Skis for Touring/Off Piste

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Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby colin_a » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:33 pm

Hi all - I'm putting together a touring outfit, and would love some input on what skis to get. For use with Lange XT Free boot, and Shift binding in variable spring conditions in Wa State. I was thinking about the Liberty Evolv 100, or even Head M88. Do the Head Kore's have too much rocker, is that why they're disliked? I really enjoy working with PMTS, and would like to stay with gear most consistent with that, but I know touring is a compromise. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby jbotti » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:07 pm

The Kore's have their share of Rocker but less than many skis these days. You could do worse for a touring ski as they are light. I am however the wrong person to ask on touring skis as I do it no more than 1-2X per year. I also only use combo alpine/touring bindings. The Monster 88 is a heavy ski so you might want to look elsewhere. Having said that, if you can handle the weight its probably super dependable in most/all conditions and truly rewards PMTS movements.

Others may chime in.
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby HeluvaSkier » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:27 pm

My brother does some touring in Washington State and he goes for light skis. His current setup is a Coreupt R88 in a 177 (with King Pins I think). It is light and has quite a lot of shape to it. He is a former racer (skis a lot like I do) and values uphill capability over downhill capability as he says very rarely can he trust what is below him enough to really 'let loose' on the descent. Also, some of the run-outs can be really nasty. Given some of his descriptions, I wouldn't invest a lot in the skis, and I'd have at least some early tip rise, along with enough shape to make the skis easily maneuverable when you need it.
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby colin_a » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:21 pm

Thanks for the replies - I will definitely take a look at your suggestions!
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby ErikCO » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:38 am

Just as another option, I have two skis for touring, though I can't say I do a huge amount of it. My main touring skis are Dynastar's Mythic 97 with a set of Dynafit AT bindings (don't remember the exact model, but they do have rotation in the toe). I also have a set of REV 85's with the Shift MNC bindings on them. These are primarily for sidecountry as they are fairly heavy.

As Heluva noted, for most touring, you probably are going to want to prioritize uphill over downhill. My Dynastars are no fun on groomed runs as they have too much tip rise (so they chatter at speed) and only so-so edge hold. However, in variable snow with some crust and occasional spots of deep powder, they are stable and don't take a nosedive every time I hit a soft spot. And they are very light which is important when I'm going to be hauling my overweight butt up 1500 vertical feet!
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby skifastDDS » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:19 am

Are there any touring boots that are PMTS approved? I think Harald has skied the Lange XT. I'd imagine they all lack a lot of stiffness if you're used to an alpine race boot. It would be cool to have a setup to go exploring with the situation we are in, but unlikely to happen for me since we can't access HSS for new boot setup. I'm pretty sure I'd need the shift binding in order to not be completely terrified on the downhills, I'm used to metal race clamps.
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby ErikCO » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:35 pm

I'm in the Lang XTs as well. They aren't as stiff as my Head Raptor 130s, but they do feel like actual alpine boots. HSS was able to do some cuff alignment on them, though not as much as I have in my Heads, so my LTE balance is not as good. Canting has to be done by placing strips under the bindings, unfortunately, so you need to keep your left and right skis separate.

I don't know if you would find the Dynafit style bindings to be objectionable. I ski with either PRD bindings on a power rail (for my WhiteOuts) or Freeflex 14s on a race plate. While I wouldn't really want to try high angle carving on the Dynafit bindings, the only major difference I feel in them is a bit less dampening of vibrations when I'm on hardpack, though that could also just be the skis. I've had some issues with the Shifts pre-releasing and their transition from touring mode to downhill mode is a little mechanically complex. I could see it getting iced up if you were in the right conditions. The Dynafits are simpler mechanically. Not saying this to discourage you from the Shifts as they are a nice binding (and I'm reasonably happy with them, especially when I bumped up my DIN setting).
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Re: Skis for Touring/Off Piste

Postby oggy » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:22 am

It depends on what you do with them, unless you plan on long multi-day tours, and if you care about going downhill, I'd be careful with going too light. I've rented "proper" high-end, lightweight touring gear before (with reasonably well-fitting shoes) and skiing down in anything but light powder was not a pleasant experience.

Personally I'm skinning up with my Movement Jams and Tyrolia Ambition bindings and my regular alpine boots, as I mostly go slackcountry. It's not great, and de-icing that particular binding to put it back into ski mode sucks, especially if you're somewhere up on a ridge and the wind is blowing and you just want to get the hell down. But I've done tours of up to 1km vertical with the setup, though I wouldn't wanna do much more than that. Also depends on where you live, my tours are in the Alps so during the season almost all of them will start below the altitude of Denver.

If the Swiss ski stores weren't closed now together with the resorts, I'd opt for a pin binding setup though, and something with a bit of tip rocker. While I put the fact that pin bindings work on the same level of amazing as airplanes flying, they don't seem to suffer from pre-release problems. Anecdotally, I have friends who have hucked cliffs with those.
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