– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Heads up: New Altai Hok fast shoes!

I had a pair of 125 cm long Altai Hok “gliding snow shoes” or “fast shoes” for test the last winter and I really liked them (see my Initial Impressions). Though there were few things I would’ve liked to change. I would have preferred:

– the longer model (wasn’t available for test at the time) for more floatation,
– maybe removable skins or some other way to make them a bit faster
– and a bit more camber for better skiing.

I was told some secret information about new models being developed in Finland but I never got any specific details…

Lurkin’ down a forested hill with the Hoks. It’s fun!

But now it’s all public information!

According to my sources the new models are designed and made in Finland by OAC! The new models are:

– “Kar” 147 cm, 125-110-122, 2700g (i.e. 2cm longer and 50g lighter than the original Hok 145)
– “XCD Tao” 160cm, 85-72-80, 1850g (i.e. very different design, maybe better suited for relaxed telemarking on forested hills?)

On paper the Kar looks almost identical to the original Hok 145 model so what’s the point? This: both models have more camber than the original Hoks and have more narrow skins which should make them better suited for cross-country skiing travel. And the Tao seems quite different from the original Hoks, more like a short Karhu Guide XCD. To me it looks more like a cross-country downhill type of ski just like the name implies.

Click to see the official info (in Finnish).

I have to say that I’m quite excited! The 147 cm long Kar sounds like a perfect tool for traveling the forested and bushy areas of Finland. It should provide more flotation, be faster and about just as agile as the 125 cm model I was testing. I was planning to get a set of “alpine touring” type gear (Dynafit stuff) for the winter but as that gear is expensive as hell and people only have two kidneys, I might seriously consider buying the new Kars, 75mm bindings and some low-cut plastic tele boots…

Hok 125s at camp after a day of skiing through bush.
Notice also the new X-Trace baseplates that I was testing. They are now in production!


12 responses to “Heads up: New Altai Hok fast shoes!

  1. Joni Palomäki (@valppaus) 08/11/2012 at 10:31

    Kar looks interesting, have been eyeballing the Hok last winter, but never purchased a pair as I couldn’t come up with a good solution to use the skis with my ice climbing boots. I assume the new X-Trace design still does not go well with boots with stiff soles? Old Silvretta 404 or something similar would work, not easy to come by though, and bit of an overkill still for my intended use.

  2. korpijaakko 08/11/2012 at 13:06

    The new thing in X-Traces is that the baseplate has a hinge but that’s under the ball of the foot so probably doesn’t work with very stiff soles but with loose soles it’s better than the original baseplate. What about something like the Icetrek Flexis? I guess those would work better with stiff soles. The Plateau would be really simple and light solution and probably good model for MYOG version…

  3. Joni Palomäki (@valppaus) 08/11/2012 at 18:39

    Ok, not going to work then (or will actually “work”, but break in use). Icetrek claims their bindings also need somewhat flexible boot, so modifications would be required – price is also beyond my budget unfortunately. I wish they would still make these (or similar), just about perfect solution for this type of skis, and approaches for climbs etc.: http://www.wildsnow.com/backcountry-ski-museum/emery-chrono/emery-chrono-ski-binding.html

  4. korpijaakko 08/11/2012 at 22:15

    Here’s one more idea for a binding to your needs: How about Stubai Free Heels? Doesn’t look so nice & slim but if it works then it’s good enough. And also available in Finland for reasonable price.

  5. Dave Hanlon 09/11/2012 at 10:09

    Nice! (but possibly bad for my wallet). I still have a pair of very lightly used Garmont Excursions that you once expressed interest in. They’re just collecting dust in my garage and I’d sooner they were used than that they rot away. Let me know if you’re interested I’m sure we can make a deal.

  6. korpijaakko 10/11/2012 at 00:40

    Dave: Unfortunately these new are often bad for the wallet… I might actually be interested in the Garmonts if they are the right size. My shoe sizes range from 45 to 48, usually 46 being good fit. If they are in the ball park, send me an e-mail (you can find the address on the “About” page).

  7. Mark Roberts 15/11/2012 at 23:18

    Ooh – interesting. I saw something about these in an advert but didn’t realise they were a bit different from last year’s models. Hopefully they wont sell out so fast this year, too.

  8. Pingback: More on the new Altai Hok skis « Korpijaakko

  9. Billy 27/11/2012 at 02:15

    Do the Altai universal bindings allow a la sportiva spantik boot ? Thanks

  10. korpijaakko 27/11/2012 at 17:24

    I am not sure as I haven’t tried but the bindings fit for example size 46 Sorel Caribou boot and similar boots with separate liner so I assume that the Spantiks would fit as well (unless you are using size 48 or something…) But it’s good to keep in mind that the X-Trace bindings work best with relatively flexible boots and stiff soles are not optimal for them. Would still probably work though.

  11. Ryan M. Holub 07/01/2013 at 21:12

    Is it possible to purchase this new model currently? I was going to purchase the old hok but would much rather have the XCD Tao or the kar? I also live in the United States.

  12. korpijaakko 08/01/2013 at 18:17

    Hi Ryan! At least the Kar 147 is available, at least in Finland. Not sure of the XCD Tao, I’d assume that they’re not yet available. And unfortunately I don’t know about the availability in US. In Finland both are listed for example by Hiking Travel HIT: http://www.hikingtravelhit.fi/hiihtovalineet.htm

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