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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 7, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

howdy

i'll preface by stating that i've never skied in my life.. so i know nothing about these things..

i don't really have any desire to ski/board by themselves- i own a snowboard i never use- but would love to slash my round-trip times with some skies. skinning up, too.

i have a snowboard, as i said, and i've considered getting a splitboard kit.. i never use the thing, so i wont be out anything. but the board is old and burly and heavy, and i don't think you can chop a snowboard off lengthwise, can you?

segway into my next, and most pressing question- can you cut down skis? since i have zero desire to ski for anything other than a vehicle for mountaineering, i also have zero desire to spend hundreds on skis and equip. i'd just as soon grab something gay off craigslist for $25, chop a couple feet off the backs of them, re-tap for bindings further forward, and maybe invest in a barely decent set of AT bindings...

how stupid is all this sounding? i'm an experienced carpenter- none of this will be difficult for me to do in my shop.. it's just a matter of whether or not i'm going to end up with a useable system for less money, or just be wasting my time on some crap that'll leave me packing useless gear back down off the mountain.


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By Tim Zander
Oct 7, 2011

A Note on cutting skis, the edges are quite hard and difficult to cut through. I've needed to use an angle grinder in the past when I've done it. Also, read up on camber, you will mess that up by cutting them. If they are just for approach skis, you might not care.

Unless you want something fat, check out old rental skis, etc. I bought my first pair of BC skis for 20 bucks, put tele bindings on them. They were really light, old straight skis, probably 20 years old. I put kicker skins on them and they served me for a year.

Also note, unless you are going to climb in AT boots, that's alot of weight to carry just for the approach. Consider using your mountaineering boots with something like this: www.bentgate.com/silvretta-500-at-ski-binding.html?AdID=331->>>

Good luck!


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Oct 7, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

The flex pattern on the ski would be completed F'ed. You will notice the ski is thicker in the waist (middle) then the shovel ( front ) or tail.

I have seen several companies selling these approach skis this year that I believe have a built in binding. They are not super cheap but a lot cheaper than a normal ski/binding set up.


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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Oct 7, 2011

What about snowshoes?


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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Oct 7, 2011
25' drop...wheeeeee!

Kevin Friesen wrote:
What about snowshoes?


You mean slowshoes?


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By Copperhead
Oct 7, 2011

Just go to a ski swap and buy and old pair of women's skis (backcountry if you can find them -- lighter) in like 145cm length. You want the sidecut and camber to be centered on your stance. You can usually get older crappy skis for cheap. Throw up a thread on here WTB: older, short skis, cheap; I'll bet someone has something.


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By Robert Buswold
From Longmont, CO
Oct 7, 2011
Clear Creek Canyon, Capitalist Crag

Something else to think about - if you've never skied before in your life, it can be quite hazardous to just go out and try using them for approach skis for mountaineering. You'd probably want to at least learn for a season or two at the resort before heading into the backcountry with them.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 7, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Robert Buswold wrote:
Something else to think about - if you've never skied before in your life, it can be quite hazardous to just go out and try using them for approach skis for mountaineering. You'd probably want to at least learn for a season or two at the resort before heading into the backcountry with them.



totally. i'll do a Hood southside or two before i start lugging these things up the sides of serious peaks. i have no delusions about just hopping on them and being a pro, especially since i'm probably gearing myself up for a harder-to-ride setup anyway.

---

i didn't think about women's skis.. i guess i didn't really think such a thing existed. i did think about juniors, but they look so small and fragile...?

what's a reasonable target weight for a used pair of cheap skis? brands to look for? stay away from?

thanks


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By Copperhead
Oct 7, 2011

I'd look for either an alpine ski like k2 or atomic (anything light) or a telemark ski from atomic, black diamond, k2, g3, tua and many more. Many women's skis start at 145cm length or so. Junior skis may be too soft.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 7, 2011
Cleo's Needle

I have a pair of womens skis you can have. I'll be back in PDX in a few weeks if you want to pick them up.

I was going to use the skis for what you're doing but after several friends (who ski very well) ended up with major joint injuries this year from Silvretta/mountaineering boot combos I decided they aren't for me. I used their setup with my Nepals and terrifying is how I'd define going down hill...and I know how to ski.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 7, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Ray Pinpillage wrote:
I have a pair of womens skis you can have. I'll be back in PDX in a few weeks if you want to pick them up. I was going to use the skis for what you're doing but after several friends (who ski very well) ended up with major joint injuries this year from Silvretta/mountaineering boot combos I decided they aren't for me. I used their setup with my Nepals and terrifying is how I'd define going down hill...and I know how to ski.


oh.. hmm. are plastiques still not rigid enough?

i guess i'll never know the difference, though..


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By Nathan Stokes
Oct 7, 2011

I've got a pair of Karhu Karver's that are ski boards, or sliding snow shoes depending on who you talk to. they are like 125 cm in length and have this funky cross between a snow board binding and pivot like a NNN XC Binding. In experience they do neither well, one terifying trip down a road with them with my winter day pack and I stick to my MSR Denali's. Compared to summer hiking, doing in on snow shoes is much faster and there is less terrain to worry about and a good pair of mountaineering snowshoes will work on some pretty gnarly stuff if you have good technique (not talking Class V mind you). Long story short, i've found snow shoes to be better, easier to maneuver, and the ones with the heel lifters are a god send going up hills. Coming down we sit and slide and let gravity do its job.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 7, 2011
Cleo's Needle

Nathan Stokes wrote:
I've got a pair of Karhu Karver's that are ski boards, or sliding snow shoes depending on who you talk to. they are like 125 cm in length and have this funky cross between a snow board binding and pivot like a NNN XC Binding. In experience they do neither well, one terifying trip down a road with them with my winter day pack and I stick to my MSR Denali's. Compared to summer hiking, doing in on snow shoes is much faster and there is less terrain to worry about and a good pair of mountaineering snowshoes will work on some pretty gnarly stuff if you have good technique (not talking Class V mind you). Long story short, i've found snow shoes to be better, easier to maneuver, and the ones with the heel lifters are a god send going up hills. Coming down we sit and slide and let gravity do its job.


This.


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By Goran Lynch
From Seattle, WA
Oct 7, 2011

It's worth noting that skiing is much harder than anyone anticipates before they start. No amount of fitness can compensate for a lot of time on skis learning movement patterns and building good habits.

Even then, the vast majority of casual but regular skiers --- those who ski, say, 10-15 days a year and are comfortable on even black diamond terrain at resorts (but don't have a solid background in a competitive discipline or a childhood spent on skis) --- are really, really ill-suited to deal with variable backcountry conditions.

Then there are the gear questions. First, boots. The difference between an alpine ski boot and a mountaineering boot is HUGE, and not just a question of technique. Without a rigid, tall cuff, much taller and stiffer than a plastic climbing boot cuff, it's very challenging (or impossible) to apply force to the front or back of the ski. Learning to ski without real ski boots is seriously inadvisable, since you'd be likely to get injured, either by losing control, or injuring a joint in some kind of twisting fall (this would be exacerbated by the non-ski-boot's inferior release characteristics).

Finally, skis. While a short ski can make turning easier, it does so at the expense of stability. While perhaps not a problem in-bounds at a resort, short skis will cause trouble in the BC where you'll encounter unpleasant, irregular conditions.

... I don't mean to be unpleasant here, I just want to caution you against getting into skiing solely or climbing approaches. Without a significant time (and, likely, cost) investment, skiing is likely to be much more of a liability than an approach and descent time-saver. Snowshoes really aren't so bad, are much cheaper, and using them has a negligible learning curve in comparison.


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By Yarp
Oct 7, 2011

Wow. Just wow. This might be the dumbest post on MP. Ever. Cutting off skies? Seriously?

Holy shit dude. Pick up a book and educate yourself before you embarrass yourself anymore.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 7, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Yarp wrote:
Wow. Just wow. This might be the dumbest post on MP. Ever. Cutting off skies? Seriously? Holy shit dude. Pick up a book and educate yourself before you embarrass yourself anymore.


go stuff that disrespectful face full of twizzlers and get back to class. this is an adult conversation.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 7, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

so it seems like the biggest issue is control on the descent, and i'm sure to some smaller degree, control on the ascent as well... what about a split-board, then? i've heard some conversions turn out, others dont.. anyone have any experience?


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Oct 7, 2011

I have heard stories of Austrian climbers cutting down old rental skis and using them to descend glaciers and snowfields in the summer and fall. I suspect that these folks are pretty good skiers to start with, and I seriously doubt that they are doing this on anything but mellow terrain and well consolidated snow. As a few people have pointed out, skis have a flex pattern, sidecut and profile that are designed to work together to let you turn the ski, and cutting off the tails would leave you with something that would be very difficult to control.

Having said that, I would suggest going the snowshoe route to start with. Much cheaper, you can use whatever footwear you normally climb in, and it's probably a lot safer. If you want to try skiing, start out at a ski resort with competent instruction before you venture into the back country. Becoming a competent skier isn't quite as unattainable a goal as a few posters here have implied, but it's not easy either.


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By Bryan Gall
From New Castle, CO
Oct 7, 2011

A splitboard is worth it if you can board. The full conversion kit and skins costs more than snowshoes, but it is way more efficient. The conversion kit from voile is relatively easy if you have a workshop and power tools to cut the board and epoxy the edges. You may be able to find a shop willing to do it for you. My buddies who own the gear exchange in glenwood springs, colorado usually do a few set ups every year. You can use mountaineering boots with a lower back binding. Check out splitboard.com for some trick kits with hardshell boots.
Again this is worth it if you have the skills and desire, otherwise slogging with snowshoes is the safest bet. It is called slogging for a reason.


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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Oct 7, 2011

Also, skiing with a heavy pack can be interesting.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 7, 2011
Cleo's Needle

bkb0000 wrote:
so it seems like the biggest issue is control on the descent, and i'm sure to some smaller degree, control on the ascent as well... what about a split-board, then? i've heard some conversions turn out, others dont.. anyone have any experience?


Mountaineering boots are too soft, single, double, leather, plastic...doesn't matter. Its fine on flat ground or light ascents but you will have poor control getting onto edges, leaning forward, and leaning back (that's pretty much everywhere). Sure some guys make it work (like my buddies) but when things go wrong they go really wrong. My only caveat is if you have a very long flat approach in which case they may be appropriate but that doesn't describe anything in the lower Cascades.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 7, 2011
Cleo's Needle

Kevin Friesen wrote:
Also, skiing with a heavy pack can be interesting.


Even worse on a snowboard.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Oct 7, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

One possibility here, if you are going to ski really low angle stuff, so low angle you have to push yourself with poles often and maybe glide a little, you should be fine. If it gets a little steeper you can always use your skins to go down hill. Definitely spend a little time at a resort and learn. I have taught/coached many thousands of people how to ski. I'm not totally adverse to the idea that you could learn in the BC. That's how skiing was invented. Just take it slow.


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By Joe C.
From Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 8, 2011
Playin Hookey playin hard to get once again.

Check out Mtn. Approach www.mtnapproach.com/ just saw these in a backcountry mag. and they caught my eye. As for me I use snowshoes(MSR Lightning Ascent) and they do just fine. When you don't need them any more and you are returning the same way you came you can just stash them, or strap them to your pack, much lighter than ski's. And by the way when im in the backcountry I pass skinners all day long on my snowshoes, just depends what kind of shape your in. The more you do it the easier it gets.


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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
Oct 8, 2011

I'd get some used Silvretta 404 bindings and mount them on a used decent light ski. You can ski this rig in your mountaineering boots.

Plus skins and poles, you should get the whole deal for under $300.

You'll just waste your time sawing off skis.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Oct 8, 2011
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

i plan to use my trekking poles, and i see skins for $30-40 used, though i admit i havent the slightest if $40 will get me anything i'd want to use.

i keep seeing bad reviews on the silveretta bindings.. at the same time, they seem to be the accepted standard for mountaineering boot bindings everywhere i've looked for info..

well i'm liking the splitboard idea better.. i think i'll probably get up faster, definitely get down faster, and my main climbing partner has also been thinking about chopping his board too, so we'd both be faster, and therefor can go lighter.

havent made any decisions, though.. i need to dig my board out, and go do some turns on the mountain and make sure i still remember how to board, first of all. :-D

thanks for the suggestions/insight.. feel free to keep them coming.


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