/ Needle sports Touring skis

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Mr-Cowdrey on 17 Nov 2012
I want to get into ski touring/mountaineering and have been searching around online for touring skis and bindings etc and have come across these on Needle Sports http://www.needlesports.com/Catalogue/Winter-Climbing-Equipment/Snow-Equipment/Snow-Shoes/SnowVentur...

question to you lot, have any of you used them before? And would you recommend them for a beginner ski touring set up? If I buy them, then I'll mostly be using them in Scotland this season and possibly take them with me to the Alps next year for a play.

Just for the record, I've never skied on snow before, but have skied on dry slopes and have been told I'm pretty good (i.e. I have yet to fall over)

cheers
Cuthbert on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

I would avoid these. They seem to combine the worst aspects of many set up with no release, short skis and skis which aren't really a basis for progression. They are also expensive compared with a 2nd hand set up. If you want to try before you buy then you can hire skis from various places in Aviemore. If you want to get into touring then best to buy a proper set up, maybe 2nd hand initially.
blurty - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

I'm a relative newcomer to ski touring, but I wouldn't get these. I bought some 2nd hand bindings from ebay, & new skis. Cost was similar to what you're planning to spend on these approach skis.

The boots are pretty pricey as well unfortunately, Lockwoods have some good deals. If your skiing is below par I'd get some 4 buckle boots.
Oceanic - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

There are some good deals on second hand Fritschi bindings on the internet at the moment.
OwenM - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Don't waste your money,their crap. Hire some proppar skis take some lessons and learn to ski first. Trying to ski tour before you can ski is like entering a mountain marathon before you can walk.
Edradour - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:
>
> Just for the record, I've never skied on snow before, but have skied on dry slopes and have been told I'm pretty good (i.e. I have yet to fall over)
>

I'm gonna be frank. You need to learn to ski first (snow is nothing like a dry ski slope and off piste skiing is different again from piste skiing) and avoid these - they'll be a pile of shit. Go skiing at the end of the season and buy some ex-rental skis for 30 euros (and some second hand bindings off ebay) if you want a pair that you don't mind trashing.

Seriously though, you need to learn to ski first or you're going to have a miserable few outings and then probably give up altogether.

Edradour - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to OwenM:

Beat me to it!
rlines - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: I dont think these should be viewed as skis in the conventional sense. If you want to get to the climbs in better style, then these are probably better than snow shoes as you can at least slide downhill a bit, in between face plants and back flips.

As others have said, if you really want to get into touring, get the proper kit and you won't be dissapointed. If you dont like it, the way anything ski related gets snapped up on this form, you wont have a problem shifting it.

Oh, and dont necessariy base your experiences in scotalnd as what ski touring is and could be. i guess you're familliar wth the scottish conditions lottery tho.

But, as others have said, learn to ski on a vairety of snow types first. That's the difference I think with touring, there are as many snow conditions as days you go skiing and some dys you float like a hero, others will make you think you've not progressed since day 1! If you get to the alps, practice on any of the blacks that don't get groomed and are not moguls yet, the real chopped up gar.

Oh and the ost important thing is get a beacon, shovel and probe and be 100% at using them.
TonyM - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:
Those skis aren't crap. But they are pretty specialist. Ideal for routes on N Face of the Droites where you might be going up-and-over on an alpine route and want to ski in and ski out. Their size makes them easier to climb with on the pack than normal skis, and give faster movement underfoot than snow shoes.
But they definitely ain't for novice skiers!
Needle Sports - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to OwenM:
> their (sic) crap.

and

In reply to Fickalli:
> they'll be a pile of shit.

Speaking from experience are we? Actually, they are neither "crap" nor "a pile of shit" - we wouldn't stock them if they were. They are very well made and are ideal for what they are designed for which is as a lightweight approach ski that you can carry up routes with you and ski out in - a good alternative to snow shoes if you can ski and are happy climbing in your ski touring boots. They would also be good for ski touring in poor conditions in Scotland where you are likely to have to carry them quite a bit and don't want to damage your "proper" skis on rocks. They are fun to ski on but it is a bit easier to fall using them than with full length skis though it is probably a matter of getting used to them. However I wouldn't choose to take them on big ski tours in the alps, partly because their shorter length means you are more likely to go through a snow bridge. And (you are right in this), they are certainly not ideal for beginners.
Dave Kerr - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to rlines:
> (In reply to Mr-Cowdrey) > Oh and the ost important thing is get a beacon, shovel and probe and be 100% at using them.

I'm going to be really controversial here and say that these are not essential for first forays touring in scotland.

Edradour - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Needle Sports:
>
> Actually, they are neither "crap" nor "a pile of shit" - we wouldn't stock them if they were.

Oh, I'm sorry Needle Sports are we not allowed to have an opinion contrary to yours? Or do we have to show unqualified respect for everything that your shop stocks? Don't be so precious.

325 for a pair of skis that are going to be hard to ski on, of limited use and with a set of bindings that are not widely used is, in my opinion, a 'pile of shit'. As I, and others, recommended to the OP, he would be better off buying some ex rental skis / a second hand setup, which he also wouldn't mind trashing on rocks, for a tenth of the price. These would be of much more utility.

Obviously he needs to learn to ski first.

Rob Exile Ward on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Fickalli: You'er out of order. You are insulting Needlesports, who have a pretty gilt edge reputation for supplying good gear and knowing what they're talking about. And the skis don't look crap at all, they look like a great solution to a lot of situations.

Just definitely NOT for the OP, as clearly stated on the Needlesports website. (And no doubt he would have been told if he'd rocked up with a credit card.)
beardy mike - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: having watched a novice skier trying to tour on these in b3 boots, I would say avoid. The simple fact is, that if you want to get into ski mountaineering, in the true sense, I.e. skin in to route, climb route in ski touring boots, then ski off the top, then you are better off buying a light weight ski, with a light binding and a decent touring boot. Touring boots can be used for normal skiing as can a light touring ski. Yes it's more difficult than a piste ski with a piste boot but it can be done successfully. Far more successfully than what amounts to.a complicated snow blade. Get dynafitbindings with a comfortable boot, and a shortish light ski. For example I have a pair of k2 ascents with the mid light bindings which weigh about 3 kg for the set up. My petzl vasak crampons fit not only my normal boots but my scarpa touring boots, which are not the more down hill oriented variety. This means that climbing in them is not uncomfortable, you lose dexterity and feel, but its doable. Ski mountaineering is about a series of compromises. You will not be climbing with your ideal set up. But it gives you a brilliant and versatile way to travel around the mountains. Yes this product is well made, and it can serve a purpose, but be realistic about your ability and your aims. These are not a beginners tool, and even then they are not ideal. Learn to ski first, then learn to tour, then learn to combine it with climbing. Just because you've skied and the name of the sport involves mountaineering doesn't mean that you'll known much about it when you start... Might seem a pedantic thing to say, but I only mention it because it can be a frustrating process and you shouldn't feel let down when you go at it and it doesn't all fall into place straight away. Persist and you'll succeed. Just do it on proper planks ;)
beardy mike - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: I think you might be the one being precious. They are a climbing shop. Not a skiing and touring shop. Do you see mountain spirit or cairngorm mountain sports selling them? No. Mainly cos they aren't much use once you get out in it. Yes needle sports is a brilliant shop, but in this particular case I'm not sure why they are selling them. Blades are dire on piste, let alone off piste... If they were brill lots of places would have them...
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann: ' I'm not sure why they are selling them.' I think that was answered above, not the answer to every problem but they have a place (which is why they are still around after many years.)

As a retailer myself (hopefully ethical, though not outdoor related) it's actually quite disheartening to have people say 'this product is cr*p' without either understanding the product (Needlesports never suggested the setup was for novice ski tourers to do it on the cheap, which teh OP was asking about) or considering that maybe the retailer gave some considerable thought as to why they should stock it, i.e. invest their cash in doing so.
OwenM - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Needle Sports:
> (In reply to OwenM)
> [...]
>
> and
>
>
>
> Speaking from experience are we? Yes.
Edradour - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Fickalli) You'er out of order. You are insulting Needlesports, who have a pretty gilt edge reputation for supplying good gear and knowing what they're talking about. And the skis don't look crap at all, they look like a great solution to a lot of situations.
>

I'm not insulting Needle Sports nor am I saying that they don't have a good reputation for supplying good gear (in my initial post you'll notice that I didn't mention the shop at all - they were the ones who made it personal). I have used them in the past and will probably do so in the future though for climbing equipment - not ski touring gear.

However, they have an opinion, I am equally as entitled to have my own which, in this case, happens to differ from the retailers (who have a vested interest in promoting their product). I was answering the initial post, not entering a debate on whether Needle Sports was a good shop who stocks good products, and I maintain that these 'skis' are not a good product for what the OP was intending (and actually, in my opinion, for anything really). Others will have similar views on other products; be that instructors who don't like cams, people who don't like snowshoes, those who prefer DMM over BD or others who dislike RAB, or ME etc.

The OP can take whatever advice he wants - he can make his own skis out of old kitchen worktops if he wants and try and do the Haute Route having never skied on snow - if he asked, I would also advise against this.

He asked for advice and got a range of views, it's now up to him what he does with those opinions.

beardy mike - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: you are rather supposing that I or Owen don't understand the product. Having had experience with the product, yes the quality isn't bad, but the plain fact is that it doesn't perform that well unless you are a very very competent skier. As I have stated, you are better off with proper, light, skinny short skis. Yes they are not as compact as the venture "skis" but you pay for that compactness in stability. There are plenty of short skis out there that will do the same job much better than these, after all the majority of people will be using these for stomping up I and IIs not Vs, so compactness is not really an issue. Lets not forget that the op is asking specifically about getting into ski mountaineering, not fumbling down after a hardish route...
beardy mike - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann: ps the only reason these are still in production is because climbers think they can get away with them, rather than learning how to ski well. There is no substitute for this.
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to mike kann: I think we're violently agreeing here. I think the *correct* answer to the OP is no, for your purposes, these would be a cr*p idea - which is pretty much what the Needlesports website implies.

I wouldn't disagree that a few outings on plastic is no substitute for a few days on real snow, either. Skiing is just great for making you think you're making progress, whizzing down nicely pisted blacks - and then blow me, you have a go off piste, or try a Cairngorm red in rubbish conditions and it's back to square one again.
Mr-Cowdrey on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: aside from the conflict which i may have caused, sorry, thank you for the advice. Me and the girlfriend are thinking of going skiing over the xmas period, so hopefully i'll get the grip of skiing then and make a step forward from there.

cheers guys.
skarabrae - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Needle Sports: yes they're crap & a pile o shite!
In reply thread poster, I call troll!!

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