Fischer-man goes skiing
Jeff Outdoors –
Fischer S Bound
The man abuses outdoor gear, so you don’t have to
I was born and raised in Tennessee. Our idea of having fun in the snow was bending up an old highway construction sign and using it as a sled. Most southerners haven’t skied, because there’s no place to ski south of the Mason-Dixon line (except at Dollywood on plastic snow). Occasionally, a fellow southerner goes on vacation and finds himself on a pair of skis. You have seen them out there. They are the guys wearing jeans, hunting coats, work gloves, and a ball caps with sports teams logos on them. If you look carefully, you’ll see that they have switched their Skoal cans to their left hip pockets because they have bruised their right hips from falling on their Skoal cans several times.
About 22 years ago, I started cross-country skiing in the mountains of West Virginia. I had all the wrong gear. Eventually, I ended up on the Olympic Pennensula in Washington State where they haven’t heard of groomed trails, and a guy at Olympic Mountain Sports set me straight. I needed beefy boots and metal edged double camber skis with a waxless base (due to the varying conditions the Olympics have). This meant Fischer E-99 Crown (Inbound or Outbound Crown beginning in 2004), or Karhu Lookout skis. Fischer and Karhu have been making the best all around waxless base metal edged skis since the 70’s. There are other companies out there, but you can’t go wrong with these two. Karhu has kept with a more aggressive kickplate (scales stick up slightly above the surface of the base) for better grip, but creates more drag. Fischer tends to use a less aggressive pattern (scales do not stick up past the base), which helps with smooth speed, but reduces the angle of slope you’re able to “kick” up.
Several years ago, companies started putting more width and shape to their double camber skis. I shunned the change at first, then bought a pair of Fischer S Bound skis. The shape is not outrageous for kick ‘n glide skis, but they still don’t fit in groomer tracks. My old E-99s fit in groomer tracks beautifully. They also don’t climb as well as the Karhu Lookout (my favorite for getting in a long workout with sizable hills). The real strength of the S Bound shows up when you spot an untracked 25 degree slope. In most snow conditions the S Bound will carve a tele turn, if you have a stiff enough boot to hold the edge. In powder, the skis will drive down just like any double camber would do, but the wider shovel and shape allows you to turn in all but the steep airy powder.
There is no doubt that I’ve left my favorite logging road trails with bigger grins after buying the S Bounds. There is nothing like getting a great workout, then carving turns down a virgin slope on the same pair of skis. I still ski my old E-99s or bum my friends Lookouts when the snow conditions are horrible or when I’m skiing with a bunch of skinny skiers and I need to keep up. The S Bounds are for the days when I need my spirit to fly free and I’m not in a hurry.
- Allows for turns in many conditions
- Easier for new backcountry kick’n glide crowd
- Build quality that you would expect from Fischer
- Kick plate is not as aggressive as it needs to be
- Won’t fit in groomed tracks
- Not as fast as skinny waxless skis
If you want to cover a lot of hilly ground, stick with the narrow skis and aggressive kick plate. If you want to get nab some turns and you’re not skiing groomed cross-country trails, they’re more fun than a barrel of drunken monkeys.