Ultimate off-trail xcountry ski: trail breaker/deep…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $320
Ultimate off-trail xcountry ski: trail breaker/deep snow.
- Not really a telemark ski
- Not really a telemark ski (if that is what you are looking for)
I have been an avid nordic skier for over 30 years. My everyday skiing has always been off-trail, backcountry, kick and glide xcountry; on rolling terrain with the occasional steep climb and descent. For most of my years I have always assumed that something as fat as the Annum is really a telemark ski and have reserved them for that use alone (with 75mm telemark bindings). (In recent years I have only needed telemark gear a couple of times a season.)
For a few years now my everyday choice has been a Madshus Eon/Karhu XCD GT (83-62-70mm) with NNNBC bindings. I have always been very pleased with the Eon, especially when I manage to maintain my own backcountry "track." I have never been thrilled with the Eon when I am breaking trail, especially through deep snow (this happens to be my passion).
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 season I bought a fresh pair of Annums and mated a NNNBC binding to them. The result? Pure, thrilling, efficient, stride, kick, glide, and light telemark. I am actually blown away to discover that the Annum is truly a classic off-trail xcountry ski in disguise as a tele ski. It has smooth and snappy kick and glide, breaks trail effortlessly, and tracks very well.
The NNNBC binding brings out this performance. The design is brilliant. There is just enough progressive sidecut in this ski to be able to turn it when you need to. But, it has quite a straight tail and tracks beautifully. In all honesty I have never been thrilled with this ski as telemark ski (I have used them as such with a 75mm tele binding). There are many other choices out there with more of a parabolic shape that turn more efficiently.
There are different perspectives on what a "true" telemark ski is. My perspective is that telemark skiing is first and foremost a downhill skiing method and system. I see these "hybrid" skis as first and foremost xcountry skis. I am not suggesting that they cannot be used as telemark skis. I am suggesting that if your primary pursuit is downhill performance there are better options out there.
Although the Eon has always been marketed as being "more about the tour than the turn," I would argue that the same goes for the Annum; and that suits me just fine. With a 109mm shovel, classic camber under foot, straight tail, effective waxless base, and a tail notch for skins, this is truly the go anywhere xcountry ski!