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Author Topic: Altai skishoeing  (Read 17833 times)

Offline redoleary

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Altai skishoeing
« on: November 15, 2011, 04:50:03 pm »
Hey gang, first post here.  The name is Red, and I make an occasional appearance over at solo tripping. I have no real experience with winter camping, the odd one night er here and there but never done the hot tent, pulk pulling, "real" winter camping thing.
I've got a reasonable amount of time on X-country ski's but still wouldn't call myself "experienced" or well educated on the subject, I just put them on and go skiing.
Now living in lower Michigan means I get snow  but not consistently and not really enough to justify snow shoes.... at least I don't think so.  However drive a few hours north and its a diff. story.  However I would imagine I will typically see not much powder, maybe some deepish snow and often some pretty crappy ice covered snow.
All that being said, what would your opinion be on some ski hybrid like the Altai skis  http://www.altaiskis.com/blog/products/the-hok/?
I'm hoping it would be the best of both worlds rather than the worst of both, but lacking the experience to draw from I'm hoping you all will have some input.  I'm imagining using these for both unencumbered back country travel, like a day hike, and pulling a pulk loaded with gear.  Also having perpetually cold feet, I'm leaning toward getting some mukluks and would like your opinion on how mukluks might work with the universal binding shown on the web site.  I could, and still may contact the manufacturer but I'm sure I'll get a slightly biased opinion on the ski's capabilities.  To me it certainly looks like a promising concept, I just don't know if it has to make so many compromises that it ends up not being good at anything.
There's a lot of videos etc. on their site which of course show it in a fairly good light, I'd just like your opinions on possible short comings and or benefits these might offer.
Thank you all for your time... a bit long winded for a first post yes?

Good luck,
RED

Offline whitemtskier

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 09:42:03 am »
 I don't have these. But just observed a few things

There is not a whole lot of floatation. Essentially lots of sinking going on in the videos and they are not dragging anything. Similar but shorter and a little wider than my Catamount back country skis. Skis are fun on lakes but these like the Catamounts have steel edges..heavy.  If you will do mountains these could be fun.
I think standing on the binding plate with mukluks would be painful after a while..and you have no lateral support to guide those skis.

I think I would start with snowshoes.  Especially if you already have  skis for icy packed conditions.

The skishoeing probably fits what the Altai do to a T.  For us we might need a wardrobe. I have xc skis unedged, xc with metal edges, xc backcountry (the slowest, fattest and most maneuverable). The first for tracked fluffy stuff or untracked on a lightly snow covered lake with firm base, the second for tracked icy stuff and the  third for up and down in the nearby mountains (which we have here). Skis are most fun on the lake for sure.

The snowshoe wardrobe is expanding.  Long a user of metal snowshoes with crampons (most of our outings involve a mountain with icy patches) that requires a heavy soled boot, I am moving toward a Maine snowshoe in the Huron design for flatter terrain.  Very comfy with mukluks.

 I notice the Altai website has not been updated recently.

I think if you buy an item expecting it to do well in all areas you are bound to be making compromises that will disappoint you.

I have no advice on the north part of Michigan.  I am way over here in western Maine.

Offline redoleary

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 08:10:11 am »
Thanks a lot, thats the  kind of info I'm looking for.   I may have to break down and go the snow shoe route, especially if I'm gonna pull a pulk.  Thanks again, really appreciate it.

Offline kinguq

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 09:03:00 am »
I think these look really neat and I would love to try them. But, I share the concerns of the previous poster. They have a similar surface area to a medium pair of snowshoes so would be a chore to push through deep snow.

It really depends where you live. I am a skier first and foremost but have come to accept that skis are just not the way to go here in central Ontario. The bush is just too thick and there is virtually never a chance to ski down a hill. They are great for lake travel if there is no slush. Otherwise snowshoes rule. I think there is a good reason the native people here never developed skis. They were probably invented over and over again over thousands of years, but never caught on because they just were not as good for this kind of country as snowshoes.

IMHO, Kinguq.

Offline kiggy

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 10:01:58 am »
I think these look really neat and I would love to try them. But, I share the concerns of the previous poster. They have a similar surface area to a medium pair of snowshoes so would be a chore to push through deep snow.

It really depends where you live. I am a skier first and foremost but have come to accept that skis are just not the way to go here in central Ontario. The bush is just too thick and there is virtually never a chance to ski down a hill. They are great for lake travel if there is no slush. Otherwise snowshoes rule. I think there is a good reason the native people here never developed skis. They were probably invented over and over again over thousands of years, but never caught on because they just were not as good for this kind of country as snowshoes.

IMHO, Kinguq.
Well ...native people didn't know about wheels and how to work with wood ( making skies require some skills)

Offline kinguq

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 10:30:03 am »
"Well ...native people didn't know about wheels and how to work with wood ( making skies require some skills)"

It's hardly true that native people didn't know how to work with wood. Snowshoes are made largely of worked wood. Canoes? Kayaks? Packboards? I am sure North American natives could have and very likely did make rudimentary skis throughout their thousands of years of history on the continent. Of course that is a conjecture that will likely never be proven.

And what do wheels have to do with the question?

Kinguq.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 11:33:13 am »
First nation sure did know how to work wood, and in a lot of ways a way better than most of us with the tools they had... Think about it the guy is going in the bush with 3 tools, an axe, a crooked knife and an owl, he comes out with a canoe I think that is all about skills and wood working!!

If you look at he Sami people, they use skies and they have been for hundreds of years, same for the Altai people, or the Siberian.... All used or use skis.

in the same snow or similar snow condition that we have here, it is just a matter of what they find out work for them. If you never watch Happy people a year in the taïga, it is worth the watch and again they work wood in a great way w/o the use of fancy tools!!

As for the wheel... I don't know why it came up, but I'm sure Kiggy will shed the light on that soon 8)
 

Offline southcove

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 11:58:41 am »
...ever hear of a native of the far north dying of scurvy?! 

In so many ways has the modern euro centric history sold the nations, their culture, their skills and traditions short.   The English were still figuring out and failing at utilizing dogs in the early 1900's...and dying as a result.  Go figure.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 12:11:35 pm »
Look at the Inuits, when you think that there house was melting every spring.... They had to survive in condition of deep cold and no wood to talk about to heat/dry/ warm them self!! Look at what they created, Kayaks, Igloo, just the igloo, it is engineering feat!! They made "Gore-tex" a thousand year before we created Gore-tex.....

Offline kinguq

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 12:37:35 pm »
Just thought of something really obvious: they made toboggans! It is not a huge step to think of making a narrow toboggan and attaching it to your foot. So I am pretty certain that it was done, probably hundreds of times, by North American natives, but the technology was abandoned because it didn't work as well as snowshoes.

Kinguq.

Offline jerryswiss

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 04:36:12 pm »
I would like to try these, but I am an old dog now and maybe I should stick to one of my 5 different styles of snowshoes or one of 3 different pairs of long skis. That is all I need is another option. You young guys check this out and let me know.  :D
The driest snow is high desert snow.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 10:37:57 pm »
jerryswiss, I own a pair, that I didn't have a chance to try yet for the lack of snow up here this year, maybe this week end I will go in the mountain and get to try them!


Offline lilcliffy

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 07:15:37 am »
I want a pair of these- bad!

I want them for purely their utilitarian performance.  They are short (maneuverable in dense bush- like a snowshoe), wide (good flotation), have good traction (skin attached to the base), and glide and perform like a ski.  Are they a high-performance XC ski- no- they are not supposed to be.

But I do think they are ski- not a snowshoe.

In the dense northern forests of the world there are obviously places that you cannot effectively travel on a long XC ski.  Aboriginal people throughout northern Eurasia have been using short, fat, skis with skins in dense bush for thousands of years.  (not sure why ski tech did not develop in NA- perhaps people had it so good they didn't need to travel very far in the winter? :)))

I work in the woods- year-round.  In the winter, I typically ski into the work site, carrying snowshoes on my back- or on a sled/pulk.  I have traditionally used snowshoes for my winter field work- a ski like the Hok would allow me to get ski performance in the field- it would allow me to leave my long skis and snowshoes behind on work sites that are not far to travel into. (I have a pair of loggers snowshoes with a fixed-heel- gonna keep using these when I need them- I would advise against the combination of a chainsaw and skis of any kind!)

The Hok is my next ski purchase.

I also think a ski like the Hok is ideal for beginner backcountry skiers.

Many of us have the benefit of learning to XC ski when we were little children- just like learning to ride a bike- we have very early muscle memory and balance.

For an adult learning to off-track ski...there is an extremely complex array of skills that need to be learned.  People can get frustrated or even have scary experiences that quickly turn them off.

The Hok is stable, maneuverable, grippy- perfect for both work and beginner backcountry skiers!

Gotta get me a pair!

Offline jerryswiss

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2015, 10:01:42 am »
Thanks AunNordDuNord, I would be very interested in a report.
The driest snow is high desert snow.

Offline kiggy

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Re: Altai skishoeing
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2015, 11:36:40 am »
I think I was too fast to jump to conclusions,  forgot about kayaks. (which were maid by inuits, who is part of Eskimo–Aleut family) and they prefer ski to snowshoes
by working with wood, I meant that to make ski - you have to cut the tree in the winter/ dry it till the summer and you have a ski only next winter.(happy people makes perfect example)
for snowshoes- you walk to the bush and make pair of snow shoes right a way.

This dilemma will last forever what is better: snowshoes or ski