/ So, these crap old downhill skis of mine :-)
They're comfy, though. And they're fine for downhill.
But the thing is, there would clearly be no harm in an upgrade. And the other thing is, I'd like to do a load of ski-mountaineering once/when/if the bloody weather behaves.
So I have a number of options:
1. Carry on schlepping the downhill skis and the boots up to the top, then stick them on and ski down again.
2. Try just buying some skins, loosening the ankle-bindings, and walking uphill in my downhill ski boots + skis.
3. Buy the full kit for ski mountaineering/ touring.
Pros and cons for each:
Pro: cheap, and maybe downhill bindings are a ton better than touring bindings for downhill stuff, I wouldn't know.
Con: not very flexible--I can't just flick a switch and change from downhill to uphill mode, as you can with touring bindings. You get cold when you get to the summit and switch mode. And thereafter, you're committed to downhill mode--you can't realistically change back to uphill more than once, it's too time-consuming and you get too cold.
2) Pro: cheapish, and I get to keep using downhill bindings for downhill, which may be a big advantage--I don't know.
Con: more flexible than (1), but after all, you still have to put the skins on every time you change mode. And might I get shin-bang?
3) Pro: this is, no doubt, the proper way to do it.
Con: very pricey, and might I get shin-bang? And are touring bindings any use for downhill, really?
Your thoughts please. Feel free to recommend me a set-up.
Oh, and by the way--if possible I'd like to support the Scottish economy directly by buying whatever kit I end up buying in a local(ish) shop. I'm prepared to pay something other than rock-bottom prices to help somewhere like the winter-sports shop in Braemar turn an honest penny... So, any recommendations for a good place to buy skis that isn't online?
Option 2 sounds painful
If you plump for option 3, depending on your size and weight, I have a full set for sale http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=571563&v=1#x7597088
Go for 3. 1 may be Ok for short hikes in shallow/firm snow. 2= misery.
Look on German ebay for touring rig.
Could you put touring bindings on your existing skis? Having said that second hand skis of suitable characteristics are probably the cheaper part of the whole set up.
I reckon most modern touring bindings are fine for piste unless you are flying off moguls etc.
Thanks for the info.
Q to all: can I use my downhill boots with touring bindings? I can't see why I wouldn't be able to, but just checking. It's an important question, because I have odd-shaped feet and have in the past suffered total bloody murder from ill-fitting boots. So when I actually bought a pair I went to a lot of expense and trouble to ensure that my downhill boots are comfortable. And they are.
PS "Short hikes"? I've done the Fannaichs and the Feshie hills in mode 1, I'll have you know :-)
Your DH boots will work with touring bindings unless they are Dynafit or other tech bindings.
Touring in DH boots sounds like a pain to me for anything other than short distances.
If you bought that set up a while ago you might be surprised by the level of comfort offered by modern touring boots.
Thanks, Dave. Consensus emerging about option 2, I think we could say :-)
What most puts me off going for option 3 is the ski-mountaineering I did in Canada in 2003. I rented the kit for the 2 weekends I did this, and the pain of the blisters I got on the front of my shins from whacking them against the insides of my boots at every step (this is what Canadians call shin-bang) was unspeakable. I don't want to shell out hundreds of pounds for an experience of sheer bloody misery.
I appreciate no one can guarantee that won't happen again... But I'd really like to do some ski-mountaineering the proper way. My current way of doing it--walk up carrying the kit on my back, ski down--is OK but it's not that flexible. And if I was trying to walk up hillsides with north-American depths of snow on them, it wouldn't work at all. (The deepest snow I've walked up in was about 18 inches, on Sgoran Dubh Mor. This was laborious.)
I originally toured in a pair of nice 'rear entry' (ooh ahhh, Mrs) downhill boots but they were way lighter than my current ones.
Forget all that advice.... at the age of 97, I don't think its worth you investing in any new kit.
Everyone's different but I've never noticed any 'shin-bang' either with the entry level Scarpa Avants I started with or the Maestrales I have now. In walking mode there is lots of fore-aft movement so it avoids that.
You can hire touring kit from Mountain Spirit in Aviemore and give it a go if you are worried. I think they hire out Maestrales or the version with a cheaper shell but the same design.
Maybe I want my legatees to get some nice surprises :-)
If you look at my pictures, you'll see I'm quite a sprightly late nonagenarian :_)
I think we have a winner. Thanks for that suggestion. I don't really know why I hadn't thought of "hire and try" for myself.
Get some Securafix or Alpine Trekkers and use all your old kit.
Hmm. Googling turns up quite a few negative comments about them--breakable, and not that great for downhill. "Tour wreckers" seems to be their nickname...
I don't think Alpine Trekkers are recommended for the downhill. ;-) But I can still imagine how shite they'd be going up though.
Just sell something, like some organs you don't need, a relative you don't like, maybe your car or do some night work under red lights. Then you could maybe afford some Dynafit Beasts.
OK. Which of my organs would you like to buy, then?
Alternatively, I can offer you a full range of personal services under the red lights.
Well, not actually under them, but you get my drift.
Deffintly try the hire buddy! Mountain spirit has some great gear on hire, and come to the end of the season they will sell allot of cheap gear. New or ex demo. They did great prices on a poc helmet and goggles at the end on a season a couple of years back. Great place. I would recomed anything other than a dedicated setup to tour. Oh and you can use touring bindings on piste. Freeride pros I have are great. Heavy though.
Securafix and ATs are made for somone who wants to do what you want to do. They are not for long tours, they just give you the ability to skin uphill on your downhill set up. You just place them in your bindings and the place your boots in them and away you go. Then you take them out to ski down as normal. I'd have given you a pair for nothing if I hadn't thrown them away when we moved house a few weeks ago!
Strapped for cash me, so more up for selling than buying but sold all my surplus kit. Small matter of a big blow, a large tree and a little car turned out quite expensive but I do have a lot of fire wood now. I could pimp for you if you'd like. :-)
Anyway, cut out all the in-between stages and buy some tech compatible touring boots, Dynafit bindings and skins and use them with your existing skis. Job done, change from a kidney or maybe just 5 nights work.
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