Over the last few months Clansi and I have purchased our own ski equipment, and yesterday we had our first opportunity to test it out on the snow. Most of our acquisitions have resulted from surfing end-of-season-sales in the US, which has been the only way to satisfy our specific requirements with our budget.
We have chosen to invest in Alpine Touring (AT), or “Randonee”, gear. The spectacular trip we made to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko last June was enough to get us addicted to backcountry skiing. Since the AT system is essentially identical to downhill gear when the bindings are locked down, we decided to go for good all-round equipment that would suit us both on and off the resort.
I’ve included some details below about our shiny new gear, but first I should assure you that it works wonderfully on the snow. The snow at Perisher-Blue yesterday was quite good, with only a few icy patches. After lunch the predicted snow shower came through and freshened up the surface with a centimetre or two of tiny flakes. Both Clansi and I were happy with how our skis handled the variety of conditions.
The only complaint we had came from our toes. Both our boots have thermo-liners, which mould to your foot when heated with warm air. We had our liners thermo-moulded two weeks ago at the local ski shop, and wore thin socks as advised by many online information sources. Our ski socks are more padded toes, and we both found our toes were uncomfortably compressed. A re-moulding of the liners should fix this easily.
I ended up buying Garmont Adrenaline boots, which have interchangable soles for Alpine (downhill) bindings or AT bindings. I am currently using some borrowed (likely to be purchased) Rossignol Scratch Sprayer FS skis with ordinary downhill bindings on them, but have purchased a set of AT bindings that I may put on the skis if I do buy them. The helmet was the only thing that I didn’t get on sale, but it is more than just a fashion accessory. On backcountry trips there is no ski-patrol to come and help you in an emergency, and any attempt at prevention is worth it. Of course, now that I own one I will be wearing it on the resort as well.
With her pink-and-black Salomon Temptress twin-tips, Clansi has far more spectacular skis. Since the skis came without bindings, she was able to put a set of Damir Freeride Plus AT bindings on them straight away. The clash of the red bindings with the pink of the Temptresses is the only flaw in an otherwise extremely glamourous set of equipment, and we may colour over the obvious red areas. Her Scarpa Diva boots are very light and comfortable for touring, but seem to have plenty of strength for driving the skis down challenging slopes.