Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like a lot of people get into AT skiing using less than ideal gear and then invest in better gear as time goes on.
So, does anybody have an exact moment or trip where they were said to themselves "Ok, I really need to ditch these frame bindings and get a real set up!" or something like that.
For me, it happened a few weeks ago:
Did a pretty long tour in rmnp for my snow hydrology course (mentioned in another thread). Unfortunately, due to the purpose of our tour we didnt get to ski anything fun or even take our skins off for that matter. It was still a blast to be out there and far more satisfying than 90% percent of days I've spent on lift accessed terrain.
Anyway, halfway into the rmnp tour my toes were in a lot of pain. For context, my current AT set up consists of some full tilt seth morrisons (which i loosen to imitate walk mode) clicked into duke frame bindings attached to revision subtractions haha. Far from ideal, but doable. Sliding short dips in the trail with slightly glopped up skins eventually became extremely painful. The pain subsided by the next morning but my big toenails are slowly falling off now haha.
Said experience coupled with the unveiling of the Ikon pass has convinced me to invest in a better AT set up and maybe skip the resorts this year.
What made you guys realize that you wanted to get into the backcountry more regularly and ditch the lift lines?
For me it was when I started doing East Vail laps. I didn't have an AT setup so I just bootpacked up. Lugging heavy hellbents initially had me thinking "why do people do this?" What made me really want to get into backcountry was when the hikes started to become enjoyable. Your attitude changes. Throw on the headphones, hike up, and enjoy the scenery. After a while, you fall in love with the whole process. You start scheming on other missions and of course looking into better AT gear.
Personally the most rewarding part is having that beer afterwards with your crew. You planned an objective, executed it, and everyone came back safe. You also had a great time away from the crowds skiing with your friends. It doesn't get much better.
I don't think there is any one 'moment.' folks just gradually find places in their gear where they are willing to make compromises for weight savings.
It might start with frame bindings, and then you cut the weight of boots, and next thing you know you're on sub 100mm wide skis 10cm shorter than your resort skis with speed superlights, TLT6s and are combing the net for sub 30L packs under 1kg and are trading in your iceaxe
I never had that moment... in fact.. I have 5 setups for backcountry...
2 with tech bindings
1 with tele bindings
2 with frame bindings
The tech setups are probably the most versatile
The tele setup is mostly just for funzies
The frame setups are on big fat skis for sidecountry days when I'm skinning in resort, or back to the car after venturing off somewhere out of bounds.
frame bindings are great if you're not getting too deep...