Help on choosing the right type of gear

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xcskiforum 30K
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Help on choosing the right type of gear

Post by hamlet_cat » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:59 pm

I am both a downhill skier and a xc skier, and I live at the base of a downhill ski area. However, to go cross country skiing where I live I have to get to the top of the mountain. The resort will not let me take xc skis on the lift because they do not have metal edges. I already have downhill skis, but I was thinking a type of touring ski might work, but I would like it to function more like a cross country ski but still be able to handle easy downhills so that I can also use it to get up and down the mountain. I have looked at various touring skis but they look more like typical downhill skis, not really meant for flats and hill climbing. Is there a type of back country ski that is meant for mainly cross country, but still has the advantage of being able to handle downhills? There are so many non groomed trails up where I live that I would really like to take advantage of this type of terrain, but my normal classic and skate xc skiis are not really able to handle trails that aren't groomed. Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks Cheryl.

xcskiforum 40K
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Re: Help on choosing the right type of gear

Post by Raubie » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:16 am


You're looking for an XCD ("cross-country downhill") ski--a bridge between the typical Nordic XC ski and a backcountry downhill-oriented ski. IIRC, Karhu was the first in the late 70's to offer XCD skis, but now all the major brands offer them, usually with full metal edges and waxless bases.

For a double-camber nordic ski that can kick-and-glide, but also be usable on gentle downhills, the challenge is finding that sweet spot for the conditions you'll use them in. At the narrower/lighter/longer end you'll find the best glide at the expense of turning ability (Telemark turns not parallel/carved) and they'll sink when you break trail, but they can still be used in groomed tracks (~62cm wide). At the wider/shorter/heavier end (1 1/4 to single camber), great turn ability but real dogs to ski across flat or rolling terrain for any distance (think kick-and-more kick). They're also better at climbing without skins because of a larger waxless grip area.

A great place for info on XCD skis/boots/bindings is ... -skis.html

And their Youtube channel and are great resources as well.

As a starting point for XCD skis, Madshus and Fischer (and Asnes) are hard to beat.

Voss/BC50 (in wax and waxless "MGV+"): double-camber; Sidecut in mm: 60-50-55
Glittertind/BC 55 (in wax and waxless "MGV+"): double-camber; 68-55-62
Eon (formerly Karhu "XCD GT") (in wax and waxless "Omnitrak"): 1 1/2 camber; 83-62-70
Epoch (formerly "10th Mountain") (waxless "Omnitrak"): 1 1/4 camber; 99-68-84
Annum (formerly Karhu "Guide") (waxless "Omnitrak"): single camber; 109-78-95

E89: 59-49-55
Spider 62: 62-52-60
E99 Crown Xtralite or Easy Skin Xtralite ("Europa 99"): 66-54-61
Outback 68: 68-59-64
E109 Easy Skin Extralite: 82-60-70
S-Bound 98: 98-69-88
S-bound 112: 112-78-95

Rossi/Salomon/Alpina/Voile make some good XCD boards across all widths, too.

My personal fave of these is the Madshus Glittertinds (205cm) (renamed "BC55"?) - in my conditions, they're fast gliding (for their weight), track straight, turn very well off the fall line for controlled Tele turns (much better than the stiff stiff Fischer E99) and are overall more forgiving. The Fischer E99 is a more effiicient gliding ski, but doesn't climb as rock solid as the Glittertinds. The Glits also retail for about $150 less. Both are fantastic skis. Depending on your downhill requirements, you may want to consider a slightly wider ski like the Madshus "Eon," Fischer "E109" or "S-Bound 98." The "narrow" Voss is a great versatile ski, too.

Check the archives here for more specific info.

For XCD boots/bindings, you have two options: BC-NNN or 75mm. For any ski under 65mm underfoot, (imo) consider Magnum BC-NNN with the best boots you can afford. Kick-and-gliding is much harder on a 75mm boot, but he duckbills come into there own on wider boards for steeper downhills and powder.

Salomon shelved it's SNS X-Adv boots and bindings in early 2016, though you might still be able to find them in stock at reduced prices. I preferred their X-Adv binding--it opened and closed easier than the Rottefella BC-NNN Magnum, it was much narrower, plus it had a loop for a boot leash.

Hope that helps.

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