After a few years on the market, the Altai Hok (pronounced hawk) skis have proven themselves to be easy to ski and a reliable tool in the backcountry or the back 40. Its short wide dimensions makes the ski incredibly maneuverable, and the integrated climbing skin gives the Hok great traction for climbing. For Fall 2016, the 125 and 145 Hoks have a new skin shape, different graphics, for each model, and the mounting point on the 145 cm Hok is moved back 3 cm leaving a little more "tip" for floatation and more stability at speed.
- Features a synthetic climbing skin integrated into the base of the ski
- Steel edges for durability
- Light weight cap construction
- Sustainable paulownia wood core reinforced with a combination of organic natural fibers and fiberglass
- Available in two sizes, 125 cm and 145 cm. For skiers over 175 lbs. that are fortunate enough to often find themselves in deep unconsolidated snow, the 145 cm. would be a good choice
- Universal bindings included with skis
|Edge type||Full steel|
|Base type||P-Tex w/ skin insert|
- "Better than snowshoes; they're not XC skis"
These things are tight. Demoed a pair of 125cm with the universal binding wearing my mountaineering boots. The setup worked great, no issues with the stiff boots in the bindings, nice to be able to kick the skis off and switch to crampons on the boots with ease if you're headed for a summit.
If you're in rolling terrain or going pretty steady uphill, I'd take these over snowshoes any day. The glide is nice, more efficient than lifting up snowshoes every step. The skins are great, had way better traction on moderate slopes than all the homies on XC skis. The float in soft snow with the 125cm was more than adequate (average dude; 5'10, 175# + a daypack). No problems there.
Downsides; If you've ever skinned on an AT setup, the glide with the permanent skins is about what you'd expect. On rolling moderate terrain, these are like a ski with a built in brake which is great for control if you're a newer skier. On flatter terrain, you'll be much happier with the efficiency of XC skis. In steeper terrain or if climbing up for a long while and then coming down for a long while, you can make these work. Going up will be a breeze, coming down they're a bit squirrelly at speed, but fairly easy to control. If you intend to do a lot of long ups with long downs, you might be better served by the 145cm though I didn't demo that length. If you're going for ski mountaineering, you'd want an AT setup for sure.
Summary, these are a great tool for exploring moderate backcountry terrain. As I said, I'd definitely prefer these over snowshoes every time. I have a splitboard for the steeper stuff and these don't have the efficiency of XC skis on flat terrain, but if you're considering snowshoeing, consider these instead.
Ultimately, I ended up buying a set of wide XC skis with the fishscale base that you can add a skin to for slightly steeper stuff. Trying to get the best of all the worlds in flat to moderate terrain, considering I already have the splitboard. I'm still considering adding these to the quiver in the future.
Yes, I would recommend this product.