Hok Altai?? Anyone Try them?

6:17 p.m. on March 27, 2014 (EDT)
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The Hok Altai "skishoes" look interesting:


Anyone try them?  Supposedly they are like short fat skis with permanent skins and offer the ease of slowshoes with the downhill glide of skis but with a speed someplace in-between. 

What I'm wondering is if I could I use these to go places like Mt Adams (S Spur) and Camp Muir.  I am guessing I am just better off renting a Dynafit setup for a few days this Summer but they are kinda interesting.  

2:07 p.m. on March 28, 2014 (EDT)
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It seems that the main complaints with the Hoks is that they do not downhill ski that well.  The skins are not removable and so slow you down. They don't have much sidecut, so they don't turn great, and being so short, you can't really rip turns on the downhills.

First, I am no expert here.  So take my comments as just anecdotal. But I do have some experience with them this winter.

Second, they don't glide well, as there is little camber to them.  You will notice that they are a little noisy too as the skin does not come up off the snow much.  I will add to this that they don't track well at all due to their short length.  I have the 125s, but I doubt the 145s will be much better. A little better, but not much.

So they are not good touring BC XC skis. 

But they do climb reasonably well, even through the skin is not full length.  But a BC AT ski with full skins or a snowshoes will still climb better. The benefit is that you don't have to screw with taking the skins off and on constantly. And they maneuver through trees SO much better than full length skis.  You can just pick them up and walk with them like snowshoes even. 

So, they are not as good as full skinned skis or snowshoes for climbing.

I'm not that great a skier and still learning to telemark, so I can't say much about their downhill capabilities. Because they are short, it has been hard to really grab a solid edge. My guess and what I hear is that don't plan on ripping some serious slopes in them at top speed.

So, they are not good downhill backcountry skis either.

So they are a big compromise.  They are really good at nothing.  But seem to work OK in a wide range of conditions. And if you can freeheal ski OK, they can be skied downhill enough to get you down and have a little fun. Plenty of videos showing it.  For me they are fun because I love XC skiiing, but you cant really do that in hilly tree filled conditions.  My BC XC Glitterlinds are too long for places with tight turns through trees, that have a lot of uphill that is to much for fish scales (although I have kickerskins I want to try on the Glitterlinds). I like snowshoeing too. But when you are coming down or on flats or gentle ups, it just kills me because I am just thinking how much more fun it would be to do it on skis.

If you live in a place that is mostly flat (like US upper midwest) then these would be great.  But then full BC XC skis would work there too, again unless the trees were dense.

I already had bindings and boots, so I only had to purchase the skis. Which made it inexpensive to give them a try.  If you need to purchase a complete set up, then you need to think about what kind of conditions and trips you will be using them for first.

3:09 a.m. on March 29, 2014 (EDT)
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LL Bean sold something similar a few years ago. I know someone who bought a pair. "The worst of both worlds" was his comment, as I remember right. Plus his came apart after a short while. His were not Hok's though.

The big problem he had was that they were terrible downhill and not much good uphill either because the built-in skins just didn't work all that great.

I used to have the skis you see in my avatar. 180cm. in length, full metal rails, Voile bindings with release plates and BD skins. For my money, that would be the way to go.

8:44 a.m. on March 30, 2014 (EDT)
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My experience with snow travel devices that stray from the fundamental ski, snow shoe and crampon designs, result in compromises that make them inferior, especially if the user is proficient at using any of these trad designs.  I have not tried the Hoks, but have tried several products with similar design and dimensions.  My take is these are skis for people that don't want to learn how to ski, or snow shoes for people who would like to cruse faster than possible on snow shoes.  Michael pretty much sums the experience I would expect from this product.


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