1. There's more to this forum than meets the eye!

    We have a vibrant community here conversing about all sorts of non-snow topics such as music, sport, politics and technology. Simply register to reveal all our Apr├Ęs topics or continue browsing and reading as a guest.

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice

XC advice for a difficult woman...

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by mr, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    I want to get a versatile boot, binding, ski setup for my fussy side, but unsure which way to head.

    She is an accomplished skinny XC and downhill skiier. Can skate pretty well. Can tele a bit.

    She is not a gear freak. She likes low-fuss action. I think she is old-fashioned in a way.

    She finds the current resort tele rigs a bit over the top, particularly for trail-bashing and day / overnight tours. She finds yo-yoing and lift days can get a bit monotonous, but does like skiing downhills on occasion, and is happy to do this on an xc setup.

    As we have a young kid, and more on the way, she likes the idea of being able to get out occasionally for a few hours, but wants the versatility of choice so it could work at, say, the differing requirements of lake mountain, hotham and the high plains.

    She likes leather boots, but the ones we can find these days are very heavy and stiff and are heading towards hard boots anyway. She likes the 70s version lightweight leather boots, but since 3-pins have changed they all have fat soles, and we cant find em anywhere.

    All the goretexy boots are for NNN BC bindings which while light n easy, struggle once longer tours, traverses and d/h action comes into play. But maybe a metal edged ski with small crown base would work here.

    I ski on Fischer outtabounds (the middle one of the 3) with Excursions and Rivas, which i recognise are a compromise of tourability / turnability, and i struggle on the steeper stuff, and they dont skate that well, but are a good all-rounder i reckon.

    Part of me thinks i should just get her some leather tele boots and let her rip on these as we rarely ski together these days anyway. But she thinks the skis are too fat.

    I am thinking some 2nd hand bindings, and a metal edged touring ski, but which boot? The boot defines the binding and the ski. I think the boot has to come first. Own boots, hire the rest til happy to buy.

    The guy at Ajays mentioned Salomon profill (?) and an explorer crown which is a lightweight metal edge but i know nothing of these. And this sort of rig will be $1000ish new I imagine. I think this is a NNNBC set up, yeah?

    I suppose some people have a different rig for different things but this is not an $option (or is it if i go 2nd hand? There doesnt seem to be much 2nd hand stuff around for the gals)

    Its her birthday on Saturday, by the way.

    Any thoughts, advice appreciated.
     
  2. satanas

    satanas Addicted

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    171
    I've been looking for lightish (ie non-plastic) touring boots myself. Your options (by binding type) are:

    1. NNN-BC: there is one decent boot available which should be capable of turning - the Rossignol BC X7. EMC have these for ~$289 - but they don't fit my foot :-(
    2. Salomon BC/X-Adventure: only the XA 5 is around (~$200) but is not super supportive. The last is different from Rossi though, so they are likely to fit if Rossi do not.
    3. Salomon Profil: these are really for track skiing, and aren't very walkable and most aren't too good for teles, but okay for alpine turns with appropriately narrow skis. The Explorer is an odd ski; I haven't skied it, but have heard mixed reports - demoing is suggested.
    4. 75mm: Wilderness Sports in Jindabyne have Karhu Convert II boots at ~$299. I'm semi-tempted to buy these as they fit my feet quite well. There is some ankle support, but not like plastic. Last is more similar to Salomon than Rossi; both have a relatively wider forefoot and narrower heel.

    I haven't been able to find anything else in Oz, however it might be worth checking www.rei.com as they have quite a lot of small size boots left over and on sale cheap...
     
    #2 satanas, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  3. TonyB

    TonyB First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    I quite disagree here ... NNN gives much easier touring than cables ... after skiing on Garmont Excursions last year it was a wonderful relief to get back onto Alpina BC2000 NNN this season ... downhills are fine, if you have a look at my video clips ... there's probably better alternatives if she wants to ski 40 degree slopes but for other purposes they are great. The automatic NNN bindings are fantastic ... you don't even have to bend over to get in or out. The boots do get sloppy with bar wear, mainly through walking on roads etc, which does make traveres a bit more work. To minimise wear when not skiing I've made toe protector pieces, that guard the bar and front of the boot. As for touring and climbing, they give much more speed and freedom. Skis also need to be relatively lightweight to match the boots and bindings ... I use Karhu Pavo.
     
    #3 TonyB, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2013
  4. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I don't really know why any one would buy a leather boot these days.

    The lighter plastics are flexible and great for touring.

    Feet stay warm, dry and the inners are great hut / bivvy boots.

    To get something lighter in leather it will low cut and horribly unstable to turn in.
     
  5. gusc

    gusc Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne
    My partner has just bought a 2nd rig more oriented for touring than yoyos - similar situation to you: the "with kid/day tour/less opps to ski hard core now" thang.

    Seems hard to get a setup that tours, turns & track-skis well - mainly because a track boot is lighter than a touring boot is lighter than a turning boot?

    We stayed with 3 pin bindings so she could use her Scarpa T2 boots (probably a bit too heavy in a perfect world) and bought some Karhu Lookouts(?) 2nd hand from Ray's Ski Hire in Myrtleford (metal edge pattern touring ski) & they sold us some cheap, new, heavy-duty 3pin bindings. I rang everywhere in metro Melb & had no luck finding 2nd hand XC gear for sale.

    Does she have any boots at the moment? I think your idea of metal-edged, pattern-base skis seems good - pretty all-round. Then go for an appropriate boot/binding geared to the skiing she's most likely to do. Perhaps those Karhu 75mm boots Satanas suggested would go well. (If you ended up with a heavier boot but wanted something light for tracks/touring, I think Mt Erica ski hire (services Mt St Gwinear) still uses leather 3pin boots, so perhaps you could get some 2nd hand from there?)
     
  6. Rolo

    Rolo One of Us

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1998
    Messages:
    3,847
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    ACT
    Not going to respond to the actual question, but just wanted to say that's the most well-contexted (sic [​IMG] ) question I've ever read on the DB. Good drills, MR :thumbs:
     
    #6 Rolo, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  7. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Thanks for all your opinions and recommendations folks. I'm not sure why she wants leather boots, either, but spring skiing in Aus (maybe with kids) does mean walking-in and around and I think she considers leather to be better for this (I think she also harbours romantic notions of wearing her mums leather boots which died a couple of years back).
     
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,759
    Likes Received:
    4,967
    Don't know what the prejudice about NNNBC is.

    Matched with leather and plastic cuffed Alpina 1500 boots and Karhu XCDs, for a decade I toured and resort tele'd on them as well as I have with cable bindings. Never broken a part; never had to mess around with them.

    They've been called the Subaru of BC rigs.
     
  9. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Do you perceive prejudice, Ziggy? I kind of think its maybe just alot of telemarkers and few NNNBC users in this DB, which is interesting in itself, cause there's plenty of NNNBC users out there.

    I actually think she'll probably end up with NNNBC. My issue I think is that i have only rented sloppy and old NNNBC stuff, which when i shifted to tele gear of my own found a vast improvement. My first few years of touring when i could barely ski at all was on this gear. Any gear that is your own is better than hiring different stuff each time, which is why i'm looking to buy for my gal.

    Not much wrong with Subies. Good all-rounders.
     
  10. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I learnt in leather boots on old Karhu's with 3 pin bindings (These are the NNNBC are they not???). I was maybe Teleing too much in them and started to destroy the duckbill. No problems otherwise. Light and simple.

    If you tour 95% of the time then go as light as you can.

    Subies best cars ever thanks....

    If you tour 95% of the time then go as light as you can.
     
  11. satanas

    satanas Addicted

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    171
    I'd agree that NNN-BC ought to be fine for touring and turning (but maybe not for warp speed resort skiing on ice). My only issue with the system is that none of the boots have a last which suits my foot. As a result I have been using the (similar) Salomon SNS-BC/X-Adventure system, but availability of gear is generally poor to non-existent. (Rhythm at Cooma have XA 5 boots in stock at present.)

    For those who say plastic is soft enough for touring - I assume that either you are all ex-alpine skiers, have never used anything else, or have never skied more than a few kilometers a day, otherwise your position makes little sense to me. Okay, plastic is generally warmer and drier, and control is better on steep stuff, but they are heavy and stiff (even Excursions - which I have). If covering distance is important, I'd look at something else. Some of the system boots (ie Rossi's BC X7, and the Salomon equivalent) are also very warm, and I've never had a non-leather upper freeze solid overnight.

    Plastic is *NOT* the answer to everything, or everybody!!!!
     
  12. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Sorry, satanas, what is a last? Is that a typo or is foot nomenclature i dont understand.

    I agree that plastic is not the answer to everything, however the posing of my conundrum is due to the fact that it is hard to find one answer to a variety of skiing desires.

    I actually started on lighter touring gear than what i have now, and maybe my poor skiing is better than it once was, but the control difference of skiing down treed trails with a full pack was worth heading towards heavier gear (what i have is 'light' by todays' tele gear).

    Warm and dry is incredibly important on overnight or multi-day trips.

    Keep those opinions coming, thanks, its all good.
    [​IMG]
     
    #12 mr, Jul 27, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  13. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Not saying it is the answer, but having progressed from leather into plastic I would never go back. That said I do tend to approach touring with a view to doing turns rather than the other way around.

    Folks out there are welcome to ski whereever, however and on whatever they want.

    I have an old pair of T3's and it is not uncommon for me to do day trips in excess of 20km and trash every nice slope I come accross 2 or 3 times.

    It just depends on your focus suppose. I like to turn so I like plastic.

    I've already said that if your focus is touring then go for something comfy, light and low cut. That can mean leather synthetic or whatever takes your fancy.
     
  14. snowshoe_fiend

    snowshoe_fiend Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2000
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I certainly like being able to walk properly in my leather boots when the snow runs out in spring; this is a much-overlooked capability. Besides, if God had intended us to wear plastic boots, then cows would have a plastic hide.
     
  15. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    They would also have laces. And I'm not even going to ask which three holes you plan on attaching your binding to.

    Go the dunlop volley......
     
  16. legend

    legend One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    348
    Location:
    lakes entrance
    Back in the 'good old days' when Alpha boots were the only ones on the market (early - mid '70s) you could almost tie them in knots, but learnt to ski parallel and basic telemarks on splitkein and the early fisher 77. Later Fritz Shumberg imported the first of the 'heavy weight' boots. Made high speed turning, cornice jumping more supportive, but skis generally couldn't handle the stress. Meant new skis twice a season as the tops delaminated!!
    Since then have skied on a number of heavy leather boots. Most popular in the VMTC are the Andrew Cornice. Easy to break in, comes in a wide variety of sizes, 'cheap' about $300 but less with discounts, and can ski/jump anything that courage can handle (club lake, crags, bogong gullies, etc). When doing a K - K tour and have to walk 20km when snow goes, feet don't get blisters.
     
  17. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1998
    Messages:
    26,901
    Likes Received:
    21,504
    Location:
    Middle Oz
  18. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,759
    Likes Received:
    4,967
    Yep. Or one, living with the compromises.

    Hiring is the pits - there's so much variation in the gear (even when it's in good nick) that it's hard to advance your technique from one session to the next.
     
  19. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I'm thinking it's kind of a percentage thing.

    My focus is 40% tour and 60 % turns. I have a light set up with plastic boots and a heavier resort and bigger mountain set up also with plastic boots.

    I reckon i'd stay in plastic down to a percentage of 60% tour 40% turns.

    If the situation was 70% tour 30% turns then I would change down to a lighter set up.

    In Canada recently when faced with the prospect of a 35km day invoving two massive lake crossings and bugger all chance of a decent downhill I went really light weight and it was great.

    My lighter weight plastics are the old maroon T3's. Really low cut and only two buckles. Not too heavy.

    Unfortunately resort Telly is the growing market that plastic boot manufacturers are targeting.

    Boots keep getting higher, stiffer and heavier.
     
  20. satanas

    satanas Addicted

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    171
    Re shoe/boot lasts: a last is a foot-shaped form which the boot is shaped around - literally in the days of leather. Different manufacturers use different-shaped lasts, presumably because their designers have differently shaped feet from each other, and would like to be able to wear the boots they sell!

    So, it is highly likely that one brand will fit somebody when another won't. In my case, Salomon, Garmont and Karhu are okay; Alpina, Rossi and Scarpa are not. Others may well have different experiences, depending on their foot shape.

    Re boots: I have owned a variety of leather and plastic boots, plus (largely synthetic) track boots. My experience is that Scarpa boots are too hard to flex at the ankle, and that they do not fit me - too many pressure points (have owned T2 & T3 in the past).

    Garmonts work better for those with high insteps, IME. But, even the "soft" Excursions are way stiffer torsionally than any leather boot, and are much harder to flex fore/aft at the ankle. I don't like this for touring, but it's okay for resort skiing. I cannot really imagine wanting anything stiffer than an Excursion, except maybe for full time resort skiing on wiiiide skis on ice...

    Leather boots can be comfortable, are easier to walk in, can be kept pretty much waterproof for up to about a week with decent proofing and some care, BUT suffer from the fatal flaw that they freeze solid if they get wet - ie from sweat. This is horrendously uncomfortable/painful until the boots thaw out again.

    Synthetic track boots (ie SNS/NNN) are generally warm, light, quite durable (if not walked on too much except on snow) and DO NOT FREEZE! Both Rossi and Salomon make touring boots with this style upper, but the only one locally available is the Rossi BC X7. Note that some "leather" appearing boots (ie Karhu Convert II) are in fact synthetic; I don't know if the stuff they are made of is "freezable" or not...

    People with some technique do not necessarily need plastic boots to be able to turn, or to have warm feet. Overboots/gaiters like the OR X-Gaiter and Berghaus Yeti can make quite a difference to foot warmth.

    BTW, I used to have a pair of maroon T3s and had terrible problems with pressure points on the instep and side of the foot, shin abrasion (this was a very common problem with early T2s/T3s), lack of ankle flex, etc. On long climbs, having the tongue OVER the buckles (ie so it didn't have to be flexed) saved both pain and energy. I hated those boots, but they were warm...

    surveyorcam is right though - boots keep getting bigger. This is not necessarily helpful here in Oz where wide skis are superfluous most of the time and terrain is often a lot flatter than O/S.

    It'd be nice if somebody (Garmont perhaps?) would make the lightest, softest plastic boot possible, or if Salomon could make a version of their Pilot skating boot with enough flex at the ball of the foot to tele successfully, and a sole that could be walked on...

    It'd be easier just to take up darts!
     
  21. gusc

    gusc Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne
    mr, have you seen the latest edition of Wild magazine? It has a review of tele boots, including lighter stuff; both NNN & 3-pin. So, tomorrow all you have to do is: (1) buy Wild (2) go to about 4 different shops across the whole of the city (3) buy present (4) sneak it home (5) remember you've forgotten a card (6) get card from 7-11 because shops are closed, and (7) wrap present for Saturday...

    Easy!

    And satanas, for those of us WITHOUT "some technique", plastic boots & shaped skis mean we get to enjoy teleing, rather than just wishing we'd get better! [​IMG]
     
    #21 gusc, Jul 28, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  22. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Thanks everyone.
    The pressie status is this:
    a. she wants light gear after having read your feedback, so NNN BC it is. She really is a touring girl (...i typed backcountry girl, but it sounded a little wrong....). She is also pretty stingy so is happy with mostly 2nd hand. Will see about the boots, though
    b. card bought, cause i do always forget gus
    c. I got on the phone and after a nmajor ring around outdoors.com.au (i think ex- recycled recreation who i never really liked, but anyways) in blackburn have 'as new' 2nd hand Alpina leather / thinsulate boots in her size so we'll try em tomorrow
    d. they have various pattern based metal edge karhus 2nd hand so well probably be able to get a full boot, binding, ski, pole rig for under $350 which aint bad at all.
    e. I will buy Wild anyways
    f. Cant sneak home boots she needs to try on unfortunately, so no surprises.

    This has been an interesting discussion and shows that we really do have unique skiing conditions that if we were all totally loaded would have 2 or 3 rigs.
     
  23. TonyB

    TonyB First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Mr, further to my previous comment, make sure you use sno-seal on the leather and she will never have cold feet. Leather also tends to keep feet warm because it's flexiblity allows the foot to bend and maintain circulation. This of course requires good touring technique ... that is, not stiff, bolt upright and flat footed.
    Also be sure you build a toe protector for the NNN bar in the toe of the boot, to prevent wear when walking without skis.
     
  24. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Toe protector is a very good idea. Do you guys make yer own or is there a proprietry type?
     
  25. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,759
    Likes Received:
    4,967
    Just check the grip pattern on the skis ... spring snow is pretty abrasive. Though Karhus give you a big margin ;-}
     
  26. TonyB

    TonyB First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    mr ... I've made my own out of some aluminium sheet ... I'm surprised that one of the NNN manufacturers hasn't caught on ...
     
  27. PK Sawd

    PK Sawd Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    13,468
    Likes Received:
    10,718
    Location:
    Hobart, TAS, Australia
    Yeah, I've found the grip on various Karhus to be pretty good for the most part. FWIW I still have an old pair of Leather boots lurking in the shed and I do use them when I am I heading off on undulating terrain of any distance. I should also add that a Tele instructor I spent a day with at Cairngorm some years back seemed to handle piste and ice pretty darned well on NNN-BC equipment. I suspect he could have managed on a beer tray though......
     
  28. Ro

    Ro First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Shoalhaven
    Good to see others are going through the whole, Ive got a kid but still want to go skiing so I better get some ski gear so the dairy can come along.
    Just picked up a pair of garmont veloce for my other half, she wanted something with ankle support, and the plastic boots make the turning easier. Might go for AT gear later but given I already had 2 ski set ups I just needed another set of boots to get her going, plus the extra weight will slow her down so I can keep up with the back pack on.
     
  29. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    Ended up with NNN-BC perfect condition leather alpinas ($120), and a very light excellent condition pattern-base fischer ski and poles. Would have preferred a metal-edged karhu but for $140 or so we can buy another and better when they have them. All up less than $300.

    Thanks again for all your help. Made it on time for birthday. We can both go skiing now. Even have been lent a pair of 40cm pattern-based jobbies for the 16-month old who is already wearing them around the house.
     
  30. simo_tele

    simo_tele One of Us

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    1,255
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Hobart
    sounds like the little taker will be tearing up the slopes in no time!
     
  31. gusc

    gusc Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Now all you need is for the snow to come back! Good luck!
     
  32. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    18,165
    Likes Received:
    11,343
    Location:
    melbourne
    wednesday gus.......and then there's spring. I feel a long spring ski year coming on.....
     
  33. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I'm still praying for a late winter.
     
  34. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,759
    Likes Received:
    4,967
    well done MR