The fat ski revolution is expanding yet again only this time the goal is to add more customers to the pie, not necessarily increase the width of the ski.
Altai Skis was founded last April with the development of the Hok. It is a short fat ski with a patch of climbing skin permanently mounted flush with the p-tex base of the ski in the region under the foot. The result is a utility ski for just touring around the neighborhood, whether the goal is for simply taking a winter stroll through the woods, walking the dog, or even nabbing a few slow turns in the hills behind your house.The Hok was designed by Francois Sylvain and Nils Larson, who worked together to develop the ski line for Karhu skis over the last decade. With the demise of Karhu as a brand, they decided the idea still had validity. The Altai Ski brand was formed to bring the idea to market.
According to Nils Larson, who has been at the forefront of the backcountry scene for the last 25 years, “We believe the term ‘backcountry’ can and should include the patch of woods behind your house or the hills just out of town. For many, this is the most accessible and affordable terrain we can get to on a regular basis.” The Hok is the perfect tool for that sort of backcountry terrain, without being overkill. How does the Hok perform? Without actually skiing a pair I have no doubt this ski will perform exactly as designed. It will provide excellent grip on moderate slopes, will require minimal maintenance, and should allow the typical snowshoe hiker to easily graduate to the gliding sensation only skis can provide without requiring the skill of a skier to enjoy them. Perfect for visiting relatives who don’t ski and you need to get them off the couch and out to romp in the snow. Or for converting slowshoers with p-tex-phobia.
The Hok comes in two lengths, with or without a binding. The waist is a plump 110mm, easy to balance on especially with the climbing skins underneath. These certainly wouldn’t be skis where the earn was for the turn, but rather an easy stroll beyond the fence where the path chosen delivered some turns. To that end the tip is rockered a bit for easier trailbreaking. Two bindings will be available in the first batch of skis shipping in November. There are plans to provide an adapter for NNN and Salomon-BC bindings, but to start, just the choice of a classic 3-pin binding, or a universal strap style binding.
Dimensions (s-w-t): 124-110-122mm.
Lengths available: 125cm, 145cm
MSRP: $200 (no bindings), $250 (w/3-pin), $270 (w/Universal Strap binding)