Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:47 pm Posts: 36 Location: Eugene, OR
I guess I had been under the impression that approach skis were dead given all of the relatively rapid innovation in the split industry/community the last few years. Then I received this link from a friend today...
I'm not sure some of the issues raised in the performance advantage section are 'problems', but interesting to see a new approach product none the less. Maybe they have some applicability in short yo-yo situations, etc. Would have to wonder how the binder straps and hinges system would hold up though.
Reminded me of the old K2 approach skis covered in dust in the back of the gear room, I wonder what they weigh. And have to say I don't miss carrying a board on my back either.
Now why wouldn't you just mount an LT touring bracket on the skis, mount the voile pucks on your solid board, and use sparks? Saves weight on your back on both the uphill and the downhill since you won't have your 'heavy' solid board bindings on the board when going up, and I'm sure that the LT bracket is lighter than the approach ski binding...
I've seen other designs for approach skis, never seen 'foldable' ones though. I agree that 800 is definitely too steep. Are these available yet? I'd love to see a video of em in action.
I'm still loving my splitboard setup more and more though.
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:51 am Posts: 515 Location: summit, CO
The main advantage I see is that they are cheaper than buying a splitboard, although technically buying these and a new board would not be cheaper.
They are not lighter, because you still have to bring a board. Although the folding option is cool, I bet I could break it pretty easily. The binding don't inspire much confidence, especially if you were to take the downhill.
Cool to see people innovating new tools but I just don't see appch skis doing much in the future. Maybe they'll prove me wrong.
Damn I sold my old Clicker approach skis too early and way too cheap. $800 is ludicrous for those. I think if they brought them down to the $200 they might sell some.
The folding aspect is really cool, as having the 110cm short skis was a hindrance on the down when compared to slowshoes. I'm sure the quick slackcountry rider might appreciate these before transitioning to a splitboard.
But the "advantages" are laughable and incredibly misleading. Let's make some corrections here
Weight - Heavier when adding the board/bindings you are now carrying on your back.
Transition time - Only marginally better when you consider you're going to clear all the snow off them before packing them in your pack so the rest of your gear/food isn't wet/soggy. Also last I checked it takes time to get that board off your pack and the same amount of time to strap in.
Expensive - K2 was selling theirs for under $300. A solid board and bindings is still going to run you close to a grand at retail prices. So making an apples to apples comparison this solution costs a few hundred more that could be spent on a beacon or something. Compared to a DIY (which the comparison flip-flops back and forth to suit the "advantage"), this solution is miles more expensive as well
Compromised ride - You're only losing torsional stiffness in a DIY, not a factory split.
Committed - Anybody that thinks you only encounter one condition in the backcountry should have their head checked.
Ascension - Last I checked, a short ski does not float as well as a longer ski or board. Nor does it glide as well. Ever try to make a DH tele turn on a 110cm ski when needed? It can get ugly REAL quick if you drop one ski too far behind and cross over...OUCH!! Furthermore the $1,100-$1,500 comparison being made is to a factory split, which very much has edges on both halves.
Size - Splitboard has no size restriction, nothing in backpack
If they lowered the price significantly they might have a chance of marketing these, but no way at that price. I like the cheap shot at "splitboarding is not the only answer"
Really cool hinges there and great website! Great way to solve swinging apporach skis. Good luck to you guys though,
It still seems to me that a set of Verts at 4 lbs total and $70 (If they are still made) wins for short laps or back to the top of the kicker, and not having another 5.5-6lbs of gear accounting for the added weight of a split & big skins wins on long days in the deep.
I wonder if the market or best areas of use might be places where there are a lot of steeps and hardpack/windpack, like the Alps, teton park, central CO maybe, bad days & scoured ridges in AK, Spring/Summer PNW where the added width of a split makes things tough. Although you would probably have to make a narrower version and have hard boots in plate bindings to work the hard and icy. At 5.5 inches wide, and strappy bindings, I would guess these would traverse hard snow no better and possibly worse than splits do now.
After 1989-1996 with a board on my back, I dont think I could put another 10-11 pounds on my back all day to drop 4 pounds per foot, I think there is a point where less weight on your feet is defeated by more weight overall, unless it was in steep, icy, mountaineery areas (where the poor people don't have pow) where the split has a harder time.
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1180 Location: Colorado
The only possible advantage I can see to approach skis is for those who feel a solid board offers a performance advantage over a split. Personally, I find a good, well set up, splitboard can handle all the terrain I ride without compromise, including technical, icy, steeps. I do not like the extra weight, or the lack of float when its deep, associated with approach skis. I could see that the transitions would be faster (as there is no need to deal with the skins) but this would be offset by slower uphill progress and less vert due to additional weight. And I am patient enough to deal with a split transition myself-just not in that big a hurry I guess.
Unless you plan on riding those things on the down, they are lame! What happens when you have to boot up something?! Now you're stuck with both on your back...
How much do those things weigh anyways?
Obviously, most people on this forum would argue against approach skis, myself included since I'm very happy with my splitboard. I know a couple of people though who're desperately trying to figure out how to make the approach ski option work for them since they don't want to compromise on the feel of a solid board.
I have heard many pro's and con's of approach skis and splitboards, however I have never heard anyone come up with the one you just mentioned. Thank you for that, since it will strengthen my position in the next splitboard vs approach skis debate I'll have with my friends . Happy splitting!
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:55 am Posts: 869 Location: Wasatch
the only situation I can see these things being useful in would be if you were no-boarding. other than that i don't know why you would want to use approach skis at all. i see no difference in riding my splitboard or solid board as far as performance is concerned.
every rider testimonial on that page seems lame and uninspired.