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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Boulder, CO
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    7

    New Skis for Haute Route

    I'm finally going to make a long-anticipated trip to the Alps this spring and am trying to get my gear sorted. I need to get some new touring skis for the trip and am looking for any direct feedback people have on the following models. For background, I am 6'2" 220lbs and like most of you, have been skiing my whole life. I want something light, but something that I'm not cursing every time I head downhill. I think I have it down to the following models, so any help making the final decision will be much appreciated.

    I'll be skiing Hagan Core 12 bindings and Scarpa Maestrale RS boots if that makes any difference.

    1- Kastle TX90
    2- Volkl BMT 90
    3- Blizzard Zero G 95
    4- Black Crows Camox Freebird

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    3,823
    Any of those will work well — depends on your skiing style more than one being better than other. If you’re a directional skier who likes to pressure the tips, find a year or two old zero g rather than the new shape. And don’t get something that requires a ski crampon over 105.

    If you care about skiing more than the legend of the OG Haute Route there are better Haute routes.

    Awesome experience. Did my first last year and will certainly try more in the future.

    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...ute-Route-2019

  3. #3
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    Sep 2016
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    Go light and narrow. Multi day trips, the miles and elevation gain add up. 90% of the time you'll be going up or across. Light and narrow. Those Völkls and Kästles are both good skis.
    I've skied the 0G a bunch, and it's a great ski for what it is, but it's not worth it for the down if the narrower skis are lighter.

    (Just did a quick search of the official sites and the stated weight on the 0G is lighter than the Völkl and about par with the Kästle. If you can demo, I'd go with whichever skis the best.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    SnoqWA
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    Any of those seem fine. One caveat to the "light and narrow" emphasized above: consider if you'll be doing some lift-served before and/or after the HR. I did a couple extra days in both Cham and Zermatt and was glad to have brought some reasonably proper skis for that aspect of the trip. Lift-served skiing just isn't quite the same on flimsy gear.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by bfree View Post
    Any of those seem fine. One caveat to the "light and narrow" emphasized above: consider if you'll be doing some lift-served before and/or after the HR. I did a couple extra days in both Cham and Zermatt and was glad to have brought some reasonably proper skis for that aspect of the trip. Lift-served skiing just isn't quite the same on flimsy gear.
    I definitely agree. I'm going to bring a much tougher set of sticks for the days before/after.....I just don't want to drag them up hills for a week on the tour.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    525
    Quote Originally Posted by Rider14x View Post
    I'm finally going to make a long-anticipated trip to the Alps this spring and am trying to get my gear sorted. I need to get some new touring skis for the trip and am looking for any direct feedback people have on the following models. For background, I am 6'2" 220lbs and like most of you, have been skiing my whole life. I want something light, but something that I'm not cursing every time I head downhill. I think I have it down to the following models, so any help making the final decision will be much appreciated.

    I'll be skiing Hagan Core 12 bindings and Scarpa Maestrale RS boots if that makes any difference.

    1- Kastle TX90
    2- Volkl BMT 90
    3- Blizzard Zero G 95
    4- Black Crows Camox Freebird

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!!
    I've skied BMT94 for several seasons, planned on picking up the 90, but demoed first. Did not like it at all. Felt less supportive in the tail in crappy snow, lower speed limit. Easy to ski, but still less maneuverable than the 94. I'm 190. At your weight the 90s may be too soft. Still 94s to be had cheap at some of the euro webshops. Sport-bittl.com.
    https://www.sport-bittl.com/en/voelk...SABEgKhLvD_BwE

    Ended up with a new pair of 94s some shop found in the back of the store.

    Hagan / ATKs are great. Buy ski crampons.

    Consider the Sally Explore 95 as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    whistler
    Posts
    996
    praxis yeti or exp. currently on sale too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    I kinda regret not bringing my Yetis on the trip. A yeti with slightly less tail rocker would've been perfect. IMHO, a stock yeti build though wouldn't be enough ski for someone 220#. I'm 6'2" / 170, and the stock is a nice easy flex for me. Another 50# and I'd be crushing them.

    Too bad you're a bit too late for the Down group buy -- the Lowdown would've been a solid choice.

    Like the binding choice. I wouldn't go uber light on your skis. If you're in pretty good shape in CO, and put in the vert before you leave, you're unlikely going to be the slow one on your trip unless you're going solo w/ a guide or a bunch of people you know are fast.

    A lot of reference packing lists for the HR have far more places to shave 100g off than your skis and be plenty happy.
    Last edited by doebedoe; 10-10-2019 at 08:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
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    3,137
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    I kinda regret not bringing my Yetis on the trip. A yeti with slightly less tail rocker would've been perfect. IMHO, a stock yeti build though wouldn't be enough ski for someone 220#. I'm 6'2" / 170, and the stock is a nice easy flex for me. Another 50# and I'd be crushing them.

    Too bad you're a bit too late for the Down group buy -- the Lowdown would've been a solid choice.

    Like the binding choice. I wouldn't go uber light on your skis. If you're in pretty good shape in CO, and put in the vert before you leave, you're unlikely going to be the slow one on your trip unless you're going solo w/ a guide or a bunch of people you know are fast.

    A lot of reference packing lists for the HR have far more places to shave 100g off than your skis and be plenty happy.
    I'm curious what you prefer about your Yetis over the CD 104Ls. I remember your comments about your wider (Fritschi) crampons sucking, but nothing about the skis.

    BTW, with limited time this Spring on my EXPs, I love them. I need more time on them to suss out exactly when I'll bring them out, however.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by galibier_numero_un View Post
    I'm curious what you prefer about your Yetis over the CD 104Ls. I remember your comments about your wider (Fritschi) crampons sucking, but nothing about the skis.
    You're right, the 104L would've been pretty money with the right binding/crampon combo. The yeti being a cm narrower (icy skin track happiness) and giving up little in soft snow is intriguing for OG Haute Route though where you're not going to ski much in the way of deep snow unless you get really lucky.

    The 104L is more capable in fucked snow and skiing off lifts. Although I wish it was a few cms longer (I went 181).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    I kinda regret not bringing my Yetis on the trip. A yeti with slightly less tail rocker would've been perfect. IMHO, a stock yeti build though wouldn't be enough ski for someone 220#. I'm 6'2" / 170, and the stock is a nice easy flex for me. Another 50# and I'd be crushing them.

    Too bad you're a bit too late for the Down group buy -- the Lowdown would've been a solid choice.

    Like the binding choice. I wouldn't go uber light on your skis. If you're in pretty good shape in CO, and put in the vert before you leave, you're unlikely going to be the slow one on your trip unless you're going solo w/ a guide or a bunch of people you know are fast.

    A lot of reference packing lists for the HR have far more places to shave 100g off than your skis and be plenty happy.
    We are lucky to be taking a group of six buddies that have been skiing together for years. Everyone is either a bike racer, hockey player, or CrossFit competitor, so we should all be ok with the exertion level. .....assuming we aren't too hungover for any of the alpine starts.

  12. #12
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    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    If you've got six buddies, screw the standard business of the OG Haute Route and go ski something with better skiing and less busy huts.

    Unless you're more interested in the social aspect than the skiing.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
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    7
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    If you've got six buddies, screw the standard business of the OG Haute Route and go ski something with better skiing and less busy huts.

    Unless you're more interested in the social aspect than the skiing.
    We are doing a modified trip already to get more turns in than the standard HR, but still want to do most of the classic tour....I guess I have a soft spot for tradition.

    We will get our fun downhill days in before and after the tour in Cham, Verbier, and Zermatt. I'd really love to get over to La Grave while we are over there, but the twill have to wait for another trip.

  14. #14
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    Dec 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    You're right, the 104L would've been pretty money with the right binding/crampon combo. The yeti being a cm narrower (icy skin track happiness) and giving up little in soft snow is intriguing for OG Haute Route though where you're not going to ski much in the way of deep snow unless you get really lucky.

    The 104L is more capable in fucked snow and skiing off lifts. Although I wish it was a few cms longer (I went 181).
    I'm finding my standard 104s ski a bit short as well. I notice it mostly when I take them inbounds, in harder snow (tip wander).

    I currently have them mounted with Vipecs as well, although they may see some Plum Guides this Winter.

    In BC snow they're fine, and I was really close to ordering some 104Ls before the deadline came.

    I have too many other purchases slated for this year however, with an air bag pack being the big one.

    I figure my EXPs deserve some time this Winter, and I'm enough of a ski whore as it is.

    Too bad our BSLs differ by so much (293mm, Zero-G).

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    siberia.ru
    Posts
    90

    New Skis for Haute Route

    From my experience I would not recommend to go super narrow & super light for strong lifelong skiers, 220 lbs especially. May be a lot of good skiing or very bad skiing - how lucky you are, when you’ll regret not having more skiers’ skis. And considering the weight: typical daily distance/vertical norm on HR is pretty mellow if you are going in the group and not skipping huts.
    Excessive width - thats might be an issue on a long hard traverses. So more like Navis Freebird/Lowdown102/4frnt Raven etc, ~100 mm.
    But it is definitely a lot of fun to fly uphill on a fancy new superlight setup, esp if you never tried this “way” before. Just another type of fun. Will work anyway!
    PS: vote for BC Camox Freebird
    Last edited by Va Ki Bo; 10-14-2019 at 09:50 PM.

  16. #16
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    Sep 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Va Ki Bo View Post
    From my experience I would not recommend to go super narrow & super light for strong lifelong skiers, 220 lbs especially. May be a lot of good skiing or very bad skiing - how lucky you are, when you’ll regret not having more skiers’ skis. And considering the weight: typical daily distance/vertical norm on HR is pretty mellow if you are going in the group and not skipping huts.
    Excessive width - thats might be an issue on a long hard traverses. So more like Navis Freebird/Lowdown102/4frnt Raven etc, ~100 mm.
    But it is definitely a lot of fun to fly uphill on a fancy new superlight setup, esp if you never tried this “way” before. Just another type of fun. Will work anyway!
    PS: vote for BC Camox Freebird
    This is a great crystallization of the trade-offs between weight/width and performance. It also led me to think, you don't have to be the fastest in the group, but you don't want to be the slowest. Assuming you're not worn out by dragging heavy skis on the up, you just need to comfortably get from start to finish on your rig. Good model for understanding this; thanks.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    7
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Upon further thought, maybe Va Ki Bo is right...100mm under foot and a little more fun on the downhill is probably a better way to go.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Vermont
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    281
    Kastle TX98 is a good pick for a good width/weight/performance combo. Particularly when paired with a 300gm range tech binding. Only a wee bit heavier than the Kastle TX 90.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,374
    Camox freebird is at STP for $300


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16

    2018/2019 (24/32)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Colorado Front Range
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    Quote Originally Posted by whyturn View Post
    Camox freebird is at STP for $300


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I'm seeing $399 - sizes 160, 172 & 188

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by galibier_numero_un View Post
    I'm seeing $399 - sizes 160, 172 & 188

    ... Thom
    $300 is with coupon. LMK if you need one. They also have the 183 (in a different listing....lots of double listings for BC skis at STP.)

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Colorado Front Range
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    Thanks. If I were to do any more skis this year, it would have been the group buy on CD 104Ls.

    I haven't scoured their site (STP) in ages.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,374
    ^^^With 25 off and free shipping they are sweet. Same profile as my Corvus which was a great spring ski last year. These are stupid light so will see.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16

    2018/2019 (24/32)

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
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    3,137
    Quote Originally Posted by whyturn View Post
    ^^^With 25 off and free shipping they are sweet. Same profile as my Corvus which was a great spring ski last year. These are stupid light so will see.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Thanks!

    My buddy really bonded with his Corvus Freebirds last year. I feel the love for Black Crows, Zero-Gs, and Helios. The Lithic Ramblin Jack has my attention as well, but not for multi day excursions (the "narrow" one is 108).

    This year, I'm gonna "dance with the one the brung ya" and revisit it in the Spring/Summer.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Not Brooklyn
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    6,164
    How much have you skied on ultralight skis? It can take a lot of skiing on light gear before it stops feeling like a huge trade off. And you're a big dude.

    I would personally take some Zero G 85's with SSL 2.0's and Scarpa F1's on a Euro traverse. But I think being able to enjoy and even take advantage of such a setup takes time. It's not that's it's all that hard, or you need to be an amazing skier (although it helps to not suck), there is just an adjustment period. You learn to be more centered, compact and controlled rather than expecting a ski to bail you out if you overextend yourself in some way. You start anticipating when skis might get deflected and pick your line accordingly. Once you adjust and start skiing this way without thinking about it the feeling of being unencumbered is worth it if you're covering a lot of ground. You kind of have to commit to it though.

    For some folks the trade off is never worth it, especially people as big as you. If you haven't used weight weenie gear, and don't intend to spend a lot of time on it before your trip, I'd recommend something like a Head Kore 93 on the light end and even something like a Blizzard Rustler 9 on the heavy end. Maybe the Camox Freebird fits, although IIRC it's fairly soft. Maybe not be ideal for someone your size.

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