“I was just skiing along and. . .” disaster. A morning full of excitement of the much anticipated earning of turns is thwarted by a faulty piece of equipment that leaves you cursing at the trailhead or sends you home early.
Ski touring gear is expensive and much is built to be so minimalist and lightweight that we are asking for problems if we don’t treat it with some tender love and care. You wouldn’t drive a brand new car off the lot and expect it to perform flawlessly over the years without some oil changes, part replacement and attention to detail. Hopefully, by paying attention to your gear and performing simple checks a few times a season, you can catch malfunctions before smoke begins billowing from under the hood.
While working at Cripple Creek Backcountry (I’m co-owner) I have seen hundreds of sudden failures, on customers’ gear and even my own. The problems often seem to come out of nowhere, when just the day before your gear looked shiny and eager to propel you up and down the mountains. But this stuff doesn’t really come out of the great mysteries of the universe. Most often, there are warning signs. To that end, how about a checklist? (Please note, below is oriented to tech bindings, but the concepts apply to frame binding systems as well.)
As my ski bindings have dipped under 200 grams and still firmly holds me to a ski going up to 50 mph through every possible snow condition, it frankly surprises me every time these things don’t blow up.
Skis vary immensely in strength and durability. Yet common to all, the stress they endure is amazing — and breakage isn’t exactly rare.
Does the state of your climbing skins reflect your personality, or just how busy you are? If you can tell the color of your dog’s hair from looking at your skins, or they’ve been cursed at so much they seem to curl up on their own, time to look at how they’re treated.
Sometimes, ski boots just seem to charge along for years with nary a problem. But. Especially when it comes to the boot being a key part of the binding due to tech fittings, attention to detail is vital for performance and safety.
Readers: Give us more for the checklist!
(Editor’s note from Lou: This post is produced as part of a modest partnership between Cripple Creek Backcountry and WildSnow.com. It’s actually co-authored by myself and Lisa along with Doug, but since our software only allows one author, we put Doug on there — he started it.)