Of all the skis-on-backpack carry methods available, I think the easiest, fastest, and best method is the sideways ski-carry. More or less perfected in recent years, a well-designed sideways ski-carry system does away with the A-frame system’s largest drawback: slowness.
Taking off a pack to wrangle a pair of skis through their right and left carry loops, then cinch them together at the tips, then putting the pack back on takes a long time. It also requires setting one’s pack down in the snow, where residual body heat can attract snow to the fabric, causing additional wetness for the skier once the pack is back in place on the body. Even an astute skier, placing their pack ‘back’ side up in the snow, can be subject to this wetness if it’s snowing. Even an inadvertent move, such as taking a step, can kick up some snow that lands on the exposed pack material. Add that to the ‘whoops’ column.
A better design is the sideways ski-carry. Packs by several brands of manufacturers, including CAMP and Dynafit, offer systems that allow the skier to affix their skis without removing the pack. If you’re familiar with these systems, you know what I’m talking about. They’re fantastically fast – an experienced user can affix a pair of skis on the pack in seconds.
The one drawback of the CAMP Rapid 260 ski-carry system Continue reading ‘Improving the CAMP Rapid 260 Sideways Ski-Carry System’
Ski mountaineering race bindings trade features for lightness on the premise that speed is largely tied to weight. While that’s true, speed is also tied to efficiency. And many ski-mo racers view the few seconds it takes to swivel a multi-position binding riser to a higher platform as wasted time, regardless of the steepness of the climb ahead of them.
Slower to adjust perhaps, a higher riser does make it far easier (read: efficient) to skin up a steep skin track. Additional height risers definitely work for the recreational crowd, but what about for racers? When I look at the finish line times at Ski-mo races, there’s usually a gap of minutes between the first several finishers. There are also gaps of minutes between many other racers, and then a few may come down to the finish line neck and neck. My argument for ‘risers for race bindings’ would be that it takes mere seconds to bend down and twist a binding into a more efficient position. I suspect that the time taken would be far less than the amount that is saved by being several percent more efficient on each upward stride on steep sections.
The bane of many tech race bindings: not very much lift to the climbing position.
With a simple modification, it's easy to nearly double the amount of lift.
Since I’m not someone who has the ability to calculate the efficiency coefficient increase, I Continue reading ‘Modifying Tech Race Bindings with an Additional Riser’
Virtually everyone gets there sooner or later. No matter how smooth (and quiet!) your ski boot shells are when they arrive in your hands, there’s almost always a point at which they begin to squeak. And squeak. And … You get the idea – you probably even imagine that you hear the squeaking when you’re sitting still! Ski boot squeaking can drive a person nuts, because it seems to happen all the time. Standing in the lift line, chilling at the car after a ski day, walking from the car to the mountain, making turns down the mountain, and even walking up the entire mountain. The perpetual, repeated noise is enough to turn an otherwise great ski day into one that’s remembered for its friction!
It can be easy to fix the problem. Not all boot squeak is caused by the same boot parts rubbing, but chances are, this quick and easy how-to will help you to fix the issue. Ending boot squeak need not require Continue reading ‘Stopping Ski Boot Squeak’
Uh oh! It’s mid-winter and the snow is flying deeply once again. That means, aside from some pretty great skiing, that it’s time to apply a fresh coat of waterproofing to some key pieces of gear. Whether your gear comes doused in waterproofing direct from the manufacturer or not, mid-season tends to find many water repellency treatments wearing a bit thin. This happens from repeated exposure to wet climates, which tend to wear away the molecules that create the watertight barrier. Washing your gear repeatedly does the same thing, and the more that you manage to keep your gear smelling laundry fresh, the faster the waterproofing wears off.
I even like my backpack to be waterproof. That's especially nice when I sit on it at the top of a run, but it's also nice to keep everything inside dry when it's nuking snow outside.
So, pick up a can of your favorite waterproofing spray, and get liberal in the application! It need not be a big nor time consuming process. Just Continue reading ‘Waterproofing Gear’
In doing my own snow safety assessments, I have dug out the back side of numerous snow pit columns with everything but the correct tool, including a ski tail, a pole, a shovel handle, a Whippet blade, and accessory cord. I was determined to make it easier on myself this year. I don’t enjoy spending excessive time in a snow pit, and having the correct tool(s) is a real timesaver. This year I would finally step up and get a snow saw.
Shopping around, I was dismayed to find a certain uniformity in pricing. The two options available at the numerous shops I stopped by were either $45 or $60, and I couldn’t find anything more inexpensive available on the fabulous internet. It seems there’s not a lot of competition Continue reading ‘Making Your Own Inexpensive Snow Saw’
While the old method of ‘lacing’ one’s crampons onto ski boots is decent, it is a slower process than it could be, particularly when you’ve got cold hands. The strap retaining clasp is a challenge to work with while keeping your gloves on, and it doesn’t provide as bomber of an application as is presently available.
Pressing the clasp open with frozen fingers is less fun than it might sound.
Cantilever designs are becoming more common, but if you’ve already got several pairs of crampons sitting around, it can be hard to justify the purchase of an additional pair to replace a pair whose straps you don’t like. This straightforward modification is an alternative to Continue reading ‘Modifying Crampons for Speed and Better Fit’