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How do AT'rs handle the free pivot?

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  • How do AT'rs handle the free pivot?

    IMO a free pivot is great for climbing, especially when making the up track in fresh snow or climbing a very steep track. That is the only time I would consider it game-changing. Free pivot on an established track is nice but on a moderate track not a big deal. And, (getting to the point), in my experience and apparently the experience of everyone making Nordic bindings, a free pivot is not optimal for kick and glide (or skate skiing). The heel-lift-resistance helps in projecting the ski forward.

    So, what do AT'ers do when they have to kick and glide a long approach? Just accept their gear is slower than the telemarkers? Is there a way to add heel-lift resistance to any AT setup and increase speed across the flats?

    Does anyone think a free pivot is just as good for kick and glide? Then why aren't there any free pivot Nordic bindings...or are there?
    Last edited by Dostie; 20th March 2019, 02:26 PM.

  • #2
    Kick and glide. You're funny.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Baaahb View Post

      So, what do AT'ers do when they have to kick and glide a long approach?
      The same thing people with kick and glide gear do when they descend a steep slope. They suffer. The endless search for the perfect gear that can do everything is beyond moronic.

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      • #4
        So, what do AT'ers do when they have to kick and glide a long approach?
        Get towed by a sled

        Seriously, I have done some long approaches, once at Rogers Pass. I was on a tele setup, NTN boots, with a free pivot (telebulldogs) and it didn't seem easier or more efficient than an AT setup. Remember, with a plastic tele boot, you are lifting more weight on each stride, and the cuff has less range of motion in walk mode. The AT pin location is pretty close to the ball of your foot, whereas most tele free pivots are quite a way ahead of ball-of-foot. So not as efficient. And the two pins locked into your boots have very little friction, in walk mode, compared to say most NTN tele bindings.
        In an AT boot, you can also sort of kick and glide, with your heels unlocked, and boot cuff in walk mode which helps. I might try narrow "kicker skins" for a long ski in on the flats sometime.
        But you are right, on an AT setup, you can't roll off the ball of your foot, like you can in a leather tele boot as you stride along , especially on a double camber ski with a wax pocket. But then in leathers, (which gives you the best kick-and-glide) you suffer descending..as James said.

        Click image for larger version

Name:	Ray teton ski trip 76.JPG
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ID:	86854leather, Alfa low cut "bowling shoes", Rotte 3 pin and Fischer Europa 77s . Lots of crashes.
        Last edited by chamonix; 29th November 2017, 08:53 AM.

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        • #5
          Here's a data point for you, Baaahb.I bought into skiing with a pair of BC 125's, Switchbacks, T4's in (I think) '11-'12. No experience, no friends into BC, bought the equipment based on reviews only.

          It didn't come with instructions exactly, i.e. when to or not to use free pivot mode.I assumed free pivot was for K+G just as much as climbing, tried it both ways. And there is no comparison, at least with that forward pivot point that lengthens your stride… Free pivot is infinitely more efficient than flexing the duckbill on a plastic boot.

          Only later did I realize there are weirdos out there that cover the flats in ski mode.Am I the crazy one? Hell if I know. But I know which way I like to cover flat ground with that type of equipment.

          Later I got Dynafit equipped Alpine skis and found the pivot point a little unstable feeling. I still prefer touring in Switchbacks and T2's to Radicals and Maestrales.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Yoyo View Post
            Am I the crazy one?
            No, but it sounds like you're not getting much glide out of your kick, either. It does take some effort to make the BC-125's glide, and the predominance of fat skis in the BC render the free pivot less disadvantageous. But with a decent kick and glide, one's "stride" is 10 feet or more.
            Last edited by Baaahb; 29th November 2017, 06:38 AM.

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            • #7
              I definitely don't get that much glide unless on a downhill slope, but don't see why that matters. I prefer the bindings in walk mode any time I'm striding. K+G with 3-pins and plastic boots feels awkward, there's just too much heel lift resistance.

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              • #8
                kick and glide is a shuffle and has its own dynamic very different than walking...check out some of the classic Nordic racers during the Olympics...it does not translate well into the heavy gear folks use for skinning, but it does translate to a degree when engaging in fishscale touring..it matters because if you can do a ten foot stride in the same time someone else does a 3-foot stride, you're obviously going much faster..and the classic Nordic racers can achieve this even going up a moderate slope
                Last edited by Baaahb; 29th November 2017, 08:18 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Baaahb View Post
                  No, but it sounds like you're not getting much glide out of your kick, either. It does take some effort to make the BC-125's glide, and the predominance of fat skis in the BC render the free pivot less disadvantageous. But with a decent kick and glide, one's "stride" is 10 feet or more.
                  Please.............. I think you fail to mention that usually touring in the backcountry where the goal is to actually climb up and ski down Nordic or some sort of Nordic hybrid is misery unless you happen to be on a flat frozen lake with consolidated snow or maybe a snow covered road. IMO, once you get on "wild" snow, soft and deep there is no kick and glide or skating. So everybody is slogging to where the climbing up becomes a issue. Then of course then there is the downhill where the flail factor becomes dominate.

                  Anyway, IMO, I have plenty of experience on both AT and Tele but not much Nordic. AT is lighter given the same sized and performance ski kit compared to Tele. How much? If you include everything probably around 4-6# so 2-3# per foot and it makes a difference. OK, IMO, there is a longer stride length with AT slogging on wild snow so a little foreward gain each step. Lastly, IMO, it is a little easier to kick turn and switchback with AT so the steep climbs are a little easier. For me it adds up to having the energy to climb one more lap as compared to similar sized tele gear.

                  OK, there is advantages of tele like Baaahb claims but once the tele gear is modern big mountain gear like what is need to ski any slopes of difficulty maybe those advantages are not as much if any. But overall, Tele gear is easier to move thru low angle up and down terrain

                  Gear aside, IMO, AT is popular right now because people are touring more, not interested in the flats and are already skiers. Tele is not because people don't have the time to learn it.
                  Last edited by Quadzilla; 29th November 2017, 08:27 AM.
                  "Just say no to groomed snow"

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                  • #10
                    Ummmmm ...... stay locked and skate?? cuz serious tourers are all animals, right?
                    Last edited by Paul Lutes; 29th November 2017, 08:50 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chamonix View Post
                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]9311[/ATTACH]
                      F'k yeah. Leathers, wool, and 10' ski poles. Nice work.

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                      • #12
                        My old Scarpa F3's gave me a much better kick and glide than my current set up and handled descending pretty well too. I also use short mohair kicker skins for some approaches-they allow pretty good glide on the right snow.
                        I think that having a background in classic nordic helps.

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                        • #13
                          As someone that does a lot of nordic 'touring' (on real skinny skis, not only XCD) I always chuckle when I hear folks that are skinning up referring to it as 'touring'. I think it was just a cool sounding way to say that you were skinning/climbing. As a result, AT skiers aren't really 'touring', they are mostly climbing to get to a height of land that they can then ski down and their gear reflects that. Nordic gear is more suitable for actual 'touring' where you are traveling up, over, down, around, etc. and that includes telemark gear.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Grant View Post
                            As someone that does a lot of nordic 'touring' (on real skinny skis, not only XCD) I always chuckle when I hear folks that are skinning up referring to it as 'touring'. I think it was just a cool sounding way to say that you were skinning/climbing. As a result, AT skiers aren't really 'touring', they are mostly climbing to get to a height of land that they can then ski down and their gear reflects that. Nordic gear is more suitable for actual 'touring' where you are traveling up, over, down, around, etc. and that includes telemark gear.
                            Hence the phrase "touring for turns." When people ask to ski with me or ask why I ski in the gear I do I generally try to make it pretty clear that I usually prefer to tour for turns if the snow is good in the mid winter. I also think the use of the phrase varies by location. Most places in the mountains around here are going to require a lot more than XCD gear to tour on.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grant View Post
                              As someone that does a lot of nordic 'touring' (on real skinny skis, not only XCD) I always chuckle when I hear folks that are skinning up referring to it as 'touring'. I think it was just a cool sounding way to say that you were skinning/climbing. As a result, AT skiers aren't really 'touring', they are mostly climbing to get to a height of land that they can then ski down and their gear reflects that. Nordic gear is more suitable for actual 'touring' where you are traveling up, over, down, around, etc. and that includes telemark gear.
                              Interesting-I never thought of it that way. I think of myself as going out for a ski tour when I'm planning on moving under my own power, uphill and down, through terrain on skis. I started on army surplus gear, spent years on tele's and now use AT but the movement and goal has always been the same.

                              50 years touring through the mountains on skis and I've been doin' it wrong all this time..who knew?

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