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Versatile and efficient off-trail xcountry. This ski…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $220
Versatile and efficient off-trail xcountry.
- Efficient in dense snow
- Not a telemark ski
- Not a telemark ski (if that is what you are looking for)
- Lacks flotation in deep powder
This ski is identical to the Karhu XCD GT. This ski comes in either a waxable base or a waxless base. I currently use the waxless base.
These are well designed off-trail xcountry skis. I have skied several hundred kilometers on my current pair, with no problems. Although this ski is marketed as a hybrid between a telemark and a classic xcountry ski, it truly excels as an off-trail classic kick and glide ski.
Yes, it does have a progressive sidecut; it will turn on the downhill. However it has quite a straight tail, and tracks very efficiently during the kick and glide (this sacrifices some turning efficiency).
As far as telemark skiing; there are other skis that turn much more efficiently ("true" telemark skis). 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.
My everyday skiing is off-trail kick and glide, through rolling terrain, with the occasional steep climb and descent. This is an excellent ski for this use — except in deep powder. If you are routinely breaking trail in deep powder, this ski is not enough. For deep, fresh powder I use the Madshus Annum (formerly the Karhu XCD Guide).
For off-trail kick and glide skiing I recommend NNNBC bindings with a burly boot (I am currently using the Alpina Alaska with NNNBC magnum bindings). 75mm bindings are much more versatile; but the NNNBC system is much more efficient with classic xcountry skiing (stride and glide).
Contrary to the marketing, I would recommend choosing a long length. I am currently on 195cm (me: 5'10"; 185lbs). When I am in the perfect conditions for this ski; I often find myself wanting 205mm (better glide and better flotation). If you want them short for telemark turns; I would recommend considering a more downhill-orientated ski.
As is often said, "this ski is more about the tour than the turn."