OK, I'm biased because Wife #2 is Swiss, but I got a pair of those $20 Swiss Army skis from Sportsman's Guide for Christmas, and I love 'em.
I was always a cross-country skier, rather than downhill (I grew up in Iowa, which is kinda flat). These skis are advertised as Telemarks in that you can free-heel for the flats and uphill, or lock the heels down for downhill runs. The only problem is you need the right boots. SG also has them, German Lowas, for $30-$40. They have a rubberized plastic-like outer boot for rigidity, and an insulated leather inner liner. BTW, the wife paid $300 for her identical Swiss boots years ago. I need to try the skis with other boots and see if they will work, tho.
The skis also come with the poles and a set of climbing skins. They are some of the best skins I've seen, easy to take on and off yet they stay solidly in place when you need them. Sure beats the old crotch-straining herringbone up the hill or side-stepping all the way. Also, I sometimes keep the skins on for real steep and nasty downhill runs to keep my speed down, as I'm still a pretty poor downhill skier.
I have been playing around on my skis out in the Montana mountains, following ungroomed trails, snowmobile trails, roads behind closed gates, and even just through the woods sans trails (they will probably not be running trail groomers after TSHTF). Although somewhat heavy, these Swiss skis beat my old commercial x-country "skinny" skis hands-down for back-country travel.
I have always prefered skis to snowshoes for ease in getting around and the distances you can travel. Snowshoes are better in the heavy timber or the muskeg country, but I've found I can get around pretty good in the timber around here, more open Doug fir stands and mature lodgepole. Only the skanky little "doghair" new regen lodgepole stands or places with heavy blowdowns stop you.
Of course, it takes a bit of practice to master skis rather than snowshoes, but that's why I'm using them now, just for excersize as well as accessing cool places to varmint hunt or ice fish. Recall Finnish ski troops did pretty well against the Russkies in the Winter War. I was also interested to note on a recent trip to Switzerland, that while their military has the high tech goodies like F-16s and Leopard II tanks and SAMs and ATGMs, they still find places for ski troops, bicycles, and even horses and pack mules. Think outside the box, eh.
Glad you love your swiss skis! I love skiing and go as much as I can when I have freetime. Unlike other skiiers I dont have fancy smancy skis or boots, believe it or not I use some I found at a ski swap years ago.
Just your basic old rossignol skis (I dont even have the rounded edge ones!) and nordica boots. Infact I havent seen a set up like it in years now, everyone bought the newer junk.
Anyway, traveling though open snow filled areas with skis is awesome. However for me it would never work as thier isnt enough open land, snowshoes work better for me.
> The only problem is you need the right boots. SG also has them, German Lowas, for $30-$40. They have a rubberized plastic-like outer boot for rigidity, and an insulated leather inner liner.
I have conversion charts for the 2 different euro clothing scales vs US clothing scales - somewhere, but I don't think I've seen anything that converts euro boot/shoe sizes - and I'm pretty sure they are different!