/ Snow and Rock Ski Bundles - advise please

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Highball_Mike on 20 Dec 2010

Im looking to learn to ski this season, the main reason really is allow me to go ski touring/off piste on the way to/back from routes in the alps/scotland. Even just to take advantage of current conditions in the peak.

I know you generally get what you pay for, but Id really welcome any adive on what equipment i need, and what icould save on.

In particular, what is the snow and rock ski bundle like?


IanC - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike:

TBH I don't know much about which skis are good etc. but I would say 2 things, It's a lot of money to outlay if your only just taking up the sport, remember if your going to the Alps then you will often be charges £25 or so for the privilege of taking your own skis.

IMHO the best thing todo is buy boots and rent skis. Boots require better fitting and ski technology changes more rapidly. I also wouldn't buy boots before doing a weeks skiing, you won't know what they should feel like any will be more likely to buy ill fitting boots.

On a more general point, Ski touring requires a completely different ski and boot combination to downhill skiing.

Sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs here and I'm sure another user will be along shortly to rubbish all of the above but that's my 2p worth.
Highball_Mike on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to IanC:

No, thst sounds sensible, when i have friends who are just getting into mountaineering, i always say buy your own boots and borrow the rest.

Ive got lessons in the new year, so i'll wait and see how they go, I'll learn a lot more then.

Thanks Ian.

hang_about - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike:
Having bought both skis and boots from Snow and Rock (Sheffield) a few years ago, I'd buy boots and rent skis as suggested above.

Snow and Rock ballsed up the binding fitting on the skis which was annoying. They said it would take an hour to fit the binding (so I should wait) and it took 4h - I thought this odd but didn't pursue it. Skis were fine that winter but the binding blew apart the following year on the slope. I went back to Snow and Rock who asked 'who fitted that binding? it's completely messed up!' and looked bashful when I said it was them. To their credit they got in a completely new binding and fitted it without charge, but it took several weeks.

The boots weren't a great fit at first, but they worked on them (again free of charge) to resolve a tight ankle fit.

In reply to inframike: Alternatively, buy a set of ski mountaineering boots (Scarpa, Garmont etc). When you rent to ski, rent ski mountaineering skis. Eventually when you feel you want to, buy ski mountaineering skis. You can ski just as well downhill on ski mountaineering boots and bindings as with regular boots and bindings.
kevin stephens - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

ski mountaineering boots are twice price of normal ski boots and won't fit regular downhill boots and bindings

IMHO most time and cost effective route is buy intermediate downhill boots from a shop with a good boot fitters and get custom fitted insoles, this may cost around £250-£300

Use hire skis for a couple of seasons to learn to ski

then buy ski mountaineering boots, skis and bindings (approx £1,000+!!!) At least you will be able to swap the insoles and sell your old downhill boots
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to nickinscottishmountains)
> ski mountaineering boots are twice price of normal ski boots and won't fit regular downhill boots and bindings
Erm....I know they don't fit regular ski bindings. It is easy to rent ski mountaineering kit in the alps, at ski resorts. Why would ski mountaineering boots fit downhill boots?!?! WTF?!

As for price, you can get ski mountaineering boots for £250 easily.

richlan - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to IanC: Well as you predicted i am going to disagree !!

I got fed up of paying for crap hire skis, it's an unplesant experience queing for an hour in the hire shop and eventually getting badly serviced skis with awful rental bindings and no edge grip when it gets icy.

I bought my own, yes it cost a few quid a year to have them serviced, yes it sosts £25 to take them away but the upside is you know what you are skiing on, you can maximise your time on piste and its less hassle.

Ski technology does move on but the skis i have had for the last 2 years the only thing that has changed is the graphic, if the ski works and sells they dont tend change the physical design that much so a decent pair should last a good 3 years or so if its only 14 days a year skiing.

I agree shelling out £300 for boots and ski's (i think thats what the bundles work out at is it ?) is a big layout if you have not skied much so make sure its somehting you are going to stick at.

Again, just my 2p worth !
kevin stephens - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Ok Nick no need for the WTF!! Of course you know that, I restated it for the benefit of the OP because it may not have been totally clear from the follow ups

New ski mountaineering boots which would be good enough to learn to ski piste (as opposed to just touring) start at around £400. In most resorts it is far easier and cheaper to hire downhill skis and bindings than touring gear. Hence my recommendation of lowest cost/time route to get skiing well enough to make the investment in proper touring gear worthwhile
kevin stephens - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to tragically1969:

I started skiing 4 years ago and now progrtessed to being happy (if not always too pretty)on most off piste and touring. I got custom fitted intermediate level boots to practice on plastic before my first couple of trips on real snow, the custom boots were important to me becauseI have strange shaped foot and ankle after a break. Next year I bought a stiff pair of intermediate/advanced piste skis (Volkl supersport 5star), half price end of season sale, this wasn't really necessary as hire skis would have done but I wanted something consistent for year to year.

Now I've got my Denalis and Scott missions I am very happy and will be selling the Volkls and boots
kevin stephens - on 20 Dec 2010
In reply to tragically1969:

Also a lot of the cheap bundles are very beginner orientated, and with a climber's healthy approach to learning to ski it is likely you will have outgrown them after your first week
Euge - on 21 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike: I just bought skis and boots for £50 from SwissTims.
Unfortunately he only does downhill stuff at the moment... but great service and a good place to start to see if you like it.

urban warrior on 21 Dec 2010 - AGrenoble-753-1-25-193.w90-27.abo.wanadoo.fr
In reply to nick:

I thought £30 would get some décent denalis....
They've Just been replaced after à rivet popped on them.
Kane - on 21 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike: A few years ago I needed to get the whole set up as I was just about to move to chamonix for 7 months and couldn't afford to hire for that time. I was pretty skint so was aiming to get everything second hand. After spending much time on ebay (and other auction sites around europe) I ended with a new pair of Scott all mountain skis (£90, german ebay), a pair of new naxo touring bindings (£140, german ebay) and a pair of second hand denalis (£40 off my mate). The inners were too small but the shell was the right length for me so I then spent about £100 on a new inner and getting them fit properly. All these are good quality pieces of kit. I still use the boots and skis but have replaced the bindings last year as I wore them out. The main thing to do if you want a cheap setup is to not be fussy and just search around.

Boots are the most important thing so if you get them second hand make sure you go to a good fitter to get them sorted. You can use AT boots in some alpine bindings (they need to have adjustable toe height) and these are often cheaper than touring bindings. Alpine boots work in touring bindings (except dynafits) and a few of my friends use them as they are a bit cheaper than AT boots and more available second hand. Doesn't matter what boots you get as long as they fit.

Ski poles - get the cheapest ones you can find.
Skins are a pain as they need to be cut to your skis ideally so you'll probably have to buy new.
get a transeiver that's a few seasons out of date. It doesn't matter that it doesn't have all the latest features as long as you know how to use it.

Don't worry about how heavy the gear is. I'm not going to win races with my setup but I still keep a good pace, forget light and fast (and poor!) be strong and fast.

Having your own skis is much less hassle than renting. And although it may cost a bit extra to take them on a plane remember that you don't need another checked bag as all your stuff will fit into your ski bag, so the difference on Easyjet is minimal.

Hope this helps.
zephr - on 21 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike:

If youre just starting, what the others said, get a splash out on a decent pair of ski boots with custom molded footbeds.

The S+R ski package is ok for beginners, but you'll outgrow the skis within about 2 weeks of skiing (if that).
and the boots you'll flex through relatively quickly, and you'll end up buying better boots relatively fast.

so, if only you only have a bit of cash, get decent boots and footbeds, skis can wait. (on that note, if youre a beginner, personally I wouldnt go straight in for a ski mountaineering boot- but rather get some piste boots and learn to ski on them before getting a really decent set of ski mountaineering ones.

someone else may have a different opinion, but thats my 2ps worth...
Hannes on 21 Dec 2010
In reply to inframike: I would think you need to do 4-5 weeks of skiing in resorts with the resort off piste if you are a complete beginner before even thinking about safely going ski touring. Stay out of touring until you happily ski all the black runs in control to avoid hurting yourself.

A more sensible option would be some shorter approach shoes that clip onto your mountaineering boots before you can ski properly.
Kane - on 21 Dec 2010
In reply to Hannes: That's absolute rubbish. There are many easy tours that you'll be able to do from week one. You don't have to be a good skier to tour, you just have to know your limits. I met a girl once who'd skied the Haute route, via the Grand Lui, with under one weeks worth of skiing under her belt. She said she had to boot down some of the steeper sections but completed it unhurt and really enjoyed it.

If your goal is to ski some steep descents then you'll of course need to become a good skier before you do it, however if you just want to travel in the mountains then you can do it very little downhill technique.

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