I know many of you out there probably have quite the quiver of rando skis and maybe a few pairs of boots. I know I do. They range from a 5 lb/foot (ski, boot, binding) old-school Dynafit race setup, to a more than 10 lb Black Diamond/Dynafit hybrid. I ski on both setups quite often (along with a couple other ski/boot/binding combos) and let me tell you, skiing both of them is a completely different experience and transitioning from one setup to another can sometimes be challenging.
I know what you are going to say. Wha, wha, wha…Rando’s crying about having too much gear. Poor thing!!! But seriously, I know many of you out there probably ski a few different setups. Mine spans the full range of the AT spectrum, from the now-a-days vintage, toothpick-like Dynafit SR11.0 (link to Dynafit’s current World Cup Race ski), 62mm at the waist, 160cm in length, feather light carbon fiber ski, to…at over twice the girth, the 125mm waisted Black Diamond Megawatt, that probably has close to four times the surface area of the race skis. (Any math wiz’s want to figure it out? Surface area of 90/62/76mm @ 160cm vs 153/125/130mm @188cm.)
Combined with the boots, which when you are going from one buckle, low cuff, minimal support rando race kicks, to four-buckle freeride AT boots with wrap style liners, the techniques one uses to ski each of them is often quite different. With the race setup, it’s hard to really pressure the boots, since there is nothing there to pressure, so I often find myself in a still legged, hunched over stance. With the Megawatts and it’s giant rocker tip, combined with stiff pebax and high on the shin boot liners, the balance-point or “center” is often easily achieved.
My mind acts in two different ways when I ski these ski kits. When I’m on the race setup, at least on the downhill, it’s all about survival, recovering well, and trying not wipe out. Often with arms flailing about, trying to stay in control and steer from the back seat. But when on the big powder rig, it’s all about day-dreaming, ecstasy, and the feeling of floating on a cloud. And that’s before 4:20.
Besides the mental challenges, it can sometimes be hard “skills-wise” to keep up with the different body movements it takes to be able to ski both ends of the spectrum well. I think the more you try though, the better it is for you as a skier. Your body will learn to adapt more to different skiing positions and won’t be forced to be locked into a single stance 100% of the time. There’s no science to back any of this up of course, but it sure sounds logical to me. You?