Let's talk about skis


Original Post
grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

I'm thinking about getting back into skiing this winter and want to pick up a ski touring setup. Have a few trips that I'd like to do over the next few years where having skis will be very helpful, if not absolutely necessary. I'm curious as to what skis people are using around Chamonix, up on the Kahiltna, and other areas with similar approaches/terrain. Dynafit bindings are a given with this setup.

J.Roatch · · Leavenworth, WA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 120

Armada, whitedot, dynastar, dynafit, black crows, G3 are a handful of the best brands IMO that you'll probably find common in those areas.

As far as which skis, well that depends a lot. Do you want one ski? What kind of days will you ski-this is determined by your desired routes and avy knowledge. If you don't know how to read avy conditions, you're not going out on pow days so you won't need wide skis....

The lightest bindings the you'll want will likely be dynafit or G3 and also depend on the terrain you're skiing and how light vs. how intense you'll ski.

Might j suggest posting this question to the TGR forums for a better conversation, though you'll likely get a similar response.

Read reviews on blister gear review to find what kind of ski will suit you and what binding will do what you want.

J.Roatch · · Leavenworth, WA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 120

Chamonix has so many different kinds of terrain, and the snow is quite different there than in Alaska IMO. Still, it depends more on your ability and desired routes. Long vs. short, steep vs. moderate, do you charge when you ski or lay back (I'm guessing if you haven't skied in a while, you're gonna want something around 108 underfoot with a lot of sidecut and a short turning radius. The Armada TST is a good intermediate ski, but if you're not a good skier, go with something rated to beginners-research will help you find your ski)

MacksWhineturd · · Squaw · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Hard to have just one pair of skis if you plan on actually skiing.

Donno where you live, but in tahoe (I assume everywhere else too) there are numerous weekends at numerous resorts where there are tons of industry booths to let you try a ski for free. Might help you narrow it down a bit..

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

They are the Devil's work. Snowboards as well.

Hit the desert.

Climb all winter.

Also, Teton Gravity Research is an excellent ski forum as mentioned and is full of powder stoke. Yo.

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25
Stich wrote:They are the Devil's work. Snowboards as well. Hit the desert. Climb all winter. Also, Teton Gravity Research is an excellent ski forum as mentioned and is full of powder stoke. Yo.
If you decide to join TGR, be prepared for an abusive environment :)

Dumb questions and sometimes even decent questions get brutal responses. They make MP look like a church group.

JONG! :)
grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0
Seth Jones wrote: If you decide to join TGR, be prepared for an abusive environment :) Dumb questions and sometimes even decent questions get brutal responses. They make MP look like a church group. JONG! :)
I've been on TGR for quite some time, but I decided to post this up here instead because I'm looking more for a climber's opinion. I've been snowboarding for 20+ years, so I'll just use my split if the line down is just as important as the line up the mountain. For right now, I just want skis for approaching climbs in the mountains where you don't want to be postholing/snowshoeing and for the occasional meadow skipping tour. I probably shouldn't go full-on skimo racing, but I was leaning in that direction for a light setup.
Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25
grubbers wrote: I've been snowboarding for 20+ years, so I'll just use my split if the line down is just as important as the line up the mountain.
F'n A! As I always say, SKI DOWN FOR WHAT???
J.Roatch · · Leavenworth, WA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 120

The reason I ski mountaineer is because I want the summit and the ski down is so freaking great. Why anyone walks down snow covered mountains is beyond me.

Splitboard set-ups are getting better every year.

Armada TST is a good light one that's not crazy expensive. G3 ion is a great mountaineering ski.

Consider ski crampons

Scoop · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 45

Voile.

Keatan · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 20
Scoop wrote:Voile.
+1. Also, consider their "BC" selections if your approaches are flat or rolling. Something lightweight in the 85-95 width and possibly short for your height will be great for approaches where skiing isn't the main goal. A full-on skimo set up is light but will sacrifice a lot of float.
Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Are Silvretta bindings still being made? Is there anything comparable that attaches to a mountaineering boot like a crampon?

Does anyone have experience with the La Sportiva skis?

NateC · · Utah · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

For the locations you are suggesting... there's a HUGE range of skis and shapes.

Voile, Dynafit, Blizzard, and Movement come to mind as the top of the heap for super light, ski mountaineering skis. My preference is for a more pronounced rocker and Voile is far and away my favorite. They are competitively light, very durable, and the least expensive of the top brands.

The catch is...what size/width? What are you going to be doing with them? The best do it all compromise ski I've personally found is the Voile Vector. I've owned too many to mention.

That's not the ski I will take for super steep spring ski mountaineering missions though. I'm going to be getting a set of Voile Objectives for that. They are skinnier and almost two pounds lighter per set for similar length.

On the deep days, my favorite is the Voile V8.

Bindings... Dynafit Speed Radicals have proven to be the most versatile for me. I'm SUPER excited about the new Salomon/Atomic tech binding, but haven't gotten to see them in person yet. If they don't pan out, the Dynafit Speed Superlite II will be the binding I go with for the Objective skis I plan on buying.

  • I'm in no way affiliated/sponsored/or paid by Voile. After skiing all the other brands I've listed above, I have just come to feel that they are the best brand for my style and preferences in a ski.
VRP · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 45

I'll add to the Voile hype. Quality construction, weight conscious, made in US, and decently priced. My quiver of one is the Charger with Radical FT's. They handle bumps, choppy resort "powder", couloirs, low-angle deep surfy days.

I'm looking at the Vectors for next year since they're the slimmed down version of the Charger.

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25
VRP wrote:I'll add to the Voile hype. Quality construction, weight conscious, made in US, and decently priced. My quiver of one is the Charger with Radical FT's. They handle bumps, choppy resort "powder", couloirs, low-angle deep surfy days. I'm looking at the Vectors for next year since they're the slimmed down version of the Charger.
I can't speak for their skis but I used a Voile kit to build my splitboard and haven't had any problems. I was skeptical of the durability and how hard I could ride the board after the split but after spending a bunch of time on it, I trust it on just about anything. Speaking of, I have an extra split decision kit NIB if anyone is interested.
DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

I'm skiing Voile Vectors with Dynafit Radical ST 2 bindings. I have skied everything in them from deep powder to glacial ice and it handles everything well, although I wouldn't recommend skiing steep glacial ice. You can go much lighter but you start to sacrifice durability and skiability (sp?). Can't beat the price on Voiles either...

If you're looking for skis for approach mainly and a bit of skiing, go down in length (160-170). This way you can lighten the setup a bit. Again, unless you're a good skier, you will sacrifice a bit of performance with a shorter ski.

It's hard to recommend a quiver-of-one ski because there's so many options. Best bet is to find a mid-fat ski (90-98 underfoot) that has decent flotation in the tip. Avoid a double-rockered ski because they don't plant well in snow for an impromptu belay or deadman anchor.

G3, La Sportiva, Salomon, Voile, Dynastar, Dynafit are all good brands to look at.

A lot of your choice will also depend on how hard you ride your skis, whether you sit back into them, etc. best thing is to talk to a shop who specializes in this area. Easy to find in the West, but you may have to dig through forums a bit and do some research to see what is right for you.

JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195

Why do you ask a skiing question on a climbing page to a bunch of climbers?

Why not ask skiers?

Scot Hastings · · Las Vegas · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 35

To add to what others have said, it would help to understand a bit more about your goals. For one thing, there's a huge difference between touring for downhill turns and touring for some other objective (approach to a mountaineering climb, etc.). The equipment you're going to want for those is going to vary substantially.

For example, I was on Denali a few years back with 160cm-ish utility skis w/ fish scales (K2 something or other), Silvrettas, and my Sportiva mountaineering boots. It was a miserable setup to go downhill in, but it was perfect for the purpose.

Also, careful with the "Dynafit is a given" logic. There are other options. Also, the lack of a front-initiated release does make them more prone to injuries (and no, the 2.0 still don't have a front-initiated release, look it up).

Matt Zia · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 171

Voile skis are the best balance of cost and features that I've found. The V6 might be the best all-around backcountry ski I've been on. For longer days and more of an approach mindset, I'll echo what others have said about the Vectors and the upcoming Objectives.

Sure, some of the European companies are making damn good backcountry skis that are lighter, stiffer, etc and arguably an objectively 'better' ski, (thinking specifically of the Blizzard ZeroG line which I've skied on) but they also cost a lot more. And to be honest, theres no other backcountry designed ski I've been on that's more fun in soft snow than a pair of Voiles. I think they put some Utah magic snow into the core or something.

grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

Anyone have any experience with the Dynafit Cho Oyu? Dimensions seem around what I had in mind and I'm digging the weight. I can also get a pretty good price on them.

KevinCO · · Loveland, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

Rossignol S3: a great all mountain ski. Stable at high speed GS turns and quick and nimble. Great in powder. Skied them with Dynafits and I was very surprised at how well they toured rolling valley approaches, better than telemark gear.

Unfortunately, they are not made any more, but can probably get some at a great price.

Rossi Experience 88s are also awesome skis.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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