Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More April Skiing and Going Faster: Tidbit 1

The ski days continue. And they continue to be good. And it's April 15th. Memorable tours in the last 10 days or so include (a)a tour with my two brothers up Superior, laps on the north face and then an exit on the south face just as the crust got soft,
From April 7, 2009
(Aaron with Monte Cristo in the background. Yes, those are tele bindings.)

From April 7, 2009
(Cardiff reminds me of the Alps.)

From April 7, 2009
(Skiing on Superior.)

and (b) a tour with Bart up Solitude, a nice powder run into Twin Lakes area, up to the pass, up the cat track to Davenport, dropping into the East Bowl of Silver Fork, up the West Bowl of Silver Fork, homerun out of the Meadows, and back to Solitude.

From April 7, 2009
(Bart doing business standing on top of the Meadows with East Bowl Silver Fork is in the upper left.)

A tour that will be memorable for reasons other than the skiing was good was this morning's tour with Jon and SBJ's crew. Suffice it to say that I got several people lost a few hundred yards from the parking lot. My embarrassment was slightly mitigated by the fact that it was dark and blizzard-ing, and the fact that although we lost some time, the run out was pleasantly decent. But any mitigation was cancelled out by the exacerbating fact that it was my first outing with the SBJ crew, and I had to use my compass a few hundred yards from the car -- a nice lasting impression.

As we were skinning up some gloppy snow, I think most everyones' skins got soaked, and as we gained elevation and the snow got drier and powder-i-er, the snow started sticking to most everyones' skins. One of the guys described it as having to carry two children on each leg. My skins, however, remained clean, hence Going Faster: Tidbit 1 is wax your skins.

Waxing skins is a technique I've picked up in rando racing, but I'm sure savvy tourers have been doing it for a long time. BD produces a soft wax that can be used for this purpose. I think you're supposed to rub it on your skins. What works best for me, however, is using a low fluorinated wax that I iron into my skins. This technique seems to make the wax less gloppy on the skin, last longer, and give better glide.

Here's how I do it:

1) Crayon/rub wax on the skin with the grain. I like LF red wax because it is somewhat hard but goes on easy enough.

From April 16, 2009
2) Run an iron over the skin, melting the wax into the skin. Set iron to lowest setting. Unplug your iron and wait a bit if it seems too hot.
From April 16, 2009
You'll notice that your skins will glide better and be less prone to glop.

BONUS: If you use a brush to strip wax from your skis, brush the top sheets and bindings with the brush, and it will aid in preventing top sheet/binding glop.


Forrest said...

First year on the split board and this is helpful to know. Will snow only stick if the skins get wet and then you touch dryer snow. If you are on corn all day can you get the snow buildup?

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Nice of you to take the fall on getting lost, but it's not like anyone else had a better sense of direction. Let's get out again.

Appreciate the tip on brushing top sheets/bindings. It would have never occurred to me to do that.

Aaron said...

I was going to track you down and ask you for more details on waxing skins so thanks for the writup. I have some LF red at home that I'll use. I'm assuming this is the same stuff you'd use to wax your skate skis, right?

Jared said...

True corn really doesn't ball up. But walking from corn into wetter, finer crystalled snow will definitely cause ball up. And I've had times when I've been skinning in corn, and then it got cold, and everything froze, including my skins. Wax really doesn't help in that case.

On LF Red, same stuff.

Grizzly Adam said...


I'd love to hear more tidbits about going faster! And like Mark said, none of us had any idea where we were heading. But the line we did end up dropping was pretty fun.

Good times.

It was nice to meet and ski with you. Hoping to get out again soon.

Bart G said...

To bad I missed out on the samurai going the wrong direction, again! I think the ribs might be ready for skinning again next week.

I have learned that if there is any question regarding direction or route it is better for me to lead than follow Jared. Don't get me wrong, there is no one I would rather tour with but you just have to know up front his sense of direction is off a few degrees.

Jared said...


Come to think of it, I've been stone dead lost several times this year. But during all those times I've been wandering around in soupy clouds/blizzards. Luckily it's not hard to pull out of it in the Wasatch. I was probably most scared in Idaho when the sun poked through the clouds in exactly the opposite direction where I exepected it.

I must also admit that this morning I had to break out the compass. I had just skiied NE facing lower Days, and had climbed into the clouds on my way back out. I generally knew where I was (on a ridge between Days and Cardiff), but I wasn't quite sure which side was Days and which side was Cardiff. Weird, I know, but true. My inner compass is strained.