The prototype, test pair of Altai Hoks arrived right as I left for work Friday (I saw the UPS from our alley parking spot, and turned the truck off to go back inside and unbox them). So I went skiing, for the first time in over a month, Friday evening and yesterday. Big Mountains still has a lot of snow.
185 Guide, 125 Hok, 137 Marquette.
The Hoks weigh 2 lb 5 oz per ski, and measure 123-109-123. Note binding placement relative to chord center on each ski. It’s an interesting balancing act with skis meant to both turn downhill and go forward on the flat, with a more forward mount favoring the latter, and a rearward mount the former.
Both the Hoks and Marquettes have inserts, a wise choice, as it makes swapping bindings easy and obviates the need for a large reinforced binding mount area (which saves weight). Of course, it’s only wise if the designers nail the location. The Marquettes are right on, and I’m confident that Hoks will be as well. Yesterday I did back to back to back to back runs on the Hoks with the universal bindings shown above, as well as 3 pins in several different positions (via adapters) and both of my plastic boots. It looks like the production version will be 2 cm back from these, which will be excellent.
In good corn conditions I made a top to bottom run of Tony Matt (long, blue cruiser) in the universal bindings and trail runners. It’s strenuous as hell, but perfectly doable, even controllable, given the right snow conditions. With my light three buckle plastic tele boots the skis absolutely come alive, albeit with the speed limit you’d expect with such short skis. Blacks and double blacks are no problem, as both torsionally and laterally they are quite a stiff ski.
Nice extra-rise tip with a hint of rocker. Lack of full wrap edge to save weight, though that does (based on my experience with my Guides) leave the tip open to delamination given lots of abuse.
Good amount of camber, and just the right amount of rise in the tail. In short, initial impression is that the design was nailed. They’re traversing the Bob with me next weekend.