Here is a recent conversation that started asking how the Off Limits compares to the Altai Hok (no comparison). In the last paragraph there is a question about sand skiing with the Hagan X-Trace Pivot binding:
I'm currently using the Altai Hok and while I really like it for more flat type terrain I went up on a steeper trail recently and was really struggling with not getting enough grip from the built in skin compared to my friends with much longer AT skis. The other issue I had is that I have the older Xtrace bindings without the pivot and the higher angle stuff was really making me struggle with heel lift - seemed like they were having a much easier time with tech bindings. That being said they were also often struggling with the length of their skis whereas I was having no problems navigating boulders and trees.
Does the new X-Trace binding with the pivot built in make lifting the heel easier? Seems like flexing the plastic takes a lot of energy over the long term. The other issue is that sometimes I would want to use stiff mountaineering boots (full auto crampons, fully stiff sole) and Im guessing that neither of the xtrace bindings are ideal for this as the pivot is too far back ? Can either of the xtrace bindings be used with stiff boots or is there a better option?
I was also looking at some of your other ski options that are sort of similar to the Altai Hok (the discontinued Off Limits seemed the most interesting). Are you planning to ever make those skis again? I really liked the idea of putting on a full skin for maximum grip uphilll. Im a terrible downhill skier ( other option I have is to just get a splitboard as I am a good downhill snowboarder but it seems like splitboards are not ideal at all for the uphill compared to skis). I also considered getting your ski with the fish scales - is it possible to use your skin with those? I know that wouldnt be conventional but it seems like it could offer more uphill traction than fish scales alone or the smaller skin patch on the type of skis with it integrated. I figured for flatter stuff I just use the scales and then if Im doing something with more vertical I throw the skins over the scales.
My main objective is moving efficiently in the backcountry - I have a lot of experience camping in the snow and I'm an avid astrophotographer and sort of wannabe mountaineer and right now my main struggle is just dealing with deeper powder and snow leading up to a climb. Im much less interested in getting into the backcountry for sport reasons - its really more of a utilitarian focus ( I can keep snowboarding for sport / fun ).
Apologies for the wall of text - seems like you guys are the go to people for these types of skis and theres not a ton of info out there. Im also planning to try training with an old pair of skis on the beach if you by off chance know anything about that - I know Bill Koch was a big proponent of that back in the day and I live close to the ocean so it seemed like a logical conclusion. Was planning to try to mount my X-Trace strap bindings on whatever I can find cheaply and then just use my running footwear.
The X-Trace Pivots (I’m sold out, but more are coming in) are definitely easier flexing and more efficient, especially for steeper climbs. You are correct in that they don’t work with stiff soled boots, though. If you want to to use stiff soled boots you need to use tech bindings/boots or frame bindings.
The Off Limits isn’t discontinued, just sold out. We had a factory fire. I’ll have more for next season. It definitely skis downhill way better than the Hok.
You can put a skin over the top of the fish scales on the X-Trace ski. You would need a tip loop or other type of kicker skin set up.
Definitely you can use the X-Trace ski and binding on the sand: