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      Fischer E109 Xtralite Review     

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NotLight
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11/15/2014 07:33PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
FISCHER E109 Xtralite REVIEW







THE MAIN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THESE SKIS:

- they differ from garden variety cross country skis in that they are much fatter and have metal edges, for better use in ungroomed snow and ice.

- the differ from "Backcountry" skis in that they are longer, and have WAAAYYY more camber than any backcountry ski I've seen - meaning WAAAYYY more glide.


THE BACKGROUND ON WHY I GOT THESE SKIS:

My Fischer S-Bound Adventure's (60-50-54/189cm) were always a disappointment (sigh, now I know how dad felt...). They just weren't beefy enough for most off-track skiing here in MN.

So I spent about the last 2 years trying to buy fatter skis. It's been frustrating. There's not much guidance out there. And, when you can find a store that stocks off-track skis, the selection is pretty limited.

Because I couldn't decide, I ended up buying 3 new pairs of skis:

- Fischer E89 Crown (59-49-55/210cm/1.85kg)
(with Salomon XA bindings and boots) (all from the clearance bin)
- Fischer E109 Crown (82-60-70/205cm/2.05kg)
(with Rotefella NNN BC bindings and Alpina NNN BC boots) (boots used from eBay)
- Fischer S-Bound 98 (98-69-88/189cm/2.49kg)
(with Voile 3-pin 75mm bindings and Crispi Antartic boots)


SOME COMPARISON PHOTOS:

From left to right: My ancient high school racing skis, my daughter's Rossignol EVO OT 3/4 metal edge skis, the disappointing Fischer S-Bound Adventures, the new Fischer E89's, and the new Fischer E109's (far right). (Sorry no direct comparison pictures to the S-bound 98's yet, those are still in Colorado)






You can see the E109's (far right) are much fatter than everything else. But, the EVO OT's are pretty wide too, and also a very light 3/4 metal edge ski....








OTHER PHOTOS:

I have to say, by far my early favorite are the E109's.

I had to buy them online sight unseen. I bought them from OMCgear in Portland and had them shipped. Maybe $400 total, but my future retirement money and kids college funds well spent. They sat in my basement for almost a year, because I couldn't decide on boots and bindings. I finally decided to go with NNN BC bindings and boots, because I am still worried about getting the right pair of 3-pin boots that give enough freedom of movement in the bindings.

Close up of the NNN BC bindings and boots on the E109's, and the Solomon XA boots and bindings on the E89's.














THOUGHTS/CONCLUSIONS:

Why do I like the E109's?

- Unlike most other back-country skis out there (Fischer S-bound, Rossignol BC's), these things really have glide. They are long (205cm) compared to the other BC skis that are generally available (usually 189cm max). They also have a real double camber - no way I can squeeze these things flat in the middle with one hand. My Fischer S-Bound 98's easily flatten out if I squeeze them with one hand - even with only 2 fingers. Even my S-bound adventures, I can almost flatten out.

- They're plenty fat. The E89's, for example, could be wider. They sink a bit too much. (That said, the E89's are much more stable in deep snow than my old S-Bound Adventures, despite being nominally the same width. I'm not sure if that's because of the metal edge, or the stiffer boots that I have on the E89's.) The E109's sink noticably less than the E89's, and seem glide much better over fresh snow. I have a sense these would work pretty well in even really deep fluffy snow, but the jury is still out on that.

- Massive grip zone. With skis this fat, you get a much wider grip zone. I haven't compared them 1:1, but it seemed like I had substantially more grip uphill on the E109's compared to the E89's. No herringbone on the steep hill at the park by my house today on the E109's - I've never been able to ski straight up the same hill on the E89's.

- They are not too heavy. Unless you are some little spandex clad dandy, there's no way you're going to notice the weight of these skis over smaller skis when skiing off-track. To the extent that you might be doing a tiny bit more work because of the weight of the skis, I think that's is greatly outweighed by the energy saved by having skis floating on top of the snow.

To conclude, there are other skis out there. You can get BC skis up to 120mm wide. But, they don't seem to be available in 205cm length, or with the really stiff double camber like the E109's. I think for Minnesota conditions, generally flat and with moderate snow depth, the E109's are almost ideal - especially if you are looking for any glide.

The jury is still out on the bindings and the boots. No conclusions there. But I definitely recommend these skis.

EDIT: Here are some comparisons to the S-Bound 98's. The E109's are a little skinnier and longer, and have a longer glide zone. But the big deal not pictured, is that the E109's have a lot more camber, and much better glide.

Glide zones: S-Bound 98 at left, E109 at right.






Top view comparison: E-109 at left, S-Bound 98 at right.






SECOND EDIT: I really like the 3-pin Voile bindings and Crispi antartic boots that I got on my S-Bound 98's better than the NNN BC's on these skis. The 3-pin boots/bindings are actually less restrictive front-to-back for striding, and at the same time way more stable side-to-side. Also, the mechanism is much simpler, and much less likely to ice up. Plus, the Voile 3-pin mountaineer bindings are cheaper.

 
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tonyyarusso
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11/15/2014 10:10PM  
I'll be curious to hear your update after using the S-Bound 98s a bit...
 
12/06/2014 10:52PM  
Great review and you got me leaning toward e109 skiis.
 
NotLight
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12/07/2014 12:23AM  
I think it's a great ski for Minnesota lake skiing. Way more length and camber than most of the other "backcountry/offtrack" skis that I was able to scope out - that's just better for flat Minnesota, in my opinion. A big ski for skiing in new powder, but still not off the charts heavy. I think you can buy the waxable version in Canada, which would be an even better ski, but I settled for the no-wax.

Drawbacks are cost + shipping cost. They end up close to $400 with shipping, and then you still need a $100 pair of bindings. Also, no way you can use these on a groomed trail.

EDIT. Pictures of the E109's on the half ice/half snow on Lake Minnetonka today. They worked great. Enough glide to double pole most of the time, and the skis did not slide sideways on all the ice patches.


 
12/12/2014 11:18PM  
Well I bought a pair of E109 Fischer and mounted the binding,got free shipping and about 10% off so everything is under $400 but twice as much as I ever paid before for skis. Come from the old school and little tight with my money.
Look nice just wonder how performance will be?
 
NotLight
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12/13/2014 01:45AM  
They will be slower than your old skis on a packed trail, but otherwise I think you will like them. I still don't have mine waxed right. I used EZ-glide all over the kick and glide zone. I should have done a regular base wax on the glide zone and then maybe splurged for a better glide paste wax for the kick zone (so the snow doesn't stick). I think the glide wax job matters a lot on these.

Yup, also odd for me to drop that kind of money on boots and skis, and with almost zero discount on top of that. But, I still use my Fischer skis high school - they are 30 years old. And, my wife still uses my Europa Glas skis from junior high, which are probably 35 years old. So I'm justifying it by how long I'll own the skis. And, by giving up something else in exchange (my gym membership). It's still cheaper than downhill skiing, or a fat bike.


 
12/13/2014 08:15AM  
I mainly got them for off trail-swamp deep snow like last year,did skiing off trail about 100 days last year around home.Just looking for more floatation.
Yeah this morning it is 37 degrees and little snow we have is melting.
 
NotLight
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12/13/2014 01:41PM  
The metal edges might not be the best for thin snow on open ground/grass. But, the good news, the skis will be functional even on big patches of bare ice and crappy snow if you ski on a lake (of course, don't fall through). We'll get those conditions with this melting now.

On bare ice, the skis will still slide to side to side if you let them. But, really I found them controllable and fun to double pole on the icy spots due to the metal edges. Would have been better maybe if I had the right wax.

Even on the shoveled glassy skating rink on our lake, the skis tracked well and I never felt they were slippping out from under me.

 
12/13/2014 02:22PM  
I got the waxless.
 
NotLight
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12/13/2014 02:25PM  
I also got the waxless. But, apparently to get the best glide out of the waxless skis you want to put on a hard glide wax like the downhill skiers and skate skiers use. The hard wax goes on the smooth part of the ski, not the fishscales.

You can also put a paste wax on the fishscales to get more glide. But, more importantly, also to keep the warm slushy lake snow from sticking - which happens a lot and is really terrible to ski in.

What I did on my E109's for now is use this simple rub on Easy Glide paste wax on both the smooth part of the ski and also the fishscale sections. I think it helps, but I am not super thrilled with the results.

On my E89's I used last year, I used a coat of this Base Prep hard wax, scraped and brushed in, then a second coat of this Universal Cold hard wax, also scraped and brushed in. These hard waxes are only in the glide zones, not in the fishscales. In the high 20's/low 30's in the sun the snow gets slushy and sticky, so then I will use this overpriced Warm$$$ Weather Paste Wax rubbed over the whole ski including the fishscales. (I wonder if I could just use PAM for sticky wet snow).

I followed the swix waxing videos for classic skis on youtube - except I didn't spend $500 on a waxing bench and iron with a team race logo on it. I just rigged up some 2x4 blocks with some wood clamps for a bench, err, and my wife got a new clothes iron. And of course, I only put the hard wax on the non-fishscale sections of the skis.

I think you can spend between $2 and $200 hard waxing your skis. But you can also skip it completely and the skis will work fine too, except for in that really sticky wet snow.

 
12/13/2014 05:26PM  
When it is real warm and snow is sticky I will use the graphite wax on my sled I am pulling also if the snow starts sticking to it. I save it for special occasions.
 
NotLight
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12/13/2014 05:43PM  
I will google that graphite stuff.

Would be interesting to see pics of the Crispi's you got, and how you like them after a few tries. That is, if we ever get snow again.

 
12/13/2014 06:02PM  
Sorry correction needed it is a fluro carbon wax
 
UphillHarry
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12/15/2014 06:24AM  
Thanks for the great detailed review NotLight. This has been very useful information for me. I'm close to getting a new set of wider skis, but I'm still pondering the trade-offs of different widths. Based on everything you have said about the Fischer E# Crown Xtralite series, I think that's what I want.

You compared the E89 (59mm) and the E109 (82mm). I'm wondering about splitting the difference with the E99 (65mm) for my use. While I love the idea of the greater float of the E109 in deeper powder, I'm thinking I won't realistically encounter that very often with the type of skiing I do off trail. And the places I like to ski, I will sometimes use a groomed or tracked trail to get to my backwoods off-trail location. Thus the 65mm might allow me to use the tracks, then go off trail.

You said the E89 was superior in deep snow to your old S-Bound Adventures, so this makes me think the E99 would actually be an acceptable deeper snow ski (knowing it will never give me the float of something much wider).

Given your experience with the two E# models, thoughts?

Again, thanks for sharing your experience trying multiple ski options.

 
12/15/2014 08:16AM  
I also have the Country Crown fischer and it has done me well in groomed track and off trail and 25 years of BWCA camping.

I also got the E109 for pure backcountry and deep snow this year.

If I was going to do some groomed trail and some off trail I still like the Fischer country crown no wax.

No one ski is perfect for all conditions.
 
NotLight
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12/15/2014 08:53AM  
quote PINETREE: "I also have the Country Crown fischer and it has done me well in groomed track and off trail and 25 years of BWCA camping.

I also got the E109 for pure backcountry and deep snow this year.

If I was going to do some groomed trail and some off trail I still like the Fischer country crown no wax.

No one ski is perfect for all conditions. "


I agree with PINETREE. The Fischer Country waxable is great for MN skiing 85% of the time - on track or off track. They are faster and lighter than "backcountry" or "off-track" metal edged skis, plus you can often find them end of year clearance for about $100. (And really, almost any old school waxable ski from craigslist is OK too.) It's not hard to wax skis if you are not racing - extra blue or extra green - and they are so much faster than waxless.

The only thing I would "add" to the BC wax is a pair of boots with enough (but not too much) lateral stability so that your feet and smaller muscle groups have to less work keeping the skis level/balanced on unbroken snow.

You would tend to get a pair of E109's as a second pair of skis, or if you did a lot of deep snow or lake ice/crust skiing (the metal edges). I would "always" get the E109's over the E99's because I don't think the E99's will fit nicely in groomed tracks anyway, plus they are not much lighter than the E109's.

I would avoid older E99's on ebay/craigslist because I think the older versions are much heavier - but you might google "NATO planks" on army surplus instead to get something heavy/wider/cheaper/waxable (~$60).

You may be able to get a better deal on stuff like Fischer S-Bound's, Fischer Outback 68's or Spider 62's, or Rossignol EVO OT's. These are good skis, but they are shorter, waxless, and have less camber than the E109's - meaning, slower. These kinds of skis make sense for hills/mountains because they are more maneuverable, but make less sense for flat MN.


 
12/15/2014 09:33AM  
Had like you said a pair of old E99 fischer and they weighted a ton,sent them in a week after I got them,they weighted a ton. The new 109 fischer are much lighter.

My Fischer BC country crown is a no wax and no metal edge,and I wouldn't want a waxable in the back country myself.
 
NotLight
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12/15/2014 10:47AM  
quote PINETREE: "Had like you said a pair of old E99 fischer and they weighted a ton,sent them in a week after I got them,they weighted a ton. The new 109 fischer are much lighter.

My Fischer BC country crown is a no wax and no metal edge,and I wouldn't want a waxable in the back country myself. "


Yeah, there's this trade off between wax/nowax convenience vs. glide. And, which is best just depends. It goes back to the fact that there maybe isn't one perfect pair of skis.

On that note, if you are after grip more than glide (for example, to pull a sled). Then skis like the Fischer S-Bounds are a good choice for MN. They have a lot less camber, so they are pretty much always collapsing in the middle so the grip zone is making good contact with the snow. Plus, the grip zone is just massive.

Here is a picture of the grip zone on my S-Bound 98's (left) and E109's (right).



 
UphillHarry
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12/15/2014 05:59PM  
OK. Thanks for the feedback. I'm not interested in going narrower than the E99s (66-54-61), as that would get me even closer to my existing touring skis in width. So the Country Crown (60-52-57), while a good suggestion is not what I'm looking for. Fitting into existing tracks is not a requirement for me, just a small bonus if it happened to work out. I'm really looking for off track skis.

The camber and length of the E# Xtralite series really appeals to me for my type of skiing (flat to rolling), so I think I'm sold on that model. I don't plan to be pulling anything.

PINETREE, you mention that the Country Crown had served you well off track and 25 years in BWCA. Sounds like yours is a much older model. Does it have the same 60-52-57 sidecut dimensions or something different?
 
12/15/2014 07:22PM  
quote UphillHarry: "OK. Thanks for the feedback. I'm not interested in going narrower than the E99s (66-54-61), as that would get me even closer to my existing touring skis in width. So the Country Crown (60-52-57), while a good suggestion is not what I'm looking for. Fitting into existing tracks is not a requirement for me, just a small bonus if it happened to work out. I'm really looking for off track skis.


The camber and length of the E# Xtralite series really appeals to me for my type of skiing (flat to rolling), so I think I'm sold on that model. I don't plan to be pulling anything.


PINETREE, you mention that the Country Crown had served you well off track and 25 years in BWCA. Sounds like yours is a much older model. Does it have the same 60-52-57 sidecut dimensions or something different?"


It very close with the middle number being 54,otherwise about the same with slight variation.
 
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