Topic

Advice on lessons for ski backpacking


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Winter Hiking Advice on lessons for ski backpacking

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 52 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3769718
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    Nice photos Philip! That’s roughly the kind of terrain I’ll be on a lot of times :)

    Bob – I’ll be mostly in the eastern Sierra and Colorado on photography trips. The stuff I do tend to be mostly over easy terrain but with some short but steep climbs. 90% of the time snowshoes are ideal for what I do but I’m missing out on longer trips and hence the skis.

    I’m thinking of this setup at the moment … Voile Objective BC 171mm + Dynafit speed radical bindings + Scarpa F1 LT + Voile Ascension Skins + AuftRiib saucers

    I do like what I’m hearing about the scale based skis because I tend to make a lot of detours looking for good view points so not having to deal with skins as much sounds good. As for the F1 LTs I hear they climb well so I plan to pair them with the AuftRiib for steeper terrain that I cannot manage on skis. Also can’t believe they are almost as light as my regular mountaineering boots :)

    #3769881
    Bruce M
    Spectator

    @va3pinner

    Locale: In the shadow of the Shenandoah

    I did quite a lot of XC ski backpacking in the mid atlantic  years ago. Still XC ski as often as I can.  Couple suggestions:

    1) Take lessons. spend a day or two just getting used to riding them. Loose heels feel very strange if you are used to downhill skis. Get good at the very basic skills, slowing down, snowplow, how to step turn, how to brake with your poles, how to go uphill. One of the real beauties of XC skiing is how versatile it can be, and even the telemark shredders use all the basic stuff when its needed. Safety above all!

    2)Rent your skis  and boots.for your first trips if you can.  I use mid width skis with a side cut. I like to telemark and parallel turn and these make it easier. Waxless skis work best where I live, but I still hot wax the entire base to get the most glide. I do have to pay more attention going dowhill though!  Taller boots give me more control when skiing with a pack. Renting will give you a feel of what will eventually work best for you.

    3) Make your first trips short ones. Pick the flattest terrain you can. It takes time learning the skills of handling downhill runs, even easy ones. Downhill runs with a pack can be very dicey. Speed picks up fast, and turning  is difficult. I break heavily going downhill with a pack. Practice  without a pack at first. IF things start getting out of control you can always apply the ‘parallel bun arrest’  (Just sit down!)

    Take a short trip, set up camp early, and spend the afternoon just goofing around on the skis. You’ll be grinning the whole time. Be safe out there.

    #3769886
    Bruce M
    Spectator

    @va3pinner

    Locale: In the shadow of the Shenandoah

    After a bit of thought – you also might want to consider not carrying a pack at all. Use a Pulk – a sled with all your gear towed behind you. The advantage is, you don’t have all that junk on your back, and you can carry a bit more for comfort (snow shoes, a shovel, fresh food whatever). Many people just use a child’s plastic sled.  There are articles online that show how to make one, and how to ski with one. You’ll need to be good at braking though. They will push you downhill!

    #3769938
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    Thanks for the tips Bruce! Yea I plan to be in Yosemite for a week as soon as the current storms pass through. Have some lessons lined up so hopefully will be building up skills soon. Also I found some backcountry ski classes with mountain guides so will be doing that as well. I’ll rent initially but will buy soon so I learn on the target gear sooner than later. I’ll probably be side slipping down sketchy spots a lot initially but as long as I can brake its all good :)

    #3769940
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    Side-slipping huh?  :-)

    #3769954
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    That’s how I like to do it :)

    #3769955
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    It’s possible to side-slip with Nordic bindings, but that’s fairly advanced with a free heel. At least that’s my experience as someone with a fair amount of alpine skiing experience who came to nordic late in life, and never got very good at it. Pizza and french fries will be your friends. And as mentioned above … sitting down.

    #3769973
    Scott Roach
    BPL Member

    @clipster95

    Locale: Bay area

    Here’s another vote for fat metal edged waxless xc skis (70-80mm under foot) with skins when you need them. You’ve already got alot skills sliding and side slipping from your snowboarding experience. I say go out and have a blast and learn as you go. As your skills increase you’ll naturally find yourself trying more difficult terrain. Just go out and use them a few times before putting a heavy pack on.

    #3769991
    oeroe
    BPL Member

    @oeroe

    NNN binding (not ‘NNN BC’ which are a joke),

    What’s the issue with NNN-BC?
    I’m actually Finnish, who’s been only recently learning to ski and figuring out ski gear. Here everyone uses BC binding, polar expeditions use it etc. Only people who don’t use it are the traditional rubber boots and 3m long “forest skis” gang. I have track XC skis with regular NNN and fjellskis with NNN-BC, and the difference that I see is that BC is burlier, more durable version, with wider contact to ski. I have “magnum” version of BC binding, and boots from Lundhags.
    I’m honestly curious. I’ve seen some other american sources downplay NNN-BC, but it always seems to be based on hearsay, and I haven’t been able to figure out what is the issue with it.

    #3769998
    Chad Lorenz
    BPL Member

    @chadl

    Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho

    Consider something like the ATK Trofeo over the radicals to save weight. I love them paired with F1LTs. I’ve spent a good bit of time on V6 BCs, and can’t say I love the concept in reality: too small of a useful window of pitch/snow conditions. I’d rather carry light skis and a modern mohair skin when you need to move efficiently through even rolling terrain, as a skin over the scales on Voile BC skis eventually allows for snow ingress/buildup. Bringing ascent plates? Better also bring a friend: now you’re in avalanche terrain…

    #3770007
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I am hesitant to enter this thread because I’ve completely lost track of contemporary backcountry gear and it seems pretty overwhelming (myself having only 30 year old metal edged BC skis, as well as my urban x-country skis for groomed trails), but just wanted to ask the question – you want a backpack rather than a sled? Towing a sled can be nice on fairly flat forest roads, as I think you initially described where you were going. That way you can more easily take your snowshoes as well, which gives you options for places hard to get to on skis. Also not so much load on your back, if you have lots of heavy photography gear.

    #3770011
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    What’s the issue with NNN-BC?

    A totally reasonable question given that I did not elaborate. I had NNN BC setups for a season. One on some Rossi BC 125 skis and one on narrower waxless cross-over skis (I think Rossi Evo Trail: 65/53/60). What I didn’t like about the NNN BC bindings and boots was that despite being a lot heavier, they did not contribute much in the one area that all that weight and bulk should have helped; namely in creating torsional stiffness when edging the ski. The toe pin attachment is indeed wider with the BC boot/binding, and the boot is generally taller and often sports a stiff ankle cuff. But the midsole around the foot arch was just as soft and no better at resisting torsional forces than a regular NNN skate boot. If you grabbed the toe of the boot in one hand and the heel in the other and twisted, the lack of structure was surprising. I can’t remember the make/model of the boots now, but out of curiosity each time I encounter a pair of NNN BC boots I grab them and run this little twist test and have come up disappointed each time. There might be a pair out there that was properly designed, but I never ran into them. So in my case I never saw a benefit justifying the clunky gear and added weight of BC. Plus there are a LOT more boots (‘combi’ and skate) available in NNN.

    I have not paid attention to recent light touring equipment, but just yesterday I was talking to a coworker about XC gear and he mentioned a new system by Rottefella called the Xplore. It borrows a little from the A/T tech binding idea and looks somewhat promising, given that the boot midsoles might actually offer better structure. But the system is approaching AT tech binding equipment in terms of price. Ouch.

    Sorry for the long ramble…

    #3770039
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Although the title of the thread asks about skis, the OP says “As background I’m an expert level snowboarder …”

    So should someone point him at a BC splitboard???

    #3770040
    oeroe
    BPL Member

    @oeroe

    Thanks Philip, I get you better now.

    I’ve seen allusions to the durability concerns in NNN-BC systems from American authors, and I was sort of assuming you might refer to those, but it seems like a different concern.
    I went and did the twist test with all the skiing boots in our house. My BC boots (Lundhags Guide) are stiffest, but there is some movement there. My wife’s skate boots are a bit softer, but that could well be the particular model. My regular XC boots (some NNN Rossignol) are definately softest, twisting most, and in contrast the skate boot and BC boot are pretty close. So essentially your argument is that the skate boots are a way to save weight and get the same result seems possible.

    Xplore, there’s a plenty of talk on telemarktalk -forums, and all seems to be positive, though people I know who have used it, say that it’s not really worth it to upgrade from NNN-BC, as the performance difference is small, and the price difference is not.

    #3770041
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    “So should someone point him at a BC splitboard???”

    Now don’t be silly. Everyone knows you can’t tour on a splitboard.

    #3770049
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    Haha … splitboards :) I definitely would have gone that route 15 years back when I was into BC snowboarding a lot. It’s an interesting option to consider for sure. I’d just go with whatever gets me from point A to point B fastest even if I lose some time initially learning new gear. I guess split board transitions would be really tedious on rolling terrain?

    Based on the comments I’ve gotten so far seems like I need to optimize differently for two types of trips … with potentially two different sets of gear. One for fast and light trips with minimal pack. The other for bigger trips with heavy pack and/or pulling a sled. I don’t see myself getting into the second scenario this year for sure. I’ll start with fast and light and see where that goes.

    #3770051
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    I think that the two types of gear you might ultimately consider might have more to do with the terrain and activities than the weight of your pack. If you have a trip with steep ascents and descents through powder, like in Philips video, then gear with skins for real  climbing that gives you good downhill performance will be more fun. Something with substantial width under foot. As noted in various posts above, that could be telemark, split board , or AT. If you stayed at huts, you might have a fairly light pack, but you might still want wide skis.

    At one point you mentioned Colorado, so you will also need avalanche gear and training. The snow is really unstable here unfortunately . I just find it hard to imagine doing much substantial backcountry touring here that doesn’t invoke steep terrain and deep powder. I mean you could seek out some flat locations, but that would be very limiting IMO. If you come to Colorado to do backcountry touring, presumably you want to be in the mountains

    But anyway, that sounds like stage two and would be a pretty big commitment. Just something to think about as you are looking at gear.

    #3770063
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    Makes sense! I do have avalanche certification + many years of winter touring experience. I plan to be in Rocky Mountain NP later this spring. Mostly I’ll be in valleys or close to developed areas so hopefully I’ll not need to put any of that training to use. I doubt I’ll be ready to ski anything by then so I guess I’ll either be snowshoeing or in a snowmobile tour at most.

    #3770105
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    I guess split board transitions would be really tedious on rolling terrain?

    Yes and no. In the video you can see that I am descending in ‘ski’ mode quite often. There is a big difference in travel strategy between touring and doing laps on a local mountain. When touring, you are trying to minimize your ups and downs by contour lining whenever possible, and aiming for the lowest elevation of a pass or the highest part of a valley to minimize energy expenditure from climbing even at the cost of adding some linear distance. Cross-country progress is the point. When you are just out BC skiing you do the opposite; you climb as high and descend as far as possible. The vert is the point.

    It’s easy to imagine that you would be in climbing mode half the distance and in descending mode half the distance when crossing rugged terrain like Kodiak on a tour. But it’s more like 75-25% or maybe even more skewed.

    Voile makes a nice touring splitboard that also has the herring scale kick pattern. Pretty handy on the flats or long mellow approaches. The conversion from descending to ski mode takes a few extra steps relative to AT gear, but with Spark R&D bindings it goes pretty quick. They climb brilliantly and are reasonably fast on the flats. The thing they do poorly is traverse in firm conditions, and they are also very difficult to ‘skate’ ski on if you are really motoring on the flats.

    #3770746
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    #3770747
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    #3770748
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    The above photos are all from multi  family river skiing here on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Adults and kids.

    We had a wide variety of gear: Altai Hok/BD Trekkers , 90mm waisted Fat Nordic skis with 3 pin tele bindings, Voile Objective BC skis with AT bindings , 60mm Nordic skis with NNN-BC bindings, the list goes on.

    Pros and cons to each system. The perfect system doesn’t exist.

    I agree, it is confusing to a new person. Sorry. It’s just the way it is.

    The big thing you need to be clear on is:

    How much flat is there, and how much tight turning?

    On open flat terrain like frozen lakes, narrow, metal edged Nordic skis (almost like track Nordic skis) with NNN -BC bindings and boots are best. Fastest and most comfy. Also the cheapest option. The boots suck for winter overnights  though, as they do not have removable liners. Wear vapor barrier socks and use gaiters. They also don’t climb ice well, due to flexible soles. Firm snow climbing they could take a  semi auto crampon.

    For Logging roads in hills or mountains, or frozen rivers like the ones above, you need a beefier boot and binding to control the skis. 3 pin + low plastic boots are nice for this, and allow you to keep the liners warm in your sleeping bag (and you can use non absorbing Palau/Intuition closed cell foam liners).

    Use Fat Nordic skis if more flat, or Voile BC fischscale alpine if more turning and up and down.

    If you are trying to go on hiking trails and other twisty, tree covered terrain, go alpine skis with Fishscales (Voile BC models), and either a low plastic tele boot and binding, or light AT boot and binding.
    AT is lighter and better control and climbs easy ice as well as mountaineering boots, tele will have better kick and glide.

     

    Once you decide what gear you will use, you will know where to go for lessons: Nordic center if you get nordic skis or alpine lift served hill of getting alpine skis (with either tele or AT bindings).

    #3770761
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    @Khris R, oops, just saw there was another page, and you had replied.

    I think that for what you describe, the set-up you mention will work well.

    The one thing I’d say, is look at other boots and bindings too.
    Boots especially, what fits one person won’t fit another.

    There are a ton of similar boots from other brands: Roxa RX, Fischer Traverse, Technica Peak, Atomic Backland, Dynafit TLT, Dalbello Quantum.

    Bindings obviously don’t matter for fit, but still, finding the right combo of weight, features, reliability and ease of use means digging through a good few options. Skimo.co has lots of info, including actual weights.

    #3771101
    Khris R
    BPL Member

    @khrisrino

    Thanks again everyone for the ideas. I have a good idea now what the options are.

    I was in Yosemite the past week. Got some lessons, rode the lifts a bunch and tried out some of the groomed nordic trails. A few falls but I think I’m picking up fast. Have a real overnight tour in two weeks time. Hopefully should be ready by then.

     

    #3774745
    Teddy
    BPL Member

    @bullhorn

    Philip, do you think it is possible to use the cross country setup you recommended but with a light AT binding (does light make it snomo?) so I can lock in my heel on good downhills?  And how would your recommended setup work with a heavy winter camping 65L+ backpack?  I liked how you emphasized a more economical solution as AT setups seem like a pricy investment and yours sounded less pricy.  What binding/boot models might be good starting points to achieve this effect?  Thanks in advanced.

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 52 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Loading...