Nordic Backcountry (BCX)
We'll have a full fleet of nordic backcountry gear for winter 2021/2022. In the meantime, here's a write up on the gear:
I picked up my first set of nordic backcountry skis back in 2016. There's a misconception that these are will ski like alpine touring skis but they are really classic nordic skis on steroids. You'll be able to make your own skin tracks in rolling terrain, zoom down low-angle descents, and take a few spills when things get technical. That said, there's still many different ways to setup these skis. This is just my experience using them with NNN bindings and a nylon boot. This provides a comfortable fit which is why I'm using them in the first place. You can also go full ankle support with a boot like the Fischer Transnordic or the Alpina Alaska and/or a 3-pin (duckbill) binding but that wasn't what I was looking for.
Skis come in many widths and lengths. 62mm (measured at the tip) will fit in classic xc tracks - most nordic skis are 38 to 50mm wide. A ski like the s-bound 112 will keep you from sinking as you make a skin track in waist-deep powder. Much like alpine touring, there isn't one perfect ski, everything is a compromise to some degree.
I've loved the s-bound 98s as a happy medium for edge control and float but the excursion 88s are light and nimble and the s-bound 112s are so much fun with a stable platform for descents and plowing through snow. For length, you'll want something that will float you but still be maneuverable. As the skis get wider you can get away with a little shorter ski. I might use a 189 in the Excursion 88 but prefer a 179 in the s-bound 98. If I'm overnight camping a lot, a longer ski will help offset the weight of the pack.
The easy skins are a must have for the east coast or pulling sleds. They allow you to grip on crust and ice where the crown pattern will fail. And when you need to power a sled up a sustained climbing, you'll gain all the power you need.
The manual BCX magnum (manual) is my preferred binding. It enables quick and easy entry out of the ski (make sure to clear of ALL snow first), and interfaces well with all nordic bc skis. It's simple and the NNN system creates a frictionless pivot point unlike 3-pin systems.
Pole height is a personal preference and it depends on the terrain your're in. I prefer poles that go to my armpits for most tours, a little smaller than my regular classic poles with nordic bc powder baskets (critical!).
Any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!