Time to spend all my money or just some? Setup advice

Discussion in 'Alpine Touring Gear' started by raynord22, May 6, 2015.

  1. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    **You can ignore most of this long mess which essentially was me just forcing my brain to get some crap out that was clogging up this who setup purchasing process. The little blurb below gives an idea of what will help me most. Thanks.**
    ***I think at this point what would help me most is if a few people could list there current backcountry setup and what they would change about it if they could. I think that will be a great way for me to get an idea of what people in the area are using. Also, it doesn't require any research for anyone other than me as you already know what you own. I apologize that my original posts makes it seems like I wanted someone to just do the research for me which isn't the case.***
    I zero viable pairs of skis at the moment and am starting completely from scratch. I open to any advice on a good setup or setups. I am completely new to backcountry and not totally set on a one ski quiver. Long story short, I was fixated on a certain setup for a while and have since started to open up my mind to other possibilities which is now making this process tough with all the possibilities. Truth be told I was an East Coast park kid growing up and some times I do like to hit jumps in the park still. However, where that really shows up is I definitely look to find anything to air off of including rocks, smalls cliffs, etc. I wouldn't consider myself aggressive as I haven't skied a lot in recent years. I am about 200+lbs which usually has me in a 10 DIN on alpine bindings. I will list some of the skis and binding I have thought about below:

    Skis:
    185 Armada JJ 2.0 (this is the ski I keep coming back to)
    186 ON3P Jeffrey 114
    186 Blizzard Gunsmoke
    185 Line Mr. Pollard's Opus
    189 K2 Shreditor 112
    187 4FRNT YLE
    185 Atomic Bent Chetler

    AT Bindings:
    Guardian/Tracker
    Beast 14
    Kingpin 13

    Alpine Bindings:
    Pivot
    FKS

    Boots:
    I don't really have anything picked out here, the plan was/is to see a boot fitter as it is all about what fits well with my feet. I am looking for something here that could handle both resort/backcountry so probably more along the lines of the Freedom Scarpa SL.

    Thanks in advance for any advice and let me know if you need any more information to provide better advice.
    Devin
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
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  2. idsnowghost

    idsnowghost Staff Member

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    What are your goals with backcountry skiing? Do you want to do full day tours from the trailhead or something like dropping the backside of Schweitzer for a couple hours while skiing a resort day?

    Depending on the type of skier you are, could be tough to make a single set of gear crossover for both backcountry and inbounds.. (but maybe you're on the right track with trying the Freedom SL/RS.) Many of us have tried and eventually just bought separate gear for each activity. You make huge sacrifices in weight when bringing alpine gear into the backcountry.. and the more backcountry skiing you do, the lighter you will want your gear including boots. I've always heard the saying: "a pound on your foot is equal to four pounds on your back". Longer and more enjoyable days are the goal.

    Start looking into weight as another spec you check when evaluating skis and other gear. Skip frame bindings unless budget forces you to (but really there's enough deals right now you could get both alpine and tech for same $).

    I also see your list doesn't include any avalanche gear. Do you own a shovel, probe and beacon, (airbag)? Great deals on those necessities right now, also!
    Brandon, PowderPanda and raynord22 like this.
  3. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Thanks, that was exactly the comment I needed. I am thinking at this point sidecountry and day trips to start but longer trips aren't out of the question. It seems two setups will be a good starting point.

    I didn't include the avy gear as it is essential and is well reviewed so I have a list of options for that, it is just a matter of buying.

    I think at this point what would help me most is if a few people could list there current backcountry setup and what they would change about it if they could. I think that will be a great way for me to get an idea of what people in the area are using. Also, it doesn't require any research for anyone other than me as you already know what you own. I apologize that my original posts makes it seems like I wanted someone to just do the research for me which isn't the case.
    PowderPanda likes this.
  4. idsnowghost

    idsnowghost Staff Member

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I always mention avy gear for those who might read this thread later on. Safety first! :)

    For backcountry I'm in the La Sportiva Spectres, Dynafit Speed/FT radicals depending on the ski, skied the Praxis UL GPO for the most part this season, have other pairs I rotate in/out.

    I found I don't need anything more than a Speed Radical to hold me in for 90% of my backcountry skiing days. I huck stuff and ski sketchy lines from time to time and feel secure. For boots, if I wasn't in the Spectres I might look at Maestrale RS. Too many skis out there and a lot goes into personal preferences and style.. just keep the weight down and I don't see a reason to go longer than high 180's in length. I like Praxis skis for the build quality (especially the bomber bases) and forward thinking designs. I run over plenty of rocks, trees, dirt and ski a lot of beargrass in the Spring.
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  5. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Here.. I'll save ya the trouble.. Get a splitboard and live happily ever after!!! Hahhahaa Sorry I just Hijacked this thread!!
    k.p0w and Batski like this.
  6. Raynord, my setup as you requested:

    Voile V8 185cm with dynafit radical ST and Scarpa Maestrale RS

    I chose the V8 because it was a great combination of value, very light weight for its size, and it's shape is very similar to my beloved OG ON3P BGs. They are a dream to ski in soft snow and turn on a dime. They do have a speed limit when skied in the resort (which I rarely do). They do not like hard snow, ice or refrozen crud (but what light powder ski does?). In the perfect world, this setup would be part of a 2 ski quiver, with the other being ~95mm underfoot and stiffer to handle variable conditions.

    I second mike's suggestion to skip frame bindings. You'll thank us later.

    Love the way the Scarpas tour and ski. Plenty of beef there to ski aggressively if you need/want to.
    raynord22 likes this.
  7. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Thanks for responses, both of your skis are on the list that at the moment is very long. If the Praxis are still at the current price when I am buying they would be a steal. I've been reading about the CAST SI&I system all day and was wondering if anyone here had any experience/thoughts on the system? There doesn't seem to be a ton of recent reviews of the system. The older reviews are promising though. This could put me in a one ski quiver for a bit that would have zero issues on resort days. I could always getting a lightweight long tour specific setup down the road when money allows. I know I mentioned above a nice two ski quiver to start but money wise that probably isn't in the cards at the moment. So yeah any thoughts on the CAST system would be awesome. I will throw a setup idea below for dissecting, thanks again for any input.
    Skis - 186 Line Sick Day 110 - $419.97 ($699.95)
    Binding - CAST SI&I - $300 + Dynafit Speed Radical Toes - $180 from CAST ($89.95 Speed Turn and $109.95 Radical ST at skimo.co)
    Binding - Marker Lord SP - $379 (this could be any number of alpine binding designed to ski AT boots)
    Boot - Scarpa Maestrale RS - $729 ($699.00)
    Poles - Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Poles - $97.96 $139.95 (I have aluminum poles already) - Open to any suggestions here I just don't know where to start and nobody really reviews poles.

    Cheaper avalanche gear setup of gear that is still rated high/good reviews:
    Airbag - Backcountry Access Float 32 - $549 or Airbag - Mammut Light Removable Airbag - $490 - any thoughts on how either of these fit some 6'2'' are welcomed or better options.
    Beacon - Pieps DSP Sport - $275
    ARVA Snow Plume Shovel - $41.96 ($59.95)
    Mammut Probe 240 - $39.96 ($49.95)
    Ice Axe - Black Diamond Raven - $80
    PowderPanda likes this.
  8. Devin,

    I'll throw my 2 cents in here as well. Mike and Brandon nailed it, forget the frame bindings. Just go to a tech setup. It's just a matter of time before you switch over. I don't really know much about the CAST system. I thought it was just a prototype. Are they now producing it? That being said...

    My current setup:

    Salomon Q-105s in a 181 - I fell in love with the Czar a few years ago, and these ski similarly with a bit more sidecut and a bit stiffer. I saw a pair at Wintersport in Spokane 3 weeks ago for $279 brand new and almost bought them with the idea of reselling them. I like them in almost all conditions, from powder to bulletproof.

    Dynafit Radial FTs - If I could do it again, I would just get the Radical STs. I think the only difference is a plastic plate on the FTs that they claim gives the ski more rigidity. I don't buy it. That being said, these are awesome bindings. I've never had them release when I don't want them to, and I've even spent a few days skiing them hard at Schweitzer and Sunshine Village.

    Technica Cochise 120 - Heavier than a true touring boot, these try to straddle the line between a touring and alpine boot. I didn't want to shell out over $1000 for two pairs of boots, and these work great. They're obviously plenty burly for the resort, and have enough movement to be enjoyable to tour in. Mine have about 100 days on them, and they're holding up great.

    I'm not sure how much you're looking to spend or what type of skiing you plan on doing, but if you're just getting into touring, I would skip the axe, poles, and airbag to start. Don't get me wrong, an airbag is a great piece of equipment. Depending on who you ask, some people may view it as a necessity, but an airbag is a pricey piece of equipment. I have been comfortable skiing without one for years now, but if I were to get caught in a size 3 tomorrow, I may have a different view on it.

    As for the axe and poles. Are you planning on ski mountaineering right off the bat? If so, ya, you need an axe...and crampons. If not, skip it. As for poles, I view them as a luxury, not a necessity. They're handy, but I've met and know plenty of people who tour in standard aluminum poles, including a couple IFMGA guides.

    As for the beacon, the pieps dsp sport is a good beacon. Just make sure that you get a triple antenna beacon with a flag function for multiple burials. I believe the dsp sport has both. The Canadian Avalanche Association strongly recommends, not to mention teaches all their courses with the assumption that all people are carrying a triple antenna beacon with a flag function. Considering the CAA is one of the world leaders on this stuff (more so than the US), I think it's good advice. I use a BCA Tracker 2, which does not have these functions, and I've used multiple beacons that do. They have a better range and are hands downs easier to search with. Without a doubt, that is the next piece of gear I'm going to upgrade. Hope that helps.
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  9. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Thanks for the response. I am skipping frame bindings for sure.

    The Cast SI&I (casttouring.com) looks like it is in its second year of production this year (14/15) with some updates over last year and they still have some in stock. I think that might be where I am going to start as it doesn't add too much weight, I can do a one ski quiver at the start to save money, and I can confidently ride a ton of resort days to get my ski legs back. I don't want to give the impression I think I'm some ripping beast or think that I am even good at skiing that I need an alpine binding for the down, I just know I will be at the resort a lot with my wife who is quite new to skiing and I still like to hit jumps in the terrain park when I am at the resort which I just wouldn't feel comfortable doing on a tech binding.

    Thanks for the input on the ax, poles, avalanche bag, I was thinking optional to start for sure on the ax and bag but didn't think about the poles. That setup above without the ax, poles, and bag would be somewhere around $2300 which seems doable giving as I'm not 100% committed to any boot/ski/alpine binding and can shop for deals.
  10. idsnowghost

    idsnowghost Staff Member

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    CAST is ridiculous in real life. I couldn't imagine touring on it.. let alone without it breaking (the one I saw did and/or iced up). Tons of fiddling at transitions, bindings in backpack..

    (I did contribute to their kickstarter though hahaha)
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  11. I will second, third and fourth the comments on frame bindings. I just broke my Fritschis and switched to the G3 IONS. I cannot comment on the IONS vs Dynafit from experience but I know that 1 day on the IONS and I will never go back to frame AT bindings. I think I annoyed Brandon with my perpetual comments on how it was like there was nothing on my boots anymore the whole way up. The ski down was super solid with DIN set at 10.
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  12. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Raynord,
    Good to see ya getting on the right track…
    I'll throw in on the CAST system, Takes about 15-20min to switch over. Time consuming.. And that's if they go right. Add icing or snow buildup, worse. How do I know.. I watched a guy on our last trip in the Sawtoooth's struggle and hold our group up. It was certainly not the most logical set up.

    Cheers
    raynord22 likes this.
  13. idsnowghost

    idsnowghost Staff Member

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
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  14. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Hello again. Any one have any knowledge on or experience with the Armada Kufo ski? There is a pair on sale for $300 but I'm trying to see if they are a good fit for around here and decent in general. I haven't found where a skiing site has done a test/review on them which makes me wary as I can usually find something online. Here is the link to the sale: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/290370-Armada-Kufo-186cm-w-Atomic-climbing-skins. They've been up for a while so I might be able to bump it down since it is $300 obo. Any thoughts are appreciated.
  15. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Talked to the seller and he will include the FRITSCHI-SWISS DIAMIR VIPEC 12 BINDINGs on the skis for $700. Pictures look great and the skis look like they were really only rode 3 times like the seller says.
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  16. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    I've received counsel and the Vipec is a no go. So question is does $300 seem like a fair deal for skis and skins?
  17. 2FUNKY

    2FUNKY

    Location:
    CDA
    Just throwing this out there. I have a pair of 186 ON3P Vicik Tours with 2 mounts. 1 Sally and one dyna with inserts. Bases are minty top sheets are fairly minty. One small chip that I repaired, cosmetic only. I would let them go for $300, skis only, if you want the salomon 914's, add $125. Skis have less than 10 days on them. Light, great flex, and ON3P bomber bases. I live in CDA if you want to check them out. Don't really want to sell but I have some overlap in the quiver. I can also pm you pics if you like.
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  18. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    Thanks! I am currently debating which route to go here thanks all.
  19. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Hey Raynord.. I'll shoot Mikey a text for his thoughts too. We've been stacked this summer.. But stoked you are in it!
    Great time right now for finding deals… I'm trying to talk myself out of buying new stuff I really don't need.. LOL
    raynord22 likes this.
  20. raynord22

    raynord22

    Location:
    Sandpoint
    No worries at all, I realize not everyone works at home on the internet all day like I do. I contacted my brother-in-law who reached out to his friend who had demoed the Kufo's and works in a backcountry ski shop in Edwards, CO. He gave the deal his seal of approval then I just looked up what those skis and skins are selling for on sale right now and with the 3 days on the ones for sale I decided it was a go. I will probably splurge on boots and bindings this year then since I saved on skis and skins. Kingpins and Atomic Backland Carbons look like the top contenders for me despite this being the first run of the backlands. That also all depends on if the backlands are compatible with the Kingpins, which I am in the process of researching.
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