First of all, I do not ski but have done some ski touring.
I have skinned up hills and tried to ski down but basically just fell my way down.
Not really interested in downhill skiiing, but interested in doing more cross country stuff and approaches etc.
Saw these Short Ski and they look very interesting. Anybody out there use them and what are they like with Mountaineering Boots?
Not being funny, and don't take this the wrong way, but: learn to ski.
You'll then be able to do whatever form or type you fancy: cross country, approach skinning, whatever, with much much less risk to your overall health and mental wellbeing.
And, in relation to mountaineering boots on skis, even short ones, that's a sure fire recipe for busted knees and twisted ankles unless you know what you're doing (refer to 1st point)
Good luck, and happy sliding
I doubt they'll be easier to ski downhill, what makes you think they will?
XC skiing over gentle terrain can be learnt very quickly, especially in a XC resort with pisted tracks, but is very limited in terms of terrain. Approaches (I assume you mean to climbs), unless along a valley bottom to access frozen water fall type climbs, involves learning off piste, downhill skiing.
As already said, learn to ski
I have a pair of Free Venturas, a predecessor of what you have.
I find them v versatile, as a "snowshoe" with mountaineeting boots they've saved my thighs a lot of work getting out of soft snow I would have sunk into, and on plateaux you can schuss along easily in them, at good speed.
Skiing downhill on the in mountaineering boots is immensely difficult.
How would I best use them with mountaibeering boots? As a anowshoe or for big plateaux.
Even the descent from top of Sneachda to the car park using them withi mountaineering boots would be extremely difficult.
I have used them with ski boots on piste, great fun, even on black runs.
I find they are best with ski touring boots, great uphill, okay on descent if the cover is good with a firm base, but still hard on the ankles.
Earlier this year I ski toured some Drumochter munros with them.
So they're versatile, fun, but with limitations.
I'd a similar experience in the Free Ventures of old. Ok in touring boots, awful the one time I tried in mountaineering boots!
I have a pair of these. They are brilliant. It's a pity that such a niche product has escaped the attention of the wider market; they are in no way a gimmick but instead perform their intended job very well.
First up though, I can ski. These skis are more difficult to use downhill as they're so much shorter, so they constantly chatter on your feet and want to turn. As other commenters have suggested here, it's well worth learning to ski as the initial effort & expense will be more than repaid. If you're near any of the big indoor skiing venues I'd start there.
So, specifically for these skis:
They're really well made. Same construction and spec as you'd expect from full-size touring skis. Waxable base and metal edges. Come complete with skins that fit perfectly and remove easily.
The bindings work well with both fully-stiffened mountain boots and ski boots. Again, the skill level required to ski with mountaineering boots is higher, as there's less ankle support and therefore less accuracy in directing the skis. But not impossibly so. I'd be very happy using them on the Cairngorm plateau to get back down after a climb.
On piste, wearing ski boots, the performance is incredible. They really fly and carve very well indeed. I skied in these with a group using carving skis and boots, and our Guide could not get over how I was able to stay with the group. I am only an average skier (the usual UK one-trip-per-year to the slopes job).
The binding is really easy to adjust; it steps out front and back in increments and is held in place with strong elastics. These are thick and in several years of ownership now I haven't seen any sign of degradation in the elastics. Set them for the length of your boots as you would with a fully-automatic crampon - tight, but not madly so - and you're good to go.
Note that for indoor use or piste use you will have to buy & fit a set of leases for these as they don't have brakes. In any case, a pair of leases will protect your investment and prevent someone else from getting speared by them if you part company!
In tour mode the bindings work well; the Gecko skins are very high quality. In fact, everything about the skis lives up to its Swiss-made reputation. (I believe the skis themselves are manufactured by Rossignol but don't quote me on that).
Do I recommend them?
With the caveat that you really need to learn to ski to get the best out of them (as they're slightly harder to control than regular skis), and also that you'll get better performance out of them wearing ski touring boots than mountaineering boots.
That being said, they're the perfect tool for Scottish Winter climbs, especially on climbs that are more remote and would otherwise require a lot of struggle through knee-deep snow. They're compact enough to store on the sides of a climbing pack without overly affecting performance while climbing.
I see a lot of Alpine climbers using skis to access more remote peaks now, and they climb in their ski touring boots. You could take this approach with STCs.
As a matter of interest, where are you currently looking at buying these? I bought mine from Trevor at Needlesport in Keswick, but I don't think they stock them anymore. I'd buy a second pair now if I could get them!
P.S. - I've taken several heavy falls in these and - despite the lack of releaseable bindings - haven't felt close to getting injured. They've popped the boots out a couple of times. In use they're so short that they tend not to cause difficulties when you fall, even when travelling pretty quickly. Less stress on the knees falling in these compared with telemark gear, for instance...
There are pairs for sale in Aviemore in excellent secondhand condition
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