed if the Hok billed itself as a "sliding snowshoe", or some other name that didn't contain the word "ski" or suggest that it–a hybrid piece of equipment–should be compared with pure skiing setups? That seems to be the root of your beef, given that you haven't been posting on snowshoe review threads about the inadequacy of snowshoes in allowing efficient long-distance backcountry travel.Dec 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm #1812579
Traveling into backcountry, setting up basecamp, and staying put for several days is one way in which "multi-day trip" is not synonymous with "long distance trip."Dec 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm #1812615Ross BleakneyBPL Member
Wow, leave this thread for a little while, and all hell breaks loose. :)
A few things come to mind. Jonathan confirms, in a round about way, what was said in the intro. The industry is driven by several forces, and they don't generally result in gear that is great for the person who just wants to get from here to there in the winter. For example, great cross country racing gear trickles down to the average groomed skier. Similarly, we have really light Randonee gear, made for racing, that works well for general use. Not all of the improvements come from the extremes, fortunately. As I said in an earlier post, waxless bases are much better than before, even though they aren't used by racers.
In some ways, this gear is like really good waxless skis: Maybe it isn't the best of the best, but it is still really good, and should appeal to lots of people. Even though I'm in the West, I agree with the earlier post, in that the great appeal of these skis is their short size. Anyone can make short skis, of course (some call them Skiboards) but these are a great compromise. They have just enough camber to glide and just enough rise to prevent face plants (especially in the Spring, where sun cups can be murder on a short ski) while still maintaining a good edge. They do all this in a package that is nice for hauling. The ability to haul skis like this is a huge bonus, and should not be dismissed lightly.
Here are a couple examples of why this product should appeal to a lot of folks. I make local references (to spots in Washington State) but don't worry if you've never heard of these spots. They aren't that interesting (just nod along as if listening to your niece talk about boy bands).
The first example is Kendall Lake, close to Snoqualmie Pass. This is a favorite for lots of folks in the winter. Some ski this with sturdy gear, so they can make turns up high. Others, like myself, ski it in moderate cross country gear (light boots and skis with more sidecut than the super skinny stuff used in the tracks). But most of the people on this road use snowshoes. I often pass these people going up and down. Despite the fact that I'm faster and using less energy than the average snowshoe user, I notice more and more snowshoes every year. My gear doesn't cost much more (if any) than the snowshoes, so I'm sure that's not the biggest factor. No, the big factor is skill, and a willingness to fall down once in a while (I'm not that skilled). Most of these folks just want to be up in the mountains, and snowshoes work fine. Most of them don't want to spend the time to learn to ski (the hardest part is matching your ability to the conditions). If you suggested to them that they can spend a big wad on Rando Race gear, it just won't happen. Even the cost of standard Randonee or Telemark gear will raise some eyebrows. On the other hand, buying a pair of three pin boots, along with these skis doesn't sound so bad. Plus, you could save yourself even more money by just getting the universal bindings. Those have the added advantage of being easily transferable to anyone else.
As much as I would like to see the permanent skin replaced with a waxless base, I don't think that is the most important addition. The big key, to me, is having ski crampons. To go back to that example again, I was on that road last weekend. Unfortunately, even though we had a good start to snow season here, we are experiencing a little drought right now (it's been a couple weeks since we've had a lot of snow). So, the road was very icy. I expected this, and brought my snowshoes. I did see a few skiers, but most of them had sturdier equipment (sturdier than I own). I only saw one with skinny skis, and she was carrying them down. I commented on that, and she said she did just fine going up. This makes for a great case study of why these skis, with crampons, would be really popular. Glide up, and, at worse, walk down. No need to carry your skis, just put them in "snowshoe" mode, and you'll be fine. If you are a beginner (or even if your not) and the terrain (or the conditions) get too nasty, just put on the crampons, and go down.
This leads me to my next example. For this weekend, I plan on visiting a mountain that starts with moderate logging roads, then hits a wooded trail until the summit. I will be traveling with a couple of friends of mine. They both snowshoe. I would love to bring these along, and glide my way up the moderate sections, then attach the crampons when things get nasty. I could easily sell a couple pairs of these, given that experience. As it is, though, without crampons, I'm not so sure. Even if I had these (they are on order) I'm not sure I want to attempt the dicey sections with these. I guess I can always take them off and plunge my way down, but I would much rather have snowshoes (for those sections). On the other hand, it is quite likely that it will be icy for almost the entire trip. If that's the case, then we'll carry our snowshoes, and wear Yaktrax (or equivalent). The ease with which these skis can be carried would prove to be very useful, if that happened. In other words, if I add crampons to these, I may never snowshoe again. That's saying something, and I like it.Dec 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm #1812634
I agree that people certainly have different desires for outdoor winter recreation. For example, perhaps a little snowplay in the woods close to home, a casual short outing in the backcountry, or a multi-day trip that mainly entails staying close to a basecamp.
I therefore agree that “this product should appeal to a lot of folks” since a lot of folks are interested in recreation like that. And you certainly don’t need efficient lightweight travel gear for fun like that. (Although it does exist, as witnessed by the success of rando race gear in the FORTY-mile Elk race, which is all about getting “from here to there in the winter” albeit over rather moderate terrain.) But then again, you don’t need any of the gear or info from BPL for that either.
Instead, I thought BPL was the kind of place where people as an avatar might use the Mizuno Wave Universe 4 racing shoes (which in my size on my digital postal scale weigh a mere 7.9 oz per pair). But once the snow falls, it’s all about saving money (although the Wave Universe 4 is on sale at Zappos right now!), or the winter equivalent of casual nature walks, and forget about lightweight efficient travel.
As far as a “used rando setup that's some unspecified amount lighter” I already provided the numbers that show the lightest setup in the review is about 1/3 heavier than my own not-quite-current setup, and that’s extra weight on your feet, where it counts way more than on your back. Moreover, the lightest reviewed setup has a pivot design – or rather, a lack of pivot – that is very much akin to driving with the parking brake on. (So in other words, you’re not only taking on more weight, but the efficiency penalty goes beyond the mere static nature of that weight.) And the skiing performance of the reviewed setup is horribly poor compared to rando race gear (as demonstrated on the company’s own videos).
As far as, “committing to boots that are impossible to hike in should I find myself in conditions where skiing is impossible or impractical” a stripped down F1 is better for hiking than the modified telemark boots in the review. Admittedly, although I have hiked many (many) miles at a time in my ski boots, they are certainly not optimal for hiking compared to trail runners, etc. But given that the universal binding didn’t even make the cut in this review, I won’t go into the details of how much worse a Hok + universal binding + trail runners setup would be than a rando race setup plus trail runners (or even my Mizuno Wave Universe 4 racing shoes if the non-snow travel will be relatively smooth).Dec 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #1812652Ross BleakneyBPL Member
I don't think its fair to criticize or generalize BPL for ignoring weight when it comes to winter activity. This is just one review. BPL does plenty of reviews of gear that is outside what most would consider to be ultralight activity. However, if there is a piece of gear that seems to fit a niche market, then it is worth reviewing. If it fits that niche market just right, than it is definitely worth saying so. A quick glance at many of the previous reviews shows plenty of gear that most of the members of this site would say is not really ultralight, but interesting enough nonetheless. Much of that gear is bought and used by ultralight folks because it fits our budget or satisfies the niche we want satisfied.
That being said, I think an article about "state of the market" ultralight winter travel would be most welcome. Perhaps you could write such an article, going into more detail about many of the things you mentioned. You can bet that cost would be an important item to mention. But as someone who has bought two (yest two) Cuben tents, it won't be the only criteria.
Most of the time I travel in the winter with very comfortable, very lightweight gear. My guess is that is lighter than Rando race gear, but I also travel with this gear when the conditions are right (no need for metal edges) and the terrain is moderate.
I've never heard of the Elk Race, but my guess is that if gave out gold medals, then maybe ski makers would make much lighter general purpose gear.
Also, I should mention that Jonathan is not the only one who is excited about Rando Race gear. A trip report quickly turned into a similar discussion here: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991770 (although it was mostly focused on the boots, rather than the skis).Dec 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm #1812670
It is too bad this thread has gotten off track, and I have participated in that.
As I mentioned earlier, I know diddly about skiing.
I am glad you brought up the Mizuno Shoes. I know a little bit about them. If you are familiar with my posts, you would know I do a lot of hiking in XC flats. And the Wave Universe series were designed just for that, running cross country races, although they are now marketing the 4's as minimalist shoe to capitalize on the current minimalist craze. I strapped on my first pair of racing flats in 1967, so they are not new to me. XC flats are for racing in XC meets, generally 5K in high school, and 8K in college unless you run in the NCAA Regional or National finals. XC courses tend to be gentle rolling terrain. You would also know that I have hiked in several brands of XC flats the past few years, mostly Asics and Sacouny. You would also know that I do not advocate them as best or even better shoe than other options. They are just my preference and not a viable option for most people.
Now, if someone wrote an article about general use trail running shoes that would interest a broad cross section of BPL members, I would not post that you forgot XC flats or even that they are better. XC flats probably fit the need for less than 1% of the BPL membership. An article about minimal trail running shoes on BPL would probably not include XC flats; they are not designed for trail running. I might mention them as a lighter option and leave it at that. If people want more information on my experiences, I am more than willing to share them. I also have shared the negatives about cross country flats… they don't last long (very high cost per mile vs other shoes), traction is not great, no rock plate, not good in cactus country, you need to be agile, you should be carrying a very light pack, etc.
I probably have recommended Salomon Comp 3Ds more than any other shoe, because they fit me well, and would be a good all around choice for most people here if it fits them properly. I have 3 pair, each for a specific need, but probably do more hiking in flats that don't last. That is what works for me, and will not work for most people on this site.
And this is the point. Seems Dave wrote an article that would appeal to a good cross section of BPL members, and you keep pushing the benefits of a specialized and more expensive option. As I said earlier, a simple post of "you may want to also consider this, because of XYZ instead of beating it to death.
And yes I mention cost, because it is important to a lot of BPL members. I am fortunate because I have been working for over 40 years and my kids are grown and gone. So I can afford to spend more discretionary income on my hobby. Others here cannot, or have additional responsibilities that I do not have. I am very sensitive to cost for that reason.
BPL is about sharing information, knowledge, and experiences. Usually there is no right way. What works for one person many not work for the majority.
To be honest, the best thing for you to do is to let this thread run its course and let those interested in Dave's system discuss it. There does seem to be an interest by some in Rando racing. Why not start a thread on that subject, where those who are interested in it would get some real benefit. This way everyone wins.Dec 16, 2011 at 7:11 am #1812768
The Hok certainly fills a niche, but a very specialized one for short-distance snowplay, not BPL’s lightweight efficient travel (for which rando race gear excels across a wide spectrum of terrain).
Now granted outdoor lightweight efficient winter travel has many niches, depending on the terrain, and also the traveler’s skills. At one extreme – or rather, entirely non-extreme terrain – where metal edges are not required, the new Skiathlon xc race boots might be ideal for backcountry applications … perhaps paired with SNS Pilot skate bindings for extra lateral control . . . and the new Skintec classic skis. (Or would a wider model be better?)
At the other extreme, for truly extreme terrain, but combined with long approaches, then one (small) step up from rando race gear might be ideal. (Witness the recent speed record for ski mountaineering on the Grand Teton.)
For non-skiing winter travel, various “traction devices” offer interesting variations on the old instep crampons and the like for low-angle snowfield hiking. And although snowshoes are neither light nor efficient, for non-skiers, it beats postholing, so they still have their place.
Overall, the review is akin to writing about footwear for trail use yet dismissing out of hand trail runners (of which the La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0 is my current favorite, though I might consider using my Mizuno Wave Universe 4 if the terrain was very smooth and I subsequently had to carry my shoes around with me for the duration of the trip once I hit snow).Dec 16, 2011 at 7:51 am #1812787Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Jonathan, this isn't a SOTM article. It's a review of one product, and an excellent one at that. This is what a gear review should look like: thoughtful, honest, well-written, and the product has been used enough by the reviewer for them to be able to take a real stance on it.
Like others have said, offering some alternatives is helpful but at this point we know your stance and maybe another thread on rando gear is the best way to keep this thread on track for those that want to discuss the Hoks.Dec 16, 2011 at 9:49 am #1812856Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Thanks for the review of gear I didn't know existed. Interesting stuff, especially so for beginner backcountry ski campers. Plus, as you mention, they are much more packable than regular BC skis.
My own BC ski gear is:
Atomic TM 22 tele skis (190 cm.)
Asnes Norwegian Army skis (210 cm. !!) Easier on undulating terain but hard to turn.
Both have heavy duty Voile' 3 pin bindings mounted on Voile' RELEASE binding plates
(Hey, I'm 68 and don't want broken bones in the backcountry.)
My main BC boots are low, more flexible Scarpa T3 boots. I also have old, heavy duty Vasque leather telemark boots.
And yes, as you said, snowshoes are an effort. Even my top-of-the-line MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes are S L O W compared to the skis.
BTW, If I got the Altai skis I'd still mount my Voile' release binding plates and still use my Scarpa T3 boots unless the terrain was gentle and the trip just a day trip, in which case I'd use the Vasque leather boots, being the lighter of the two pair.Dec 16, 2011 at 10:03 am #1812862Ryan BresslerBPL Member
For those looking for a crampon, you could get a b and d telemark crampon (http://www.bndskigear.com/telemarkcrampons.html) or a fixed ski crampon from voile for the Hok though neither of these is designed for downhill use and don't offer as much resistance to forward travel as the teeth on an msr snowshoe.
I can definitely see the appeal of the hok from the point of view of the recreational snow shoer or the user looking to get in a few turns during a spring/summer hike without specialized footwear. I also have a ton of respect for the kind of multisport ski + bike + pac raft + hike enchainments David seems to be putting together using the hok…revolutionary stuff.
However I feel there is also a revolution going on centered around tech/rando bindings and the latest generation of compatible boots that walk and climb as well as a climbing boot, tour like an XC ski shoe and ski like a downhill boot and it is a little surprising to see David dismiss this gear so quickly. Alpine climbers are climbing hard remote routes in these boots with dynafited skis strapped to their backs and difficult ski traverses and enchainments are getting done more and more frequently by non expert skiers…I feel this gear is enabling new types of human powdered adventure like a pac raft and don't understand why he is so down on it.
From my own experience with winter travel David seems to under value the importance of fore aft stability, the predictability and repairability of pure ptex bases and the hugh safety advantage of releasable bindings. Even at conservative low speeds I have trouble envisioning such short skis eliminating all of these issues and keeping me stable with a pack in variable snow under tree cover, or on logging roads covered with refrozen snowmobile tracks or in heavy grabby snow… perhaps a decent ski crampon that let one walk downhill would help but 135 is pretty long to be side stepping with.
These things would be less of an issue if one could be ensured of consistent untracked snow for miles and miles and perhaps that is the case in the rockies but it is not my experience in the cascades.
A few mustache free, bushwhack heavy, non racing rando gear shots:
Dec 16, 2011 at 10:33 am #1812874
Ryan, thanks for the broader perspective. I like the concepts rando seems to be pushing forward. It just doesn't fit my budget or the kind of trips I'm doing for the foreseeable future. I appreciate Dave's extensive testing with the Hok and am excited to try mine when they come. Even if I move on to "real" skis at some point, I still see where the Hoks could stay on as snowshoe replacements if they perform as expected.Dec 16, 2011 at 11:05 am #1812891Erin McKittrickBPL Member
@mckittreLocale: Seldovia, Alaska
A lot of discussion with a lot of terminology I don't even know. One thing I'm curious about is how friendly these various setups are to cautious beginners (someone who knows how to cross country ski in easy terrain, but nothing more). I snowshoe a lot, and my backyard is exactly the place that makes me curious for something like this – steep, wooded, snow-covered for 6 months per year. But conditions are often icy, snow is variable, and the hills are quite steep. When my husband has used the Karhu Karvers (and I'm in snowshoes alongside him), it seems like the extensive switchbacking required to go up the hills cancels out the speed advantage coming down. Though it might not if the skier was more skilled?
Is there a ski setup that has an advantage over snowshoes for someone who isn't a ski expert?Dec 16, 2011 at 11:34 am #1812905Jim ColtenSpectator
To add a little to Nick's nicely stated and dispassionate response …
Rather than just starting a thread about using rando gear in the backcountry Jonathan might also care to write a 4000-5000 word article including a dozen or so photos showing details of rando gear and their back country use.
Regarding topics addressing what fewer than 1% of BPL readers do … I recall two articles about climbing Denali in UL style (well, really light anyway), several about the Alaskan Wilderness Classic and one about packrafting the Grand Canyon. I seriously doubt that 1% of us will be doing those (but kudos to those that do.)
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