This last week my family and I got a couple of short test days to try out our new Hok skis made by Altai Skis. Here is my take on what I discovered about these skis from using them thus far:
They can climb up rather well but hard-crusted snow makes it a bit tough especially on steeper slopes.
They seem good for powder days but are a bit fast for tight trees with packed snow.
They offer great versatility for getting into the woods without much preparation. You skin up, turn around and ski down. No fuss.
I am unsure of whether I will like using the traditional single-poled Tiak or normal ski poles. Reportedly the Tiak helps you sit back and rudder yourself when skiing but the double poles are great for the uphill. I wish I could carry both on an outing. Maybe I will come up with a solution.
The cost of Hok skis is a fraction of the price of backcountry gear, and accommodate the fun of skiing without the cost of lift tickets at a ski area.
I recommend wearing light layers similar to Nordic skiing and carrying a small backpack with a puffy jacket, sunglasses, and a bar for a snack. If you have young kids with you, bring lots of snacks.
After my short stint of testing this gear, I’ve become a big fan. The Hoks fit my desire of getting into the woods for a quick family ski, promote good cardio, and entail only the cost of the initial purchase. The staff at Altai Skis answered all my questions in under 24 hours and gave me guidance as to what gear they recommended based on my needs. Good customer service and a belief in what they sell made me confident that I was getting a ski to last for the long haul.
Tips for Skiing With Kids:
Bring a sled if this will be your kiddos first times out. We forgot one and wished we had one as after 10 minutes of learning to ski our child was done trying and wanted to build snowmen for the next hour. She eventually got bored and we wish we had a sled to entertain her while the other parent was skiing.
Tag team skiing if you have a spouse with you. One parent work on teaching the kiddo to ski, the other get out there and ski while they get a chance. Then switch. That way you can get in a few turns before your kiddo is done for the day.
Bring hot chocolate in a thermos and plenty of snacks. Can be super helpful once your child gets cold and wants to go home but you want to try to get in a bit more skiing.
Recommended places to use the Hoks include: the foothills, Squilchuck State Park, Badger Mountain, Swakane Canyon, and Blewett Pass. Please remember there are quite a few areas with winter closures in the foothills. To play it safe, head to Squilchuck. We went there both days and had great fun skiing the mountain-bike trails with their ups and downs.