28

First off, I want to make clear that this applies to skiing and snowshoeing as a means of long-distance travel. It doesn't directly apply to skiing in specifically for the descents. Skis are better for: Lake traveling: The snow on frozen lakes tends to be firmer and this enables the ski's inherent advantage, glide. Even when pulling a sled, skis will be ...


14

Summary from a winter spend in Winnipeg long ago compared to Central European conditions: there are probably good reasons why native North American people went with snowshoes while native Europeans invented skis. terrain Snowshoes have advantages over skis in bushy terrain off trail (where long skis become super cumbersome) or rugged terrain. Canadian ...


12

I am willing to take the time to learn what I need to, so I don't want to go with the "easier to use at first" option. If you really mean that, then you can't not try skiing. There are many trails in Colorado where it is no easier to go uphill on snowshoes than to go uphill on skis, given even modest technique on skis -- but with even the smallest ...


11

The cheapest ways to try cross country skiing are borrowing equipment, yard sale equipment, craigslist, or rentals. If you like it, and rent frequently, that stops being cheap. If you make friends who run or are otherwise active, ask around, and someone might have a spare set of skis and poles they can lend you - you can find them for a few dollars at yard ...


10

I believe the answer to your specific question is no; the only boots I know of with tech fittings are hard boots made of plastic or carbon fiber. However, I think you may be underestimating those boots. AT boots are hard plastic but can still offer a soft feel. Transitioning to skinning uphill consists of not just unlocking the heels but also switching ...


10

If you have no experience with either, then I recommend getting some snowshoes first (I'm not recommending you don't eventually get into everything else as well). There are many different styles of snowshoes out there, the most popular types on the market are the hiking snowshoes with the crampons, but if you're going cross country on flat terrain, then you ...


10

In addition to telemark, there are randonnee, aka alpine touring bindings. These are basically regular alpine bindings, where the heel can be released, for climbing. When going downhill, the heel can be clipped back in, for greater support during steep alpine descents. Telemark skis usually aren't super great for climbing on their own, and usually require ...


8

It isn't the bindings that give you the control you're looking for as much as it is the boot. What you're looking at here is the crossover from old-school to new-school technology. Telemarks with the toe bails and heel cables have been around forever. The cables reduce heel friction, and do offer more down hill control, but there are newer technologies out ...


8

Always bring plenty of layers, so you can add/remove as necessary. When I cross country ski, I often end up very warm. Even if it's only 20°F out I may be skiing in a synthetic T-shirt. The important thing is to have the warm clothes available to put on when you stop or if the weather worsens. Should you bring a fleece jacket? 100% yes! Do you have ...


7

Yes and don't even think about leaving your fleece at home... Even if you are moving fast and therefore producing a lot of warmth by the exercise there is always the possibility to get into bad weather. And if not, what are you doing when you stop for a break? You are wearing wet clothing and it is cold. Maybe even windy. This will feel really cold and you ...


7

Many cross country skis do have metal edges – I've owned many such skis. They tend to be backcountry XC skis though, not trail skis. Newer backcountry skis are fat and often practically indistinguishable from downhill skis other than for the bindings, but metal edges skinny skis used to be quite common. For groomed trails or relatively flat, low-...


7

You can, but how well you glide will vary depending on your skins. Some styles glide better than others, and you will glide more with a shorter skin opposed to a full length skin. There's a 2km approach to where I go backcountry skiing most of the time. Most people skin in the whole 2km on the flat, but I've been skiing the approach in the past couple of ...


7

Try thinner socks. If you're too tight in the boots, you'll be cold. It seems counter intuitive but blood circulation is what keeps you warm, just like what @Fenophter wrote in the comments. An aerobic activity like cross-country skiing gets your blood circulating pretty wildly and you'll be surprised how little insulation you need. For example, in my ...


6

What you might want to look at getting are some randonee boots and some Dynafit bindings. They're designed more for racing up ski hills than they are coming down, but still do a good job on the quick descent. Randonee Boots: They aren't super soft, you're never going to get the control you want on the down hill with super soft boots alpine boots, you'd be ...


6

The answer to this question depends a lot on your skill level. You say you want a ski that does a little bit of everything, so I'd recommend a ski with both camber and rocker, but you're going to have to balance length and width based on how you ski. The shorter ski you get, the more control you're going to have on the downhill, but you're going to have to ...


6

There is one often forgotten thing in skiing that can be harmful. The waxes. The racing ones contain a lot of fluorocarbons that can stay in the environment for ages. The pure racing fluorocarbons (mostly powders) are dangerous even to people applying them and special masks should be worn (see). Consider using just pure hydrocarbon waxes or other waxes ...


6

A lot depends on where you live and where you ski, but unless you've got solid enough skiing skills to manage ungroomed terrain at a resort, you'll struggle a lot backcountry skiing in a typical situation where AT or telemark gear would be used. There is an entire range of gear from relatively light XC touring gear to full on Alpine setups that can be used ...


6

Both sugar and alcohol will, of course, lower the freezing point somewhat (but may add other issues, particularly the alcohol, and sugar really doesn't help much - see this question). The best bet is likely a thermos (HydroFlask, any of a number of other similar items) which will keep the water close to the original (tap, inside room, warm) temperature for ...


5

Here's based on my experience of bicycling in Toronto in winter (a daily 18km / one-hour each-way commute) ... Don't let your hands and feet (fingers and toes) get cold. They don't have a lot of fat and blood circulation and muscle (I guess they're mostly bone and tendon) so they need insulation. It's been decades since I last cross-country-skied but when I ...


5

The accepted answer has lot's of useful info, but misses the mark. The problem is that the term backcountry is so overloaded, it can mean anything from a simple tromp through the woods to the most difficult ski mountaineering descents. My reading of the original question is the next step up from classic XC skis meant for groomed trails to a long skinny ski ...


5

Snowshoeing is ridiculously easy, will get you everywhere, and is quite cheap. Where I live you can rent them for the entire season for, IIRC, 60$. Cross-country skiiing (off trail, that is) require knowing how to actually ski, and also specific material, like cross-country bindings, possibly shoes (with insert). I don't know much about cross country ...


5

Waxing skis is an art, it can get very complex and precise, you can get a kickwax for every 3 degrees of temperature change, but you only really need to be precise if you're super serious into it and do competition skiing. You only need an iron for hot-waxing, and that's typically for skate skiing, or for prepping/refreshing the bases on your classic skis. ...


5

First of all, trekking poles will change the way you hike forever. They are a luxury that saves your legs a lot of exertion, sparing you a lot of energy, allowing you to enjoy yourself that much more. Trekking Poles have a lot of features that XC pole lack. Many Trekking Poles have shock absorbers in them which dampen the load to your wrists when they ...


5

Use warmer water to begin with (even hot. possibly tea if you don't like drinking hot water) Use a thermos or an bottle insulation sleeve (typically made of neoprene, it will help a bottle stay warmer for a bit longer) Bring more water, since as you noticed, when the bottle is less full that's when it freezes When you notice that your water gets really cold, ...


5

I haven't tried it myself, but I know of someone who sometimes waxes the entire base of his AT skis with grip wax instead of putting his skins on. It works perfectly fine for exactly the same conditions that would work with cross-country skis, so a gentle uphill will work. His first descent might be a bit slower, but the wax often disappears by the end of ...


5

It's most likely too much insulation on your feet, which can be best addressed by changing socks. People unused to cold and/or snow will often put on "warm socks" without realizing that they'll steadily lose insulating value as your feet sweat. The more active you are, the worse it is. If "ski socks" are meant for alpine skiing they're probably way too heavy ...


4

I don't think you can find them anymore, but ~10 years ago Scarpa was selling a light and pretty soft plastic AT boot with toe bellows (like modern telemark boots). They were great for my Dad to transition to AT gear from 3-pin telemarking on leather boots. On wildsnow.com they have a pretty good write up about them. The heavier version (F3) might be easier ...


4

ShemSeger has a pretty good answer for kick wax; I would just add that you probably don't need that many layers unless you are skiing 20k+, and that your kick zone should be fixed (go to your local ski shop and get it measured and marked), adjustments for conditions are made in the type and quantity of wax you put on. For glide wax, you may want a waxing ...


4

AT (Alpine Touring, aka-randonnee) is quickly rising to be the most popular form of downhill skiing. There are still those die-hard telemarkers that will never switch, and they will out distance you on the flats, but hands down AT is best for back country downhill. Buying skis is like buying shoes nowadays, what type you get depends a lot on what type of ...


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