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XC Boots and skis for the oversized person

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  • XC Boots and skis for the oversized person

    I used to ski as a kid on 3 pin bindings, and when I got past shoe size 13 I stopped due to lack of boots. Later on my father found some "universal" ski bindings being closed out at a shop and bought 3 pairs which he sent to me, and I have used them. They are far better than nothing, but also far from ideal. They go around the outside of my snow boots, so my feet end up more than twice the width of the skis, which means in any loose snow I plow a wide track as I go. Also the plastic sometimes breaks where it flexes, which can lead to hopping ungracefully home.

    I'm wondering if any of the wise folks on here know if if it's possible to get size 16 ski boots, and what length of skis would be appropriate for a 7 foot 200 pound person. The ones I have had for the last 20 years are a good bit shorter than me, so that seems doubtful in my mind. I am thinking that next winter when I plan to be living in Piercefield it would be nice to be able to ski up there. I'm used to breaking my own trail, and when I was a kid we used to ski in snowmobile tracks. I have heard that there are groomed trails in Tupper Lake, which would be a novelty for sure, and there are a lot of hiking trails that might be skiable in the area. I lack the gumption to try to learn any kind of downhill skiing, as I am trying to save my knees for later and have already had some trouble with them in my later teens. I'll be grateful for any advice.

  • #2
    Your only option might be universal bindings. They are still made, and maybe better than the old ones. There used to be a few different types out there, but everything is out of stock now. This is the only one I could find that didn't say that. I'm also not sure they'd be long enough, you'd probably have to measure your boots.

    https://www.findsports.com.au/p/oac-...BoCvKYQAvD_BwE

    The Hagan X-trace is probably the most reliable one out there and Altai claims they have fit a size 15 boot in there. Not available ATM, but maybe they will be in the future.

    Skis are much easier. You only really need to be concerned with your weight. Most 189-200cm skis will work for you.

    In terms of your other issues with the universal binding, the best thing there is to use a bit wider ski. Do you plan on skiing on groomed trails, or just BC? If it's just the latter you can choose a BC XC ski that will have sufficient width so you can easily snowplow with that wide binding on there. They can overhang a little bit and still work, but a 40mm wide XC race ski is probably not what you want to mount to.

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      Thank you, that's a lot of great information to get me going in the right direction. I'll have to check the measurements on my old skis, and will dig them out soon. I hadn't thought about the possibility of higher quality universal bindings, but that makes a lot of sense.

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      • #4
        You bet - believe it or some people use those universal bindings for expeditions. I'd assume because they don't want to carry two pairs of boots and want to be able to have boots they can hike in, or work maybe... not sure exactly.

        Anyway, the bindings are expensive, but they do sell all the spares for them, minus the actual frame but things like the ratchet straps and pivots, so they can be field repaired and kept working as long as you can get those parts. The parts are very reasonably priced, much cheaper to repair than to buy all new binding.

        You can, if you look real hard, get XC skis up to 220cm still. They can be kind of unwieldy in the bush. Based on weight alone though, you'll be fine with those other sizes.

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        • #5
          You might want to search facebook marketplace and craigslist for an old pair of Karhu or L.L.bean "skishoes" or "sliding snowshoes." They have the universal bindings and would likely be cheaper than buying the bindings new. They were the predecessors of Altai Hok type skis. Mine are the Boreal 130 by L.L.Bean.

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          • #6
            The Tupper Lake free trails are quite nice, mostly pretty easy and mellow. They also have motion activated lights for night skiing.

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            • #7
              Zach,
              Knowing how resourceful you are, I'm pretty sure you could make some sort of custom boot, using your own, properly fitting footwear and a donor 3 pin or NNN boot sole. You build boats, rebuild machinery, and make wonderful stringed instruments, a modified sole boot should be easy...or at least possible.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by stripperguy View Post
                Zach,
                Knowing how resourceful you are, I'm pretty sure you could make some sort of custom boot, using your own, properly fitting footwear and a donor 3 pin or NNN boot sole. You build boats, rebuild machinery, and make wonderful stringed instruments, a modified sole boot should be easy...or at least possible.
                That's a good idea - but it made me think it might be easier. If you can find a pair of Norwegian welted boots you could have them resoled with a NN sole - assuming they are made in the size of your foot (which may be an issue).

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                • #9
                  Montcalm, I meant to write before the outage about my old ski dimensions, they are 50mm wide and 205 cm long. I got them at the thrift store some years ago, and the last time I was on them I lost the outer lamination off one of them. I brought it home but never figured out the right kind of adhesive to reattach it. We have some other old random skis in a large closet, so likely I can find another similar pair in there.

                  MaximusFunk, thanks for the info. I've read that the trails there were nice, but it's good to have that confirmed. I didn't know about the lights, that's a very interesting idea. Mellow is fine with me for skiing. I like to ski in the woods off trail too, and don't mind some maneuvering as long as I don't have to go too fast, which makes me nervous. I remember crossing a frozen drainage once and telling the person with me that it was helpful to think about hot air balloons and clouds and other lightweight things while skiing on thin ice.

                  Stripperguy, that's very kind of you. I have thought about shoemaking as a thing I should learn someday given my foot size, but it always seemed rather intimidating. My experience with repair is limited to using Shoe Goo to restick soles that were starting to come off. I would not have thought of converting boots I already have. It's a great idea. I don't have any donor boots that are close to as big as mine, but I had an idea today after reading the suggestions about converting boots. I have an old pair of Bogs snow boots that I retired this fall after they developed a minor leak, since the tread was also getting worn down pretty far. I seem to go through a pair about every 4 years, and I'm lucky that they still make them in my size.

                  I think it would be possible to make my own 3 pin tongues with either some old round baler belting that I got free at the John Deere dealer and used to make seals for the bottoms of overhead doors, or pieces from a truck mudflap I found on the side of our road some years ago. I'll need to see which one is closer to the right thickness, and how neatly I can make the cuts. I think if I can make a whole new outsole with tongue for each foot and find the right thing to glue them onto the bottom of my old snow boots they might work quite well.

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