Altai Hok Opinions?

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Home Forums General Forums Winter Hiking Altai Hok Opinions?

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    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    Thr Altai Hok looks like a really cool concept for winter backcountry travel. The efficiency of a ski, with the maneuverability of a snowshoe. David Chenault’s review here was very helpful, but I’m wondering how the concept holds up once the novelty has worn off.


    Dave, are you still using them? If not, why? Has anyone else stuck with them for more than a season?

    Paul McLaughlin
    BPL Member


    A guy I know has a pair. He says they’re definitely slower than normal skis, but better than snowshoes for most terrain. More maneuverable than skis but less than snowshoes. So generally in between, and suited for thrashing through the woods mostly, where you need the maneuverability and having the brakes on slightly all the time on the downhills is not such a bad idea..

    David Chenault
    BPL Member


    Locale: Queen City, MT

    After I sent back the pair of 125cm protos I had for the article, I purchased a pair of 145s when they came out.  I sold them a year or so later for a couple reasons.

    One, I became a better skier and was able to use more “normal” nordic skis on most of the local stuff the Hoks did well.

    Two, and more significantly, I found the stiffness and edge quality of the 145s quite disappointing compared to the 125s.  The later could hold an edge on firmer snow quite well, and came with sharp edges.  The 145s were downright scary on anything firm, and I just could not get the darn edges as sharp as I wanted, no matter what.

    A third reason is that I found a used pair of Trak Bushwackers, which I think are in most respects a better version of the ski/shoe idea.  Unfortunately those skis are now just about dead and short of finding another pair I’m not sure what will fill that space in the quiver.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Arrowhead

    I have a pair of the 125’s I bought three years ago and yesterday I bought a pair of 145’s.

    The 125’s I bought for going in the woods in state parks near home. They are a lot more fun to use then snowshoes and I can travel much quicker. Since they are a hybrid, I would assume they are not as fast and don’t cut as nice as skis, but I have very little experience with traditional skis. I couldn’t imagine using traditional length skis to navigate thick hardwood forests I use the Hoks in around home. Haven’t had a chance to use them this year due to breaking a couple of ribs falling down the stairs the day after Christmas.

    last year I took a couple trips up to the BWCAW and discovered the 125’s didn’t provide enough flotation for me going across lakes with deeper, finer snow. I weigh 225 and hauled a pulk sled.

    Yesterday I found a pair of 145’s on sale so I bought those. Now just hoping for more snow so I can use them when they arrive to see how I like those. I plan to use the 145’s for more open space like the BWCAW.

    The one thing I like about the Hoks is that I don’t have to pack ski boots for a trip, as I can just continue using my normal winter footwear, Steger Yukon Jack Mukluks.

    When I take my 125’s out, I usually also carry some NL snowshoes incase I run into trouble with the Hoks. This rarely happens when I need them.

    I would recommend them, but know they are not equivalent to skis, as they are more of a skishoe. I have read somewhere a few years ago that someone got better control by removing the universal binding and going with a 3 pin binding, but that doesn’t fit my style for how I plan to use them. I could be going from boots, to boots with micro spikes, to snowshoes, to Hoks. Lot of variety I can choose from by not having dedicated ski boots.

    Good luck!


    My experience and opinions are quite similar to JP’s.  But with the caveat that i haven’t used them a lot (we just don’t get a lot of snow, or rather, snow doesn’t tend to last long as we often have very up and down temps during the winters of late–it occasionally dips down near or below 0, but more frequently it’s near or above freezing).

    I don’t have a lot of experience with regular nordic type ski’s either, other than occasionally going to the slopes and renting skis.  It’s expensive, so we don’t go often.

    I have the 125’s for reference and typically weigh in the 155 to 170 range w/out clothes.  Btw, i got them on sale at LL Bean.  I’m trying to come up with a way to increase the stiffness while using the universal binding.  I just may take some thicker, less compressive foam wide strip, put it in a heavy duty nylon sleeve with a velcro closure and use that to stiffen it up a little–it’s worth a try being inexpensive and easy to do.

    Billy Ray


    Locale: the mountains

    “The efficiency of a ski, with the maneuverability of a snowshoe.”
    That statement is wishful thinking.
    They won’t be as good as either a ski or a snowshoe.
    But there may be some conditions in which they are a good compromise between the two.


    Edward Jursek
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I went with Altai Kom’s over the Hok’s. The Kom is short and handles well in the trees. The fish scale bases climb well in rolling terrain and I have skins if it gets steeper, they float well, turn quick, and are light. The Hok just seems like too much of a compromise for me here in the Cascades.

    Edward Barton
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston

    Has anyone used a crampon with these skishoes, i.e. the B+D model they recommend?

    I’m wondering whether a crampon would allow for not bringing snowshoes when using these in occasionally steeper terrain, access trails, etc.

    Edward John M
    BPL Member


    I’ve never used Hoks but I have owned and used Trak Bushwackers. If you could find a pair of the old Trak ski those are very good in the scrub and reasonable on the downhill.

    Horses for courses applies naturally. A very short skishoe like the Hok has very poor downhill control, not really what you want with a pack on your back or when towing a pulk

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    If you are a backcountry skier who has used snowshoes you KNOW that the Altai Hok will be better than snowshoes. I can see using them in woods, particularly for hunting.

    The only thing worse than using snowshoed is postholing with boots!

    BTW, if you think I am a snowshoe hater and have no experience with snowshoes au contraire. I have a pair of Atlas and a pair of MSR Lightning Ascent (WITH tail extensions).

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