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Philpug

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We have been asked by a few for this forum. Right now there are prefixes set up for different types of discussion. Once the forum grows, we can break them out into their own subforums but in the meantime we will keep them all here. If there is anything glaringly missing, we can add it.
 

nay

dirt heel pusher
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I'm most interested in 50/50 gear - skis and boots that give nod to more unrefined inbounds terrain and backcountry.

Said differently, skis and boots that are headed in the ultralight direction, but have suspension chops for resort skiing.
 

pais alto

me encanta el país alto
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I'm most interested in 50/50 gear - skis and boots that give nod to more unrefined inbounds terrain and backcountry.

Said differently, skis and boots that are headed in the ultralight direction, but have suspension chops for resort skiing.

Bindings are the most controversial, probably worth a thread in their own right, but the Kingpin seems to strike a nice 50/50 stance and the Dynafit Beast is pretty burly.

Blizzard (Zero G) and Volkl (V-Werks BMT) make some nice skis for 50/50, as do a number of indie companies.

Boots: look at Salomon's MTN Lab and Quest, Scarpa's Freedoms, Tecnica's Zero G Guides, Dynafit Beast, to name a few. There are probably more.

Anything specific that's caught your interest?
 

Choucas

Getting off the lift
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Nay's question probably applies to most of the people who frequent this forum who are starting to venture into the realm of off piste skiing and dabble in alpine touring. We are fortunate that there's a lot of product around these days that will allow you to ski one set of gear for both resort piste skiing along with a bit of skinning either for exercise or to find a hidden stash of untracked. Multi day tours hut to hut are really not on your radar.
The gear listed in pais altos' post above all fit the bill in the category. You can even back off a bit on the skis and find an all mountain ski the 98mm width range that's on the lighter side. Fun on the piste and totally adequate for shorter sojourns off piste. I'd add the Fritschi Tecton to the list of bindings. It offers lateral release at the toe, and a traditional step in heel in a lightweight package. New for this season, there is a risk of new product bugs, but the concept is solid and the toe has been greatly refined since it was introed 4 years ago. Very skiable in resort, feels like an alpine binding in downhill mode, and it is much lighter than the Kingpin.
Any boot with a walk mode and tech fittings will work with this kind of setup. The Lange XT Freetour boots are excellent examples of do it all boots for resort and off piste/touring use. They feel and ski very much like a traditional alpine boot. The other boots mentioned about are also very good choices. I'd just make sure that you can use then in a WTR style alpine binding as well as a tech binding.
Lots of folks do this and many more are gearing up to do this. The only caveat is that the harder you ski in resort, the more likely it will be that you over tax the system, particularly in the boot/binding interface area. If you are a mellower skier, it's not a problem. If you are a bit of a basher and tend to break gear, then you're better off with dedicated resort gear and specific touring gear.
What most folks are looking for is a luxury suv that's quiet and comfortable on the road that has off road capabilities, but (and this is true for most suvs today) probably isn't ever going to go too far off the pavement. But it looks ready for off road action. Same story with ski gear in this category.
 

Doug Briggs

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I'd say a perfect 50/50 setup would be Ranger 98s (light, versatile ski) with Marker Barons (solid frame binding, not light, but not that heavy, yet extremely durable) and Lange XT FreeTours (light, walk mode, WTR and pin fittings). The whole setup works great in bounds without compromise and when taken touring, is really efficienct and comfortable. Not unexpectedly, I've used all this gear. As a matter of fact, it inspires me to convert the 98s to touring by moving the Barons from another ski to the Rangers.
 

BS Slarver

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I've been following some of the backcountry discussions and primarily the binding banter.

If you could pick only one binding for inbound and backcountry and you are aggressive, kingpins, beasts or barons?
 

Doug Briggs

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I've been following some of the backcountry discussions and primarily the binding banter.

If you could pick only one binding for inbound and backcountry and you are aggressive, kingpins, beasts or barons?

If I could only have one setup it would be a Baron. Nota bene: I have never used a Beast.
 

Muleski

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My two adult kids are both frequent uphill inbounds tourers. Basically they will skin up early AM before the lifts open, and before their work days begin. Sunrise morning workouts. They also will do some real touring and backcountry when they get the chance. A lot of vertical in a day, both up and down. Not frequently as they work in the ski business, and they often work seven days a week. The real exploring is often at the end of the season when the lifts stop spinning.

Both are in a Scarpa Freedom {can't recall which exact models}. When they got the boots a couple of seasons ago, the boots were a good mix for the uphill, skied a lot like a serious boot on the way down, and "morphed" for them into a great work boot when coaching, etc. My son was amazed at how well they skied, with a variety of alpine skis.

At time, both also had frame bindings for AT. They had predominately been more biased to having a solid interface for skiing downhill, and they were often skiing on groomed inbounds terrain, or more soft, woodsy side country. Fresh snow if it had fallen. They both in retrospect admit that they might have skipped the frame bindings if they knew more.

Son was affiliated until a year ago with Blizzard. Now Nordica, but seeing as at the top they are one company, nobody seems too concerned about what he skis on his time, as long as when he's working he's got Nordica logo's on him. And nobody is suggesting dumping skis that work. His AT skis are Blizz ZeroG 108's. Bindings are Kingpins. He thinks they are "solid enough", and for the way he'll ski down, even on a firm surface, they ski great for a tech binding. He's not expecting them to hold him like his all metal race bindings. As good as a frame binding? He's OK. But he's not skiing them inbounds all day, everyday. It's a run a day kind of stuff. No lifts.

I "inheirited " his old AT setup. Blizzard Scouts with Guardian frame bindings. I also scored a pair of his old barely used Cochise boots. Is this a great set up? Nope. But it lets me get up, move myself uphill, get the heart pumping, enjoy the scenery, be with our friends and have fun. And where I'm skinning, it's with a decided downhill bias. At this stage, I'll suffer a touch uphill to be comfortable on the way down. So a pretty good setup. And, I can't ignore that "the price was right."

Daughter is also in a Scarpa Freedom. It took her quite a white to dial in the boot. But it's good now. She almost never wears it other than for AT. Probably because she moved out of a plug boot into a RS130 with a foam liner, which she still considers pretty "cush." Her AT skis are Volkl V-Werks BMT-94's. Bindings are Kingpins. She's a former Volkl athlete. Her first set up were frame bindings. When she first skied on the new skis, she joked that she almost felt guilty at how easy it was to move uphill. Whole new world. Better everything. I think that her first few days also involved skis down in about a foot of fresh snow. She was surprised at how well the skis skied, and in that snow was delighted with the bindings. Felt solid in them. A few days later skinned up early AM with some friends, and skied down on a long wide series of freshly groomed runs. She was not so sure about the skis, and wasn't sure if it was the bindings or not. Turns out that the skis needed to be put on a belt, and she had that done. Much better. But she also realized that she simply was never going to feel the same truly laying the ski over and working it like her other alpine setups, on fairly firm snow. She's used to a VERY solid binding interface.

She told me that "Maybe it's in my head, but this Kingpin and my Scarpa's is not as confidence inspiring as my Langes and STH-2's in SOME situations. But I modify things, ease up, smile, enjoy the whole situation, and it's good. It's a compromise, and I hope to not be skiing down too much on groomers." Makes sense to me. The some situations were firm hard groomers, where she is used to just ripping, and doesn't really know about how much force she is generating as she has always done it.

I think it depends on what inbounds means to each of us, and on how rigorous or long the climb up may be. For me, the frame binding and a non ultralight ski is fine. I'm a 60+ year skier, with a lot of experience, but new to current touring. A lot of this for me is pretty much "Joey inbounds touring" which is fun for me. I'm not climbing for hours, for example.

My wife is interested in this, and both kids are advocating a frame binding. Her new boots for everyday use, BTW are looking like they will be a boot that will work for everything. Decided DH, and inbounds bias. Probably the Lange, as she has been in a Lange boot "forever." That happens next weekend, we think.

I don't see how any of we mortals could or would ski a tech binding as a full time inbounds set up. In my case, I'm a newbie at AT, and "I'm OK with my alpine skiing." As is my wife with hers. so the compromise leans to the downhill. And most of our skiing is in the East. 70% of it.

I do have a couple of friends who ski, based in the Rockies {actually ski everywhere!}, on a Kingpin for everything. They also get paid to do so, and the minute one feels slightly "loose", it gets swapped for a new one. So that's just different. But it can confuse people as "If........uses them, and skis on everything, they must be fine for me. I have seen the film." Not so sure. These guys can swap out boot shells, or even have their boot companies swap out the tech inserts, as easily as they swap bindings. Stuff that most of us can't do. They are always dialed in.

I like the advice of a frame binding if you can only have one setup. For sure.
 

Muleski

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Update to above. Holding off for mom's setup, until she can get the new Salomon/Atomic binding. In fact that may become the preferred AT binding for at least three of us. Haven't missed much, thus far this season, though. Sadly.
 

ScottB

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I'm most interested in 50/50 gear - skis and boots that give nod to more unrefined inbounI ds terrain and backcountry.

Said differently, skis and boots that are headed in the ultralight direction, but have suspension chops for resort skiing.

I am shopping for my first AT setup this summer/fall and have been giving this subject a lot of thought and research. I maybe coming at this from a slightly different perspective, as well. I have a full quiver of downhill skis and ski Lange RS140 "consumer" race boots. I do have a preferred "tree ski", Liberty Origin 96 that is a bit lighter than most downhill skis and works great with my RS140's. I am an East Coast skier, so backcountry means mostly "woods" skiing unless you want to go up the groomers at a resort. I won't do that often, only when the lifts are closed or I don't have much time and want to make a quick run and avoid the price of a full day lift ticket.

My different perspective is I am an avid cross country skier. If you want ultralight gear, cross country is the lightest way you can go. My boot/binding/skis weigh less than my old hiking boots. Going up hill is like walking in sneakers but with a different technique. I often take my xcountry set up into the woods and have asked myself why not use that as my AT setup? I can do tele turns on my new gear no problem, as long as the snow is light and I have some room to maneuver. Ice is the real issue without metal edges, and I looked at getting xcountry skis with metal edges. My new Salomon boots have a wedge cut out in the sole that runs toe to heel and a mating wedge on the binding. It also has a two pin connection to the boot, and gives an amazing amount of control compared to three pin bindings. I use my xcountry gear in the woods on fire roads and some bushwacking, but not on anything really steep, no more than a blue pitch. I guess if you want to go fast, carve turns in tight trees, and have control on ice, you need the AT gear. On my long skinny xcountry skis I have trouble with heavy snow, grabby snow, and ice. It would be limiting and potentially dangerous in some situations. I stick to mostly moderate terrain where it works well. The contol over the ski is not "downhill like" either.

So onto 50/50 AT gear. I think that the useage out west in open terrain is different than in the East. For me in the East, I have a downhill quiver that will be used at a resort. On days that I want to do sidecountry is when I will use the AT gear. I may do multiple runs off the l lifts, and then go side country skiing for the rest of the day, or visa versa. I might also park the car ouside a resort, and skin up the back side of the mtn and ski the woods back down. The assumption is it will be steep terrain that xcountry gear won't handle well. I don't need one set of gear that I can ski on every day either inbounds or out. I may do some inbounds skiing on my AT gear, but it is for sidecountry/backcountry use. I will probably do both in the same day. What it is not for, is multipe day backcountry trips. My typical useage will be at Bolten Valley Resort in Vt, they have dedicated backcountry trails/terrain, Bracket Basin/Burnt Mtn at Sugarloaf, Mt Washington day trips to Tuck's or Gulf of Slides, and side country at Jay, Cannon, or Wildcat. Depending on how much I like it, I may graduate to BC outings for day trips.

What I am buying:

Blizzard Zero G 108 skis - very light for downhill skis, very stiff and good edges for icey conditions, enough width for powder
Salomon shift binding - frames are too heavy and not interested in tech bindings (personal opinion)
Salomon Slab/mtn or Tecnica Zero G tour pro boots - much lighter than downhill boots, ski downhill close to downhill boots
Black diamond glidelight STS skins - seem to be highly rated, I don't know much about them mohair/nylon combination

I would classify this as 50/50 gear. It is not the super light AT stuff that approaches xcountry gear in most aspects, including some lack of control on the down. It is also not downhill gear with a walk mode. Its lightweight downhill oriented AT gear. I think the shift bindgs are the icing on the cake. I plan to use the skis inbounds in the trees after a storm.

I feel pretty good about my choices, which maybe a bit premature and optimistic, since I haven't skied or demo'd any of it. But I got a lot of feedback from friends, this site, and other sources that make me feel pretty confident this gear will work well for me.
 

bjohansson

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The Shift is an incredible concept but I'll reserve opinion until a bunch of people ski them. There's a thread on TGR's Tech Talk forum https://www.tetongravity.com/forums...e-Official-Salomon-S-Lab-SHIFT-MNC-Thread-AMA on them. One of the paid pros that beta tested the bindings through their development is the thread starter (Alkasquawlik aka Cody Townsend). Worth the long read. I hope they are everything they purport to be but I never buy any gear in its first year. Note the issues with the Kingpin.

I have Beast 14s but they weigh almost as much as the Marker Tour series frame bindings. Prefer the burliness despite the weight penalty. I just do more cardio and weight lifting in the summer/fall. Can't remember what the Shifts weigh but I'm not a gram counter. If they are all that they're promised to be, I'll get some next year when they're half the price (recall the Beast 16 was $999 in it's first year).

As you noted, EC backcountry is mostly tree skiing so I tend toward light, maneuverable skis. One of my favorite skis is the Rossi S3. I have Marker Tour F12s on them and they work for 90% of the tours I do. I was on Ranger 108s in my avatar but that was a 30" day.
 

Doug Briggs

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Other than the current recall on limited units, what is the 'issue' with Kingpins? It sounds to me like a manufacturing issue, not a design/performance issue. It wasn't even first year units unless I'm mistaken.

The Shift weighs about the same as the Kingpin.
 

AmyPJ

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We ride horses in the backcountry, too. There are Utah chapters of Backcountry riders (horses.) Hmmm...where is the line drawn.
 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
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I'm most interested in 50/50 gear - skis and boots that give nod to more unrefined inbounds terrain and backcountry.

Said differently, skis and boots that are headed in the ultralight direction, but have suspension chops for resort skiing.

Some of the best 50/50 skis are made by Line Skis. The Sick Day 104 is just about the perfect 50/50 ski for Colorado. I would check them out.
 

Ken_R

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Mothertucker

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I'll never spend a dime there again.
View attachment 83609

Nor do I. I do however, sport a tiny goat sticker on the back of my helmet.

Greatest Of All Time?
I prolly had this sticker on before the PE purchase, so I'll leave it on.
IMG_20191104_085449636.jpg
 

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