Altai Hok "skishoes", anyone have feedback

Carl

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Aug 31, 2012
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I have a rifle tag for montana elk, and am anticipating a late and snowy hunt. I will be about seven miles back. I am wondering if anyone has used these or a similar ski shoe. I hate using snowshoes, but also hate postholing. These look intriguing, and most of the reviews I have read have been positive. Let me know if you guys have used them. Thanks.

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tater

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Dec 9, 2012
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My wife and i have used them for two winters now.
They are a great tool, but have some quirks when doing semi steep downhill because of the placement of the "skins" on them.

They are actually designed to be used in the same fashion as the skis used by the Altai people, meaning a single long pole is trailed behind and leaned back on for balance and steering. This is a different feel than the traditional "two pole" style of skiing that most folks are used to.

If you have a telemark background they would be really easy to use. For a duffer like me it took a while.

They are rugged and reliable, and have a foolproof binding system and i prefer them to snowshoes.
 
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Carl

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Aug 31, 2012
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My wife and i have used them for two winters now.
They are a great tool, but have some quirks when doing semi steep downhill because of the placement of the "skins" on them.

They are actually designed to be used in the same fashion as the skis used by the Altai people, meaning a single long pole is trailed behind and leaned back on for balance and steering. This is a different feel than the traditional "two pole" style of skiing that most folks are used to.

If you have a telemark background they would be really easy to use. For a duffer like me it took a while.

They are rugged and reliable, and have a foolproof binding system and i prefer them to snowshoes.
Thanks for the input. I have never telemarked, and haven't been on skis in 10+ years. I am athletic, have good balance, and pick things up quickly. Mostly they would be used on wilderness trails, so no steep stuff. What would you say the exertion is compared to snowshoes or hiking in say a 12-18" of snow?

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slick

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Message MTWarden, if he doesn’t see this, I’m sure he would be happy to respond to a PM. Think he’s put many miles on his.
 

justinspicher

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I used them quite a bit last season to get around and every time I took them out, I immediately regretted it. I honestly felt like I could have been more efficient in my snowshoes. I got into some deep snow and got stuck and had to take them off to get myself out. I've never had an issue with snowshoes like I did with these "skis".
 
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Carl

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I used them quite a bit last season to get around and every time I took them out, I immediately regretted it. I honestly felt like I could have been more efficient in my snowshoes. I got into some deep snow and got stuck and had to take them off to get myself out. I've never had an issue with snowshoes like I did with these "skis".
Interesting, that is about the first negative review I have heard, other than the downhill part. What size skis do you have?

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justinspicher

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I had the longer ones with the universal binding. I have used “normal” cross country skis and didn’t have nearly the same issues. On the forest service road it wasn’t bad, but once I got off the road and hit some deep snow, it got frustrating.
 

mtwarden

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I've had mine about five winters now (both lengths, prefer the longer ones and now my wife uses the shorter ones). There are times that I definitely want snowshoes over the Altai's- very steep terrain- skis simply can't climb steep stuff like good snowshoes; lots of rocky ground- snowshoes show very little wear over intermittent rock, ski's show more; steep down- I'm simply not that capable of skier to feel comfortable going down steep slopes (some folks I'm sure are)

But there are many instances where the Altai's outshine snowshoes. Deep powder snow- they simply have more surface area and better flotation. Where I might be post holing with snowshoes, I'm only slightly sinking with the Hok's. The Hok's are faster- climbing up a drainage they are slightly quicker than snowshoes, descending a drainage they are substantially quicker.

I use both about equally throughout the winter, really depends on where I'm headed. The last couple of years, there have been a couple of trips I've brought both. Wearing the skis as far as I can with the snowshoes on my back, leaving the skis and strapping on the snowshoes to bag a steep peak, coming back down and putting the skis back on to return to the trailhead.

I think they are a very useful tool in traveling in snow- sometimes snowshoes are a better choices, many times the skis are better choice.

peak bagging trip last witner

 

dutch_henry

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I've used them the past 2 winters in ME and NH. As mtwarden says, they have their place. On trails or in terrain where you're not constantly stepping over downed trees, boulders, etc, I definitely prefer the Hoks to snowshoes. They're much much more efficient. You're gliding vs stepping, and that means more miles with less fatigue. Definitely a factor when the days are short.

In really steep country or broken terrain, snowshoes work better for me. Their shorter length and better traction makes it easier to step over obstacles and cut straight down slopes. (Even though the hoks have skins over most their surface, they're still speedy on the downhills...that's great on open terrain, but it's a liability on steep, forested slopes.)

I have a couple of buddies who are foresters who use hoks all winter. Both ditched the universal bindings and swapped in 3-pin bindings. They say the difference was night and day when it comes to downhills. If you're using the universal bindings with pac boots or neoprene boots (that's what I do), you simply won't have the rigidity to crank out telemark turns and use these as true skis.
 
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Carl

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Thank you guys for the replies! I am,mostly planning to use them to access where I want to hunt, then hunt on foot from there. The access is either going to be a closed road, or a maintained trail.

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stubblejumper

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Apr 30, 2017
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CAlgary
I am pretty much just echoing what is said above, but I use them for what I would call just below the tree line rockies every year for about 5.

It is largely following closed roads, quad trails, and used snowmobile trails, but they works really well for that.

I am not a skier or telemarked or anything, so I had some wipeouts, but they were less serious that the hits I got from last week's elk hunt through the fallen timber. :0
 

Flatgo

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Aug 10, 2015
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I have a pair that i have used for shed hunting and wolf hunting. i have not used them in general rifle season mainly because if there is enough snow to use them typically elk and deer have moved to lower elevation. i have wanted them on drift sections or snow in roads getting to more bared off terrain, but usually those are pretty short stretches. as stated above downhill is not like you're downhill skiing and can get sketchy, but you can cover some serious ground in the right conditions. They maybe use full in montana rifle season, but it takes a pretty rough winter/fall to make them use full.
 

BAKPAKR

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May 10, 2018
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West Virginia
I have the shorter ones. For closed roads, I think they are tough to beat. I am not that coordinated so I had a few spills on steeper downhill sections of trails. Snowshoes do work better for me on steeper ground.
 
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