/ non-specific touring skis
It seems to me that if I were to buy a pair of skis that were decent off piste I should be able to fit randonnee bindings and voila, a perfectly workable, if slightly heavy, setup. Am I missing something fundamental?
The other problem I have is that all the manufacturers talk up their product, and then all the skiers have different opinions, unlike, say a mountaineering boot, where there are certain "classic" options. Or is there a "standard" beginner touring setup that I would do well to start with? I would like my setup to be more on the durable side than lightweight. I'd also like to be able to use them on piste. I'm always happy to save money, but not if it will seriously negatively effect the performance of the kit (i.e. i buy decathlon clothes for climbing because they're cheap, but i have Sportiva Nepal Extremes because they're the best!)
I'd love it if you could help a fool out!
A lot of the chat about skis is splitting hairs (and selling more skis!) as lots of skis will do a good job in lots of conditions.
Have a good hard think about what most of your skiing will be like and buy something that tends towards that.
If you feel you need a burly ski but still want to do big touring days or carry them then you can save some weight by putting Dynafit bindings on.
It is a minefield.
Touring skis tend to be lighter, more flexible, and less use for things like smashing through crap snow or fast piste skiing. I bent a pair of K2 Backups recently after a fall. I suspect a heavier ski would not have succumbed the same fate.
For multiday stuff, i would be inclined to get a skiable ski, rather than a superlight one. I am not doing skimo races or the PdG, so to replace my Backups, I have opted for Hardsides, as I am relatively fit, and shouldn't have too much trouble hauling ass up hill, even for multiday stuff. Anyway, I have PLUM bindings, which are 2kgs or so less than Dukes or Fritschis.
A lot of Freeride skis look pretty good as an all round option. K2 Sideshows look good, for example.
very cheap at the mo from sport conrad.
Confusing isn't it?
I wouldn't buy a dedicated touring ski unless you are a very good skier who will use them exclusively on multi-day tours. A freeride ski is the best option for most people. Modern ones are reasonably light.
Your piste performance will inevitably be compromised if you pick a ski that is suited to soft snow conditions. Some shops will classify skis as % soft snow / % piste e.g. 50/50.
I bought some Scott Missions last year and really like them, but I don't expect them to perform as well as a narrower, heavier ski would on icy pistes.
My first set were Scott Missions with Titanal III bindings which are a good all round ski both on and off piste and paired intially with a set of Spirit 4 Boots and then a pair of Maestrales which are far better for touring but not so good on piste. I have kept these as rock hopper/scottish skis and just bought Black Diamond Stigma with Dynafit as my much lighter touring set-up. I took them on the piste today just to see what they are like and they are more skittish than the Missions in the cruddy stuff but still easily controlable.
No sounds about right to me.
Ideally just buy a fair of mid-fat/all mountain skis that suit your style. You're best off testing first to see what suits you. Though there are good deals to be had online so if it's the difference between £2/300 with buying a ski online based on reviews or buying one in a shop after testing i'd risk buying online.
Bindings wise you've essentially 3 types of options -
1. Tech bindings e.g. dynafit. You'll need boots with special inserts for these. Though they're considerably lighter than traditional style touring bindings.
2. regular touring bindings, classic example is the diamir fritschi and it's variants. These will do most things though if you're skiing hard they're not great for piste or hard crud as they're difficult to drive.
3. Slack/side country bindings e.g. Marker Duke. This type of binding is a relatively recent introduction to the market. They're primarily based around resort skiers who do the occasional tour for fresh tracks. They tend to be heavier and sturdier. Good to ski though you wouldn't necessarily want them for multi day tours.
Once you've decided on the type of bindings system to go for. Go to a good boot fitter for your boots. Tell him what you intend to do skiing wise, what type of bindings you have, what your ability level is roughly (be honest) and what your budget is. Then let him measure up your feet and do the work. You can have the best gear in the world and if your ski boots don't fit properly it's not worth a shite. So they're the most important part of the package.
Hope this helps.
Another vote for Coombacks. I've got Marker F10s on them and will be doing a 4 day tour on them in a few weeks (first multi-day trip with them). I don't expect the up hill to be easy with them but putting in more effort is cheaper than buying new skis!
Great skis though, really happy with them in pretty much all conditions.
Talk to Mountain Feet in Standedge, experts at this kind of thing.
(Usual disclaimers, just a happy customer.)
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