Snowshoe Recommendation

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DayTrip

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I had a weld break on the foot piece of my Tubbs Flex Alps this weekend so it looks like I'll be in the market for new snowshoes. I was going to let it ride until the Fall but there are a lot of good deals right now, coupons, etc so I figured I should take a look around. My Flex Alps are the only snowshoes I have owned (been 5 years now I think) and I am very happy with them. I've noticed however that the binding systems on the new ones have changed from what I have (and I really like the style I have on mine). My one complaint with the Flex Alps was that they were difficult to stack when carrying on packs and from what I've read the MSR's stack much more tightly.

So, I'm out of date on the latest models and feature sets and I know there have been some changes to MSR of late so I was looking for some updated recommendations on the updated models in the ongoing "Tubbs vs MSR" battle. Looking for a trail type of course. I had 25 in Tubbs shoes but was considering slightly shorter ones maybe with add on tails (although it sounds like many people do not like these). I am interested in the MSR's specifically for the ability to stack more tightly but I am not locked into a particular brand. Any recommendations on the latest and greatest models would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
I had a weld break on the foot piece of my Tubbs Flex Alps this weekend so it looks like I'll be in the market for new snowshoes. I was going to let it ride until the Fall but there are a lot of good deals right now, coupons, etc so I figured I should take a look around. My Flex Alps are the only snowshoes I have owned (been 5 years now I think) and I am very happy with them. I've noticed however that the binding systems on the new ones have changed from what I have (and I really like the style I have on mine). My one complaint with the Flex Alps was that they were difficult to stack when carrying on packs and from what I've read the MSR's stack much more tightly.

So, I'm out of date on the latest models and feature sets and I know there have been some changes to MSR of late so I was looking for some updated recommendations on the updated models in the ongoing "Tubbs vs MSR" battle. Looking for a trail type of course. I had 25 in Tubbs shoes but was considering slightly shorter ones maybe with add on tails (although it sounds like many people do not like these). I am interested in the MSR's specifically for the ability to stack more tightly but I am not locked into a particular brand. Any recommendations on the latest and greatest models would be appreciated. Thanks.

I was involved in the product testing for the newest line of MSR snowshoes. The only change in the Lightning series was the crampons. They are much more durable now. I've got several hundred miles on my prototype pair and they are still in great shape. The older models barely lasted me 20 miles before the teeth on the crampons bent. I use 22" shoes and always carry tails. The geometry of the 25" shoe without tails and the 22" shoe with tails is the exact same, so I don't really understand the people that complain about 22's with tails being weird to walk in but 25s are fine by them. The tails are awesome, using shorter shoes for descents is a godsend and having longer ones for the ascent helps with traction.
 
I was involved in the product testing for the newest line of MSR snowshoes. The only change in the Lightning series was the crampons. They are much more durable now. I've got several hundred miles on my prototype pair and they are still in great shape. The older models barely lasted me 20 miles before the teeth on the crampons bent. I use 22" shoes and always carry tails. The geometry of the 25" shoe without tails and the 22" shoe with tails is the exact same, so I don't really understand the people that complain about 22's with tails being weird to walk in but 25s are fine by them. The tails are awesome, using shorter shoes for descents is a godsend and having longer ones for the ascent helps with traction.

How is glissading with detachable tails? Do they ever fall off?
 
How is glissading with detachable tails? Do they ever fall off?

I usually pull the tails off for going downhill, helps the quads, but those tails aren't coming off unless you want them to.

However, if you see someone selling just one let me know, Redrock Ravine stole one out of my pack.
 
I was involved in the product testing for the newest line of MSR snowshoes. The only change in the Lightning series was the crampons. They are much more durable now. I've got several hundred miles on my prototype pair and they are still in great shape. The older models barely lasted me 20 miles before the teeth on the crampons bent. I use 22" shoes and always carry tails. The geometry of the 25" shoe without tails and the 22" shoe with tails is the exact same, so I don't really understand the people that complain about 22's with tails being weird to walk in but 25s are fine by them. The tails are awesome, using shorter shoes for descents is a godsend and having longer ones for the ascent helps with traction.

Great info! I do not like descending steep grades in snow shoes so the detachable tail option sounds nice. Have some questions though:

1) Tail description says it is 5" long so adding to a 22" shoe is 27", not 25". Are the new tails shorter? Did you mean the width is what is the same, not the overall length?
2) How big of a pain is it to add the tails on in the field, i.e. with gloves on, crouched down on a side slope, etc?
3) You say "Lightning" series. It looks like there is a "Lightning Ascent" and a "Lightning Explore" line. I am very leery about the binding design on the Ascents - the three straps across the instep. My Flex Alps had a "pocket" that you stuck your foot in and tightened, similar to what the Explore series has. Have you had any issues with that? (I assume you have the Ascent series. They seem to be the mountaineering style and more durable with the Explore line being a more all around shoe - yes?)

Appreciate the feedback. Thanks.
 
I just finished my third or fourth winter in my Lightning Ascents. It is a fantastic snowshoe in all regards. pretty sure, I have to weaker crampon, but so far it has not failed. The shoes are great on steep terrain, the televators might be the best invention for snowshoes in years, really takes the heat off your calves on steeps. I do not use the extensions, my model doesn't have that feature, to be honest, the way trails are tracked out nowadays, its not really needed. They are great going downhill as well, they bite really well and excel on sidehills because the whole rail is serrated.
 
I do not use the extensions, my model doesn't have that feature, to be honest, the way trails are tracked out nowadays, its not really needed.

That was my main thought for a slightly smaller shoe. It seems like the flotation is rarely needed anymore. And I still have a pair of 30 in "powder" shoes for heavy snow fall.
 
Did you call Tubbs? I have gotten replacement crampon/binding assemblies when they showed metal fatigue cracks, and an entire pair replaced due to a combination of plastic failure in the strap system and a few popped rivets. In both cases, was just past the 2-year warranty. Can't hurt to try. Even if you ask to purchase replacement parts, or if they have any loyalty upgrade or replacement policy. They may just be in a good mood and give you a freebie :)

Tim
 
sierra;443788 I do not use the extensions said:
All Lightning snowshoes have that feature. The tail connects to those two little hooks at the back of the shoe and the two similar looking ones on the bottom. I wear 22's on trail most of the time and throw the tails on when I start my whacks.
 
Did you call Tubbs? I have gotten replacement crampon/binding assemblies when they showed metal fatigue cracks, and an entire pair replaced due to a combination of plastic failure in the strap system and a few popped rivets. In both cases, was just past the 2-year warranty. Can't hurt to try. Even if you ask to purchase replacement parts, or if they have any loyalty upgrade or replacement policy. They may just be in a good mood and give you a freebie :)

Tim

I didn't. I'm well beyond the warranty period at 5+ years. I don't generally try to take advantage of the system, especially when I have been happy with the product. Can't hurt to email them I guess.
 
Great info! I do not like descending steep grades in snow shoes so the detachable tail option sounds nice. Have some questions though:

1) Tail description says it is 5" long so adding to a 22" shoe is 27", not 25". Are the new tails shorter? Did you mean the width is what is the same, not the overall length?
2) How big of a pain is it to add the tails on in the field, i.e. with gloves on, crouched down on a side slope, etc?
3) You say "Lightning" series. It looks like there is a "Lightning Ascent" and a "Lightning Explore" line. I am very leery about the binding design on the Ascents - the three straps across the instep. My Flex Alps had a "pocket" that you stuck your foot in and tightened, similar to what the Explore series has. Have you had any issues with that? (I assume you have the Ascent series. They seem to be the mountaineering style and more durable with the Explore line being a more all around shoe - yes?)

Appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

1. My bad. It's been so long since I've used my 25s. The 22s with tails are 27".
2. Putting the tails on can take some practice. Sometimes they go right on. Others it can be a pain. It's not as easy as I would like it to be but they are certainly secure.
3.i have the ascents and like the redundancy and packability of the bindings. The Explores have a less aggressive crampon in addition to the different binding. I haven't heard of people being frustrated by the Explore binding in any way but most folks in the Whites with MSRs rock the LAs i think.
 
1. My bad. It's been so long since I've used my 25s. The 22s with tails are 27".
2. Putting the tails on can take some practice. Sometimes they go right on. Others it can be a pain. It's not as easy as I would like it to be but they are certainly secure.
3.i have the ascents and like the redundancy and packability of the bindings. The Explores have a less aggressive crampon in addition to the different binding. I haven't heard of people being frustrated by the Explore binding in any way but most folks in the Whites with MSRs rock the LAs i think.

That was my understanding as well on the Ascents being the snow shoe of choice for MSR. I vaguely recalled a change 2-3 years ago that had everyone all fired up at the time but didn't really follow the thread because I was happy with my shoes. I think I'll look into that model in more detail. Thanks for the detailed replies.
 
Another recommendation for MSR Lightning Ascents. Well built, lightweight, great traction, televators (almost cheating!). There's no slipping and sliding on the downhill with these. Snowshoes made for mountain travel.
 
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