Rated 5 out of 5 by Skilaufer Great for Backcountry Skiing!
Just purchased the 125cm skis. Used them 4 times so far. Very easy to use in the back woods especially when climbing hills. Bindings are a little tricky to use at first, but once you get the hang of it, they work fine. Highly recommend these skis!
January 27, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5
by bigskyrunner a nice niche between ski and snowshoe!
I rented a pair if these from a local shop to give a whirl. I rented 125's that were mounted with BC NNN bindings, I happened to have a pair of boots that worked so off I went. They were easy to maneuver with, they climb nicely, and on the way out I shaved a lot of time off versus snowshoeing.
I did go down a couple a couple of times, but I'm not an accomplished skier, far from it. I enjoyed them enough that I bought a pair of my own (LL Bean); I ended up going with the universal bindings. I think if I was more of a skier I'd opt for a three pin and cable setup.
My hope is with some practice the skiing skills will pick up for me and if need be I can swap in a different binding setup (they are easily setup with three pin, NNN or their universal binding).
There are limitations to the ski. It won't get me into all the places that I go with my MSR Lightnings. They simply don't have the traction that an aggressive snowshoe crampon/deck offers. I think with a little ingenuity, you could come up a with a removable crampon which would add range to these skis.
If you have snowshoed before these will seem pretty familiar. If you also happen to be a good skier you'll probably be even more pleased.
So far I'm really pleased with the Hoks, hoping with a bit more practice on the skiing end I'll be even more pleased :)
January 24, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by unigami I LOVE these skis!
I've been out on these 6 times now and I just love them! I started snowshoeing last year and kept noticing ski tracks and started thinking about trying backcountry skiing to add a little zest to my adventures. I wanted to have the flexibility to ski on any trail, and not be confined to the groomed (and crowded) XC ski trails. I also didn't want to spend a ton of money on skis, binding and special boots.
I did some alpine skiing in my younger days but that's it, so I am not a skier. But it was easy to get started on these and I quickly got used to the thrust and glide motion. I'm still improving on my downhill skills but they seemed controllable and not excessively fast so it isn't too scary. I got the universal bindings and they work great both with my Merrell Moab Polar boots or my trail runners. The universal bindings are super easy to use and seem really durable. It's so nice to be able to use the comfy boots and trail runners that I already have. The climbing skins work great, I was able to walk up some steep hills without even having to herringbone walk up them.
Everything about these seems to be top-notch quality and I have absolutely no regrets with my purchase. They look cool too. I am having so much fun with them! If you are a snowshoe hiker and would like to try something a little more fun, without getting into the high cost and learning curve of XC skiing, I would highly recommend trying these skis - they are a blast!
January 24, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by BlueHiller So far, great...
Originally I ordered these in 145 cm because I assumed that, as 6'+ and 200lb+, I would need more ski for more floatation. I was wrong. The Altai Hok website states "As a general rule women of average size weight or smaller should use the 125cm, and men over 6ft at average weight could go with the 145cm. But for general use and as a snowshoe substitute the 125 works best even for larger men. " I swapped the 145 cm for 125's and am very happy. They keep me afloat in deep snow and are easier to maneuver in wooded areas. Also note that if you have size 13+ boots, the bindings sold by Bean (Universal) may not fit (note their description says fits "most" boots). Altai sells a Pivot binding for bigger/wider boots. The universal fits my size 13 winter boots, but just. Skis are well built, lightweight, climb great, and a lot of fun. Last winter I used snowshoes more than I wanted to and am very happy to switch to these an alternative. Highly recommend. (I also ended up getting the Balla Hoks for my kids, but Bean says they have no plans to sell those which puzzles me. They are of the same high quality and performance as the adult version and should grow with my kids for at least 4-5 years.)
January 3, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by MHL5 Great skis
I've had these for two seasons and love them. They work well in 3 feet of fresh powder and on hard packed snow. everyone who sees them is full of questions and I tell them to go to beans and get a pair. We've had well over 100 inches of snow this winter and these skis have been well used.
March 12, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Tuti The Best!
I just love these. I used my neighbors to try them out once and that was all it took for me to order my own. They are easy to adjust to any foot gear you wear and easy off and on. I have used them nearly ever day since I received my own! I am fortune that I can simply go out my back door to embrace the winter season!
March 11, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Gus0 Way better than snowshoes for most snow conditions
I love these skis. I live in the rockies and use them at all elevations and for all but steep technical downhill skiing. They have less glide than a typical nordic ski but they are vastly superior to snowshoes in deep powder.
The waxless climbing skin patch can ice. If it does put a little silicone or glide wax on it, only enough to prevent icing or you will loose traction on hills. If you already have tele boots, go to the Altai website and read about three pin options.
February 24, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by SnowPhile Easy to use, these will become your best friend!
When I first unpacked these, I loved their look and design. They are lightweight and easy to adjust to my insulated hiking boots, and the bindings are quick in and out. The first couple of times I used them, though, the snow stuck to the bottoms. Frustratingly slow. Then I got some Swix F4 onto them and they now work like a charm. Have used them at close to melting, and at 5 below zero, and in between. They glide smoothly along packed snowshoe tracks, swish across new deep powder... had a blast zooming up and down hills, between trees, wherever I want to go! Easy to control. Can't wait to go out again, so glad I got these.
January 5, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by cavesar My out the door skis, even ski on only a few inche
The Hok is my out the door ski. Even when there are only a few inches of snow I can still ski. The base and mohair are tough so rocks, roots, when the snow is shallow aren?t an issue.
The mohair gives excellent grip and tracking even on shallow snow or icy crust, but it also glides well. Unlike the LL Bean Boreal skis which need at least 7cm/6in of track depth and the Boreal is a fish scale no-wax so grip can be an issue.
The mohair also gives a bit of drag on the downhills so speed is much more controlled during bushwack/off-track descents.
For 0 C skiing one may need to use a SwixNordic Zero spray ? anti icing spray.
Nils Larsen, Francois Sylvain, helped designed the original TRAK Bushwacker skis so they have experience designing bushwacking, out the door, skis.
I have both the Hok 125 cm with Universal/Xtrace Binding, and 145 cm with a Solomon XADV, SNS BC, binding. I am getting a 2nd 145 cm and adding a 75mm binding.
The Xtrace Binding works with up to a boot length of US 12/13 or size 43 75mm duckbill. Changing the binding is easy since the Hok have inserts matching extended 75mm spacing. On altaiskis.com is a mounting plate for System bindings ? NNN BC, SNS XADV. The Boreal?s Universal binding has a standard 75mm spacing.
With the Xtrace binding one needs a really stiff soled boot, torsional rigidity, to have good downhill control. With a 75mm duckbill binding and a good pair of boots one can Tele with the Hok. With a System binding, great extension for kick and glide but not much downhill control ? toe box isn?t anchored, just a pivot rod in front of the toe.
January 4, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by tmkrkr Fun and easy
I've been out five times and am having a blast. The universal binding is slick. The integrated climbing skin and maneuverability of the short skis allow a more whimsical romp through woods than snow shoes. The skis aren't that fast on the downhills but I no longer have the need for speed and my wife is new to skiing. They don't take to groomed x-c trails that well but cut trail with ease.
February 12, 2014