WildSnow has Landed — EU 2010

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 10, 2010      
Kelly in Utah

If you're in Salt Lake City and have 10 hours before your plane flight, there is only one choice for using up that time. So I got out with a couple of Wasatchers and did a short tour across from Alta. Despite the avy report saying that butt sliding on suncrust might have been the day's transportation mode of choice, we did find some pow. This photo of Kelly is proof.

Drove from Colorado to SLC on dry roads with the Silverado’s XM radio easing the pain. After a quick tour up to Flagstaff near Alta, Kelly gave me a quick ride to the airport where I caught a short hop to San Fran. With a fairly long layover ahead, what better thing than dinner with my Ma and bother C.C. (they live near San Fran) at some of those “San Francisco” joints in the North Foodcourt. The chow mein tasted pretty good.

Then it was on to what seemed like a quick hop over the pond, though the time warp could have been from the Xanax induced airliner sleep session.

Munich was snowy and cold. Thanks Manfred for saving me a long train journey and giving me the the nice autobahn ride to LowTech HQ (original name for Dynafit bindings) here in Bad Haering Austria, which will be base camp for the next couple of weeks. This house should have one of those bronze historical plaques hung on the front, saying something like “where the Dynafit was invented in Manfred and his son Fritz’s farmhouse workshop.”

And hey, still some interesting stuff being cooked up in there! My lips are sealed.

More later, gotta saw a few more Z’s so I can keep up with Manfred tomorrow.


5 Responses to “WildSnow has Landed — EU 2010”

  1. Derak January 10th, 2010 8:55 pm

    I am reposting this on a current thread because of the really bad experience I just had with BDmohair skins. If this is a standard situation, DO NOT EVER buy these new and go into a hut for a week because you will blow the experience.
    Hope yer havin’ fun lookin’ at new gear and such!

    From the BD product thread:

    Lou, could you please comment on this supposed “break in” period with regard to glide on these BD mohairs?

    I got a pair (primarily because our local shop was out of mixed or nylon in the width I needed) and thought I’d just “treat” myself.

    They did not glide. Period. I didn’t read in the instructions that they needed to be waxed or otherwise treated in order to actually move up a hill. As far as climbing, they had an alligator like grip. Let’s just say it was a rather exhausting day. They were not glopping in the least, though I should mention that I used them on a pair of skis 155cm 120-95-xx, which is wider than I normally ski and they were cut wall to wall.

    I held my group up substantially and we missed 2k vert because of daylight issues. It was a rather miserable day. Any suggestions would be appreciated. (Is it possible they are defective? ) I’ve had every skin under the sun in my career, even the glue plagued G-3’s, and this was the worst performance of any skin I’ve ever used. My friends said from what I was experiencing, they were performing like the old “snake skins”. Just no glide whatsoever. I did end up waxing them, but ……. still no glide. Conditions yesterday were 11? new powder in the process of getting a freezing rain crust, I was last in line (obviously).
    It was an 8 mile hike w/ 4.5kk vert. cut short because of these skins and the daylight issues. Is the break in period about 28miles or what?

  2. Lou January 11th, 2010 10:13 am

    Derak, that sounds like something is really really wrong (unless you were just experiencing the effect of wider skis, see note at end of this comment).

    All the BD mohairs I tested have been better than that. Like I think I said or at least alluded to before, they don’t have the glide that some of my thinner, longer haired mohair skins have had, but they worked and had better glide than my nylons. In my experience, most mohair skins require some break-in before they get the really silky glide, not sure why, but my theory is the break-in physically removes the shorter more grabby fibers. If necessary, I break mine in by skiing down the hardpack at a resort with the skins on. Best to do this on a moderate angle slope, as you don’t want to be trying to edge and thus wear out the edges of the skins.

    Interestingly, if you compare skins side-to-side you can actually feel how glidy they are by running your fingers over the skin. Mohairs should feel pretty slick in comparison to some of the nylons out there, though there are nylon skins that are quite glidy out of the box. The G3 Alpinists we tested a while back were like that, though once they had a bunch of days on them they lost a lot of glide due to the fibers getting shorter.

    But back to your bad experience, your skins sound like they’ve got some kind of defect, like perhaps you ended up with a nylon/mohair mix and the fibers are too short and stiff. Or something like that.

    One suggestion to BD is that they make the mohair/nylon mix skins a different color, or at least make the nylon fibers a different color, so the consumer can be certain about what they have.

    As for the 100% mohair skins, I’d encourage BD to simply make sure those suckers glide like crazy. That’s why people buy ’em.

    As for waxing skins for glide, doing so helps a bit but you do it more to prevent ice build. Same with the sprays available. If the skins don’t glide good without wax, waxing them isn’t going to help a whole lot, and in my experience it wears off pretty quick.

    ONE OTHER THING: When using wall-to-wall skins on a wider ski than you’re used to, they can feel like they have quite a bit LESS glide than they should. I’ve had this experience a number of times. So be careful to compared apples to apples.

  3. Mark January 11th, 2010 10:34 am

    Glide Lite Mix skins are grey, Ascension Nylon are orange, and aren’t the full mohair black?

  4. Derak January 11th, 2010 10:40 am

    Thanks for the follow up. I’ll ski down a hardpack run and do a short hike as an experiment before I attempt to remedy the situation with the mfg. I spent considerable time Saturday and would have expected that they would have loosened up……part of the route did entail skiing down a hardpack windblown ridgeline. Maybe one more attempt, in a situation where I’m not subjecting a group all day to my predicament.

    Thanks again for responding. I thought I was crazy. I kept thinking “Now why would randonee racers want such a vice like grip? They want to go fast, no?”

  5. Derak January 11th, 2010 10:43 am

    FYI, these are black bd mohair, as you would expect.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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