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1/12/2017 9:20 PM
 

alpendrms: I checked out Altai Skis after your post on their gloves (great customer service) and became intrigued with their lineup of skis. I'm a long-time snowshoe user but haven't used cc skis more than a dozen times, and then as a kid. Ordered the 125 Hoks to use as a maybe more graceful set of snowshoes and possible transition to longer skis. They should arrive sat for coyote calling this weekend!

 
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1/16/2017 6:09 AM
 
erikc wrote:

alpendrms: I checked out Altai Skis after your post on their gloves (great customer service) and became intrigued with their lineup of skis. I'm a long-time snowshoe user but haven't used cc skis more than a dozen times, and then as a kid. Ordered the 125 Hoks to use as a maybe more graceful set of snowshoes and possible transition to longer skis. They should arrive sat for coyote calling this weekend!

Nice!  


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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1/16/2017 9:49 AM
 
Coyote calling with the Hoks on Sunday: We have about 15" of snow in sheltered/tree areas-about half is light and fluffy with a base that is hard and crusty but won't hold weight. Windblown open areas range from just a couple inches to mid-thigh deep depending on how deep the prairie grass is. I alternated between learning to glide along and just snowshoeing through deepest grassy areas as needed-more versatile than snowshoes. x-trace pivot bindings allowed for easy on-off and use of my normal hunting boots. I was surprised at how well the Hoks can climb up hills and out of creek bottoms and pleased to find they seem overall quieter than snowshoes. The main limitation at this point seems to be skill of the user.

I used a pair of Cabela's Alaskan Guide hiking staffs with snow baskets and I'm NOT loving the straight, spongy foam grips. If anyone can recommend a sturdy 3 section pole with good grips, it would be appreciated. Ideally, I would like a trekking pole that would do double duty with baskets for the Hoks but I don't know if that is feasible.....
 
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1/16/2017 1:04 PM
 

I would really steer people towards the 150 Hoks. The 130 Karhu Karvers (precursors to the Hoks) always felt nearly uncontrollable to me just as soon as they started moving and I needed to cut an edge in to slow myself down. Too stubby -- not enough edge length. 150 is still a very short and maneuverable ski.

I had a chance to ski the 150 Hoks a little bit last week. Deep powder with a hard wind packed overlay. If Karhu Karvers had ever been made in 150s, I suspect Scot never would have moved onto true skis. I would have, but man those 150s sure do fit most of the bill for general movement. The thing that impressed me most about them was how much they wanted to climb out of the rut as you moved them forward. Moreso than any XC ski I've ever used. Made breaking trail a lot easier. The Altai guys talk a lot about the backcountry DNA of their boards and that feature specifically and it turns out that it isn't just smack talk. It's a noticeable difference. My experience with the 150 Hoks has me seriously considering a pair of Koms even though I've had no complaints whatsoever with my Rossignol BC110s.

The achilles heel of the Hoks is the binding limitation. Neither of their "universal" bindings will work with boots that have much in the way of midsole stiffness which rules out mountaineering boots and even a lot of hiking boots. Your other option is some type of dedicated ski binding setup and therefore boots that may only be applicable to skiing. The guys at Altai see that hole in the binding marketplace and have talked about filling it but don't think it's a big enough market to get very high on their list.

erikc - use the wrist loops on your poles. Your wrists should hang in them and the actual grip on your pole should be irrelevant.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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1/16/2017 2:56 PM
 
Evan: I also feel like the tips of the 125s want to wander bit but it might also be my beginner's technique. I have a feeling that when my 10 year old daughter tries the 125s, I'll be ordering the 150s. (I'll stick with the Cabela poles till then) Thanks for the info!
 
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5/23/2017 8:29 PM
 

New Ski Day! shipped them to work so I got my first lesson in biking with skis.




I decided to go with the 145s, I'd tried the 125s and decided that they were probably more maneuverable then I actually needed and that some extra length wouldn't hurt me. I considered the Koms but I kind of think I will never really be a skier, but more of a snowshoer that happens to be on skis, and after talking to Altai I feel pretty confident that these were the right skis for me. Called up Altai and they found me some of last year's model still in plastic in the back, so they ended up costing about a quarter of the asking price of the Karhu Karvers I had been watching on eBay, and only twice what the old military surplus skis seem to be running. I might still buy some of the cheaper surplus skis as a comparison/learning experience, but I kind of plan on these being my only real skis at least for the next few years.

Now I just have to find bindings for them, there are some FT-88s on eBay right now in the $80 range, or there are the cheap Ramers discussed in another thread. I don't know if any of my current boots will really work with the FT-88s, but I've been shopping for some mountaineering boots anyway so this is a good excuse to get a pair.

I noticed the Hoks in the winter locomotion video had some kind of UHMW adaptor plate, I assume I will need somthing similar for these skis, any tips would be helpful as this is all new to me.

 
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5/23/2017 9:10 PM
 

Good deal.  Mount 'em up with a pair of good AT or Tele bindings and you're all set.  You'll love 'em.  They are drilled for Tele bindings....so if you mounted that type, you would need Tele boots....which some like me prefer.  If you go with FT-88s or Silvrettas, you'll need a boot that has a toe and heel that accepts the bail and heel clamp of a technical crampon.  A stout leather mountaineering boot will do it, as will a plastic mountaineering boot.  Get ones that fit your feet correctly over a certain brand...be they leather or plastic.  Well-made leather mountain boots are good to go for most anything, including hiking, as long as they fit well and are broken in properly.  You can find good deals on a number of sites like STP, Gear Trade, and similar.

 


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5/24/2017 12:28 AM
 
I have very little interest in ski specific boots at this time, I'll probably exhaust every option before then. At this point I am also ignoring any setup that depends on boot flexibility for heel lift.
I have some welted Alicos that might work with the FT-88s but I don't know, and they aren't my favorite boots for any purpose so I would still probably be looking at upgrading if I went that route.

I'm mostly wondering about specific hole patterns and best practices on adaptor plates, thickness recommendations etc. Looks like the FT-88s need 4 holes front and rear and 3 in the center for a total of 11? In the longhouse video it looks like that pair of Hoks foregoes the rear release so it only needed 7 holes possibly.
It looks like the ramers need 8 total, none of which appear to line up judging from pictures. The third option I've been exploring for the last few hours doesn't appear to line up either so no matter which way I go I think I'm looking at an adaptor plate as I don't want to drill the skis until I have more time on them.
 
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5/24/2017 9:35 AM
 

I got a pair before a trip to Canada (Assiniboine). My wife snowshoes but I find the widened stride of them hurts over time. The Hoks worked great for me. Narrow enough to give me a natural stride. Slow enough on the downhill that I didn't feel out of control ( I haven't skied in years) and grabby enough on the uphill that I could do most of what the snowshoes could do without resorting to "ski" methods to climb. On the really steep stuff I just herring boned, side stepped or switch backed. I had a great time and the skis did what I wanted. Short and easy to pack for plane travel, I had shoes, skies and boots in one bag. Not for the great downhill lover but for the plodder like me a good alternative to shoes or long skis. 

 
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5/24/2017 3:50 PM
 
Snakey, you've been holding out! Excited about your trip to Canada. Fowler -- adapter plates won't work with the older mountaineering style bindings we use (unless you fabricate one yourself) and even getting a shop to mount up non-standard bindings is hard these days. As the Hok's are pre-drilled, I'd go with 3 pin cable bindings and a pair of those Alpina Alaska boots and be done with it. I have Ken's full setup right now (Kom, Alpina Alaska, Rainey Superloop?) and need to start a thread with my compare and contrast impressions skiing them. In short, I love the backcountry-ness of the Kom (and the Hok would be just as good), I think the Alpina is a heck of an all around winter boot (for hiking, snowshoeing, etc.) that skis fine, but a wide ski paired with the Alpinas doesn't cut an edge in nearly as well as I'm used to with my normal setup. Simply too much lateral flex in the toe of the boot. You'd have to go to plastic 3-pin boots to drive like I'm used to but then they wouldn't be particularly useful for anything but skiing. The way you are planning on using your setup, I don't think this issue matters that much.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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5/24/2017 4:32 PM
 
Fowler wrote: At this point I am also ignoring any setup that depends on boot flexibility for heel lift.
I have some welted Alicos ...
 
Sounds to me like a flexible boot that allows heel lift is EXACTLY where you need to be looking.  Anybody have any idea on the Alicos?  Does anyone make a boot similar to the old Chippewa Mountain boot?  It had a squared toe that worked with the old issue Silverettas. I need a EEEE boot, skinny euros are cruel shoes to me.

 

 
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5/24/2017 5:10 PM
 

I have a pair of Alico New Guide classic mountain boots with a Norwegian welt.  They are almost there...but I'm still trying to get them broken in just right after over 3 months.  Have another pair of Alico Tele boots that I have basically given up on...they are torture chambers.  The closest thing I've seen lately to the old Chips are Alpina Alaska 75s.  Bought a pair last year to ski with my Hoks...they are great.  Very comfy to hike and ski in.  Evan has those and my Koms right now and gave them a couple tries after the HPG Winter Skills last winter.  

TAK - These ain't too far off the ol' Chips....just more comfortable and warmer.  I think they are just about the best leather Nordic Tele touring boots I've ever had.  The 75mm duck bill doesn't seem to get in the way while hiking in them once you get used to them.  I used some Nikwax paste on them to waterproof them and also darken the bright red a wee bit.  I even set up a pair of my crampons to use with them.  Alpina Alaska 75

EDIT - Matter of fact, I love these Alpina Alaska 75s so much, I decided to buy a second pair to have on hand if the first pair ever blow out at the 3 pins or if the duck bill ever gets flimsy.  Since Backcountry.com had them on sale in my size, I figured I might as well drop the hammer on them.  I'm making decent TDY money here in El Salvador, so I can rationalize the purchase.  


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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5/24/2017 6:09 PM
 
evanhill wrote:
I have Ken's full setup right now (Kom, Alpina Alaska, Rainey Superloop?) and need to start a thread with my compare and contrast impressions skiing them. 
 
Evan - Yep, those are Superloops on the Koms.  I have another pair of Superloops that I will mount at some point onto my Hoks, but for now I have Voile 3 Pin Cable bindings on the Hoks.

 


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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5/24/2017 7:38 PM
 
I purchased the 125's initially thinking they would be closest to snowshoes for tighter quarters; then found a screaming deal on a pair of used 145's and find that I prefer them over the 125's. My wife has inherited the 125's :)




 
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5/24/2017 9:16 PM
 
evanhill wrote:
 Fowler -- adapter plates won't work with the older mountaineering style bindings we use (unless you fabricate one yourself) 
 
 
I was assuming a lot of DIY would be involved, it looks like just a flat plate of UHMW on the Hoks with the Fritschis? I've found more then one person using plastic cutting boards to switch between bindings. A thread on Ken's setup would be much appreciated, certainly exactly what you suggest (3 pin cables+Alpinas) is the incumbant fall-back solution, but I will likely try other things first.

 

 
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5/29/2017 11:15 PM
 

I'm really liking this thread. Summer sales are the perfect time to build up a couple sets for my wife and I. Looks like I need to get started on a pulk to go with them for winter camping next season. Thanks for sharing the tribal knowledge its great.


Old Minds are like Horses, they need to be exercised! Stay Sharp!
 
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