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Catrax alternatives..?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK either CatTrax are POS or it is operator error..perhaps operator error compunded by soso design. I bought a pair to protect the soles of my new Atomics -- which don't have a replaceable heel piece. Figured PITA but worth it. Well the damn things seem impossible to get on w/ gloves and w/o sitting which makes it a little difficult if you are coming off the mountain on a powder day and there is no where to sit. These little rubber thingies just aren't large enough to yank on. Second one of them came off on the second day I wore them..I thought I had secured it well and I didn't notice immediatly, so $15 out the window and relectant to waste another $15..

Anyway, long-winded, but are there any better alternatives? I'm willing to pay for something that actually works for a clumsy oaf like me..
post #2 of 16
ssh posted an interesting review of the Walk-EZ here.

YakTrax, GetAGrip, Gripons are horribly unsuited to ski boots as they lack a heel impact plate. I have yet to try STABILicers (I doubt the resorts will want me tearing up their carpet).
post #3 of 16
The first few times you use the Cat Trax, they are tough to get on, but they stretch out a bit over time. Maybe leave them on your boots on a heated floor to hasten the process. You have to make sure they are up over the heel and toe ridges before you start walking. Getting them on without sitting is more a flexibility issue -- I've had problems with that when they were new, but was able to do it standing at the side of a slope after they'd stretched a bit. And I'm no gymnast.
post #4 of 16
Folks I've watched installing them sort-of hang onto one pole for added balance with the one foot hoisted up and across their support leg while slipping them over the toe and then pulling them up over the heel with the other hand. I take it they've used the pre-stretch routine described above. I've always taken to heart my mother's long-ago admonition against dragging my heels and banging my feet on the floor/pavement. I have boots that have been worn several hundred times that still have most of the original sole.
post #5 of 16
I find the easiest way to put them on is slip the toe in, then kneel in the snow on that leg and grab the little tabs (Using one arm between your legs and one to the outside) on the heel part and pull them over the heel. Then repeat on the other side.

I have not lost one in several years. I try to use them when ever I'm out of my skis. For those of you that have had your boots canted and/or lifted probably do this too. It's like walking on teflon soles if you have those add on lifts on the bottoms of your boots.
post #6 of 16
Stupid question: Where do you store them when you're skiing?

They have to be wet and or dirty when removed, so I'd be hesitant to just stick them in a coat pocket. Do they come with a storage bag?

BTW, I do have planed boots and currently don't walk anywhere that's not on snow with them.
post #7 of 16
I have used them for 2 seasons and agree when they are new they are a bit--. Try pulling on the center part toward the heel after the toe piece is in place. My worst problem tho is that I keep tryin to put my boots in the bindings with the dang things still on the boots: .
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkevenson
My worst problem tho is that I keep tryin to put my boots in the bindings with the dang things still on the boots: .
ROFL - I thought I was the only idiot who does this all the time. It's funny how you forget they're there.

Anyhow, depending on your boot sole length you need to get the right Cat Tracks size for your boots. They come in small and large. My recommendation is to use the small size for 306mm and lower. I clean my soles and Cat Tracks after skiing and then keep the Cat Tracks on my boots in storage. I've found that this helps "set" the Cat Tracks to my boot size. I also have the large size and they were continually falling off my boots (301mm sole length) - ssh suggested twisting the heel a couple times to shorten the length of the large Cat Tracks - I finally just ordered some small ones.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
Stupid question: Where do you store them when you're skiing?

They have to be wet and or dirty when removed, so I'd be hesitant to just stick them in a coat pocket. Do they come with a storage bag?

BTW, I do have planed boots and currently don't walk anywhere that's not on snow with them.
I keep them in a coat pocket. I keep a zip lock bag in with my stuff just in case they are dirty but most of the time it's just a little moisture and I just stick them in my pocket.

If you fold the toe into the heel they fold pretty small.

I do have planed boots too. If I'm not in my skis the cat tracks are on. It's like walking on solid ice, even on carpet. And don't get me started about walking on wet "natural stone" tiles :
post #10 of 16
My new boots have Cat tracks on them right now sitting in the closet.They are a pain to install new but as others have suggested install them and leave them on to pre fit to your boot size.
post #11 of 16
agree with what has been said about sizing and putting them on. I also find if you put the toe in, then grip the heel piece so that the bottom of it is cupped in your palm you can pull the heel piece into place more easily than by using the little tabs (and can do so wearing gloves, too). I also always check that the heel is fully engaged over the ledge of the heel of your boot- when it is not is the only time I have had them come off.

For storage while skiing, I have a little plastic BD carabiner (looks like a hotwire if you are a climber and know what I am talking about) that I keep on a loop of my jacket by the hem. I hook them into this and then fold them inside under my jacket so they don't flap around. Better than getting the inside of my pockets wet. If I'm skiing with a pack it is easier, of course- hook them on the shoulder strap.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dp
Better than getting the inside of my pockets wet.
My ski jackets have so many pockets I keep losing things in them.

I just designate one of the outer pockets I don't use often for the cat tracks and my ski cable lock. Inner pockets for things that need to stay warm and dry and I try to keep the two "normal" pockets on the front empty and dry so I have a place out of the elements to stick my hands if needed.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dp
...if you put the toe in, then grip the heel piece so that the bottom of it is cupped in your palm you can pull the heel piece into place more easily than by using the little tabs (and can do so wearing gloves, too). I also always check that the heel is fully engaged over the ledge of the heel of your boot...
dp has revealed a great formula for easy on and off with Catracks and for not having them come off accidentally.

FWIW, I store my 'tracks in a zip-lock bag stuffed into one of my outer jacket pockets. They fold up easily using the approach dchan mentioned e.g. place one 'track on top of the other -toe onto toe heel on top of heel then fold toes into heels. I use them because my boots have been planed as well as not being inexpensive in the first place.
post #14 of 16
No one has mentioned one of the keys for using Cat Tracks: add to the tabs so that you can actually grip them. The on/off is the worst part of the design.

I added some duct tape to the tabs, and that's helped tremendously. It also makes it more obvious when I lose them. If I'm concerned that they'll come off, I will tuck those extended tabs into the velcro of my Boot Gloves, too, so that they'll flop but stay attached if/when they slip off.

Other folks I've seen (instructors and OHG members) use zip ties (you can grab a couple extra when you get your lift tickets), rubber bands, and other similar items to form a loop at the heel for easy grabbing. At least one person also put a tab on the toe to make it easier to pull over the lug.

I'm liking the look of the WalkEz, but mine haven't arrived yet. They'll be more difficult to store in a pocket, but I'll likely just lock them to a rack and swap them for my skis when I come down for lunch. I'm sure they'll fit in my uniform pocket for guiding days. But, not in my free skiing shell for personal days.
post #15 of 16
I got my Catrax after having my boots canted at a Harb camp. The trick they use is to heat them up with a blow dryer and then stretch them to fit. Mine fit just fine.

Good luck!
post #16 of 16
I thought Catrax were just one of those gadgets that are available for stocking stuffers and not actually used. Like ball warmers for golfers. My boots have been through 10+ seasons, 50+ days a year. Sure the heals are worn down a bit but it just makes them easier to walk in
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