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1/6/2017 10:18 AM
 

Gave a new pair of 145cm Altai Hok Skis (also referred to as "Skoes", aka: ski-shoes) an initial run this past weekend in WV.  Conditions were not the best.  I was either skiing clean through the base into the dirt, on ice crust, or on straight-up ice.  As the day progressed, the snow warmed to the point where it was clumping up on the permanently attached section of climbing skin on the bottoms.  They are, however, very fun to move around on, and I am certain I'll enjoy them a lot more once I get on some proper snow.  I originally had a pair of the X-Trace Universal bindings on them, but quickly realized I do not like those bindings for anything except maybe very soft, deep snow and using the Hoks for snowshoe style travel.  So, I went ahead and switched out the bindings for a pair of Voile 3 Pin Cables.  I can remove the cables quickly for easier touring, or just leave them unclamped at my heels.  I also installed a pair of the Altai heel pieces with climbing wires....which I think are worth having to save one's Achilles tendons and calf muscles on long climbs.  Scot mounted a pair of Fritschi AT bindings on his Hoks.  I'm driving these with Scarpa T4s...plenty light enough for long tours and pretty dang comfy as Tele boots go.  I will not have any issues walking around in them.  To combat snow clumping on the skins...Swix F4 Easy Glide wax rubbed from tips toward the tails makes a major difference and definitely worth carrying in a Kit Bag while out touring for a day.  The Swix F4 also lets the Hoks glide nicer.  Waiting for some more snow to fall around these parts in Virginia.  Otherwise, these will be with me out at the HPG Winter Skills Event in February.  I'll bring my 162cm Altai Koms, too.




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1/6/2017 8:37 PM
 
That looks to me like the most practical device ever to strap to your feet and slide around on.

There is a really interesting segment on making this regional style of ski in the movie Happy People. That segment can be found on YouTube by searching "happy people a year in the taiga making skis" or somesuch.
 
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1/7/2017 10:52 AM
 
Would the Swix work on removable climbing skins?

Also, do cable bindings have a release mechanism? I've never ski'd cables, but I like the simplicity. Those Hok's have intrigued me more than once....The Kom's do look good too- plenty wide for powder!
 
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1/7/2017 12:51 PM
 

Badger...yes, the F4 should work on removable climbing skins..,there are actually a few products out for that use.  BD makes stuff called Glop Stopper, if I remember right.  The cables are easily removed, but there is not a release mechanism during a fall.


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1/8/2017 2:57 AM
 
alpendrms wrote:
 I originally had a pair of the X-Trace Universal bindings on them, but quickly realized I do not like those bindings for anything except maybe very soft, deep snow and using the Hoks for snowshoe style travel. 

 

I could likely google this but what would be the benefit of packing these in for missions that you would normally use snowshoes for? Just more fun or faster movement? Just curious. I like the small ski idea and almost bought a pair of Marquette Backcountry Ski's myself to try out but in the end just bought a replacement pair of snowshoes and stuck to what I already know works for me.

 
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1/8/2017 6:10 AM
 
So I'll preface this with saying I own a pr of Kom's, not Hok's but any movement on skis beats snowshoes, hands down. Far more efficient and far less time consuming, and stealthier too. Of course, snowshoes are good to move around camp in or short distance rambling. I have used snowshoes a great deal in my life and only took up backcountry/ nordic skiing in the last seven years and except for work (where I'll not be given the option) I would ski everywhere it was possible. Perhaps a SAR deployment or working around the area you have dropped a moose or elk in deep powder would require you to strap on your snowshoes.

I think skiing in and having your snowshoes on a pulk or strapped on your pack (like many of us do or have done with work) would give you the best of both worlds.
 
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1/8/2017 6:11 AM
 

Konaboy, I think you pretty much answered your own question.  They are more fun and quicker. I think these are actually more efficient than snowshoes.  Instead of lifting feet each time to advance forward, sliding forward is easier.  Quicker on downhills, and just as floaty in powder.


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1/8/2017 10:03 AM
 
Snowshoes are indispensable for packing a float for a sled and dog team. Sometimes you'll picket the team and run ahead and back for half a day. Skis just won't work for this.
 
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1/8/2017 10:50 AM
 
huskyrunnr wrote:
Snowshoes are indispensable for packing a float for a sled and dog team. Sometimes you'll picket the team and run ahead and back for half a day. Skis just won't work for this.

Bear in mind that the Hoks, particularly the shorter 125cm models, have a lot of snowshoe DNA in them and can perform very much like a traditional snowshoe, with the added benefit of being able to descend downhill sections quicker, and even move over/through deep snow very efficiently, which is why many refer to the Hoks as a Skoe, or ski-shoe.  These really can replace a snowshoe for a number of tasks.


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1/8/2017 6:28 PM
 

Thanks for the education gentleman. I really do love this forum. The advise and conversation is always good!!!!! I too am stuck using snowshoes for work. Old Uncle Sam gets stuck in his ways :)

 
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1/8/2017 6:36 PM
 
Skis beat snowshoes but sometimes you need both.  In deep powder, the most efficient way for four men with rucksacks and a pulk to move X-country is for one man to lash his ruck and skis  on top of the pulk and break trail on snowshoes.  Alternate this duty as needed.
 
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1/8/2017 8:03 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
Skis beat snowshoes but sometimes you need both.  In deep powder, the most efficient way for four men with rucksacks and a pulk to move X-country is for one man to lash his ruck and skis  on top of the pulk and break trail on snowshoes.  Alternate this duty as needed.

True....but that's just the thing about the Hoks.  I really do believe these can cover down on both roles.  I need to spend some more time on them, but I have confidence that these will break trail in deep snow just as well as snowshoes.  At some point, I would like to do a true comparison between the Hoks and my MSR Denali Ascents over a stretch of deep powder pulling a loaded pulk, and also one whilst carrying a full winter qui-Ya or Ute.  I'd use a prescribed distance over different terrain (uphill & downhill), to see how long it would take to cover that ground and how much perceived energy is expended.  Perhaps, I would need to do a comparison over icy crust and junk snow conditions, as well.  Of course, some of these tests would be subjective, but in large part such tests would serve as a pretty fair assessment as to which is more efficient.  After all...it's all about economy of effort and energy efficiency in the backcountry, when one has a finite amount of calories to burn and the intent to cover the terrain as smoothly as possible.


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1/9/2017 5:22 PM
 
We spent some time trying to use Karhu Karvers (130cm precursors to the Hoks) in complete lieu of snowshoes. Around camp, I'd still rather be on snowshoes but the Karvers weren't unusable in that role. Breaking trail, I have yet to experience the conditions where snowshoes are more efficient than skis. The RIGHT skis.

On consolidated spring snowpack, snowshoes become very useful. Particularly if you have 100 yards of deep snow drift followed by 100 yards of mud followed by 100 yards of deep snow drift. You end up wearing the snowshoes across all of it. Something you could never do with skis. A couple of turkey hunters tried to follow me into the wilderness one spring. I was on snowshoes and they were boot packing. When I passed their trailhead camp a couple days later on my way out, I learned that one of them had gotten injured badly enough to go to the hospital. The snowshoes made it look easy but boot packing it was very dangerous. Guy broke through the crust as the snow warmed and twisted an ankle between a couple of downed logs below.

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1/9/2017 5:43 PM
 

I can also think of another situation where snowshoes are likely better...on ice crusted slopes where skis like the Hoks would probably lose traction, since the climbing skin bottoms are only going to stick to just so much, whereas a pair of properly outfitted snowshoes with their integral crampon points would clamp down on that surface. Now, there are skis crampons (harscheisen) out there, but I don't think there are any wide enough for use with planks like the Hoks.


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1/9/2017 8:22 PM
 
Until people actually use the HOK's, they won't understand them. I've owned a pair since they came out and they are in a league of their own.
 
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1/9/2017 10:37 PM
 
Okay, Hoks or Koms first?
 
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1/10/2017 5:20 AM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
Okay, Hoks or Koms first?

Depends on your desired application.  If it's to use them for most of the situations where you would a snowshoe...go with the Hoks.  The 125s are more snowshoe-like.  The 145s have a bit more ski DNA and glide a bit better.


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1/10/2017 12:49 PM
 
alpendrms wrote:
Take-a-knee wrote:
Okay, Hoks or Koms first?

Depends on your desired application.  If it's to use them for most of the situations where you would a snowshoe...go with the Hoks.  The 125s are more snowshoe-like.  The 145s have a bit more ski DNA and glide a bit better.

I weight 170.  So 125cm Hoks and 165 Koms and I should be set?

 
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1/10/2017 1:21 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
alpendrms wrote:
Take-a-knee wrote:
Okay, Hoks or Koms first?

Depends on your desired application.  If it's to use them for most of the situations where you would a snowshoe...go with the Hoks.  The 125s are more snowshoe-like.  The 145s have a bit more ski DNA and glide a bit better.

I weight 170.  So 125cm Hoks and 165 Koms and I should be set?

125 Hoks should be fine for you.  The Koms come in 162 and 174.  They didn't have the 174s out yet when I bought mine, so I bought 162s.  I'm 6'2" and 220...but the 162s have been fine for me....they float nicely.  That said, if I were buying them now, I would get 174s, due to my size.


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1/11/2017 7:27 PM
 
I want!
 
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