Buying First Skis / Going to Japan

GregK

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I was thinking more about the whole frame binding and alpine boot thing. I'll edit my post to add the Rustler 11.

(I'd still do a Backland 117 vs. a B.C. 120 though... very stable and light, but whatever... it's not really germane. ogsmile )
Agreed. Just trying to point out to the OP Rustlers aren’t actually TOO bad weight wise compared to other “light” skis out there. Unless you go to actually touring skis to save a few hundred grams but as you mentioned, WAY more weight could be saved in the boot/binding choice.
 

Henry

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I know there is no 'perfect answer'.
There is a perfect answer. Buy the skis that put the biggest smile on your face in Utah. That's where you do most of your skiing. Rent in Japan for that special trip on special snow. There are so many skis on the market because every ski designer likes something different. There is no best ski. There is a best ski for you, and a best ski for me, and a best ski for....
 

karlo

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Just arrived Tokyo a few hours ago and started "window" shopping over dinner. Rhythm is selling the Black Crows Navis Freebird!

https://www.rhythmjapan.com/product-category/products/skis/page/3/

That's a ski that I've been wanting to try. I'm told it flies off the shelves in Europe. It only recently (this year? last year?) became more readily available in the U.S., and flies off the shelves. If it is possible to demo them at Rhythm, that would be incredible. Don't remember but I may have bought my kit (skis, mounted bindings, skins, all ready to go) tax free by presenting my passport at time of pickup. Worth asking. And worth asking for a discounted price for the kit.

If you're interested in looking into it more, I can PM you the email address of the guy who helps me in Hakuba. He can direct you to the right person in Hokkaido.
 

Slim

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@Penguin , what boots do you have? I assume they are very heavy.
Do they have a walk mode? Is the walk mode good (low resistance, decent range in both directions)?
If no to any of these, it would seem better to buy a good, stiffer touring boot and rent true powder touring skis with lightweight tech bindings in Japan.
That way, you have a light and efficient set up out there, and easy travel with boots that fit well.
Then, after you discover you want to do more touring, so you can come home and find a set up that works for you here, and if you want to get a 50/50 set up, you then have the option of Shifts.

if your boots walk ok, can you get tech soles for them?
If no, the Tyrolia Ambition seems like a nicer binding than a Duke: lighter, free ski flex, good pivot location and boot stays in for every transition, easier step in for lighter weight skier like you.
 

karlo

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If no to any of these, it would seem better to buy a good, stiffer touring boot and rent true powder touring skis with lightweight tech bindings in Japan
As in the States, not many shops rent touring skis. If renting touring skis, best to line that up before departure.
 

Ken_R

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If I were you @Penguin I would get the Line Sick Day 104's. At your size/weight there is no need to go much wider than that unless you plan on skiing a lot of lower angle powder. For Backcountry trips bigger skis are a hassle. The 104 is an awesome resort powder ski as well.
 

ScottB

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Lot's of good suggestions so far.

Since you are doing true back country skiing in Japan, you really need a light weight ski. I would suggest you keep it at 1900 grams or less. The max weight ski I would suggest is the Line Sick Day 114, at 1920 grams. Go to Blister review site and look at this years buyers guide on line. Look at their 50/50 category and there are a number of great skis that would work for you. A couple I would suggest are the Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 1720 g; the Moment Wildcat tour 116. 1800 g; and the 4FRNT Raven 104, 1750 g. These will be good in Japan, especially with a shift binding on them. They will also work well as a powder ski in Utah. You should get boots with a walk mode and pins, I would stay with the grip walk or WTR soles (or changwable soles) so you can use the boots in alpine spec bindings. That is what I did (WTR) and I really like the light weight touring boot for soft snow days, inbounds, especially if I am going in the glades. I also use them for coaching my race team, as the walk mode is great when standing around.

As others have said, you need to decide on touring gear versus downhill gear. You will get a lot more enjoyment from your trip if you are on lightweight touring gear, especially the bindings and boots. You want the "downhill oriented" end of the touring spectrum. Renting maybe your best option. Then you can get whatever wide ski you want for Utah (or a one ski quiver type if that is your desire) that is ideal for your skiing there. You won't have to invest in new boots and can stick with lower priced downhill bindings. I bought a pair of shifts and love them, but they were $500 versus $200 for downhill bindings. I occasionally travel to Japan and have considered a ski trip there. I would be more side country focused, such as the trips Matt runs. I wan't going to shell out the $$ for a trip till I had the right gear for it. I do now and I am glad I bought it. It made a sizeable dent in my wallet, but "you can't take it with you" and my buddy keeps telling me the boys with the most toys win !!!
 

ScottB

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Greg, have you skied the Rustlers and the Wildcats. I am torn between the two - I am leaning toward the Rustler due to lower price and the few extra CMs of length for theoretically deeper snow.
The Rustler 11's are 2040 grams, the Wildcat tours are 1800 g, the Wildcats are 2180. The Wildcat Tour are the clear choice for your Japan trip. I would not want to do a full day tour on the Rustler's, but if you can run 5 miles no problem, then no problem. If you might only be able to run a mile or so, keep it under 1900 grams for the skis, and light weight boots and shifts or pin bindings. It makes a big difference for a full day.
 

markojp

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I'm fairly confident that the OP is ok with his choice(s).
 
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GregK

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The Rustler 11's are 2040 grams, the Wildcat tours are 1800 g, the Wildcats are 2180. The Wildcat Tour are the clear choice for your Japan trip. I would not want to do a full day tour on the Rustler's, but if you can run 5 miles no problem, then no problem. If you might only be able to run a mile or so, keep it under 1900 grams for the skis, and light weight boots and shifts or pin bindings. It makes a big difference for a full day.
I was thinking the 184cm Wildcat would be perfect for the OP size due to it’s width which is around the 2000-2040 gram range so similar to the Rustler 11 in 188cm. The Wildcat Tour 184cm is about 1800 grams, so 240 grams loss tops for a noticeable reduction in stability and crud performance over the standard version especially when used back in Utah conditions. Rustler 11 is actually listed beside the Wildcat Tour in Blistergears buyers guide under 50/50 skis as it’s a great mix of performance to weight.

The OP was originally going to use his existing Alpine boots with F12 bindings. Switching his boots out for touring versions will lose about 700 grams plus each side and Shifts another 200 grams per ski. Or go to tech bindings to save an additional 200-500 grams over the Shifts.

So saving 900 plus grams with lighter boots/Shifts per side and 1200 grams plus going to an average tech binding. I unintentionally saved 200 grams per boot/tour vs regular Wildcat switching to Intuition liners because they are warmer on my already light Atomic Hawx Ultra boots.
 

GregK

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Add moleskin and blister bandages to the gear list
No kidding! Lol

Just trying to point that the slight sacrifice in getting much better downhill performance in a slightly heavier(but still quite light) ski will be small compared to the weight savings of lighter boots and bindings.
 

Slim

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Oops, I had misremembered which Marker frame bindings @Penguin mentioned. I thought Dukes, but it was F12. Still, Tyrolia Ambition is still 140g lighter total, has a much more efficient pivot location, and you can traction with boots in binding(often with your pole). So if you truly want to do a week of skinning in frame bindings, these would be my choice.
 
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Penguin

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thanks everyone for your thoughts. and sorry for the delayed response, i was not getting email alerts.

i ended up going with the rustler 11s. they actually got here yesterday and i'm pretty excited. coincidentally spoke to another friend who owns these and loves them.

a few closing thoughts:
- renting in japan was going to be ~$300+ something whereas i was able to get these skis for ~$200 more. i've rented for years and felt like this trip was a good time to buy. plus, everyone else in my group has their own skis so making a rental shop detour (when i don't yet know where in hokkaido we'll be skiing) was going to be inconvenient.
- i am definitely planning to bring lots of blister relief!!
- i agree with whoever said that dropping weight from your boots is easier than dropping a little bit more from your skis. it's like the out-of-shape guy that buys the fanciest road bike because he wants as little weight as possible - think of the bigger picture!

thanks again for your help.
 

KTN

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I've toured Hokkaido on Wailer 112s...found it to be a super easy ski. Touring there is very mellow...not steep at all. I do agree with the person who said get something you will use back home...although with 1 touring ski in mind, I don't think I would pick one that wide....nor do I think you need that width to have fun in the Ja-pow. You can be very happy with 108 +/- under foot I think. Don't know what binding you are looking at but I really like the Fritschi Tecton 12....alpine heel and toe release that I can attest to! Kevin
 

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