Recap of Winter ‘20/’21 Tech Tip Tuesday Posts
On Tuesdays during the prime Skinbased™ skiing season, we shared with you some tips and tricks via our social media that we hoped would enhance your Skinbased™ skiing experience. Now, as the season comes to a close, we have consolidated all of these tech tips into the post below. This will allow you to easily access all of that important information concerning Skinbased™ equipment and skiing techniques anytime you please!
The week's tip tied in directly to our blog post about ski maintenance. If your skis are starting to feel a bit sluggish, waxing the ski base can improve your glide and overall performance. Another trick for improving glide is to show some love to your ski's climbing skin. By adding a water repellent treatment to it, you can prevent water absorption (and later ice build-up), which will help to keep you moving smoothly over the snow.
A reliable set of adjustable length ski poles (such as the Black Diamond Traverse Pole) can help to improve your ski experience in many ways. A good starting point for ski pole height is to have your elbow bent at roughly a 90 degree angle when you are holding the handle and the ski pole tip is on the ground. Of course, pole length is a personal preference and there are no wrong answers. In fact, many of us adjust our poles on the fly, changing the length to best suit the terrain at hand. Planning on climbing for a long way? Make your poles a bit shorter than normal so you don't have to reach so high when you plant them. Traversing for a while on flat ground? Lengthen your poles for added pushing power. Don't be afraid to play around with the length of your poles and find what works best for you in different environments.
Choosing the right kind of footwear that is suitable with the EA binding, affects substantially your Skinbased™ skiing experience. While it's possible to ski using nearly any footwear with a flexible sole, a boot with good ankle support (featuring a high, stiff cuff), can have major benefits on the controllability of your ski, especially in hard packed or variable snow conditions. For a deeper dive into what makes good Skinbased skiing footwear, we recommend that everyone check out our blogpost on the topic.
Skiing in overcast or foggy conditions can make for a wonderfully peaceful experience; just you, your Skinbased™ skis, and your immediate surroundings. However, it can also be baffling. We recommend staying on familiar terrain and in the forest when the fog really sets in. In open terrain, the white ground and white sky can come together to form a single, very disorienting sight! In this "flat light", terrain features (bumps, drops, and slope angles) and even the horizon can become difficult to decipher. So, while the first rule should be not to leave the trees without good visibility, should you find yourself up there, a trick that can help is to wear a headlamp and turn it on to its brightest setting. Often times the light it cast will create shadows in the terrain features, helping you to navigate your way back down, even in daytime.
When you feel like you're ready to try some steeper hills and terrain, there is an important skill you need: the telemark turn! Telemark is a downhill ski turn technique that was originally developed in the Telemark region of Norway. It offers skiers now what it did then, a more secure and stable way to change directions quickly and make controlled descents on steep terrain.
The basic technique involves bending at the knees and spreading your feet apart while making a turning motion. For this example, we will discuss turning right.
First, you would start off by going downhill in a neutral ski stance with parallel skis.
Next, by bending your knees, you would begin to slide your left ski forward and your right ski back and enter a position that looks as if you were about to kneel down on your right ski. Your left foot should be flat on the ski, and your right foot should be weighted only on the ball of your foot, with its heel up in the air.
Lean slightly into the turn as you try to gently point your left ski to the right, across the slope. Try to keep your weight evenly spread between your two feet and your upper body facing downhill, turning at the waist. Now, your left ski should be on the downhill side, your right ski on the uphill side, and you going across the hill!
At the end of the turn, stand back up into that neutral ski position and begin to point your skis back down the hill. Mirror the steps on the opposite side to make a turn to the left.
As one might expect, the mastery of the telemark turn does not come easy! It is a lifelong process, and one we are thankful for; now you will always have a good reason to go out and have fun on your Skinbased™ skis!
If you are an active Skinbased™ skier who finds yourself going on long tours or skiing to out-of-the-way destinations, it is worth considering carrying a few spare binding parts with you on your journeys. While our bindings are durable, sometimes accidents happen, parts break, or pieces get lost. If you are fully reliant on your skis to get you safely out of the wilderness, then having the right parts to make quick, in-the-field repairs can be the difference between a fun adventure and a serious situation.
Carrying an extra toe strap and rubber binding spring will see you easily through all but the most severe binding repairs. For those of you planning expedition-style trips to even more remote areas, we recommend picking up our Expedition Spare Part Kit, which contains: a toe strap, two rubber binding springs, and a full binding baseplate. We would consider this a lightweight insurance policy of sorts for the success of your trip and safety of your team.
Skinbased™ skis are excellent trekking companions since you can start the skiing season earlier and end it later than with other kinds of skis. As long as there's snow left on the ground, you can enjoy the sunny Spring days on Skinbased™ skis. However, at some point the season must come to an end, and it will be time to start thinking about preparing your skis for summer break. Here are a few tips on how to maintain your skis before storing them, as well as where and how to store your skis.
First, it is a good idea to give your skis a good cleaning, especially so if you have been skiing late into the season when dirt, pollen, twigs, and other debris often find their way onto the snow surface. We recommend wiping down the entire base of your skis with a damp cloth, or gently spraying them with a garden hose. Try to remove all foreign matter from the bases. Next, remove the heel piece from your binding. Use a cloth to clean away the dirt, sand, and other debris from both the heel pieces and the baseplates of the bindings. Consider adding a light coat of silicone spray to the rubber springs of the bindings. Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. Once cleaned, allow your skis to properly dry before storage.
For storage, it is worth remembering that skis generally like the same type of long-term conditions that people do. You should store your skis indoors, out of direct sunlight, and in a place where the temperatures will not get too hot. Also, try to store your skis uncompressed (i.e. not strapped tightly together in the middle or hanging by their tips). If possible, storing them flat, in a house (such as under a bed) is best. Now all that’s left to do is wait for winter!