After some experience of ski touring on BC skis in rolling terrain, I’ve decided to start touring in alpine terrain. I’m at the process of buying my first AT setup. So now I’m researching different options. I have decided on boots and bindings - Dynafit TLT5 and Dynafit TLT Speed (’au vieux campeur’ has good deals on them at the moment). But I’m still confused about the choice of skis, especially in terms of width.
Most of the skis listed at http://pistehors.com/backcountry/wiki/Gear/Touring-Skis have less than 78mm underfoot. The following article http://pistehors.com/news/ski/comments/0653-learning-ski-touring/ says that 75-80mm is a good compromise between floatation in powder. Blog entry at http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/at_skis_tips/at_ski_tips.htm says that 79mm is the optimal width for touring skis. However, Martin Volken (the author of ‘Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering’ book) says in his interview http://www.justgetout.net/Wenatchee/18413 that he would choose 85-90mm as an all-around-ski. Moreover, most of the posters on telemarktalk.com forum choose 90-100mm as an all-around-skis.
After all this information I’m confused about the choice. I understand that all-condition skis don’t exist, but I cannot afford more than one pair of skis. So, I will be using the same skis in different conditions (powder, late spring snow, crust, ice and etc.). I will be doing all my touring trips in the Northern and Western Alps which don’t have dry climate, so there won’t be many powder days. I will be doing trips not for turns and descents, but for travel in winter terrain, basically I see it as a winter extension of my 3-season backpacking trips. In an avalanche terrain I’m not planning to do anything steep which is above 30°. However I will start and end my trips well below the treeline in forested areas around 1000m, so a good turning ability is required. With clothes and a backpack I’m around 65-70kg. and my height is 169cm. Do you have any recommendations on ski dimensions (width and height) I should be looking for?