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      Fischer S-Bound 98 Review     

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NotLight
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11/23/2014 06:14PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
FISCHER S-Bound 98 SKI REVIEW







THE MAIN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THESE SKIS:

- they are short and fat, but still relatively light compared to some backcountry skis.

- they are jack-of-all-trades-master-of-nothing. They are fat enough to handle some deep snow, but still have some glide.

- I really like the 3-pin 75mm bindings and the Crispi antartic boots. They have way more freedom of movement back and forth than I expected. In fact, I think they work better than my NNN BC's.

** These skis have a really long grip zone, and very little camber. They grip very well on uphills. But, to get any glide out of them, you need a really careful wax job.

SOME PHOTOS

- Almost 3/4ths of the bottom surface is no-wax grip, and only 1/4rd glide zone. And compared to my Fischer E109's, these have minimal camber. So, these skis have some glide, but you really have to coax it out of the skis.








- I tried them out in maybe a foot of fairly new powder, on a partially broken trail. Despite some steep hills, I almost never had to herringbone up a hill. But, I think I need to do a much more careful waxing job on these skis than just slapping on a coat of EZ-glide. That better waxing job might lessen the grip a bit though.








- I really like the Crispi Antatric boots. The toebox is narrow and the heal is a bit loose compared to all other ski boots and shoes I own. (For reference, since everyone’s feet differ, I wear Nike, Soloman, and Montrail running shoes, and Asolo hiking boots, and have not experienced that narrow toebox/loose heal in any of those brands.)

All that said, I have not experienced any “toe pinch” in these boots so far, unlike my current/older model NNN BC Alpina boots. Also no blisters so far despite a bit of heal slip.









- the Voile 3-pin bindings are buttery smooth and massively rugged, especially compared to the horror story 3-pin bindings of my youth. The big shocker for me was how much freedom of movement I got with these and the Crispi boots - actually better front and back movement than my NNN BC's, yet way more stable.















SOME COMPARISON PHOTOS

- I did my best to "photoshop" the E109's (left) to the S-Bound 98's (right). Obviously, the S-Bound 98's are a bit shorter and fatter.

But the big difference between the skis is not the width - it is that the E109's have way more camber, and way less grip zone compared to the S-Bound 98's.









- For reference on just how wide these are - here's a picture that shows all my other skis, except the S-Bound 98's, with the E109's at the far right.








THOUGHTS/CONCLUSIONS:

- I like my E-109’s better. But, that’s personal preference. I want gliding skis. These are more like mountaineering skis – better for deep powdery snow, and downhill.

- These are light enough. I don’t have the specs. But they “seem” like they weigh half as much as the Rossi BC-120’s in the store. I did not notice the weight of the skis at all while skiing.

- The skis are kind of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-nothing. For glide, these really don't have much going on. In fact, even gradual downhill was slow on these skis. Maybe, with more careful waxing I could get these to improve. For sure, just slapping on a coat of EZ-glide isn't good enough. That said, I can see getting much fatter and even a bit shorter skis than suggested by the weight tables for "forest skiing" with a lot of powder, and a lot of up/down. Because, these still want to sink in the deeper powder.

- An observation: with metal edge skis this fat, you really have to intentionally engage the metal edge by tilting the skis if you want it to hold on icy flats or even sidehills. With narrower metal-edge skis, the metal edges are always "engaged" with the snow no matter what you do. As such, these skis tend not to track well on crusty or packed snow compared to narrower metal edged skis.

- I like the 75mm 3-pin bindings and Crispi boots so much, that I will probably take the NNN BC bindings off of my E109's, and put 3-pin 75mm bindings onto those skis next year. The 3-pin seems to actually have much better freedom of movement back and forth than the NNN BC's. The reason is, the NNN BC's seem to move freely, but then suddenly stop. There is no sudden stop like that on the 3-pin binding/boot setup.

 
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11/25/2014 10:07AM  
Nice review. Where did you get your Crispi boots in a NNN binding?

I looked all over for a leather cross country boot for the back country.
Finally found a Crispi boot,but had to order from France. Very good service getting it and very very good boot,but shipping was high.
 
NotLight
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11/25/2014 10:38AM  
The Crispis I found weren't NNN-BC, they are the 75mm 3-pin. I got them at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder CO. I haven't been able to find much for NNN BC leather boots at all except for ebay. I have thought about ordering from Europe too. But much too worried about size and shipping costs.

It seems like Neptune in Boulder has the Alpina Alaskas in the 75mm 3-pin sometimes, and the Crispis in 75mm 3-pin sometimes. I don't remember if I saw the Alpina Alaskas there in NNN BC. I doubt it. They also have Asnes skis, including NATO planks I think.

REI in Denver stocks Fischer S-Bound 98 and Rossignol BC 120's in the store. They have a few more sizes too. They also have 3-pin and NNN BC bindings in the store. I think they also have a selection of different Fischer and Rossignol NNN BC AND 75mm 3-pin boots, but I do not much care for any of those. REI does not seem to have any Alpina or Crispi NNN-BC or 75mm 3-pin boots.

Both Neptune and REI you can also order online.

I think Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis has some stuff too, but I have not been there in 6 months. I think their big expo is maybe next week or the week after, which makes that a worthwhile visit regardless.





 
11/25/2014 01:26PM  
ski boots

That is who I ordered from.
 
NotLight
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11/25/2014 01:28PM  
quote PINETREE: " ski boots

That is who I ordered from."


What did you order? Hope it works out well and you let us know. I am curious to see if you are successful. They seem to have the Gore-tex Crispis there that you cannot get in the US.

 
11/25/2014 05:32PM  
quote NotLight: "quote PINETREE: " ski boots


That is who I ordered from."



What did you order? Hope it works out well and you let us know. I am curious to see if you are successful. They seem to have the Gore-tex Crispis there that you cannot get in the US.


"


Got the Crispi BC Stetind GTX Nordic Touring Boot which is gore tex and Rottefella NNN binding. Will have to see how it works in the field.

I got it on sale so the extra shipping costs I broke even if it was retail and free shipping. If your in no hurry they can ship it cheaper but I don't know how long it takes. I shipped it how they recommended and got it in a week. They have tracking on their shipment and I paid with Pay pal.

Love the makeup of the boot and quality. That is without using it yet. It should last me the rest of my lifetime and it has a good vibram like sole for walking.Will see how it works.

Had a different new boot last winter and my foot got soaked on warm days.

Did and still have a old Alpina leather boot from 20 years ago that is still useable but the structure is starting to break down.
 
NotLight
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11/25/2014 05:58PM  
Nice. How is the fit? My Crispi antartics seem true to size on overall length, with the heal a bit loose and the toebox a bit tight. At least, before break-in. I am wondering if that is by design, and if the Stetinds are different.

I ordered my Crispi antartics one size up at 46 instead of my normal 45 shoe size, and that does feel appropriate for either a thicker sock or a double layer thinner sock. At least on my feet, and at least before break-in.

 
11/25/2014 06:14PM  
True to size great fit.Yes I might be up in size just a little for heavy sock.
 
NotLight
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01/11/2015 11:07AM  
Updates:

I hard waxed the skis instead of using the paste wax. They are now much faster. I used Fast Wax Base Prep wax, ironed and scraped, followed by their Universal Cold Wax, ironed, scraped, and brushed out. The hard wax is in the glide zones only. I used the Fast Wax Pa$te Wax in the kick zone only, and corked it in with a felt cork.

I did not brush in the pa$te wax like I had been doing. I used the cork hoping to get some microheating and better adhesion of the wax. The skis seemed slow for the first 1-2km, but sped up after that. Not sure if those things are related.

Mostly I have been skiing on crusty or 1-2ft of snow on a partially broken trail. I have not used them in the deeper snow they were intended for yet. On crusty snow, the skis glide substantially better than on powder. But, because the skis are so wide, the metal edges do not engage readily like on a skinner ski, and the skis slide around a bit. Combine that with the shorter length (189cm) compared to my E89's or E109's, and these are not super efficient on crusty snow. But, not bad either now with the hard wax.

The Crispi Antartics were very tight when I tried them on in the store in my normal 45 size, so I went with size 46. But now, the boots seem to loosen up inside quite a bit. I kind of now think I would have been better off with my normal size 45. But, I am not sure. I checked Neptune Mountaineerings website, and they are now sold out of the Antartics in 45. So again, these boots are hard to find, sell out early in the year, and are impossible to get on sale. But, in my opinion worth the money. The construction quality seems much higher than the plastic/fabric 3-pin boots from Fischer and Rossi. No toe pinch so far. They were warm at least to -4 so far.


 
NotLight
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01/19/2015 07:47AM  
I took a quick trip to the BWCA this weekend. Because, as the drive up there told me, there is not much snow in MN south of Virginia, MN.

I did a 15 mile 2 day loop using the S-Bound 98's and the Crispi boots. I was pleased with both the skis and the boots.

Route picture (NOT!!! recommended, as the portage between Snowbank and Ensign is not really passable due to open water):






The S-bound 98's glided really well after the hard wax/paste wax job I did. But, I could feel that wearing off towards the end of day 2, a bit. I suspect it was the paste wax wearing off the middle of the skis. I could have maybe re-waxed them on the trail, but did not. I did get slush frozen up twice, and both times it seemed like the hard wax was making it much easier to scrape the ice off the skis. So again, I really think these skis work best with a proper hard wax job and not just the F4/easy glide paste wax.

The skis did well on the deepest drifts which were maybe 2ft thick at the most. But, the snow was somewhat windblown/compacted on those drifts so they weren't uber-challenging as a test for the skis on deep snow. Fischer has this thing I think they call modified Nordic rocker that causes the tips to lift/flex upward in deeper snow. I really think that was working as the tips always wanted to stay above the snow on the deeper compacted stuff - that made the skiing much easier with the heavy pack on.

Typical snow - maybe 8-12 inches and crusty with 1" of new powder:






The skis glided well on the ice road on Snowbank, but they have that signature where, because they are so wide, they slide around a bit on that really icy flat stuff.

Skis on the ice road on Snowbank - glided well but slid around a bit:






I took the S-bound 98's instead of my E109's because of the better boots I have to go with the S-bound's, and because of the better turnability for the portages. The skis worked well for that. But, for the most part the steep parts of the portages are so steep and rocky that I often took the skis off and walked down. On the more modest portages like the sled dog trails, and the wide portage between Snowbank and Moose, they did really well on the downhills and I could control my speed and direction well even with the heavy pack on.

Grip was good, even with the new glide wax on wax. I only had to sidestep the very steepest parts of the portages. The medium sized hills I usually skied straight up and didn't have to herringbone or sidestep.

Typical snow encountered on portages - not too deep, so I got some rock scrapes:






The boots did well for warmth, but you do have to keep them dry with a pants cuff or gaiters. On the first day I wore my eVent rain pants over the tops of the boots, and the boots were dry by morning (I cheated and put hand warmers in the boots at about 4am). On the second day I just wore my running tights and no eVent pants, and my feet got a bit cold towards the end of the day from the melting snow getting in.

And it was nice to have the 3-pin bindings - very easy to clean out once they got slushed up. Freedom of movement is way better than I expected. But, I should have sprayed the bindings with WD-40 before I left to get the snow not to stick as much.

Skis at camp:






I got slushed up crossing thin ice in an area like this (an activity recommended only for idiots, but hey...):


 
01/19/2015 08:44AM  
Thanks for report.
 
01/19/2015 10:48AM  
it looks like you carried all of your gear in a reasonably sized pack, no sled? good job, what was the pack weight if you do that type of thing?
 
NotLight
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01/19/2015 10:51AM  
I'm guessing the pack was 25-30lbs.

My megalight tarp, 15 degree Marmot Helium bag, and xtherm sleeping pad are pretty light. Maybe 7 lbs total. But throw in food, fuel, thermos full of water, extra boots, and safety extras due to open water danger, and things balloon to 20+lbs pretty quick even if you are trying to be "ultralight" on an overnighter.

I could have maybe brought half as much if I was in a more travelled area without the water danger. Conversely, if I were going 3 days in the BWCA I think I would want a sled. I do not have a good sled setup yet.

I'm thinking, the key to keeping the gear list down so that you can use just a pack while ski camping is to stay dry. Meaning, ski in minimal breathable layer so that you never perspire. Keep your boots covered and dry. Police your pace, so you don't perspire, and so you don't need 4,000 calories of food energy and can slow burn body fat for energy. I think if one can do that, you can get by without needing so much extra dry clothes, tent, food, and fuel. I'm still on the learning curve there though.

 
01/20/2015 10:44PM  
it looks like i should be considering getting some real back-country skis. i've always used a pair of beater 1980s vintage rossignols, possibly the worst skis ever designed.
 
NotLight
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01/21/2015 06:16AM  
quote jwartman59: "it looks like i should be considering getting some real back-country skis. i've always used a pair of beater 1980s vintage rossignols, possibly the worst skis ever designed."

To me, the thing that's so different than my old skis, is how much grip I get climbing. Between that and not sinking, it makes lake trekking pretty enjoyable. And less work so you can chug along and not perspire from the effort so much.

I've also looked at the Altai Kom (not the Hoks) package on their website. That looks very very nice. But, I thought I wanted a longer ski. And I went with the brand name that I trusted since I could not try the ski before buying. But those are worth checking out too. The Kom package comes with Scarpa T2 boots and 3-pin bindings.


 
NotLight
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01/26/2015 03:20PM  
Andrew Skurka talking about his ski setup here. Very interesting. He has a similar setup with the same boots and bindings, but asnes waxable skis. Also from Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder where I got mine.

The comments at the above link are also interesting - basically about putting plastic telemark boots with "tech" bindings on nordic skis (expensive!). But, the super modern telemark plastic boots and bindings are lighter and more waterproof than the leather Crispi Antartics that I have. Plus they have a removeable liner that is easily dried. I am tempted to try the Scarpa T4 3-pin plastic boots if we ever have snow in MN again.
 
01/26/2015 04:37PM  
Thanks I bookmarked the site for future reference.
 
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