/ Ski touring kit advice

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Denni on 12 Dec 2012
Evening folks,
I'll apologise in advance for the long post!

Have been ski touring a few times on either rented or borrowed kit. Anyway, in Feb, I'm hoping to go to either Norway or Sweden for a wee bit more ski touring stuff and want to invest in my own set up before then.

It will only be relatively short tours, think up hills for a couple of hours then back down on easy terrain.

I'd say I'm an intermediate skier, not happy on all terrain and would always prefer to go to places that are free from major obstacles or immediate dangers.

So then with this in mind, I have the following questions:

I have a blank pair of all mountain skis, 175 in length (the size I have always used) and 100 underfoot. Are these suitable for mounting touring bindings? I don't see why not as I don't think that you need specific touring skis for what I plan to do or do I?

I would like a pair of bindings that I can use with Alpine boots so I don't have to fork out for another pair and also, that are a sort of hybrid tour/alpine binding that I can also do a bit of skiing on, so I have looked at these:

http://backcountryskiingcanada.com/index.php?p=page&page_id=Marker%20Tour%20F12%20Alpine%20Touri...

Any other recommendations or reviews on these? Apparently my DIN is about 9 but I have no idea if that is correct, it just seems a figure that has stuck with me from a couple of years ago!

Lastly, I plan to use my BD switch lock walking poles and I assume they will be just fine? (before I've only used ski poles) Or again, does anyone have any other recommendations of something that is fairy robust and collapsable.

I realise these are all very basic questions for ski touring but with the differing advice on the net, It would be good to get some first hand review and info from you good folk.

Thanks in advance, Den

Last
In reply to Denni: Matey, I recently bought a full touring set up - skis, boots, skins, bindings, harscehisen - from sport-conrad.com in Germany. Even with postage from there it saved me over 400 quid compared against UK prices. Also worth a look is telemark-pyrenees.com. They both do good package deals with hefty discounts.

I would imagine Fritschi will also take a pure downhill boot.
davy_boy - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:im not an expert by any stretch but i have k2 skis 174cm and 98mm underfoot fitted with fritschi freeride pro bindings, i tour with these skis although nothing technical steepest i go for is around a typical red run. i also use these skis on piste and the freeride bindings do fit an alpine boot. i also have the BD flicklock poles and have skied with these and had no problems other than trying to make them short again at the end of the day as they do freeze up at the bottom joint.
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Hi matey,
hope all is good. Cheers for the heads up, they look like good sites.
Don't want to fork out more than I need to.
Have just been told that Fritschi are the same sort of deal so good to know.
Den
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to davy_boy:

Hi matey, that sounds like the sort of set up and standard that I want so thanks for the info.
My flicklock always freeze up too!
Doug on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni: In Norway I've always toured on cross country gear (steel edged, three pin bindings or cables, skis 50-60mm wide) although I'm sure in somewhere like Lyngen I'd take wider skis. Do you really want AT rather nordic gear ? (depends on the destination)
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Doug:

Hi Doug,
I'm thinking more long term for using in Scotland, smaller easier Alpine stuff etc.

I've done loads of cross country skiing in Germany and Austria on Nordic kit and definately want Alpine Tour kit.

I'm fine going uphill on Nordic kit, but would definatey hurt myself more coming down on it! Still have some old Fischers in the garage that I use on the road when it snows :0)
Shearwater - on 12 Dec 2012
What are your skis? They're probably fine regardless, to be honest, but you can sometimes get last year's model of some touring skis pretty cheaply, and decent touring skis do have a few useful features over more general pupose skis.

The bindings are fine. If you can afford em, or see a good deal, I can recommend dynafits though... they're less user friendly to start with but they're jolly light and very nice to tour on.

Your walking poles are probably fine. I use Black diamond expedition poles for skiing and hiking.

Sport Conrad is an excellent place to get cheap gear, especially packages!
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Shearwater:

Hi there,
they are brand new Scott all mountain skis (forget the name of them), 175 and 100 underfoot.

No bindings on them that why I was considering the F12 bindings. I don't particularly want tour specific skis, I'd prefer to be able to have bindings that I can use for touring that are also good enough for the odd downhill trip.

I've seen a decent deal on the bindings and my mate has loads of contacts in Canada at various ski places so can probably get a pair for about 100.

I'm in no rush for them so can wait out. What do you reckon to second hand kit, worth taking a chance on bindings?
kevin stephens - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:

Your skis sound ideal

The Marker bindings you link to are not the best for touring; simply because you have to take the boots out of the bindings to change from walk to ski mode and Vice versa, which can be a pain at best, and dangerous on some terrain. To be able to stay in your bindings and be able to take standard alpine boots Diamir are the best option. Judging by your ski length and DIN setting Freeride Pro would be the choice for you. I use my lighter Diamer Eagles for all my touring, piste and off-piste skiing, with either touring or alpine boots. I've also ordred some powder skis with Marker Baron bindings, not for touring but off pidte with the option of being able to do some short climbs in them.

It sounds like you may need to get some touring boots? You need to go to a specialist walk in shop/bootfitter. You can decide on this before heading to Scandinavia after trying some climbs in your alpine boots; I suspect you will be pursuaded!
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:


Hi Kevin,
thanks for the advice. I have just found a basic vid on youtube and they say exactly what you have just said about the Markers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31IbHXKse3w

Looks like either option rather than the Markers then. I just need to find a decent price for kit as I don't want to go overboard so maybe second hand?

Also, I can't really justify spending more money on boots but I'm guessing you are meaning because of the weight? Had a look in Snow and Rock today and the difference between my old Alpine boots and the Scarpa Maestraele? was about half a kilo. For the sake of the wrath of the missus, I'll stick with the old ones unless you mean something ekse rather than the weight?

Cheers for the info again, good to get good advice from people rather than tinterweb reviews.

PS, everything is so expensive!
kevin stephens - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:
The maon point about the boots is that alpine boots don't allow your lower leg to be upright, touring boots have a switched hinge alowing this. Some people can put up with skinning in alpine boots without a walk mode, I know I wouldn't be able to, hence the suggestion to give it a try. I don't thnk weight is such a big issue unless you are looking at big steep climbs
Shearwater - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:
> I don't particularly want tour specific skis, I'd prefer to be able to have bindings that I can use for touring that are also good enough for the odd downhill trip.

Skis don't have to be totally tour-oriented to make your life easier... there are little things, like having a flat tail with a skin hook notch in it that can be quite beneficial.

All modern touring bindings are more than good enough for the odd piste day, incidentally. They're nicer off-piste than on, but I've used my dynafits for purely lift-served days and been happy enough.

> What do you reckon to second hand kit, worth taking a chance on bindings?

If you can get em new for so little, there's not much to save getting them second hand. Brand new bindings will also come with a guarantee, which is worth considering (though it might be hard to claim on them if they're from Canada!)

In reply to kevin stephens:
> The Marker bindings you link to are not the best for touring; simply because you have to take the boots out of the bindings to change from walk to ski mode and Vice versa

Being able to switch mode without dismounting is a very minor benefit. Safety shouldn't be a factor: you'd have to have planned things badly to end up needing to make a transition on a steep icy pitch. It is a wee bit more useful in rolling terrain with lots of short ups and downs, but you should be on nordic gear in that situation!

The Markers are generally reported to ski better than the Fritschis as they have a somewhat more positive rail-to-ski fixing.

> It sounds like you may need to get some touring boots? You need to go to a specialist walk in shop/bootfitter.

Getting touring boots in the UK is a pain :-( I can recommend Solutions4feet and Profeet if you live in the south.
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:

Cheers again. So a tour boot would be good enough to do what I need it to, ie tour then basic skiing down again but It probably wouldn't be good enough to go alpine skiing in for a week?

Or, have alpine boots with a walk mode on them? (never heard of that!)
kevin stephens - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:

depends, I've done all my skiing, incuding a lot of piste and lift served off piste in my touring boots - no real problems. But I've now gor some beefier downhill boots to get more out of my skiing. Do you already have a pair of ski boots?
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:

Should have said at the start, I have a pair of ski boots in storage but no idea if they have different modes on them. Ex rental so I doubt it.

I can get hold of some ex army stock Scarpa Denali XT boots in my size for a reasonable price. They were used by Marines in Norway at the training school so must be good!
kevin stephens - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:

My touring boots are Denalis, good all rounder if they fit you. It may be worhwhile taking them to a bootfitter to have them tweeked for your feet and investing in custom footbeds
Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:

Thats good to know that you have some. I know what mondo I am in Scarpa as my ex rentals are Scarpa but as you say, get them tweaked and possibly foot beds.
Thanks again, much appreciated advice.
Den
Oceanic - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:

Some Scott all mountin skis have a 'venturi tip' - watch out for this as it makes it harder to fit skins.

Denni on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Oceanic:

Cheers for that, I got them really cheap and couldn't pass them up but I have no idea if they curl up that much so will have a look tomorrow.

ads.ukclimbing.com
davy_boy - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni: g3 alpinist skins that i use look like they would work with those ski tips might need the twin tip set up depending if the tail of the ski was the same
rif on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni (in reply to Doug) > "I'm thinking more long term for using in Scotland, smaller easier Alpine stuff etc. I've done loads of cross country skiing in Germany and Austria on Nordic kit and definately want Alpine Tour kit."

Like Doug I'm surprised you're thinking of taking your 100mm skis to Norway. In classic Scando touring terrain you could be the only person on such skis, and would probably find it quite hard work covering the long stretches of easy-angled ground between huts (if you do mean touring, as opposed to off-piste day trips from a well-located base).

When you say you've done loads of xc in Germany/Austria, are you referring to touring or do you mean track (langlauf, ski de fond) skiing? Nordic touring skis, bindings & boots are appreciably different from track gear and a lot more versatile. Fwiw the kind of gear Doug referred to has got me (and, I suspect, him) up and down quite a few easier Alpine peaks, though it does restrict the possibilities there. For Scotland, I reckon Nordic touring gear is more suitable than Alpine gear for most of the hills in the eastern and central Highlands, unless your interest is in skiing gullies rather than travelling over the tops.

Just my thoughts; each to their own
Rob F
Dave Kerr - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to kevin stephens)
>
> Cheers again. So a tour boot would be good enough to do what I need it to, ie tour then basic skiing down again but It probably wouldn't be good enough to go alpine skiing in for a week?

Modern touring boots like Maestrales offer not far off alpine boot performance. I know plenty of folks who ski lots on piste that only have touring boots.

Touring in alpine boots is a massive compromise but alpine in touring boots is fine.
















Denni on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to rif:

Hi Rob,
cheers for the advice. I did mean langlauf so maybe I'm misusing some of the terminology? Seems to be too much of it these days!

Although in Germany, I've done "tours" on langlauf skis. Loads of x country followed by going up a hill, across to another couple then down and back to the hut. Not really steep hills, more of a diagonal meander up rolling hills and through the forests.

With my old langlauf skis, I've been up Cairngorm and back down again and it wasn't massively comfortable or enjoyable and I've also done it on touring skis and thats why I'd like to get some as I really enjoyed it, it was really comfy and I fekt more at home on what to me seem more normal skis.

If I manage to Progress to a better standard then ski touring across the tops and snowholing is where I'd like to be able to get to but at the mo, happy going up hills, maybe across to another hill as long as it is within my skill level and then a wee ski down.

Appreciate the advice though, Den

Denni on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Thanks for that Dave. I have been hunting round the net for reviews on Scarpa Denali XT's as I can get some ridiculously cheap and they seem to be a good all rounder for what I'm after.

I'm beginning to think that actually forking out for some touring boots that are as good as alpine boots is worth while but the problem is I don't think I coulkd justify spending that much money on some boots that will be used a handful of times each year.

Thanks again, don't want to be uncomfortable and have a miserable day!
Fultonius - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni: I disagree with Kevin. I have marker dukes and have had Fritschis in the past. I don't know about you, but every time I switch form ski to tour and back I generally take off, or mount skins, both of which are easier with the skis off.

Also, Markers break much less often. A mate of mine had a awesome tour ruined by breaking a second set of Fritschis. (He had to walk down 500m of 0.5m powder...)

In my opinion: get makrers if you want to ride some DH, some touring and don't want stuff to break. Get Dynafit/Plum if you want to go light, but strong. Get Fritschis if you want to go home with a sad face.
kevin stephens - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
Actually you don't disagree that much; as I've said I've ordered Marker Barons with my soon to arrive Preachers with a view to short climbs to access downhill. But on my Diamir Fritschis I often switch from tour to downhill mode and vice versa on undulating ground (leaving skins on) but I guess I could do the same in walk mode if I had to. I've never gone home from a day on my Diamir Fritschis with anything other than a big grin. The OP's intended use would seem to suit themquite well.

The Dynafit/Plum aren't an option for the OP as the Scarpa Denali won't accept pin bindings.

Just to reiterate the Scarpa Denalis are a great all rounder and I've enjoyed many a great downhill day on them on and off piste (with my Fritschi bindings)
Fultonius - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Fultonius: I spent all last season on Scarpa Tornados. They are still a better boot than I am a skier. They are a 3.5 buckle (3 buckels and an ankle strap) freeride/touring boot (or Freerando, if you want jargon bullshit...) I did big day tours, lift accessed powder skiing, piste skiing etc. etc.

My advice for you is as follows:

1. Do not buy new boots until you have done more skiing and touring. You will have a much better idea of what fit you need when you've done some touring. Your alpine boots should be ok for a season. They will be more uncomfortable and heavier and slower, but you're not racing, you're out to have fun.

2. When you do buy boots, seriously consider getting boots with dynafit holes ("tech fittings"). Something like the Dynafit Titan or Scarpa Maestral. It keeps options open for a nice, light long tour option in future and you won't have to get new boots, just bindings.

3. Don't get a superlight 3 buckle touring boot unless you think you will be doing big multi-day tours and/or lots of climbing in them. A good 4 buckle freerando boot will be plenty light enough for most stuff but ski much, much better.

If I were you, I'd get some marker bindings mounted on the skis and just get out on the hill and see how it goes. Buying a dynafit boot & bindings now is too big an outlay. You should be able to re-mount them with dynafits in future if you feel you want that setup.

Bon ski!



If I were you, I would not make the mistake I did. I got boots that didn't have dynafit holes.
Shearwater - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> 1. Do not buy new boots until you have done more skiing and touring.

Interesting. I'd almost always recommend getting a good pair of boots, and discourage purchase of other hardware... skis are rentable and to a large degree interchangeable, whereas boots that fit you well and won't leave you knackered and blistered after a half a day will make any trip much more pleasant.

Modern stiff touring boots are extremely good bits of gear, nothing like the sort of compromise designs that were available even a couple of years ago. Speaking of which,

> 3. Don't get a superlight 3 buckle touring boot ... A good 4 buckle freerando boot will be plenty light enough for most stuff but ski much, much better.

The notion that stuff boots may be identified by having 4 buckles is soooo last year dahlink. Dynafit, Dalbello and Tecnica all do beefy 3-buckle dealies this season. Lightweight boots are 2-buckle ;-)
moffatross on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Fultonius:"If I were you, I would not make the mistake I did. I got boots that didn't have dynafit holes."

^
That's really good advice to anyone buying touring kit for the first time. Once I realised Fritschis were a bit lame, I counted myself very lucky that I'd 'accidentally' bought boots with Tech fittings.

To the OP, your release settings might just need relaxing a wee bit. From what you said, unless you've got really small feet AND you're really tall and heavy, a DIN setting of 9 might be inappropriate for your skiing
davy_boy - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni: cant say iv ever had any problems with fritschi bindings considering most of the skiing iv done on them was on piste including playing about in the terrain park so they have had some abuse. and still look like new.
Denni on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to moffatross:

Loads more advice, cheers folks. All seems to be a minefield that's why I asked.

Moffatross, I'm 6ft 3, 16.5 stone and have EU size 45 feet.

The chap in Snow and Rock today confirmed he thinks I have a DIN of 9 after weighing me, measuring me and asking me to tell him what sort of skier I was according to their criteria sheet which was a bit vague.

I said I was an intermediate skier, not too happy in bucket loads of powder or on moguls and I was fit. Along with height/weight, they worked it out from that.

I think I'm going to start off with my all mountain skis, my cheap Scarpa Denali XT's and some second hand fritschi bindings and see how I get on.

Just need time off from being a stay at home dad and some snow now! Watching loads of trips on YouTube of folk in the Gorms is making me jealous.
Fultonius - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Shearwater: Fair enough, buckle numbers maybe don't = performance, but you get the idea.

I was under the impression that he had a pair of Alpine boots already, but now he says he has denali XTs...


To be honest Fritschis should be fine, but I've seen a few broken pairs and heard of a lot more from friends who work in ski shops.
blurty - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to moffatross)
>
> Loads more advice, cheers folks. All seems to be a minefield that's why I asked.
>
> Moffatross, I'm 6ft 3, 16.5 stone and have EU size 45 feet.
>
> The chap in Snow and Rock today confirmed he thinks I have a DIN of 9 after weighing me, measuring me and asking me to tell him what sort of skier I was according to their criteria sheet which was a bit vague.
>
> I said I was an intermediate skier, not too happy in bucket loads of powder or on moguls and I was fit. Along with height/weight, they worked it out from that.
>
> I think I'm going to start off with my all mountain skis, my cheap Scarpa Denali XT's and some second hand fritschi bindings and see how I get on.
>
> Just need time off from being a stay at home dad and some snow now! Watching loads of trips on YouTube of folk in the Gorms is making me jealous.

I'm similar dimensions to you, and use a DIN setting of 7. It' fine/ never pre-released

Denni on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Fultonius:

Hi mate,
I do have alpine boots that are old rentals which I started off on the thread thinking I could/would use but I am buying a very cheap pair of XT's as an alternative to forking out for a really expensive new pair to see how I get in.

Will have a word with my mate who instructs in all ski disciplines in Canada and ask him about any Fritschi problems, worth knowing so thanks again for advice.
Den
Denni on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to blurty:

Thanks mate, will find a couple more places to get it checked to use as a comparison.

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