Another Website of the week: Dave’s Nordic Backcountry Skiing page

What I’ve founder over the years with gear is that while specific brands and models may come and go, the TYPES don’t change all the much.

A windbreaker magically becomes a windshirt but is still a light, nylon based garment for blocking the wind and is not waterproof.

A poncho may be made of rubber, silnylon or cuben , but is still functionally the same garment used by generations of outdoors folks.

And different models of canister stoves, white gas stoves and even alcohol stoves really don’t differ all that much in terms of basic use and properties.

I find it is better to know how the *types* of gear function so a person is better informed to make an appropriate decision for the specific gear they want to use in a backcountry setting.

One of the biggest offenders of diving too deep into the rabbit hole of gear wonkery, in my opinion, is backcountry skiing.  This model with this side-cut with this binding with boot with these measurements. Snooze….

Not to say knowing this type of info is not important, but it tends to overwhelm the basic “meat and potatoes” knowledge that is crucial for making an informed decision about what type of ski, binding and boot may be used for a person’s particular type of skiing.

And a great web site for helping to get this basic, but crucial knowledge, is Dave’s Nordic Backcountry Skiing page.

This page is not aimed at classic cross-country skiing or big-mountain backcountry skiing, but rather the page focuses on Nordic backcountry skiing. Skiing  “falls in that odd middle ground between cross-country skiing and telemark skiing”.

Terrain that is rolling to moderately steep, where covering distance in often mixed terrain is often the objective.

The page is gloriously simple: old school HTML and TXT files make up the website.

The overall page has not been updated in some time, but some individual sub-links have been updated as recently as last winter.

The page goes over the basic type of skis, boots and bindings for backcountry touring and what type of combo may work best for a given activity.

There are also excellent pages for waxing, winter appropriate articles on such topics as glove systems, perhaps the best and most direct explanation I’ve seen of VBL use  and even how to tune a ski.

Is the page perfect? No.

The individual skis and boots listed are often not made anymore and sometimes the links to other companies are no longer valid.

But, again, the overall information has not changed and is spot on for general information.  A person is able to make an informed decision about specific makes and models.

Use  Dave’s Nordic Backcountry Skiing page as a start to figure out a system that may work for you and your type of skiing.

Then, using this information, visit a store that still has knowledgeable staff for this type of increasingly less popular skiing.

( In Boulder, we have Neptune’s and their staff is top-notch. The store does online ordering and over the phone orders as well. )

So, learn the basics, check out Dave’s page and then get ready to explore the winter wonderland!


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