Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers!
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by gb » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:25 am

mk12 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:28 am
On a slightly different note, what is everyone's preferred ski size (specifically waist size) for spring Colorado conditions? Debating between getting a skimo race ski or one that's more in the mid-70s waist width.
A skimo ski or even something in the mid 70's is woefully too skinny for springtime skiing IMO. Remember that in spring you're likely to find every condition imaginable, and in almost every case, something wider will be better. Anything will do ok in perfect corn or powder, but spring is also filled with windcrusts, suncrusts and classic trapdoor ski mankaineering- and for that, you'll be grateful for something wider. 105 is the sweet spot for a large contingent of spring skiers, IMO. The mid 90's waisted ski is to me, the worst of all worlds- not wide enough to see the benefits of the wider skis in the aforementioned conditions, but not skinny enough to see the weight gains of the tiny skis. At least with the tiny skis you'll get that benefit, and you'll just know that the skiing will suck and just deal with it if you're trying to link up huge days or something.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by bergsteigen » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:46 am

gb wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:25 am
mk12 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:28 am
On a slightly different note, what is everyone's preferred ski size (specifically waist size) for spring Colorado conditions? Debating between getting a skimo race ski or one that's more in the mid-70s waist width.
A skimo ski or even something in the mid 70's is woefully too skinny for springtime skiing IMO. Remember that in spring you're likely to find every condition imaginable, and in almost every case, something wider will be better. Anything will do ok in perfect corn or powder, but spring is also filled with windcrusts, suncrusts and classic trapdoor ski mankaineering- and for that, you'll be grateful for something wider. 105 is the sweet spot for a large contingent of spring skiers, IMO. The mid 90's waisted ski is to me, the worst of all worlds- not wide enough to see the benefits of the wider skis in the aforementioned conditions, but not skinny enough to see the weight gains of the tiny skis. At least with the tiny skis you'll get that benefit, and you'll just know that the skiing will suck and just deal with it if you're trying to link up huge days or something.
Punchy variable early spring conditions is why I ski my 112’s till it’s fully corn season. I don’t like them that fat for the firm steeps though, the edging just feels awkward and is tough on the knees. I used to have 105 as my all around, but split to 90 and 112.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by SchralpTheGnar » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:28 pm

gb wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:25 am
mk12 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:28 am
On a slightly different note, what is everyone's preferred ski size (specifically waist size) for spring Colorado conditions? Debating between getting a skimo race ski or one that's more in the mid-70s waist width.
A skimo ski or even something in the mid 70's is woefully too skinny for springtime skiing IMO. Remember that in spring you're likely to find every condition imaginable, and in almost every case, something wider will be better. Anything will do ok in perfect corn or powder, but spring is also filled with windcrusts, suncrusts and classic trapdoor ski mankaineering- and for that, you'll be grateful for something wider. 105 is the sweet spot for a large contingent of spring skiers, IMO. The mid 90's waisted ski is to me, the worst of all worlds- not wide enough to see the benefits of the wider skis in the aforementioned conditions, but not skinny enough to see the weight gains of the tiny skis. At least with the tiny skis you'll get that benefit, and you'll just know that the skiing will suck and just deal with it if you're trying to link up huge days or something.
No wonder I’m a JONG, I ski a 94mm ski in the spring time
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by pvnisher » Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:23 am

I use 105 for almost everything.
Have 76 and 115, but those are for special occasions.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by mk12 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:20 am

Cool. I have a 106 setup which seems to be ideal. Thanks!
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by BillMiddlebrook » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:40 am

Good comments so far!

When I’m heading to a steep BC peak line, I, too, prefer a more narrow ski (90s) because it puts my feet closer to the slope when on-edge, like landing jump turns, working around obstacles, or taking a pic break. I’m talking 45+ degree lines.

For general peak skiing, I bring a 98 or 106 based on steepness, snow conditions and desired gear weight for that day.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by Chicago Transplant » Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:55 am

I agree with Bill and Otina that having skinnier skis on steeps helps keep the edge and boot closer, which means more control on jump turns. I also like skinnier skis on packed snow in general, I see people skiing resort groomers in 105+ and they must be destroying their knees doing it. Wider skis on packed snow stresses your MCL because it throws your boot-knee-hip alignment inwards more (think "knock kneed").

I prefer skinnier skis than most, my widest is a 94! I am typically in the mid to upper 80's, my touring skis are currently 88 actually. A lot of my spring descents the upper mountain is still pretty firm. I am normally the guy on the summit waiting for an hour for the snow to soften, not the one racing the wet slide danger up the boot pack. So I am sure that factors in to my ski width preference. There have been a few days where a crust has given me fits, but I think overall I have rarely wished I had a fatter ski.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by SchralpTheGnar » Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:36 pm

Unless your skiing the icelantic shaman skis, those fat skis shred the groomahs
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by pvnisher » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:35 pm

I think my 105s carve pretty well.
I very rarely wish for a skinnier ski.
While skiing.
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by USAKeller » Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:33 am

Yes, a lot of good responses here! FWIW... I've had several pair of skis in the past but at this time in my life, I can't justify having more than one pair and found that having a one 'do-it-all' ski has been awesome. The last 10 years I rode a 94mm underfoot and decided to up that to a 96 this year - not too skinny, not too wide - and they've been more than I could ask for both on and off piste!
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by andrewdoumont » Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:25 pm

What do you all think about ski length for ski mountaineering type applications?

My thoughts were shorter skis would be lighter and be quicker to turn in tight couloirs and such.

I am 6'3" and on the light side. My touring setup is 185cm, but was considering going shorter for a more mountaineering focused setup.

If you say shorter, how much shorter do you think? If not shorter, why not?

Thanks
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Re: Backcountry Touring and 14er Skiing Progression

Post by SchralpTheGnar » Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:26 pm

I’m 5’11” and ski 185s and find them to be very good. It’s all about the confidence you have in your gear.
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