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Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

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Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby sciguy1911 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:11 pm

I've recently moved the the space between the Adirondack Mountains and the Tug Hill Plateau. There's a good deal of opportunity here to ski groomed trails as well as untracked wilderness. Earlier this week I skied with a group on a nice 8+ mile trek into Chub Pond, me on my ancient Fischer Air Core waxed skis and most all the other souls sporting waxless BC skis of one sort or another. It didn't take long to see they were usually having more fun on the deep snow narrow section up and down hill parts of the trail. I now find myself shopping for an appropriate setup to increase my level of fun. My current thoughts include- waxless and a good bit shorter than my 215cm Fischers. I'm 6'1" and my weight runs between 170 and the low 180s. I cross country skied a good bit back in my college days 40+ years ago but not much since so I'd rate myself as an advanced beginner to intermediate level. I'm looking for a good setup at a reasonable price, hoping that skis begin to go on sale this time of year.

Thanks for any informed replies.

Hugh
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby flyingcow » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:20 pm

Personally, I'm a huge fan of Fischer's current BC skis. When I replace my Rossignol BC70's, I'll be getting either the Fischer 78's or 88's. My bigger "light" BC skis are Madschus Annums. Their skinnier skis are also fantastic workhorses, but I find them a hair tougher to turn.
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby Go Fish » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:09 am

I have a pair of Rossignol BC90s for this sort of thing and I love them.
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby sciguy1911 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:31 am

flyingcow wrote: My bigger "light" BC skis are Madschus Annums. Their skinnier skis are also fantastic workhorses, but I find them a hair tougher to turn.


FC,

Thanks for the experienced insights. What do you think of the Madshus Glittertind MG skis as a possibility? They'd be narrow enough to be happy in tracked snow but would obviously be compromised in deeper snow. We often ski as a group taking turns breaking trail so pure trail breaking ability isn't extraordinary critical.

After a day of mid 50s here we quickly went -17*F last night with several inches of fine heavy snow now covering a foot or so of now solidly frozen mashed potato snow.

Hope you're enjoying good skiing.

Hugh
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby sciguy1911 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:42 am

Go Fish wrote:I have a pair of Rossignol BC90s for this sort of thing and I love them.


Is the width of these a problem if you attempt to ski already tracked areas? I'm looking to ski both off as will as on track areas so they will both be compromised a bit.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Hugh
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby flyingcow » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:56 am

sciguy1911 wrote:
flyingcow wrote: My bigger "light" BC skis are Madschus Annums. Their skinnier skis are also fantastic workhorses, but I find them a hair tougher to turn.


FC,

Thanks for the experienced insights. What do you think of the Madshus Glittertind MG skis as a possibility? They'd be narrow enough to be happy in tracked snow but would obviously be compromised in deeper snow. We often ski as a group taking turns breaking trail so pure trail breaking ability isn't extraordinary critical.

After a day of mid 50s here we quickly went -17*F last night with several inches of fine heavy snow now covering a foot or so of now solidly frozen mashed potato snow.

Hope you're enjoying good skiing.

Hugh


I've never skied Glittertinds, only the epochs and eons, but I know there are quite a few people on this board who own them. I hope they will chime in.

sciguy1911 wrote:
Go Fish wrote:I have a pair of Rossignol BC90s for this sort of thing and I love them.


Is the width of these a problem if you attempt to ski already tracked areas? I'm looking to ski both off as will as on track areas so they will both be compromised a bit.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Hugh


Most groomed set tracks are 68-70mm. I can just barely squeeze my BC70's into tracks, but if the snow is hard, they drag.
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby Go Fish » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:48 am

The only time I ran into problems with the BC90s was on groomed trails. They do not fit in the grooves. I've got a pair of classic, kick and glide skinny skis for that now.

The BC90s are happiest stomping through untracked snow or tracks that don't see groomers. Most of the nice back country places I go, the tracks are laid by folks on skis as wide or wider than the BC90s so it isn't an issue.
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby MikeK » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:32 pm

Hugh,

I assume you are talking about the Black River Valley, an EXCELLENT place for Nordic skiing in NY, perhaps the best!

You may really want to work on a quiver because of this aspect, because if you decide to ski, you'll have lots of options. I won't assume you know about BREIA, but if you do, ignore, if not, you'll definitely want a pair of skis that can fit in groomed tracks.

http://www.breiax-countryski.org/

Anyway, they are all about classic there, no skating. The trails all get set with tracks at some point in the year, but not always in the early season. I've often skied there in feet, yes multiple, of powder and taken much wider XCD skis.

You are also close to the Adirondacks, and Black River Wild Forest and Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness are excellent ski areas. Neither have really difficult terrain unless you seek it out off trail, but you may in fact encounter deep snow that is ungroomed or unbroken, this is where a wider ski is nice. I don't particularly care for the skinny skis in this type of snow. Much of Tug Hill is pretty flat skiing, but Snow Ridge could provide you some Tele fun. Up on top there are XC trails so you can do both in one day if you chose. The issue, again, is deep, ungroomed snow. That area can have some heavy white stuff.

So again, I'll warn you that no ski will fulfill all your needs. But if you want to get out and hit BREIA, definitely get a pair that are under 70mm at the widest. Waxless skis work fine here, but often the conditions are great for wax, so you may want to consider. Metal edges are not necessary, but I enjoy them. Sometimes they can be grabby at high speeds on some of the trails, but the tradeoff for control when it's hard is much appreciated.

There are a fair deal of skis that could fit the bill for what you want, and the Glittertind, wax or waxless would work. I'll be quite honest, I have one, and it was not great for BC skiing in the untracked up there. It's also not a really great turning ski or a great glider... it's just kinda... meh all around. It skis and the waxless pattern is pretty good, so those are some plusses. There's also a narrower version called the Voss, which is actually a little better for BREIA. I'd say at your height anywhere from a 200 to 210 would be good depending on how much control you want to give up for a little extra glide. I'm 5-10" and I ski a 205 for XC.

Now coming around, I feel the Fischers are much better XC skis than the Madshus, but they tend to cost a little more. My XC ski a Fischer E89. It's comparable to the Voss I mentioned above but it's stiffer. I ski it groomed and ungroomed but only ungroomed when the snow has a firm base and little to nothing on top.

There's a couple other models of Fischers that are a little more focused on balanced off-trail and tracked performance, and those are the OTX 68 and the Spider 62. I'd not skied the newest version of each, but they are both quite popular. They are a little softer than a true XC ski so they are a little more forgiving on hills perhaps. Either will still be a far cry from a good deep snow ski.

You can also look into Fischers Backcountry series. The Country, E89, E99 and E109. My wife has a pair of Country's and they are skinny, edgless XC skis. I wouldn't do much BC XC with them. The E89 is what I described above. The E99 is similar to the Glittertind and the 109 is a wider, off-track only ski. The BC series is seriously light and thus a little light duty. If you are counting grams they might be something to consider or if you want a wax base, but if you want a more rugged ski, the OTX series is built a little tougher.

I could go on and on as we get into wider skis, but I'll touch up on the Epoch and Eon since they were mentioned. Both are very good skis for BC XC, but I like the Fischer counterparts better. The Eon is like an old school Alpine ski on a serious diet with a bit of camber. It's a wonderful ski for all around BC XC. It can make good turns, floats OK and is a dream to K+G. It won't fit in tracks though, so skiing at BREIA you'll be on the side and it isn't much fun to ski on flat groomed stuff. The Epoch is just a little wider and more curvaceous than the Eon. The camber is very similar but it's a ski that does a little better breaking trail in deep snow. It's the type of ski I choose when heading into the wilderness breaking trail in a foot of fresh. It also handles well. It's not great on hard snow, but in most BC conditions it will be easy to turn with enough boot. How much boot for any of these skis in a whole other discussion...

My suggestion would be to decide what you want to ski the most and whether you can stomach having two sets of skis. Seen as how it is easier to find a decent XC ski that will work at BREIA, I would look for that on CL or the like if you don't want to buy two new pairs and focus on finding a BC setup that will fulfill you needs. What those are I don't know, so more info would help.

Good luck.
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby sciguy1911 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:16 am

Mike,

Thanks so much for the excellent detailed reply. We've been extensively skiing at the BREIA trails off Egypt Road, Jackson Hill Road and Canal Trail as well as the DEC trails on Carpenter Road adjacent to Snow Ridge. We've also done a good bit of skiing off track with the semi local 911 group and Tramp and Trail. Your comment regarding developing a quiver of skis to take the greatest advantage of all the area offers is a excellent one. Last week I purchased a set of Fischer Spiders and have already enjoyed them immensely on a wide range of conditions from cold fresh snow to mashed potato conditions with air temps in the high 30s. They''re much slower in the BREIA tracks than my ancient waxed Fischer Air Cores but the kick is always reliable. The set I purchased had a NIS plate factory installed so I'm using them with my NNN Alpina S Combi Boots. I'll move to NNN BC binding and boot when I obtain a set of wider back country skis. One problem I have is my foot size. I just fit into an EU 49 Fischer Boot with thinnish socks so my choice of BC boots is very limited.

Do you live in the area? We lost a good bit of snow pack over the most recent melting event but had a nice dusting this morning.

Best Regards,

Hugh
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby MikeK » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:44 am

Hi Hugh,

Congrats on the Spider. That ski should work well for most XC type skiing.

I live a bit farther west in Rochester, but I (used to) frequent your area quite often. We had triplet boys last year so my ski travels are more limited these days. If we get lucky we'll find someone to watch our kids for the day and make a day trip out to BREIA this season.

Enjoy the snow!

Mike
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Re: Looking for a "back country light" ski suggestion

Postby MikeK » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:04 pm

sciguy1911 wrote:I just fit into an EU 49 Fischer Boot with thinnish socks so my choice of BC boots is very limited.


Probably your only options:

http://www.alpinasports.com/product/bc_1600/89

https://www.fischersports.com/us_en/bcx-6-14874

https://www.fischersports.com/us_en/bcx-5-14875

https://www.fischersports.com/us_en/bcx-675-14873
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