WildSnow guest contributors, Doug Stenclik and Randy Young are avid skimo racers, ski tuners, and backcountry ski travelers. Doug and Randy own Cripple Creek Backcountry in Carbondale, Colorado. Yep, if it’s ski related, they do it.
“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.)