Newbie Question - On Trail/Off Trail Ski

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freerangequArk
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Newbie Question - On Trail/Off Trail Ski

Post by freerangequArk » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:49 am

Hi,

I haven't skied in many years and I'm looking to get a pair of skis and get back into the sport. I am in the process of trying to find a decent ski for myself to purchase and was hoping to get some advice.

I'm looking for a combo On Trail/Off Trail ski recommendations that will work out for me.

Me - 45 year old, male, 6'0" 180lbs, in reasonably good shape.

I have groomed trails near where I live in the Chicago suburbs however they see a lot of foot traffic as well so I don't know that I would even consider them groomed. I also have golf courses and other open areas available to me. Other than those, I want a ski that I can use on the ungroomed bike trails. I will occasionally be skiing in areas where the trails are groomed and kept in good shape for XC skiing.

One of the models I was specifically looking at is the Rossignol EVO OT.

From my research I should not be looking at skis narrower than 65mm at the tip. Is that correct? What about mid width and tail width?

Based off my description, what other models should I consider? Lastly, I want a ski that I will not quickly outgrow as I become a better skier.

Thanks!
Glenn

Pat
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Re: Newbie Question - On Trail/Off Trail Ski

Post by Pat » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:22 pm

Glenn -- I have a set of the Rossi EVO Tours and have used them pretty hard for three years doing just what you described. Seem to work fine for the out the back door stuff you described. Seems like the lightweight touring skis are what you are looking for.

Pat

freerangequArk
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Re: Newbie Question - On Trail/Off Trail Ski

Post by freerangequArk » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:52 am

Thanks for the reply Pat!

Glenn

lilcliffy
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Re: Newbie Question - On Trail/Off Trail Ski

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:06 am

Glen,

First thing- be prepared to potentially end up with a number of different skis (and potentially boots) if you end up doing a lot of off-trail/backcountry Nordic touring. Off-trail backcountry Nordic touring is the ultimate way to enjoy and explore nature in the winter. If you do not have an appropriate ski/boot for the mix of terrain/snow conditions- not so enjoyable.

There is an incredible range of options in Nordic equipment (much wider than Alpine)- from high-performance, very stiff, double-cambered track skis; to big-mountain heavy, powerful telemark. The range of options is certainly not limited to the skis. Bindings and boots are just as important a consideration.

As a starting point- If you want equipment that is inherently versatile, pick a binding that has a reasonably wide range of application. So- for example, avoid a track-orientated binding. An NNN-BC (or x-adv), or 75mm-3-pin binding, may not be as efficient on the track, but they are going to give you WAY more stability and control off-track. At this point backcountry system bindings (NNN-BC/x-adv) have a limit to their strength and power (although I am impressed with what I can do on NNN-BC on the downhill!). The chief advantage of 75mm, is that a 75mm boot will fit in all 75mm bindings from light 3-pin to much more powerful big-mtn telemark bindings.

My preferred binding for kick and glide-focused off-trail touring is NNN-BC. (the x-adv binding is excellent as well- but I have never found an x-adv boot that fit me). I highly recommend a manual binding- automatic bindings are prone to icing up off-trail! One of the biggest advantages of NNN-BC is that there is a very wide range of boots available to choose from (my current favourite is the Alpina Alaska NNN-BC). NNN-BC will perform very well for the average skier, in conditions ranging from groomed track, to off-trail touring, to downhill skiing on moderate slopes. (I use heavier telemark equipment in steep mountainous terrain). A 75mm-3-pin binding will fit the same bill as NNN-BC/x-adv. (I personally prefer NNN-BC over 3-pin for K&G touring). My advice- focus on the boot first- then get the appropriate binding. But, in general, I would avoid a track binding, if you really want to ski off-trail.

If you definitely want a ski that will fit in a classic groomed track, then 70mm tip is about the exact maximum. I think that a Rossignol BC70 will "just" fit in a groomed classic track. An off-trail ski that is 58-70mm should be fine if you are primarily skiing on dense and/or hard-packed snow. There are limtations to these dimensions though. Narrow skis that fit in groomed tracks, do not perform well in deep, fresh snow. As a specific example of a ski with very wide application- the Fischer E-109 is an off-trail, double-cambered ski, that is stiff enough to be reasonably efficient on dense/hard snow, but wide and soft enough to perform well in soft, fresh snow. The E-109 is an incredibly versatile backcountry-xcountry ski- but it will definitely NOT fit in a groomed track. The Madshus Eon, Fischer S-Bound 78/88 are somewhat similar options to the E-109- but they are single-cambered- offering better downhill performance, but less xcountry performance to an E-109...LOTS to choose from!!

A few questions:

1) What is the typical terrain you will be skiing on to begin with? Flat to gently rolling? Hilly, with moderately steep climbs/descents, mixed with predominately xcountry skiing? Steep, mountainous terrain?

2) What is the typical snow conditions you will be skiing on? Dense and/or hard-packed snow? Soft, fresh snow, over a stable base? Deep, soft, powder snow?

3) Will you be carrying and/or pulling any significant weight?

4) Is being able to ski on and off a groomed classic track a deal-breaker?

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