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Any tips for hiking?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Have been looking at a few local hills that I would love to ski.  Hiking to the top in ski boots and carrying skis on my shoulder seems like it could be a PITA.  Figure I'll try a few of the smaller hills first and see how it goes.  The one I really want is a cleared gas line down what looks to be a 800+ vertical. 


Anyone have advice on the best way to go about this?  Boots loosened up seems like it could help.  How about carrying skis and poles?  Any and all tips aappreciated!

post #2 of 23

One easy solution is to get a pack that can carry skis.  Most people find that carrying the skis over your shoulder is quite fatiguing.  There are a lot of backpacks that have a ski carrying system built in.  This will allow you to more efficiently carry the skis and use your poles to help you climb.  The hike won't be wonderful in alpine boot so loosen the top

post #3 of 23

Depending on the firmness and depth of the snow, steepness of the hill, length of the ascent and terrain, skins may be a better alternative to boot packing/post holing.


I recently got the Mystery Ranch Saddle Peak bag and it seems like a killer pack.  There is a good built-in ski carry (diagonal) and enough room for all the basic backcountry gear you'd need on a day trip.  The zippers are bomber and the yoke/frame is great - really makes the bag comfy to carry since the weight is properly distributed.


There are plenty of other alternatives out there for a single-day backcountry ski pack.

post #4 of 23

Yes, a good, purpose-built pack is good. But for short hikes in areas where you do not need to bring extra gear, carrying your skis over your shoulder is not that big a deal. Carry them tips-forward, with the toe-piece behind your shoulder, and one hand loosely holding the tips wherever they balance best. Carry both poles in the other hand, and resist the temptation to use those poles for regular support, like a walking cane. You'll save energy, balance better, and usually move more efficiently if you just hold the poles in the middle and let your arm swing naturally, most of the time. Plant the poles only as needed to recover balance and to assist in more difficult sections.


For longer hikes still without the need for a pack and extra gear, try the trick they know at Aspen Highlands as a "Bowl Strap" (used for hiking the famed Highland Bowl). It is a simple loop of nylon webbing, 8-10' long, that can be wrapped in a couple of clever ways to hold your skis on your back, with loops that go over your shoulders like backpack straps. Some people like to use a carabiner or ski strap to clip the straps together across the sternum, preventing them from slipping off your shoulders. It's a great option--lightweight, cheap, and pocket-sized--that frees both hands for the hike.


If you happen to find yourself at Aspen Highlands, looking to hike The Bowl (a strenuous 30-60 minute hike along an exposed ridge), stop in at the Patrol Headquarters at the beginning of the hike and support the patrol by buying one of their pre-made Bowl straps ($8, last time I checked). Let them show you how to rig it, and get the inside scoop on snow conditions and such as well.


Best regards,


post #5 of 23

Good tip on the "bowl strap"  I'm pretty sure they're $10 now but not sure.  The funds help give the patrol some extra funding too so it's a good cause. 


And, if that's the hike you're thinking about, it's great

post #6 of 23

Hey the bowl strap sounds interesting - I would like to have one. I'm sure it would be quite simple to make, but without seeing how it works....  Would somebody who can get ahold of or make one of these be interested in tradin' one for some ski tunin' stuff? I bought a bunch of ski shop supplies a while back and would be willing to make a more than equitable trade for one shipped up here and maybe a little piccy of one in use for some ptex? scrapers? drill bits? boot fitting stuff, brake retainers (ok - rubber bands), etc.?


Just a thought.....

post #7 of 23

Hmmm...tempting offer, 4cznskier! But really--it's just a short length of 1" to 1 1/2" nylon webbing--maybe 10'--that you should be able to buy almost anywhere. If you don't have a mountaineering shop nearby, check out good hardware stores, or maybe sewing supply stores. Or order online from REI or the like.


Shouldn't cost you more than maybe $5. The "official" Bowl Straps from Aspen Highlands Patrol are made of custom-embroidered webbing, available in several colors. As of a few weeks ago at the Aspen EpicSki Academy, they were still $8--and they come with a live patroller to show you how to rig 'em!


Maybe someone in Aspen could send you the "genuine article" (sans patroller, probably). Anyone?


Best regards,


post #8 of 23

I can get some webbing easy enough - probably have some around here somewhere. Just trying to picture....  something like a single loop flattened on top of itself and just wrap the webbing from the (middle) around skis at the bindings untill you have a smaller loop at either end with enough slack for  sticking your arms through kind of a thing?

post #9 of 23

I checked into this after seeing cgeib's Indigo G-sting at Highlands. Indigo is out of business and you might find one for $25 floating around.




I also found on Outside magazine's site a DIY strap from 12' of webbing.


Outside Magazine, December 2006  

Make a Ski Sling

By Grayson Schaffer

Ski Sling
Chris Philpot

As a rule, the best snow at any ski resort isn't served by a chairlift. You gotta hike. Here's a cheap, easy way to carry your skis without killing your shoulders or thwacking your buddy: Make your own ski sling. Start by taking 12 feet of 1.5-inch flat webbing and tying it into a loop with a water knot. Feed the loop twice around your skis–above and below the bindings–and sling them diagonally across your back. (Make it three wraps for a closer fit.) Be sure to quiet your breathing as you cruise past the competition; you don't want to look like you're trying.


At SIA, I talked to two ski harness suppliers about design improvements to their products and picked up a SkiWeb and checked it out with hiking in mind. It almost works just fine, but needs a cross strap to tighten it up. FWIW, we'll be carrying them, but they need a simple design improvement to be fully user friendly.


Edited by Alpinord - Sun, 01 Feb 09 22:29:17 GMT
post #10 of 23

Is there a way to attach skis to a camelbak w/ out ski straps? 

post #11 of 23

Hey--and the G-String is modeled by CGeib himself! (Who'd have thought you'd ever want to see that?!) (And CGeib should know--he has a habit of carrying his skis up the Bowl just for fun--then throwing one of them down to the bottom and skiing down on one ski....)


I have one of those too, and it does work quite nicely. But I'm not convinced that it actually exceeds the simple Bowl Strap, especially in terms of compactability--and cheapness!


Grayson Schaffer's article (good find!) shows one of the two ways I've seen to rig the strap, forming a sling that holds the skis diagonally, as shown. Some skiers prefer that--it keeps the skis well away from your feet.


The other common way involves figure-8'ing the webbing below and above the bindings (don't know if could explain it), forming two "backpack strap" loops, and holding the skis more vertically--more like the G-String does.


Both ways have their proponents.


Best regards,


post #12 of 23

Wow, thanks you guys! Really. These responses to the post I made perfectly exemplify what I believe is the core of epicski - knowledge, info, experience, enthusiasm and the willingness to share. I've said it before - this place is like trying to drink from a firehose and surely always will be. Thanks again.

post #13 of 23
Originally Posted by skibum185 View Post

Is there a way to attach skis to a camelbak w/ out ski straps? 

With a boat, Vollé strap or other you can connect your skis to a top chest strap at the shoulder and then another at the waist strap on the opposite side to ride like image (5) in the Ski Sling section.


The SkiWeb will carry a ski like the sling does, but it's too tight for me, but might work for others. The more I look at the images, I can see that a shorter loop or strap with two ski or Vollé straps at each end near the bindings would do the trick just as easily


FTR, the sling info was simply copied and pasted from the original source. A very power and easy capability of this new format.

Edited by Alpinord - Mon, 02 Feb 09 04:19:56 GMT
post #14 of 23

^^^^^ boat?^^^^^  I've been thinking about my camelback too. I like it because it's small and great for quick, little tours but has a pocket just big enough to hold my skins if they're not folded up too messy. I could see some D rings installed at those points you mentioned to attach to. Maybe I'll take it over to my custom seamstress if and when she ever gets the repairs on my favorite ski bibs done.  

post #15 of 23

Boat straps = cam straps that are a very versatile from rigging to carry stuff on a roof rack. The short ones are great for ski straps.



Loop straps offer other versatile options for rigging stuff like an adjustable ski sling.


Edited by Alpinord - Mon, 02 Feb 09 05:19:48 GMT

Edited by Alpinord - Mon, 02 Feb 09 05:21:03 GMT
post #16 of 23

Oh - boat strap - Duh!

post #17 of 23

The more I think about, it seems a pair of looped straps would make a quick and adjustable ski sling requiring little room in a pocket or hydration pack (or attached to it) or you could wear them around your waist like a belt.

post #18 of 23

Terry have you used that source?  Those prices are attractive.

post #19 of 23

NRS? Very reliable and great gear. I've gotten various boating stuff from them over the years.

4 Corner Riversports here in Durango is another good source.


Edited by Alpinord - Mon, 02 Feb 09 06:14:57 GMT
post #20 of 23

Thanks, added to the collection of good suppliers.

post #21 of 23

I've done a couple of hikes in the past with just a regular backpack and strapped the skis straight up and down to the back of it using thin rope once and nylon webbing the other times.  Worked like a charm.  I've seen others put their skis in an A-Frame on the sides of their packs.


I finally tried using my low-profile camelback this morning with some nylon webbing to attach the skis for a dawn patrol run.  When I tried it out last night in my basement, it seemed to work ok, except the skis were rubbing against my lower back and butt.  This is due to the low-profile nature of the camelback as opposed to a backpack filled with stuff which holds the skis further out. 


I figured that needed to protect my clothing from the ski edges.  So when I geared up this morning, I put on my ski patrol waist pack on to cushion and protect my back.  This unfortunately pushed the skis to one side or the other so they were not straight up and down anymore.  So I hiked up with the skis a bit unbalanced but secure to my back.


What I may try next time is taking an old sock with the toe end cut and put it over the ski to protect my clothing.  I use this trick when packing clothes around my skis in a ski bag on plane trips.


post #22 of 23

Great Post.  I'll be stuck in the shop all of next week before heading out to Lake Tahoe.  Now I will have plenty of ideas to play around with to pass the waiting time!

post #23 of 23

An update to my earlier post on using the camelback.


I tried it again this morning.  I used the same rig as I did before and it worked much better this time.  The cause of the skis tilting sideways wasn't so much from the patrol pack pushing it back and to the side as much as it was the straps not being tight enough and in the right place.  So if you try it, it may take some trial and error before getting it the way you want it.

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