The Rossignol BC-90 Positrack Backcounty skis ended up being a great ski for me on my
second expedition across Yellowstone in January 2011. In Jan 2010, I had the 189 skis with no skins and could not tow my sled at all with those skis. Originally, the thought was that I needed maximum floatation when traveling through the back country with those skis. They did have great float, virtually as good at my ultra-light snow shoes.
However, my complete inability to get good grip to pull anything outweighed the float advantage. As I thought I was going to weigh 180+ lbs loaded with gear, the 189 skis seemed to be the right option. I was wrong.
This past year, I bought the 179 size skis and had a completely different experience. All of the sudden, I was able to stick to the snow, push off and had a grand time. I did find that on groomed, icy track, the skis did require an aggressive step and kick but that forced me to use better technique.
At first I was using full-length BD skins to tow my sled uphill on the ground up snow on Yellowstone’s roads. However, the complete loss of glide with those skins was really troublesome. After a few days, I was able to pull myself and my 100 lb sled uphill without putting skins on at all with the BC-90 179 size skis. Once I got it down, I really had to be going up a steep hill before I started losing traction. In fact, as my sled was on skis, if I let go of my sled, it would start sliding downhill. That’s how steep I could go with the BC-90’s before being forced to put on skins.
Perhaps the other reviewers at REI didn’t have the right size ski for their weight?
If you’re in groomed track, the scale pattern may not be aggressive enough – I did have rare slipping on tracked courses with the 179 size but that’s more technique. These skis choose glide and float over traction but drag. That’s why they’re BC skis and not track skis, right?
The reason I didn’t give the skis 5 stars is the tails are very easy to chip. On both skis, I chipped off the top layer of laminate. Once was with the skis bouncing in the steel cage on the back of a snow wagon. That was a duh moment. But when I stuffed my skis into the snow tail first and didn’t hit anything, then pulled them up and found the tail had chipped, I was bummed. Bring a little stick epoxy for repairs if you’re going to be in the field for a long time. The damage area was about the total area of a dime. It’s something to note.
I used Rotefella 3-pin 75mm bindings with these skis and had no problems. REI did the install and narry a trouble. I used 3-pin with the Rosignol BC boot. The boots were too narrow for my feet, even at 2 sizes bigger. But that’s another review. The whole system worked like a charm and once I had the right size skis, I had a great time and could pull a 100 pound sled up many hills with no trouble.