Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Select & Buy Telemark Skis & Backcountry Skis - by ORS CrossCoun...

This is a wonderful run down of this year's backcountry skis, including those new fat skis everyone seems to be coming out with this year:

- Alpina Light Terrain and Alpine Cross Terrain (best for doodling around in the woods);
- Madshus (used to be Karhu) Eon (narrowist, best for light touring and zipping along a woods trail) and the Eon Waxable (a waxable backcountry ski); the Annum, a wide ski best for looking for downhill turns with a lot of sidecut and flex, it's not the best for touring straight; the Epoch (in between the two in width) does both well. Please note, the Epoch used to be the Karhu 10th Mountains and the Annum used to be the Karhu Guide. All of these skis are classics with strong reputations.
- Rossignol BC 125 (think powder and downhill) and BC 110 (an all-around ski like the Epic).
- Fischer S-Bounds: 88, 98, 112 (referring to the width of the widest part of the ski, or the shovel).
- Voile Vector BC, a rockered ski that climbs really well, and then charges back down hill even better. A seriously fun ski, that we will both be adding to our quiver!

Personally, I love the old Karhu 10th Mountains, which is now the exact same ski (with a different look) as the Madshus Epoch. This is truly a do-it-all ski, whether you're seeking turns or just doodling around in the woods. I am doing the Camel's Hump Challenge this year on these skis.

I also have and love the BC125. Together, my Karhu's and this ski make a nice little quiver. I take the BC125 out when the objective is finding hills and making turns, and the touring is really just to get you to those hills. Still, I was pleasantly surprised at how well these fat skis do track. I would tour in them for sure, and actually, Tristan will be doing the Camel's Hump Challenge in this ski. (Maybe I will, too, depending on the snow conditions.)

If you have more questions than Ryan has answered on this great video, please come in to Onion River Sports or visit ORS Cross Country Skis Direct!

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  1. could you compare and contrast the vector BC with the BC 125

  2. Thanks for the great question! These are two of today's most popular backcountry skis, and they are both excellent. Both are great for downhill backcountry skiing with deep powder turns in mind; both have a wide shovel. The biggest difference is that the vector has a rockered tip, making it a more "powder-savy" ski than the Rossi BC 125. I also think the Vector feels just a tiny bit heavier than the Rossi 125; this means the lighter Rossi 125 will be a little better for touring than the heavier Vector. On the other hand, the heavier Vector will feel a little more stable when you're charging downhill. Personally, I feel the Rossi 125 is a little flimsy at times because of its light weight, but that is a trade off for the excellent "tourability" for such a fat ski - a true compromise/best-of-both worlds ski. I do think, as Ryan says in this video, that the Vector is more of a west coast / deep powder ski and the Rossi 125 will see more use in a New England winter and in the northeast woods on a powder day..which seem to be few and far between so far this year! Again, thanks for the great question - let us know what we can do to help more. And give ORS Cross-Country Skis a call - chances are you'll get Ryan on the phone and he's very helpful. See you out there!

  3. After skiing on these skis for a couple of years, I would now update my above comment to say the Vectors are perfectly awesome for the NE. They climb like champs, are lightweight, and descend like dreams. I still take the Karhu 10th mountains for skiing groomed or relatively flat terrain, and mix it up on rolling tours with the BC125s. If the tour includes and amount of continuous climbing or descending, I take the Vectors for their climbing ability. I always carry skins, but have yet to need them even on pasture hills, backcountry mountains, and tours of the Catamount Trail like Bolton to Trapps. They were hands-down my #1 choice for the Camel's Hump Challenge this year, too. Happy skiing!