We’re getting into that gear lust time of year again. My wish list is usually a compilation realistic acquisitions and pipe dreams. One must-have and affordable piece of gear for this season is a boot bag that can be worn as a backpack. My current boot bag is falling apart and I’d like to replace it with something that has a lot of capacity and leaves my hands free. As a dad, I’m a pack mule on a lift-served ski morning. I posed this same question in the Gear Forum, and got a near unanimous answer. The Transpack. I’m looking at the TRV Pro, pictured above. This piece of gear isn’t just fantasy — I’m getting it, and soon.
While the new boot bag may well be in my possession very soon, new skis are probably a fantasy. But I’ll suspend reality, and proceed with the tradition of Labor Day gear lust.
I assumed I’d finally have a ski for powder last year when I picked up a pair of Icelantic Pilgrims. Going from at 78mm ski to the 90mm Pilgrims, I was sure I’d be floating on top in 12-18 inches of snow, but the Pilgrims just aren’t powder skis. Don’t get me wrong, the Pilgrims changed my game. They required me to ski aggressively and, eventually, I did. By March when I went to Jay Peak I was holding my own with true expert skiers. And when I got my chance at the Slides in April, I went all out.
But the question remains: DO I take TWO steps up to a ski that is 110-115 at the waist? Or do I follow my traditional pattern of taking one step at a time?
The next ski in the Icelantic line is the Nomad. I’m comfortable with the dimensions, and I could test drive them at the Gear Source in North Creek. While the purchase isn’t likely, stranger things have happened. Best case scenario: winter is relentlessly delivering coastal storm tracks, and I have no choice but to make a move.
Finally, and this isn’t gear lust, or even a move I really want to make. But it’s quite possible that my Scarpa T2Xs won’t be up to the task of driving a 100mm ski. The next available step up is the Scarpa T1 — a massive boot with four buckles.
It’s probably two steps beyond my current boot. While I’d probably thrive in very stiff boot, I’d rather move up incrementally. I lust for the original Scarpa T1 three-buckle bumblebee, circa 2003. Just slightly more burly that the boot I’m skiing now. While I’m dreaming, I want it in my size, and fresh out of the box.
16 comments on “Gear Lust: Winter 11-12”
Just got the annual Backcountry Gear issue, read it and drool.
Now is the time, Harv. Go NTN. The product is solid, made for big boots and big skis and will allow you full confidence and total control in tele or parallel turns. Not to mention ski brakes, more-or-less step-in and some release capability. The NTN version of the boot in your pic is also Dynafit compatible – how cool is that?
The traditional cable binding and duckbill toe is 100 year old technology being made out of modern materials. Why stick with it? You might want to check out Garmont and Crispi boots also – more choice in the “less than full-race” categories.
I’m gonna go against SBR and say that you shouldn’t go NTN. I have heard a lot of really, really good Tele skiers say that they are not all that they’re cracked up to be. The most common complaints are that it feels like you’re always up on your tippy toes, and the transition from flat(ish) foot to tele stance is too quick and automatic (a truly smooth tele turn has a gradual transition from flat to tele position and back to flat).
But, that being said, the standard “demo, demo demo” advice applies.
Matt, we’ll agree to disagree. I have to admit that I haven’t tried NTN myself but from first-hand reports it seems like the way to go for resort tele skiers. It just makes so much sense. A buddy of mine was an “early adopter” and went through boot agony when two pairs of Scarpas disintegrated on him. Now that he’s got new boots that work (Scarpas), he would never go back to cables. The guy is one of the fastest tele skiers I have ever seen and his technique is very good.
Go big or go home and just give in to the Darkside and LOCK YOUR HEELS!!! 🙂
Harv, I’ve heard good things about the nomads and since you mostly ski in the east I don’t think you need to go much wider. On very deep days wider would be great but how many of those do we have. If your looking strictly for a powder ski you might want to go wider though. One thing you might want to look into is a ski with rocker and early rise. I skied a pair of volkl gotamas in powder last year and fell in love. the tips and tails were rockered with the center third flat. for a powder ski its the way to go. the tips didn’t want to dive down and hook into the deep stuff its easier to stay centered and not get pushed forward and back so much especially when the old legs get tired. I’m hoping they put some rocker and early rise in the nomads this year.
Two things I should add, the gotamas I skied had a 105 waist and they ripped up knee deep powder just fine. Also, obviously the wider you go the more float you have which is fine in 2 ft of powder but in 6 or 8 inches you will barely sink in which kind of defeats the purpose of skiing the powder. If I lived out west I would have a ski with a 130 waist for the truly deep days but for the east a 105-110 should be more than enough IMO.
Harv, you can never have too many pairs of skis. Go for the Nomads, for those deep Hickory days you will have this season. I will also vote no in NTNs. I know a number of people who jumped on them, only to bail after a couple of seasons. What size are you? I have a pair of size 26, 3 buckle T1s in the closet.
Lock your heel, ski for real.
Harv, your already real so keep the heel! (Free that is!) PS. I’m a fixed heel guy myself.
TransPak are great for boots and gear Had mine 5years still like new. For boots full tilts will bring back your youth.
Harv, My dilemma is should I buy a wider ski, I'm on 80mm now or go full out GS..
I am hedging toward the GS.. How much powder do we really get. I’m guessing less than 10% of your days are spend in powder.. So hammer down the heel and lets crank some GS turns..
I haven’t tried the NTNs, but you can certainly see what looks like tippytoeism in video of the new binding. BUT… seems like many who have actually used the NTN deny the tippytoe thing, and seem really dig the binding. Personally I think the duckbill is fun, and plus I can’t afford to do that much work on my quiver this year.
@RochesterMark your advice really makes sense. Still it’s going to be a major leap for me to go for rocker. I just LIKE some camber. At Gore, even if we get 12 inches, I still rely on groomers to connect the dots. I know that rocker isn’t automatically antithetical to camber, but I have a hard time imagining a rockered pow ski surviving on something steep and firm.
@Gunny: we bought the two Transpacks yesterday.
@Jason, as for heel hammering, I’m going to ski free heel as long as I can. I’m sure the lock down is fun, and seductive. But I just dig the challenge.
Harv, I have to say I haven’t skied a rockered ski on anything resembling hardpack but on the somewhat firm groomers they absolutely ripped. I had no problem with setting an edge and losing it. I think the reason they hold so well is the fact that when you push down on a cambered ski you are basically trying to force the ski into the shape of a rockered ski. The more camber the harder you have to force the ski. From what I’ve read the rocker actually makes it easier to get more edge contact length then a traditional cambered ski. Kind of makes sense to me.(which is sort of scary!) In the powder and spring crud they absolutely rip! I think the best bet is to try the nomads and see if you can try a rockered ski also before you buy. You just want to make sure you go with a ski that has a similar flex or stiffness as the nomads, I would suggest the Volkl Gotamas. Similar in dimensions and IMO a great ski. I know PDQ loves her pair. Also you have the Pilgrims for days when its firmer so you might want to try a pair that will be more for the softer days. Check it out. So many choices, and as someone said earlier, you can never have to many pairs of skis!
Luv the Goats!
Definitely don’t buy until you try the rockered. Next pair for me will be more rockered than the Goats…but that may be next season. This season I need to focus on boots. I just ordered the Garmont Radium for $370 on sale at Sierra Trading Post. We’ll see if they fit. Wondering if the AT boot will fit the bindings. My Goats have Marker bindings, but my Prophets have Dynastar bindings. I also bought a pair of thermofit liners for $60, in case the boots don't fit and I will try to keep my old boots alive. STP just had a sale I couldn’t refuse. We’ll see what I end up sending back… or not.
PDQ, They will if they have interchangable soles. The Dynafits I have come with 2 pairs, an AT sole and a downhill sole. Easily changeable with a screwdriver. If not I’m not sure they will work with a downhill binding. Something to do with the shape of the toe and heel. If you call Garmont I’m sure they could tell you. I’ve heard good things about the Radium. PS. If anyone is looking for an AT boot I have an almost brand new pair of Dynafit ZZEUS size 29 for sale. They are great but I went with the Titans as they are a little stiffer. Same boot just stiffer. I’ll sell them cheap!