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Question: Whats your set up? AT/ Backcountry

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Curious what other Divas are using for Backcountry touring. Will be demoing the next few weekends, as I'm now taking part of a multi week every sunday BC group. Looking to purchase boots sooner than later. Need smaller boot with 98ish last, will be able to demo Solomon, and at least try on Atomic and Tecnica.

Last weekend tried the Scarpa F1 boot and Blizzard Zero G 85 ski with Dynafit TLT Radical ST 2.0 demo bindings. Despite boots being way too sloppy, had fun on the skis in variety of terrain.

Backpack, shovel, probe and beacon are provided, but thinking will want to get a dedicated backpack also.
 

PowderNomad

Certified Ski Diva
#2
Hi @WaterGirl, I ski mostly in the backcountry and have low volume and somewhat narrow feet. My current boot is the Dynafit Mercury (discontinued now but other Dynafit offerings are similar). I believe the last is either 98mm or 102mm (reports online are inconsistent). I also still have a pair of Dynafit TLT5 Performance boots that I loved to death for about 5 years, but I only use them now for super long tours where uphill comfort and low weight are high priorities. My first backcountry boot, before I knew any better, was a Scarpa that I got on sale and it was way too sloppy for my low volume feet (I lost a few toenails before I wizened up -- takes me a while sometimes I guess!).

If I were in the market for a new backcountry boot now, I would seriously consider the Lange XT 110 Freetour, which has a 100mm last. A friend of mine with similar feet absolutely loves them. I have heard good things about the fit of Solomon touring boots, but bad stories about their durability at least when they first came out. I would hope this has improved in their current offerings.

For skis, I currently love my Praxis GPO 172cm (112 underfoot) and Praxis Protest 177cm (128mm underfoot) but those are Japan powder dedicated skis. In New Zealand, I currently use Blizzard Sambas 172cm (98 or 102mm? underfoot). I am heading to Canada and the US in a few weeks and am looking to buy some touring skis while there, so keep me posted on what you think of those you demo!

As for a backpack, I use a Mammut Pro Short airbag pack that is 33 liters and great for a day or even overnight hut tour. https://www.wildsnow.com/17578/mammut-pro-short-airbag-pack-33l/ I am 5'8" and have a pretty typical torso to leg ratio for a woman and I find this pack fits very well. It has narrower shoulder straps too which work well for me. That said, if I wasn't carrying an airbag, this is not the pack I would choose. I used to ride with a MHM Powderkeg 32, which I really liked. http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/mhm-powderkeg-32 I know other women who love Arc'Teryx's backcountry-focused packs and that's probably what I would try. Or Osprey, because I love Osprey packs generally.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Hi @PowderNomad Thanks for all the details! sounds like you are living the dream :smile: I love NZ - have only surfed, not skied - its so beautiful ! After today in variable conditions, seems like I’m going to look at more “ski” oriented boots than “touring”, I tried the Scarpa F1 and the Roxa W1 — I loved the Roxa, but I need a bit more boot for the down hill. So on to more demoing. I tried on 10 boots last night at 4 different shops! I did try on the TLT6 b/c the new version “7” width has increased.

I have the Samba ski from several years ago, curious what year you are using. I tried the Elan Rip stick today, easy to tour with and it does rip! Tomorrow I’m taking out the Scarpa Gea boot, this may be the best fit w/ more down hill aspect and the touring version of the Black Crows Camox ( I have the women’s version).

Ive been using a black diamond back pack 25 L size small, seems to work well has some nice features. I want to look at some other packs before I purchase.

I do need some better pants. Right now I’m having a wardrobe malfunction on the steeps with my lower cut shell pants.... lol. Realizing a pocket or two would be good.

Thanks again for all the great information, I hope more Divas post what they are using.

On a side note, trying to figure out my boot issues, seems men’s feet tend to swell after touring, while all 3 of the women stated their foot seemed to shrink and they had more volume in their boot after the uphill....... wondering if any other Diva’s find their boots get sloppy after the up hill vs. tighter.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
I can't help you with boots because it sounds like our feet are shaped differently (mine are shaped like triangles, with a very wide forefoot - it's either 102 or 104mm last). When I tried on the Scarpa Gea for a shell fit, my feet were too wide. Without a liner. And my skis are 7 years old. But, if I were to buy new backcountry skis, I'd get the Sego UP Tour, which is 100mm underfoot.

I have the Osprey Kestra pack, which I really like. It was very difficult to find a pack that worked for my super short torso.
 

Analisa

Certified Ski Diva
#5
I'm in the Dynafit Mercury too (they're most similar to the unisex Vulcan currently and the Hoji coming out). I have a 97mm last that's low volume, so even though the last on the Mercuries is wider (~103), they're really adjustable. The clip ladder can be moved back and I use a high volume footbed, and I'm tempted to put an MNC binding on my inbound setup so I can wear them all the time. I use an inbound version of the Langes that @PowderNomad mentioned, but I didn't like the cuff rotation was smaller (basically limits your range of motion for skinning). I've had my eye on the Dalbello Lupos since I think they nail the right balance between stiff/light in the men's version.

For skis, I'm on a pair of Line Pandora 95s. They're light enough to compete with ultra-light carbon skis, but ski like a true downhill ski. They work for inbound days and they've worked for multi-day ski tours with a 4500ft carry to get to snow. They ski fine. For inbounds, I'm looking for something dedicated and with more oomf & stability (Ironically enough, currently eyeing an older pair of Sambas). A lot of strong skier friends have gotten something from the Trace line, Black Crows, Head Kore, Atomic Backlands & Dynafit Beasts. If I were shopping today, the Kore 105s would be right up my alley.

Bindings - I'm assuming you're going tech by what you're demoing. None are perfect and have different weaknesses. Kingpins stand out for downhill. Fritschi Vipecs stand out for safety (their front prongs operate independently and they have the best elastic travel, so you'll get a more consistent release & better lateral release). Fritschi are just tough to get into. G3 Ions are cheap. Dynafit Radical 2s (now releasing as the Rotation) are kind of a best all around/master of none. I've been skiing the ST2s on every ski since I moved out west after college.

As for packs, I use the Deuter Freerider 28 for day trips (and I like it so much I wear it for summer hiking). The multiple entry points are perfect for being able to get into the bag when you're carrying A-frame. It's also super durable and looks way less worn than any of my other bags, despite getting much more use. It's the only option I could find that was short enough (I bought it pre-Osprey Kresta). For multi-day tours, I use a Millet Ubic 50+10, which has adjustable height and the pack straps are narrow.
 

elemmac

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
For boots I'm wearing the Dalbello Lupo 110 W, 99 (or 100) last, depending on what site you look at. Honestly, I don't know which is correct, nor do I care because they fit my feet. My feet do tend to swell a bit when hiking, which led me to this boot rather than sticking with my normal downhill last of 98 (Nordica GPX 105W). Completely agree with Analisa, they did hit the nail on head with a great balance of downhill performance and uphill lightness.

I'm skiing on the old model of Nordica Santa Ana's (pre-metal version), and Kingpin 10 bindings. I've never done any long tours, and being on the east coast, don't really plan on it anytime in the near future. The Santa Ana is plenty light for the uphill but without sacrificing any downhill stability.

For a pack, I've had a Osprey Kode for 6-ish years now, and I absolutely love it. Has separate compartments for dry/wet gear, back panel fully opens for access to the main compartment. Fleece goggle pocket, small pockets on the waist belt, helmet carry, and can carry skis or snowboard. I know they've changed it a few times since the model I have, but I think most of the features are the same, they just come in different volumes...I think it's called the Kamber now.
 

PowderNomad

Certified Ski Diva
#7
@WaterGirl, I think my Sambas are the 14/15 model (but I don't think Blizzard changed the Sambas except for topsheets between 2013 to 2016, or at least they didn't change until 2016/17 according to http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/new-and-updated-skis-for-2016-2017. My Sambas do have the Carbon Flipcore design, although it seems from some reviews that Blizzard "updated" the design in the 2016/17 version.

As for boot volume, my feet also tend to shrink on the uphill and I have to tighten my buckles down another notch for the downhill compared to how I wear them for inbounds skiing.

As for pants, I have long worn shell bibs for backcountry skiing. I used to wear Patagonia's Women's Super Alpine bibs but my old pair (probably from 2010?) were getting less and less waterproof and Patagonia changed the design removing the features I loved, so I moved on to a different brand. I wear bibs because 1) no wardrobe malfunctions when transitioning or snow down your pants when you fall, 2) I like wearing my avalanche transceiver in a secure chest pocket, and 3) bibs typically include thigh pockets as well as thigh venting zippers. I am currently wearing FlyLow's Foxy bibs and like the fit and features although they are a bit heavier and warmer than the Patagonia bibs were. (Annoyingly, FlyLow does not include a beacon retention clip inside the chest pocket in their women's bibs, only in their men's bibs, so I had to pay to have a seamstress put one in.)

Another thing I'll mention, backcountry wardrobe-wise, is the value of using a super lightweight, water-resistant jacket for skinning. The Patagonia Houdini or Outdoor Research Helium II (which I have) is perfect for these purposes. I never skin uphill in my downhill skiing jacket even in very windy or snowy conditions as I have found that a hooded skinning jacket provides enough protection even in bad conditions while providing superior breathability. When you reach your transition point, you can then switch back into your downhill skiing jacket, which has stayed dry inside your pack and does not have perspiration accumulated inside (keeping you warmer for the downhill).

@pequinita, I'm really interested in the Sego UP Tour too. Let me know if/when you or someone you know tries them.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Demo’d the Blizzard 95 Zero G and the Scarpa Gea today. WHY? B/c someone took out The Black Crow Camox I use last week and didn’t bring back. ;( Lots of ICE. Wind lips. Funky snow. ROCKS. Shrubs. Thru the Trees. More ice. Some nice turns. Short skin, onto XC trail back to mountain. Liked the Ski on mountain/ wind buff, hated it in wind lips/ ice. Tail funky, thought 85 better. Demo shop said “have to be on it or tails funky.” Well, today I went thru every condition I will ever encounter except deep powder and that ski is not for me, unless on a groomer with some fluff, then super fun!!!!.

On the other hand I now own the Scarpa Gea in a 23. With the custom foot beds I had made last week (thank you KEVIN), they were great. Ok not as free and easy as skinning as the Roxa, but down hill for me +++++ so much better!!! (except for the short run on mt back to lift where I forgot to put in ski mode LOL). Since I am off the mt backside and many options, not doing that big an up hilll so down hill priority. Got dialed re: boot and Foot bed and was much better up hill w/ boot than last Monday.

Interesting. The Scarpa in a 23 is similar BSL as my Tecnica Mach 1 LV 271 / 270. I know I will probably pack out the Scarpa at some point. Not heat molding b/c don’t need any room. They don’t make anything smaller than a 22.5 which is same boot shell as 23. Similar liner maybe a bit more air in the 22.5.

Off next weekend, will demo more.

FYI I got the FlyLow Nina Pant — SO MUCH better! Love them. Not falling down and have lots of great pocket options and look cute! @PowderNomad FYI beacon clip in thigh pocket on NINA pant - not sure why not on BIB?
 
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Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
@pequinita, I'm really interested in the Sego UP Tour too. Let me know if/when you or someone you know tries them.
@PowderNomad I demoed them in January in variable snow, but only had a chance to do one run in them because it was the end of the day. I really liked the feel and responsiveness. The pair that I demoed did have tech bindings but were 162s, which is generally too long for me, and they didn't have the shorter length available for me to see how it felt in comparison. And again, I only did one run. I'm trying to figure out how to demo them again...
 

DeweySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
@PowderNomad I demoed them in January in variable snow, but only had a chance to do one run in them because it was the end of the day. I really liked the feel and responsiveness. The pair that I demoed did have tech bindings but were 162s, which is generally too long for me, and they didn't have the shorter length available for me to see how it felt in comparison. And again, I only did one run. I'm trying to figure out how to demo them again...
Was this at the Alpenglow event at alpine? Sego was there and I wanted to try the Up Tour, but they only had it In one size that was way too small for me. I ended up trying the Up Pro regular planks. I cannot believe that Lyndsey Dyer tours in those! They were not exactly light and skied like 2 x 4s. If you were there did you try anything else interesting?
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
A little late to the party but...here it goes. In going through my list, I am starting to realize a lot of my gear is over 5-7 years old but still going strong.

Backpack - Deuter Rise Tour 40. Fits super comfortable. I can load it up for hut trips or all day adventures and still super comfortable loaded.
In my pack: a repair kit, first aid kit, "oh ####" kit (e.g. space blanket, headlamp, pain pills, energy food, etc.), snow science kit, beacon, shovel, probe, radio, in reach
Skis - Atomic Century and Atomic Millenniums (both over 5 years old but still love them). Keep thinking I will upgrade but every year I have too much fun on them - especially the millenniums.
Beacon: Pieps Pro (love that it has altimeter built in for checking slope angle)
Bindings: Dynafit speed comforts
Skins: Black Diamond Acensions
Boots: Scarpa Gea
Poles: Black Diamond traverse poles
Pants: Arc'teryx Sentinels for cold, wet days, Cloudveil softshell pants on warm, spring days
Jackets: Arc'teryx Shashka shell for the down and cold, wet days, Arc'teryx Psiphon SL pullover for the up (great breathable softshell), I have several different down jackets that I intermix depending on the temps.
Gloves: Cloudveil softshell for the up (still going strong after 10 years), Black Diamond Leather gloves for colder up days, Black Diamond Mercury Mitts for the down and really cold days, and hand warmers (I have Raynaurds so a challenge keeping my hands warm)
New love: Thermacell heated insoles for my boots to keeps my cold toes warm (love that I can turn them on and off and no cords to deal with)

I have been backcountry skiing for over 12 years so of course things have evolved for my set up but this what I am using at the moment.
 

echo_NY

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
nice! i'll use @arbusch 's listing to detail my own:

Skis: Moment Balance 161 - light rocker
Boots: Scarpa Gea 24.5, molded
Bindings: Dynafit (don't know model)
Skins: G3
Poles: Black Diamond (don't know model)
Pants: Arc'teryx Theta SV
Jacket: MEC shell (don't know model)
Puffys: Arc'teryx LT Atom hoody, Patagonia down sweater
Body Layers: Icebreaker 200 and 260 wool weights, Patagonia Better Sweater Hoody
Gloves: a variety of Head gloves I buy from CostCo each year - they're my uphill, cycling, driving and running gloves for the winter; downhill i use my Hestras
Misc Face Layers: wool buff, MEC skullcap
Backpack: need to buy it! but have used my husband's Marmot mountaineering pack when I went (don't know model)
Avalanche Beacon: Arva Neo
Shovel: Camp model
Probe: Camp model
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Was this at the Alpenglow event at alpine? Sego was there and I wanted to try the Up Tour, but they only had it In one size that was way too small for me. I ended up trying the Up Pro regular planks. I cannot believe that Lyndsey Dyer tours in those! They were not exactly light and skied like 2 x 4s. If you were there did you try anything else interesting?
It was. 162 is too short for you? I want to try the 152 to see what that's like, but it's tough to find them. I tried a bunch of DPS's but really didn't like the feel of them - and all of them were too long, too.
 

DeweySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
It was. 162 is too short for you? I want to try the 152 to see what that's like, but it's tough to find them. I tried a bunch of DPS's but really didn't like the feel of them - and all of them were too long, too.
162 is pretty short for me. All of my current skis are between 168 and 178. I guess I could have tried them but even the Sego reps were like “eh, too short for you.”

Did DPS agave anything in the 158? Interestingly, I didn’t know that DPS uses slightly different constructions for different lengths until reading this article:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2280336/dps-just-made-perfect-womens-powder-ski
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
@WaterGirl
Another thing I'll mention, backcountry wardrobe-wise, is the value of using a super lightweight, water-resistant jacket for skinning.
@PowderNomad This was key last weekend, thank you. Windy Freezing on top, long skin back up w/ wind but warmer, this was great for the up! Purchased A very light weight Patagonia wind shell. Was perfect!

It was. 162 is too short for you? I want to try the 152 to see what that's like, but it's tough to find them. I tried a bunch of DPS's but really didn't like the feel of them - and all of them were too long, too.
@Pequenita can you try the 156 Elan RipstickW in a 94?
I have been on the 163 bc and alpine and the 156 (not by choice bc but my only option) and was surprised how the 156 floated me. Easy fun ski. Great in icy crap and sketchy wind lips etc. really fun in good snow. 163 weighs 1430., so 156 lighter yet.
Demod the 163 today alpine in the deep pow, so much fun.
Bought it, mounting it w. Dynafit Radical TLT FT 2.0.

Bought a ARVA back pack. Crurious how other diva’s deal with the “frame” on the osprey or the Deuter — could not stand to have that hitting my head.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Did DPS agave anything in the 158? Interestingly, I didn’t know that DPS uses slightly different constructions for different lengths until reading this article:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2280336/dps-just-made-perfect-womens-powder-ski
The shortest skis that were ever in the tent when I went by were 168s (Nina, Zeldas). I know they're rockered, etc., but that's 6 inches taller than me. I really wanted to try the Ninas in 158, but whoever had them stayed in them all day.
 

Rainbow Jenny

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Thanks for starting this discussion thread, @WaterGirl, am following with great interest. I would love to find and join a multi-week touring group myself in the Eadtern Sierra! I fell madly in love with touring this winter and am starting a 4 day AST2 avy course in 10 hours, excited yet a bit nervous!

I have my G3 Zest with Dynafit Speed Radical (earlier version) with me in Hokkaido this winter, my first touring setup purchased 3 years ago, super lightweight.

Last spring I couldn’t pass up a deal to buy Voile BC Vector (fish scale) from Mammoth Mountaineering and had Fritchi-Vipecs put on them. Love the new bindings, now find the speed radical a real pain, having to bend over to rotate the heel piece. I had the BD Ascension skins trimmed very slightly so I can use them on both skis.

Can really use a pair of touring powder skis. Am thinking of getting rid of my Dual compatible Warden bindings on Armada VJJ and replace with Fritchi or G3 Ion bindings on them. Any thoughts?

Have Dynafit Mercury boots also, just had the InstaPrint footbed worked on again two days ago since I still get warm spots on the medial heels on longer or consecutive ski days. Plus Liners are getting a bit packed out and am considering an Intuition Pro Tour liner replacement soon...

Want to upgrade Pieps Sport to Pro model. Really hate my BD Deploy shovel with curved blade, want a flat blade instead and need to shop for one. And also dislike my probe, gold tone with white numbering is impossible for me to read, want black and white contrast.

I needed an orange shell and had been shopping for a year, finally settled on Dynafit Yotei last March when it went on sale. Was drawn to the oversized pockets for skins but learned they’re not my favorite place for storage. I was using ski crampons in SoCal and the Eastern Sierra and became drawn to the matching Sphinx 30 backpack with a separate crampon compartment. Had to order it from Europe since Dynafit sells mostly hard goods the US, the delivery took over 6 weeks but it was well worth the wait with all the pockets and features.

Finally, I grew tired of getting snow in my back during bending over during transitions last month and got the matching Yotei bibs. Works really well but the zipper between suspenders and pants is cumbersome and hip pockets difficult to access. The Strife halter bibs I tried recently has the largest chest pocket and fantastic thigh pockets. But the narrow ankle access for buckles made it a deal breaker.

A1F3D019-00AD-4C77-A8E0-744A6F66B703.jpeg
 

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