A snowshoe that skis or ski that snowshoes…not sure what the Altai Hok is but it sure works! If you dislike the lack of glide with snowshoes or, perhaps, your getting a little long in the tooth for squirrelly nordic gear, that require too much attention span, the Altai Hok could be your hook-up.
Conceived by ex-Karhu vets, Nils Larsen and Francois Sylvain in 2009, the Hok is designed as an easy to use ski for the backcountry. Its short wide dimensions makes the ski incredibly maneuverable, and the integrated climbing skin gives the Hok great traction for climbing. The name, ‘Hok’, is the Tuwa word for ski in the Altai Mountains. Nils has taken many trips to the Altai mountains, of China, and it is arguably the birthplace of skiing. The Tuwas are the smallest ethnic group in the area and the most dedicated skiers. The DIY planks, Nils saw, were hewn by the Tuwas and surfaced on the base with horse hide (hair and all). The locals were less intent on ripping turns in the surrounding hills, than hunting deer on these stable floaters.
The Hok features a synthetic climbing skin integrated into the base of the ski, steel edges for durability, and a light weight cap construction. In an effort to minimize their carbon footprint, they use, a sustainable paulownia wood co-reinforced with a combination of organic natural fibers and fiberglass. Simple graphics and natural fibers combine with design themes from the the Altai Mountains for an appealing aesthetic. The right balance of running base and skin material makes the ski’s downhill speed manageable and easy to control. Bridging cross-country skis and snowshoes, the Hok combines the maneuverability and ease of use found in snowshoes with the ski’s efficiency of sliding forward rather then lifting and stepping with each stride.
3-pin bindings can be mounted for traditional 75mm touring boots or you can mount a universal binding, and use pac boots. Check-out the website for more fun videos of both Altai and North American skiers.