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New to skiing. Need some advice.
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Oct 7, 2016
Hey people of mountain project,

My wife and I just bought a house in Wenatchee, WA. It looks like the cascades will be home for a good long while. Coming from Wisconsin, I never really got past cross country skiing.

Now that I live here, I want to get into a ski setup that will let me glide in to ice climbs or into the backcountry for other alpine endeavors. I also want to use these skis to ski backcountry powder too. So basically, I suppose I'm asking what ski setup would be good for a 150lb 5' 8" dude that's just getting into skiing, primarily in the Pacific Northwest backcountry, and can only afford one set of skis?

Joined Jan 14, 2015
25 points
Oct 7, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Cathedral Peak!
Dynafit "tech" bindings are the way to go if you want to be able to lock your heel down for the descent. That style of binding is called an AT binding.
It looks untrustworthy for the hard skier, but I haven't released from mine unintentionally so far...

Paired with a climbing skin you can go anywhere and do anything. Dynafit skins are cut to match their skis and are really nice.

You can get a really light setup that will be great going uphill.

Marker duke and freeride bindings weigh quite a bit more but also get the job done. All of these bindings I mentioned are designed to be used with a stiff(ish) boot so you have control going downhill. AT boots typically aren't as stiff as their alpine counterparts but they also weigh much less.

Dynafit stuff is incredibly expensive if you pay sticker price. Can't say it's worth it at that price, I shopped around for about 6 months when I got mine, and until I get a few solid seasons of backcountry excursions in, can't say I've gotten my money out of it. VERY expensive..
Simon W
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined May 18, 2013
97 points
Oct 7, 2016
Go post a wanted to buy on and see what people have to sell.

Spend the most money on boots (consider buying new or budgeting for bootfitting). The late model dynafit boots (tlt5/6/7, one, neo, mercury, vulcan) are pretty easy to find used or on sale and climb well. Maybe Scarpa maestrale and sportiva if those don't fit. The new light salmon and atomic boots also look nice.

For skis i'd say you want something light, 100 ish under foot with at least tip rocker and tech bindings. Check wildsnow for reviews. People tend to let BD skis go cheap, the drift or convert might work well for you or the voile vector.

If you want something for skiing in ice climbing boots ask around for a beater pair of skis with old silvretta 404's (old wire bail frame bindings that work with ice boots). But don't spend more then $50 or so.
Joined Dec 16, 2008
0 points
Oct 7, 2016
First off, can you alpine ski at all? You say that you never got past xc skiing so I'm assuming that you're a beginner skier. If that's the case, get a cheap alpine setup and put in some time at the resort. Also, take an Avy Level 1 course prior to going out. Honestly, an Intro to Backcountry Skiing course would be beneficial as well.

All of that aside, Tech bindings are the way to go and Dynafit and G3 are the best on the market. They hold up to "hard skiing" which was in question above, and will more than serve their purpose for a beginner-intermediate skier. The Speed Turn 2.0 or Original Speed Turn is light and will work just fine. If you're wanting a more reliable toe piece the Speed Radical 2.0 is the way to go. BD Ascension Nylon skins climb very well, are amongst the most affordable, and are durable. Skis, well a good ski for the PNW is rockered, typically 106 underfoot or up, that being said if you're wanting a ski more for approaching climbs then a 95-100mm underfoot ski would suffice.

Boots=the most important part of the equation. Be sure to be properly fitted at a reputable boot fitter and don't stress about forking out extra cash and paying close to retail. It is worth it and an investment that will keep on giving smiles for years to come.
Joined Feb 1, 2012
86 points
Oct 7, 2016
Take a look on Craigslist for used backcountry/alpine touring skis. Don't even bother with bindings like the marker duke, tyrolia adrenalin, salomon guardian if you want to focus on touring. They are heavy, clunky, and far less streamlined than dynafit/tech bindings. I just switched over to dynafit and I'm kicking myself for not making the initial investment. If you mostly want to ski at the resort they can be an ok option.

Look for a light pair of skis, they can be backcountry specific but they don't have to be. Go with a waist around 100, more if you anticipate very deep days and you mostly ski fresh snow. Probably something right around your nose, a little shorter or longer is ok.

Skins, whatever.

Boots, get a light touring boot if you're not an aggressive skier, incredibly light options from dynafit, la sportiva, etc. Get a little beefier boot for more support while resort skiing, something like the scarpa rs, or even scarpa freedom. If you're doing a lot of resort skiing you will be less tired with a beefy boot.

Use alpine ski poles, 20 bucks on craigslist, or drop some major cash on collapsible, carbon poles. Not necessary at all, nice for ski mountaineering though.

Don't worry about ski crampons unless you are skinning up very steep terrain all the time.

Go used if you're trying to save, tech bindings age well.
Andrew Schindler
From Lakewood
Joined Aug 9, 2015
40 points
Oct 7, 2016
If you're in Wenatchee, go to Leavenworth Mountain Sports and chat with them. You'll be close to Mission Ridge in Wenatchee which is a great place to learn Zachary Winters
From Mazama, Washington
Joined Aug 16, 2014
76 points
Oct 8, 2016
Thanks for the answers everyone! I downhill skied from the ages of 10-17, so I'm not a total beginner, but I'm going to suck.

And I've taken avy 1. I spend lots of time hiking the backcountry so this just seems like a normal progression because I also love going downhill.

I was assuming dynafit was gonna be the way I went, and after hearing all of your thoughts - dynafit will definitely be the way.
Joined Jan 14, 2015
25 points

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