Advice needed The perfect backcountry set-up

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by jamie.croft, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. jamie.croft

    jamie.croft First Runs

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    I need to pick your collective expertise for some advice regarding what backcountry touring set-up I should go for. I apologise for the long post!

    Here’s the low down.

    Where I’ll be skiing: the Bogong High Plains
    How I’ll be skiing: Multi-day with a pack. More for the touring than for the turns. That said, it would be nice to drop the pack and head up Spion Kopje and the likes.
    Weight: I’m about 68kg, pack maybe 15kg at a guess
    My other setup: Atomic Backland FR 102 with Dynafit Radical 2 ST bindings and Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 boots
    My experience: I learnt to ski on narrow planks with cable bindings and leather telemark boots in crusty autumn snow in Norway (my god that was learning by fire). However, I am by no means an accomplished telemark skier! I haven’t managed to ski much in the recent years. I swapped to an alpine touring set-up for a ski trip to Japan a couple of years ago.

    As I already have the atomic backlands, if I want to tour for turns, I am sorted.

    As for skis, these are what I’m considering, narrowest to widest:
    Fischer Traverse 78 (78-61-69 mm)
    Madshus eon (83-62-70mm)
    Madshus epoch (99-68-84 mm)
    Fischer SBound 98 (98-69-88 mm)

    As for bindings/boots, I am torn between a lightweight leather telemark set up and a lightweight AT set-up.

    If I went AT, this is how it would look:
    Bindings: Dynafit Speedturn 2.0
    Boots: the ones I already have, to save money. But at 3312g the pair, they are not exactly featherlight. Could upgrade to something newer and lighter after a while.

    If I went tele, this is how it would look:
    Voile 3pin cable traverse bindings
    Boots: Andrew Zenith (1952g the pair) – primarily because these seem to be the only ones found in brick and mortar stores in Melbourne? At least at Bogong.

    So, my main question is: What should I chose?!

    My other thoughts and questions are:
    - I am drawn to the telemark set-up in part due to nostalgia, and in part due to the ease of transitions between up and down, especially in rolling terrain. You can easily throw in a telemark turn when you need it.
    - My extremities get tremendously cold. I wonder whether the point of flexion behind the toes with the telemark set-up would help keep my toes warm?
    - When I’m tromping around, setting up camp, would I be a lot more comfortable in the leather tele boots?
    - The Fischer easy skins system seems great, but is it enough to make you buy them over Madshus?
    - I am drawn to the skinnier skis – the traverse or the eon. However, if I decided on an AT set-up, are they too narrow underfoot to mount the speedturns?
    - Does it matter that the Speedturn 2.0s don’t allow your boot to go completely flat when in walk mode? Does it become uncomfortable after a long trudge along flat ground?
    - The voile traverse bindings have a ramped riser. As I understand, it is designed to compensate for the rocker in plastic telemark boots. Is it still comfortable when using leather tele boots?

    Thanks for your help, and again sorry for the word diarrhoea!
     
  2. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    Zenith are a very comfortable boot but they soften up after a while [ although I had the SCARPA version the boots are the same] and I found when I switched to double plastic boots my feet were warmer and more comfortable. I am on my third pair of SCARPA T-2 plastic boots now
    I can't comment on the other choices as I buy skis seldom and use them well past their death date but my current skis are Madshus Annums with Voile Traverse bindings and for myself the combination works well enough. I'm not the best skier tho, slow and timid
     
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  3. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us
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    The gear you already have is a pretty high quality AT set up. You could just start off using it and then change things as you figure out your own preferences from your practical experiences. Personally I find that skis with a waist under 85mm feel a bit unsteady when you have 15 odd kilograms on your back.

    If you are likely to be skiing across a fair amount of flat and undulating terrain you might want to look at the skis made by Voile which have patterned bases like the Objective BC which is about 85mm underfoot or the Ultravector BC which is about 95mm underfoot. Rhythm at Cooma usually has some of their models in stock or you can get them from the Voile web page (based in Utah).
     
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  4. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    An interesting conundrum btw.

    A few thoughts: bearing in mind I'm a bit old school here!
    Lighter trails & touring:

    Consider the Garmont (now Scott) Excursion - My wife & I have used Excursions for about 12 years - they've been used sparingly as we've spent more days on lifts in recent years.

    This boot is light & comfy (we have thermoliners) - being a 75mm will fit in your old favourite bindings.
    I've travelled to Scotland with them & they were pretty good on the lifts, although my heavier SynerGs would have been better.

    I tend to use the Exercursions on my Stirling day trips with my lift tele skis and skins. They're great on the up and down in this environment - I wouldn't be so sure of a leather Tele boot downhill -esp as it ages.

    For heavier touring it's harder - I'm not into AT so I'd naturally defer to Tele, for day trips or overnight.
    In the past Ive gone overnight with old ~ 2000' model T2s and while not light I coped.

    You could use your touring requirements as a business case for getting an NTN boot & binding.
    I haven't used NTN yet but plan too. There's some newer lighter bindings around like French Meidjo and the 22D Lynx, which use the side holes at the boots front - but these two are quite expensive.

    Or you could go for a heavier binding like the Freedom or Outlaw. The latter should (will) also be very good for lift skiing if that's of interest?

    The BC/ telemark experts here will know better: but there's no light weight NTN boots currently available nor anything likely in the pipeline. All boots are 3-4+ kg pair - size dep.

    So it's quite a big decision to NTN for touring. Perhaps in a year or so I might be able to advise how hard it is to tour in 4 buckle NTN boots and Outlaws? I have no doubts the skins off / downhill part will be very nice.

    If total weight on feet is a major concern with an overnight pack, perhaps sticking with AT (either current or update) is the way to go - at last for above tree-line trips. I'm somewhat sceptical of AT on treelined trails - perhaps a lurking expert here can advise. You do however see a bit of AT in use on Stirling these days, so maybe its a lot better climbing and on undulating than say, earlier decades?

    Sorry, I'm not much help on the skinnier fish scale stuff - I've used 2 Morotto Telemark skis for 30 years with Voile release and the current one is still going strong. A bit narrow for Stirling summit - hence the wax less skis & skins - but they've been fine for everything else and even work well with Exercursions on Lake MTN where most people are on featherweight stuff.

    In any case, I strongly advocate heat model footbeds - about $120 and set up in your ski store. It's not worth the foot & leg issues not having these babies. They'll complement a good ski boot but they can't totally cure a poorly fitting /ageing/ soft boot. Nothing can!!

    Good luck JC - hope this waffle is of some interest if not actually help make the decision...??
     
  5. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    1. Double Check that the skis you're planning on using can accept a tech binding (AT) or tele binding. A lot of lighter skis are only built to be used with NNNBC. I'd also stick with a ski with camber and a half, you'll make big efficiency gains on the flats.

    2. If you want warm toes stay away from leather.

    3. If you go plastic telemark (Garmont Excursion or Scarpa T4 for your usecase) get a binding with a tour mode, the lightest choice these days is the Voile Switchback. More money but the tour mode is more effecient (the bellows on a plastic telemark boot are too stiff for an effecient kick and glide) and you can change modes with your skis on.

    Lots of people use AT for your usecase. I'm not into AT enough to make a recommendation, but since your pairing with a pattern based ski I'd go the lightest AT binding you can switch modes with without taking your skis off.
     
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  6. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    I have @Untele-whippet 's old setup for a bit of undulating with runs skiing, Voile Vector with Freedom NTN and Scarpa 3 buckle NTN boots. Still not that light, but lighter than my resort setup, and better pivot. But would like to try the Outlaws, I like the Vector skis, light, pattern works well, and the ZZZZ is nostalgic for me.

    I still have some thinner Fisher with G3 and lighter play Garmont, but cant really imagine using them again other than a nostalgia trip in the Brindies or Kiandra area.
     
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  7. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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  8. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us

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    In the leather boot area I can recommend Alpina Alaska in the 75mm. They are warm, dry and comfortable enough to leave on at camp. I have both Epoch and Annums. If I were after distance on ground I would take the Epochs and for turns Annums. Both are good carry a pack of 15kg and I am about 10kg heavier than the OP.
     
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  9. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    I ski the BHP on a set of patterned base Madshus Annums with Dynafit Radical bindings.

    They’re great for distance and steeps - I’ve done Falls to Hotham in a day on these

    I’d opt for the narrower Epochs in retrospect to optimise glide. They are just wide enough for tech. bindings.

    Along with kicker skins patterned bases are great - frequent skin transitions on rolling hills are a pain.

    I have lightweight Scarpa tech boots for touring - bit soft for charging.

    No issues with comfort or cold on a long day with these.
     
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  10. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    If you put quiver killers on your Backlands and your new skis you could use your existing bindings....
     
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  11. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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  12. jamie.croft

    jamie.croft First Runs

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    Thanks for the relies everyone. You've helped me narrow down my search. I'm thinking I will go with the epochs and tech bindings.

    You took the words out of my mouth chaeron - I was just typing this when your reply came up: "I I'd maybe consider mounting them with quiver killers so I could swap in a 75mm binding in the future if I wanted to play around with something different and see how it compares."

    Now regarding length, what do you folks think?

    I'm 68kg and 180cm tall. I'm thinking the 185
     
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  13. jamie.croft

    jamie.croft First Runs

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    Do you think the weight saving of the speed turn 2.0s over the radical 2 STs would justify getting them?
     
  14. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    With a narrower ski the extra length isn’t a bad idea - at your weight (I’m similar) the 185 would be good unless you’re shorter than say 1.4 m.

    In a narrower ski a longer length is going to help with glide and stability, especially with a touring pack.

    There are some weight gains in a shorter ski, but this is offset by the efficiency gains (less effort) in a better glide with a longer ski.
     
  15. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Speedturn 2 - 342g x2 = 684g. Radical 1280 g = @half the weight.

    It would make a difference (you’re lifting about 500g less multiple times per km for many km.)

    However it’s more about technique (energy expended) than just weight.

    If you have the coin - it’s worth getting a lighter binding for sure.

    However, if I ALREADY had tech. bindings I could put on a ski it might become a choice between new, lighter boots or lighter bindings....

    You might just need to check that Radicals fit onto the Epoch.
     
  16. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    If it helps I am 184 and 120kg and I ski on the 195 Annum and sometimes I want more but often I need less
     
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  17. jamie.croft

    jamie.croft First Runs

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    Not quite sure how to interpret the binding hole pattern information. The Radical 2’s have the following pattern (width by length) 42.5 x 58 (toe) 35.5 x 88 (heel). As the width is less than the underfoot width of the epochs, does that mean they automatically fit?
     
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  18. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Madshus Epoch waist width: 68mm

    Dynafit Speedturns (2): 30

    Dynafit Radicals 2.0: 42.5
     
  19. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Yes, obviously the hole width is not exactly the same as the binding width, but for the Epoch it’s a fit.
     
  20. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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  21. slotele

    slotele Hard Yards

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    67kg, 173cm and have 185 Epoch. The 175 were ok but didn't run so we'll. Glad to have gone longer. Have BD 01 binders, the pivot mode is great for touring. Use Garmont energy boots, not bothered by weight/stiffness, warmer and better control than excursions.
     
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  22. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Lovely quiver!
     
  23. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Re width, for skiing with a pack 62mm waist is way too narrow. C. 70mm is a good allround size for spring and c. 80mm for fresh snow and the heights.
    For turns the Annums cos of the soft flex, for kick and glide the Fischers for the stiffer flex.
    Length - depends on the camber but at 80kg all up, roughly speaking in the 170s for turns, 180s for kick and glide.
    HTH.
     
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  24. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    This man knows what he’s talking about!
     
  25. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    That makes my old trusty 200 cm Morotto Tele Steps too narrow @ ~ 60 mm. To be fair they feel like toothpicks these days. Fine for zip aroun lake mtn, Bawbs or Rocky Valley but just way too straight to get around corners with any fresh or cruddy stuff.

    ...the difference 2-3 decades makes with one's perception!!
     
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  26. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Yeah.
    Like others here I revisited skinny skis recently. Eons with light boots and NNN BCs. Fab for diagonal stride on firm snow. Hard work on fresh. Awful for turns. Swapped them for Epochs as better all rounders. Edge control is still an effort with light boots though.
     
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  27. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Haha, I thought my Morrottos were so wide! They were my first "modern" skis, so I went down to 195!
     
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  28. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat Addicted

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    One vote for Karhu Guides [ Madshus Annums] + Scarpa T4s or Scott/ Garmont Excursions which ever fit best.
    Kicker skins if more grip required
    I did countless days w leatherboots , they always leak leaving your feet cold.
     
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  29. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Leather goes floppy, even stiff buckled boots.

    They wont let you do high speed edgy turns like a big placcy boot will. (Or even a lighter placcy)!
     
  30. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    'The perfect backcountry set-up'.
    It's more a matter of what trade-offs you can live with.
    A touring-optimal rig differs from a turning-optimal rig - though with skill and fitness you can narrow the performance gap.
     
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  31. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    I had a pair of Alpinas - full grain leather with a plastic cuff and instep strap and Thinsulate lining. Never leaked. Never got cold.
    Couldn't give them away when I went to 75mm and threw them out. Damn, I wish I hadn't.
     
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  32. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    Mine too.... single camber - Rock n Roll!!!
     
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  33. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Had just bought my first Terminator boots too, they raped my feet for about two years, then I got nearly ten years of comfortable touring, I even walked about 15k in them one time no issues! I was in heaven after years of leather and 3 pin traps.
     
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