|With the late season boost in snowpack it looks like May, June, and even July will be prime for skiing in the NW high country. With the ski areas winding down with plenty of snowpack there are a lot of opportunities to keep skiing. Here at the Mountain Shop, we are stocked up with the latest lightweight Alpine Touring (AT for short or Randonee), Telemark, and even Splitboarding gear.|
| Come check out our selection including package deals and select items we are closing out at 20-50% off.
We have a good mix of ski mountaineering oriented AT skis from Dynafit, Ski Trab, K2, and Black Diamond designed to make climbing mountains on skis easy. We also have the latest wide bodied waxless base skis from Madshus, Rossignol, and Voile, which are a great way to cover ground without skins in the late spring and early summer wet snow. Trying out the skis is a great way to figure out what suits you best, so for May and June we have cut our daily demo rate for AT and Telemark skis (skins included) down to only $30. We also have a rental program for those of you brand new to skiing uphill with package rentals.
|There is a new crop of lightweight AT boots that are as light as most double mountaineering boots. When fitted properly they can actually walk and climb equally well, while managing to outski most of their predecessors. The Mountain Shop just got in a limited release of the new La Sportiva Sideral and La Sportiva Spitfire boots. We brought in these lightweight AT boots to complement the Dynafit TLT 5 series and Garmont’s Masterlite. Between the La Sportiva boot’s different fit and flex characteristics they help round out our boot selection.|
|Have you been stoked on your fat rockered skis all winter, but now that the snowpack has settled out you are struggling to keep up with friends on the uphills? Are you a climber sick of slogging downhill in the afternoon glop after an already tiring trip up?|
|Companies have really upped the anti the last few years to create ski mountaineering skis that will enhance the climb, without sacrificing nearly as much on the descent. On the lightweight ski front you can get a ski set up that weighs from 7 to 9 pounds a pair (by using lightweight tech bindings) that have a waist width between 86-95mm. While these light weight skis may not be your first choice at a ski area, they hold their own when you are ready to ski from the top of your next summit. I will share some personal beta on some of the skis in the Mountain Shop’s AT ski lineup.|
|The Dynafit Mustagh Ata which when matched up with a Dynafit Speed Radical binding comes in around 7 lbs for the pair depending on length of ski. This ski has been my personal go to ski for covering ground without sacrificing ski performance on multiday traverses here in the NW. It has broken trail and made powder turns on a 4 day traverse linking the Norway Basin Hut to the McCully Basin Hut in the Wallowas, held its own skiing off the summit of Washington’s Mt Shuksan in firm conditions while completing the Nooksack Traverse last spring, and has handled two feet of Mt Hood wet spring slop multiple times.|
|The Ski Trab Stelvio Freeride XL ruled at higher speeds on open GS turns on a ski descent of Mt Adams White Salmon/Avalanche glacier route and matched my Goode Skis on carving high speed turns on ski area groomers.|
|The Dynafit Manaslu is still the best do it all lightweight ski for someone interested in a year round ski, it has been with me skinning on steep sidehill traverses where people on wider skis were going for their ski crampons. It is light enough to take on multiday spring ski outings in the Wallowas and with its extra waist width and early rise tip it handled the deep snow like a champ. While the Manaslu is not quite as light as the Mustagh Ata and not as carvable on the firm snow as the Stelvio Freeride XL, it seems to have the right balance of weight, stability, edgehold, and floatation.|
|Another group of lightweight backcountry and ski mountaineering oriented skis for spring and early summer travel on snow comes from the nordic world. Quite A few years ago Karhu introduced a ski called the XCD Guide, this ski was the first ski with a waxless base targeted at the newer generation of telemark and alpine touring ski shapes. While the XCD Guide represented its generations interpretation of an all mountain shape at 78mm underfoot and 112mm at the shovel, it has been surpassed by the Rossignol BC 125 and the Voile Vector which are both over 90mm underfoot. The Karhu skis were morphed into the Madshus line of nordic skis a few years ago, so the XCD Guide is now sold as the Madshus Annum.
These waxless bases (usually extruded patterns for grip and glide under the middle section of the ski) are a tremendously efficient mode of travel when the snow is wet. The advantage of going without skins on lower angle slopes, where the pattern can grip, becomes evident when you see that it both cuts down on the additional friction as well as the extra weight of a saturated skin.
|Pairing these skis up with one of the new lighter AT boots is a incredible combination. For those with good telemark skills or planning on using the skis only on the approach, using a boot like the Garmont Excursion or Scarpa T4 with a crampon works very well on the moderate angle snow or ice on some of the bigger glacier routes on the Cascade Volcanoes. We have demos in the patterned skis with both Dynafit AT bindings and Voile Switchback telemark bindings.|
|If you are looking at replacing gear or just getting into climbing on skis come by and talk to our staff. We can craft a setup to help you get to your next summit or just get out and travel on snow efficiently.|
Tags: backcouuntry skiing, ski mountaineering