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Backpack setting me back?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
With my return to skiing I decided to watch a bunch of the old Epic/ESA videos and I noticed something in my skiing that I think may be attributed to my backpack.

Not only can my backpack run heavy at times (which obviously shifts my balance point, etc.) it seems to move up and down quite a bit. I noticed this and thought to myself that it's got to be affecting my skiing in a negative way. It's seriously making me rethink using the "big" backpack at all anymore.

It wasn't until I moved to Colorado that I even used a backpack when skiing. With the mountains being so much larger out West I felt like I always wanted to be prepared no matter what I encountered on the mountain no matter where I was - weather changes, etc.

Do some of you forgo any kind of backpack for just this reason?

I think I'm going to weigh my fully loaded pack tonight to see just how much weight I'm dealing with.
post #2 of 13
noodler,

A heavy backpack certainly changes your balance point on skis, especially on soft snow. How often do you actually stop and change items that are in your pack? Would you actually have to use the pack if you made some good decisions on what to use when you go out in the morning? I leave mine in the base lodge and rarely ever have to change anything during the day.

Modern ski jackets have so many pockets that some essential items can be taken with you in the pockets.

RW
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
it seems to move up and down quite a bit. I noticed this and thought to myself that it's got to be affecting my skiing in a negative way.
From the waist up, you want a quiet upper body. In this respect, the pack is helping you by detecting inefficient movement of the upper body.
post #4 of 13
Hi Mark-
YES! A heavy backpack WILL negatively affect your skiing.
How much and in what fashion depends on how solid your fundamentals are to begin with. But it will certainly exaggerate any excessive movements.
Not a good thing....
post #5 of 13
Noodler, make sure your backpack has both a waist and a chest strap to hold it in place, then go through it and throw out most of what's in it.
(I hope you're not one of those people who skis blue pistes, but needs to carry 2 complete changes of clothes, a full first aid kit including defib and enough food to last a week. If you are, I;d suggest taking the backpack off and going skiing!)
post #6 of 13
I guess it entirely depends on what you're doing. I typically wear a helmet, goggles and a uniform so I rarely change clothes during the day. I also prefer a hot lunch inside. As a patroller I had a lot of stuff and my FA belt wasn't big enough, so I had a day pack. Going out into the back country, I wear a larger one because I don't have the option of going inside and changing, or eating for that matter. Not to mention all the FA, and avalance gear I have with me. Same goes for working a race, I don't have the option of going inside so I have food, water and some extra clothes along with whatever race equipment I need.
It's kinda like having a big breifcase full of stuff. If you use the stuff it's just carrying your tools. If you don't all you're doing is carrying dead weight around with you.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
It wasn't until I moved to Colorado that I even used a backpack when skiing. With the mountains being so much larger out West I felt like I always wanted to be prepared no matter what I encountered on the mountain no matter where I was - weather changes, etc.

Do some of you forgo any kind of backpack for just this reason?
I rely on pockets to distribute the weight and keep extra stuff in the vehicle if it's 'really' needed. After skiing with packs for BC/Tourng and lift served skiing, I just prefer to keep the stuff lighter, or spread around at the area. I ordered my Beyond pants with (2) thigh pockets to got with the typical (2) front and (2) backside ones. Depending on the shell or not for the day, I like inside chest pockets and the typical exterior ones. Sometimes a vest with additional ones are used. Then everything has a place and goes back to it's place. This also avoids digging through a pack or chairlift and backseart issues. And great alternative is to wear a biking thermal layer with rear pockets.

I started carrying a liter Platypus water bottle this year because my 1/2 liter one final died. It is initially a bit too big but it is nice having the convenience to stay hydrated. I will be messing with my slim hydration pack or securing options to see if that works better to keep it from sloshing around.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
The hydration factor is probably the main reason I would want to continue to wear a pack. So what options are there to keep water on you without it being bulky and/or inconvenient? I really like having my CamelBak right there with me. Are there options like a CamelBak that can slip inside your jacket and still have a bite valve within easy reach? I really don't want to carry a Nalgene, etc. in my jacket like I've seen some people do.

BTW - I do have some really small CamelBak packs, but they still would be on my back, add weight there (rather than near my core), and they don't have waist straps to secure them better.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
You know what - that last question is way off thread now. I'll re-post that to the main gear forum.
post #10 of 13
Noodler,
Just a thought...
...Most of the bigger resorts have on the hill water and bathrooms. Which allows me to take care of both "needs" without taking a lot of time out of my ski day. I don't know who you ski with but my wife appreciates the later even more than I do. Exposing her backside to everyone who skis by isn't her thing. Nor was falling in a tree well with her pants around her ankles. Which actually happened to her once. So knowing where the nearest facilities are is a big thing for us.
When teaching, the chance to break up the lesson with these small breaks keeps my students physically and mentally fresher. So I rarely find myself without enough water, or a bathroom. Another idea is maybe a small flat plastic bottle that would carry a pint or so would work for you better than a full 70 ounce Camelback.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

I went without the pack this past Sunday and it was a very "freeing" experience.  It had been a long time since I last skied without a pack.  I definitely felt I was in much better balance without needing to compensate for 15 lbs. on my back.

post #12 of 13

Interestingly, yesterday I skied down some steeper terrain than I normally ski with a pack and I found that I was forward more, skied better and more in control, and it forced me to be quiet from the waist up because I didn't want it to shift and slide off.

 

That told me a story about how I ski, too.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Bonni - you hit upon a whole other issue that plagues women skiers.  There's been endless discussions about the difference in balance points (between the sexes), use of heel lifts for women, etc.  You may have struck on a change in your balance point that works better for you.  There are just so many variables in this sport (probably part of why I like it) that will affect your overall performance and enjoyment on skis.  Getting it all dialed in is half the battle so that your equipment is helping you, not hindering you to achieve great skiing. 

 

That said, I can't escape (and I never will) the fact that what's really important is being able to get out there and just do it.  I'm guilty of over analzying my gear and geeking out on the technical aspects while losing sight of the true enoyment of just sliding down a mountain.  I'm hoping that in my return I'll be able to achieve a better balance in all things skiing related.


Edited by Noodler - Wed, 04 Feb 09 00:35:16 GMT
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