Altai Hok 145 with 3 Pin Binding
I want to comment on the Hok 145s. First off, they look much nicer than they photograph. These are an unusual product on the market. I wasn't sure how they would handle and had a difficult time finding a write up that really gave me an accurate description. These skis are the best climbing and gripping waxless base skis I have tried. Of the seven pairs of waxless skis I own, Rossignol BC 125, Fischer S-Bound 98s, Silent Spiders, older Karhu and Alpina skis, the Hoks easily will out climb them all. As far as kick and glide, they are about as good as can be expected on the deep untracked snow that I would use them in. However it is on the down hill that the Hoks get confusing. They don't glide as well as any other ski I have used, but they are not snow shoes. It probably takes 10 minutes to learn to use a pair of snowshoes. The Hoks are skis and some skiing skills are definitely needed to use them. I found that if not careful, the Hoks have the ability to out climb my ability to descend safely in wooded terrain. On gradual declines they don't really glide well, but on steep hills the Hoks will get moving and handle like short, wide, soft skis. Additionally, the natural tendency to back weight free heel skis when the terrain gets steep only makes them faster. My take on the Hoks is that they are an easily turned, slow ski that is great for the woodlands and woodland trails usually snowshoed because the terrain is too narrow or steep for more traditional skis. The one warning I would give is that they do behave as skis on steeper slopes and skiing skills are needed. Finally, I really like these skis. I am not a double black diamond skier and don't have the skills to ski the steep backcountry slides and streambeds that the better skiers ski. However the Hoks will allow me to ski the milder backcountry terrain safely.
I grew up skiing and have been snowshoeing here in the Olympic Mountains to keep out in winter and do early season hikes and climbs. I've always missed skiing. The Hok has every appearance of being an answered prayer! I've only been out twice, carrying my 125cm/universal binding Hoks on my backpack to ski Mt Rose in the Olympics; not enough snow that day but they are great on a backpack; only a little heavier than my snowshoes at 6 lbs, 6 oz; also short enough to not be clumbsy. Yesterday I drove up to Mt Rainier and skied around Paradise. The climbing skin grips very well, glide is good, and these babies really want to turn!! Telemarks were easy and the ski was stable for such a short ski. I am most happy about universal bindings; I just use my regular Asolo leather mountaineering boots; so I can walk up to the snow line and then strap on my Hoks. Ski is very well made, climbing skins are attatched well, overall construction is good and with a fiberglass wrapped wood core I think the ski will last. Lastly I have gone up and in some pretty thick, steep cover in the past with my snowshoes and I do believe I will be able to do likewise with the Hoks; very manuverable AND they cut across sidehills with ease. No more horrible pain in my feet when trying to do the same with snowshoes!! Give 'em a try if you are looking for a short moutaineering ski, I think you will be happy.
I will never use snowshoes again
I Love these skis! I use them for early season jaunts into the local mountains before it is deep enough to pull out powder skis. I also use them on lower angle rolling terrain where a flimsy nordic ski would be totally inappropriate and a downhill ski is overkill. It is easy to follow deer trails or corral wild turkeys on these. I love the glide and simplicity, never stopping to put on or take off skins. I love the durability as mine have been over a rock or two. I love that I will never have to snowshoe again, even if I'm invited on a group outing I can go with them, match their pace and have a much much better time. As a skier I am shocked how often I use these instead of my XCD or Powder boards!
I should also note that I prefer to use these with a 3pin binding for extra control
Update on Hoks
Just an update on my previous review on 1/1/2013. I have now "Hoked" many times on different terrain and I think these skishoes are perfect. As far as turning downhill they are great; telemarks and short swing turns are easy and they glide across the hill well in an traverse. Uphill they are more than short enough (125cm) to be very manuverable and the kick is very secure. The universal binding is wonderfully stable and simple, I have also used them with 3 pin bindings and the control is about the same (soft leather boots on both)with either binding (Altai is so intelligent to drill permanent, stainless steel mounts for both universal and 3 pin bindings so you can swop bindings in just a few minutes). Lastly; they are just fun, I feel like a kid out there with my "pocket skis". Enjoy!!
good for the right use
I have used these skis about five times in different conditions. they have great control but are slower than a regular ski which for me is good since I bought them mainly for winter camping and didn't want a fast ski. they glide well going uphill and have great traction so I'm able to climb steeper country compared to my other skis. I saw the video of people sking down hill with them but for me so far they have not not glided well at all going down hill, I've even joged in them going down hill. I like the bindings since I can wear winter pack boots which saves me from having to pack them when I camp out.
overall a good ski for the right use.
Feedback on Hoks
I have been out on these exclusively since I got them in January after some storms in New England. 145cm Set up with light weight 3-pin cables and the Excursion boots. Glide was better than expected - compared to a backcountry ski with a kicker skin. So far have been used on mostly deeper snow, but had them out this weekend on some groomed XC trails. Too wide to fit in tracks of course, but fine for the skate groomed area in between and the occasional off trail. Very easy to parallel or telemark. Got lots of looks and questions at the XC area. If you're not a speed freak and just want to go out, have fun, make some turns easily, I highly recommend them.
Seems to fit the intended use
I purchased two pair so me and my son could get into the woods and do some winter exploring. They seem to work well for this purpose. They climb great with the attached skins. This does slow them down on the descents to much for him but enough speed for this old man! The universal bindings are a plus as we can change footwear for the weather and occasion . They will only except boots to 13 or 14 inches this can be a problem for some.never seem to get enough snow for snow shoeing anymore so these will get us out a lot more hopefully. The skins are prone to iceing up if ground is wet under snow.
My Husband and I both got a pair as our compromise. After watching a few videos on using them We decided to go for it. I wanted Snowshoes he wanted cross country skis. It is the good parts of both. We trek through a small woods and into a neighboring field. if I get tired of gliding along I can walk in them and combine it with the glide. we have a steep backyard area and there is good grip getting back to the house. It's easy, convenient and good for groomed trails as well. Embracing Winter is easy on HOK.
UP&DOWN: NO STOP, NO TROUBLES. GOOD JOB!
I used Hok Ski on wet snow for a backcountry touring during a spring weekend. The glide let the ski flow very well downhill and at the same time guarantees the right grip when going up. You can climb up and then going down without taking any pause to take the glide away: this is awesome for an expert who cares about improving his performance.