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Cross Country Ski Package??

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Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby KathyW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:59 am

I'm interested in doing some cross county ski touring on gentle terrain (not in tracks) - rolling hills with gentle to moderate slopes. Nothing too vertical. Does anyone have any suggestion on skis, bindings, and boots for a beginner? I want something that will be okay if I advance to an intermediate level.



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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby oldranger » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:56 am

I strongly suggest you try out different boot/ski combos by renting. Personnaly I prefer Backcountry Nordic Norm bindings and boots over the lighter binding/boot combinations. I have a pair of track skiis that have backcountry NN bindings so I need only one pair of boots for the two pair of skiis I use. It is weird but early in the season the snow in central oregon is usually soft and dry--I use my track skiis most then. But the skiis I use most of the time are double cambered, light, metal edged skiis with some sidecut. I can actually telly on them in moderate terrain. The metal edges are great when there is a midwinter dry spell and the ski surface gets hard. The bcnn binding/boot combo also adds to your control if you get into an icy patch.

There is also a choice in ski design. The tradition long and skinny or shorter and wider. Long and skinny tend to be faster and shorter and wider more stable.

To me the number one concern is boot comfort--no blisters and enough support so my ankles don't get sore. Specific boot recommendations from me or anyone else will not help because your feet are unique to you.

I also always buy boots new but frequently buy skiis at swaps. Remember that if you are going to buy a package new that REI has a wonderful return policy if the package doesn't work out.

Mike
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby paul » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:25 pm

I second the motion on renting if you can , to try out some stuff.

In general, get the boots first. Boots must fit well, so I would find boots first, and then get bindings to suit, as you might find that the only boots that fit you right are 3-pins, or NNN-BC, or Salomon (all mutually incompatible).

My personal opinion is to get more boot rather than less - you'll have more control, especially important for a beginner.

Metal edges are very nice if it gets icy, and not much downside to them in softer snow. You'd be looking at the narrowest metal-edged skis.

Some skis:
Salomon XADV 59
Madshus Glittertind
Fischer S-bound 78
Atomic Rainier

There are quite a few skis that will work well for what you have in mind, and most likely you'd have fun on any of them, so I would be less concerned about getting the "right" skis than getting boots that fit well. Like the oldranger says, comfortable boots are a must, and boots that don't fit will ruin all your fun.

Oh, and one more thing - if in doubt about ski lengths, go shorter. A ski that is too long for your weight will not grip well - totally frustrating. A ski that is a little short is just slightly slower on the glide - no big deal.
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby BrianF » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:11 pm

+1 on the boots and trying out rentals. It has been a long time since I have purchased skis, so I can't help there, but if you are going up the Eastside I can recommend both Wilsons in Bishop and Brian's in Mammoth as good places for rentals and info. I have rented skis for my son at both and it was good equipment. There are some great ares to ski between Mammoth and June Lake near Deadman Summit and Glass Flow rd. where you can either use the groomed tracks (good for practicing your stride and glide) or get off track into some good rolling terrain either through the trees or in open areas.
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby KathyW » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:18 am

Thanks - very helpful information. Living in Southern California means I probably don't have a great place to rent close to home. It sounds like it might be a good idea to make a couple trips to the Eastern Sierra over the winter to rent and try out some gear. I'll place my emphasis on finding the correct boots as suggested. Also, the suggestion on ski length and going shorter when in doubt is helpful.
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby markskor » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:52 am

Timely topic as I too am getting my X-country together and also have a few questions.

Learning to ski on the frozen lakes of Mammoth years ago, I discovered that what skis - boots - bindings you purchase depends on what type terrain you intend covering. The OP mentioned rolling hills and off trail, no set tracks, and not steep. Good information then follows about renting ski packages before buying...Great way to find out what works for you. Many wax-less/ fish-scale-pattern skis/ with specific compatible bindings are available which will allow plenty of winter x-country fun.

My problem/questions are more specific. First of all I dislike wax-less skis...hate the sound they make when going downhill (Tele's). I have two sets of skis for the Sierra. For tracks, I like my old skinny Epoke 215's...wax, and for the steeps, slightly wider, steel-edged 210's...also wax-able...both set on 3-pin bindings. I guess this would be Old-school. (Klister anyone?) I am currently looking for new boots - like leather, maybe Asolo's or Vasque's... any suggestions?
(I know...whatever fits best, but...)

Secondly, I am looking for wool knickers...All I find are golf knickers. Where do I find wool x-country knickers on line?

Thanks,
Mark
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby paul » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:24 pm

Mark - There are leather boots and fabric/leather boots. The fabric/leather boots are easier to find and less expensive. If you want to go fully old-school, Scarpa and Alico make full leather, norwegian welt boots. Here's the Scarpa:

http://www.altrec.com/scarpa/wasatch-telemark-boots

For the leather/fabric boots, Fischer, Rossignol, and Alpina all make similar boots that are 75mm duckbill boots - like this guy:

http://www.backcountry.com/fischer-bcx-675-boot

The fabric/leather boots are probably warmer/ drier and break in a lot faster. The only real advantage of the full leathers is they can be resoled - but that only kicks in if you get a lot of use out of them.

Knickers - dude, you are old school! How 'bout these:

http://www.bicyclefixation.com/prod_wool_knickers.html
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby markskor » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:07 pm

paul wrote:Mark - Knickers - dude, you are old school! How 'bout these:

http://www.bicyclefixation.com/prod_wool_knickers.html


Paul,
Yup, that's the hot ticket, (and with my rugged good looks, will make the outfit pop) -
but @ $145.00...Yowza!

Anybody know of any wool (blend OK) knickers that are not Gold-plated?
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby sparky » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:43 pm

Buy a pair at goodwill and have them custom tailored. I started hiking in wool pants. Cool when its warm, and warm when cool. Never wearing "hiking pants" again.
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby rlown » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:45 pm

I have Asolo boots. They are great. 3 pin bindings on 215 full metal edged Karhus. I also have some knickers that (almost) still fit (bought them in '91; just need to lose an inch to be comfortable.). Woolrich.. too bad they don't make them anymore. Even Woolrich's customer service pointed me to their golf knicker shop, which shows where the market is.

I do agree with Mark.. The fit and feel of knickers is really great for x-c skiing.
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby oldranger » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Mark

A local surplus store had lots of heavy (and light) wool pants that I think would be pretty easy for your mammoth seamstress to convert to knickers. The only problem is no ginormous waist sizes. :D

Mike
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Re: Cross Country Ski Package??

Postby markskor » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:14 pm

oldranger wrote:Mark

A local surplus store had lots of heavy (and light) wool pants that I think would be pretty easy for your mammoth seamstress to convert to knickers. The only problem is no ginormous waist sizes. :D

Mike


Mike,
That wise crack about "ginormous" aside...

There are no surplus stores in Mammoth.
On a side note, just found some nice Karhu Telemark boots...(last years model) for $90 here at Brian's in Mammoth. Now if the lakes would ever freeze over.
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