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Skins question...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
...for the experts.

I've got a touring setup with a pair of skis at 76 mm underfoot, skins cut to fit.

I've also got a nice pair of 80 mm-width (and two cm longer) skis mounted for alpine, which I'm tempted to switch over to touring.

But the skins I have for the 76 mm's are practically new, so don't want to have to buy a new pair.


Is the 4mm "skin gap" noticeable? A problem? To be avoided?

Weigh in.

post #2 of 18
I just went through this with the purchase of a new pair of AT skis that were 11mm wider in the waist than my old pair.  I tried using the old skins and encountered enough problems that I eventually bought a new wider pair.  Caveat: Many of the skin tracks around here are very steep, and once they get used and glazed over a little you need "wall to wall" coverage.  My old skins worked fine on the new wider skis for "touring" situations, and breaking trail or skin tracks with a reasonable grade.  

The two situations that having skins which are too narrow are a problem: steep skin tracks, and hard sidehills.  When you are traversing a steep slope and you only have the edge of your skis making contact, if you have no skin there, you have no traction.

Bottom Line:  If the skins were cut for 76 and you are going to 80, that is only 2mm on each side difference.  I would bet they will work just fine, except for extreme skinning situations.
post #3 of 18
+1

If a 2mm gap on either side is causing a problem, then the person setting the track is going too steeply. It is easier and faster to climb less steep tracks; they are less tiring.

Out of curiosity, do the skins cover the original 76mm skis edge to edge? The last set of skins I set up, according to the instructions, had about a 2mm gap designed in to expose the edges. They worked fine and I like having the edges exposed.
post #4 of 18
2mm will make very little difference; what may be an issue is weather the shape of the 80mm skis is significantly different to the skis that the skins were originally cut for.  Try and find out, otherwise just pony up for a new set of skins (heck I've got 3 pairs of AT skis and 3 sets of skins).
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

+1

If a 2mm gap on either side is causing a problem, then the person setting the track is going too steeply. It is easier and faster to climb less steep tracks; they are less tiring.

Out of curiosity, do the skins cover the original 76mm skis edge to edge? The last set of skins I set up, according to the instructions, had about a 2mm gap designed in to expose the edges. They worked fine and I like having the edges exposed.

if the person setting the skin track isnt in your party than its kinda of hard to sit there and say the skin track is too steep.

I hacve to disagree with easier and faster all the time, some people are more efficient on steeper tracks some arent.
post #6 of 18

different strokes

 

post #7 of 18

I've got at least a 4mm gap on all my skins. If the track is too steep I just put in a few more switchbacks. It's not like I get all amped over being the first to pound up the skin track all the way to the ridge/peak. Anybody remember the good old days when nobody trimmed their skins for wall-to-wall covereage? It's kinda funny that nowdays with everybody skiing super-wide skis that everybody's so obsessed with wall-to-wall coverage.

post #8 of 18

Around here it seems that the people setting the first skin tracks of the year are the hard core guys on fat skis with fat skins, which provide incredible traction, so they tend to be very steep, with lots of switchbacks.  Once the uptracks get some traffic and weather they start to get a little slick, so anyone with mid-fat or thin skis without total skin coverage cannot use the track without major slippage.  There is nothing like being in a straight up track when your skins break loose and you start going backwards, or being the person behind them.

A couple weeks ago I was struggling up an ugly uptrack with a friend who has done a lot of guided bc skiing in Canada.  He said the guides up there tend to cut moderate grade uptracks and usually apologize if they cut a switchback.  They generally do a hefty amount of vertical every day, so they know what works best.  I guess the bottom line is that whatever set up you have, you can almost always cut your own track.

post #9 of 18
 Not trying to be a wise guy Mudfoot, but have you thought about ski crampons if that is the type of tracks you skin up?
post #10 of 18
I have climbed with people using crampons, but only in the spring.  The type of uptracks we get around Sliverton are doable with skins, but you better have "wall to wall carpeting."  Anything less is usualy inadequate at some point.  A trick you can use, instead of ski crampons, is to put stretchy ski straps around your skis and over your skins for extra traction. No glide, but it'll get you up the steep stuff if your skins start to slip.  A lighter easier to use alternative to crampons.

In order to stay out of the avi paths many of the skin tracks in my area go up ridges between steep gullies that do not allow you to get off the spine, so the tracks end up being steeper than you want them to be, but there is not much choice if you want to get to the goods.  The new fatter skis/skins are allowing the young bucks to go straight up lines that you could not climb with skins a few years ago, and my big old bod is not enjoying the new trend.  I just wanted to make the point that that $ you save on not buying skins to match your new wider skis does not seem like a bagain when you really need the traction and don't have it.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yeah, my 105 mm's have skins cut to fit, and they climb like snowshoes. This is just a question on my narrower setup, which I use when conditions are hard. I'm still trying to sell those 80 mm skis, so for the moment no change, got the 76 mm with skins cut to fit anyway.

BTW, we do a lot of spring touring in the Alps. Everyone's got crampons, and they get used quite a bit, as the trick is often to climb on hardpack in the morning, descend just as the snow softens up.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

BTW, we do a lot of spring touring in the Alps. Everyone's got crampons, and they get used quite a bit, as the trick is often to climb on hardpack in the morning, descend just as the snow softens up.
That's when I throw the skis on a pack and hike. Why are crampons and skis better, more efficient or safer in these conditions?
post #13 of 18

prickly, when you say crampons you are talking 12 pt. crampons for the boots, not the AT binding crampons, right?

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
No, I'm talking about binding crampons. I guess Canadians call them "knives."  In Italian, at least, it's the same word for crampons (ramponi) whether for the boot or the binding. I don't own a boot crampon, actually.

If it's steep and firm, I like to at least have the crampon option. I'm not so hardcore that I've ever found myself on anything I can't get up with a binding crampon.  
post #15 of 18
I've seen binding crampons in the store, but never on skis. Sounds like they work nicely and extend the ability to ski up.

I have 12 points that I use when the going gets hard. I picked them up when I was on the East coast and they prove pretty versatile when used with whippets, the picks you attach to ski poles. Especially with tele boots. I'd be more inclined to hike without crampons with Alpine (not AT) boots as you can toe in pretty well and hold yourself on some pretty steep stuff.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yeah, no reputable dealer here would let you walk out of a shop with an AT setup that didn't include crampons. Just part of the kit here. Don't take them with me every time out, but probably more than half the time (which, admittedly, isn't really so many days).  

There's also an AT binding, it might be one of the Fritschi's, that's got a built-in crampon you can engage by flippng a lever or something. Let me see if I can find a link.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

No, I'm talking about binding crampons. I guess Canadians call them "knives."  In Italian, at least, it's the same word for crampons (ramponi) whether for the boot or the binding. I don't own a boot crampon, actually.

If it's steep and firm, I like to at least have the crampon option. I'm not so hardcore that I've ever found myself on anything I can't get up with a binding crampon.  


I've started to hear people refer to "binding crampons" as the translation for "knives" i.e. "coltelli" or as to "lame"  (-> "blades")
and also "rampanti" (can't imagine a translation for that)
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Yeah, no reputable dealer here would let you walk out of a shop with an AT setup that didn't include crampons. Just part of the kit here. Don't take them with me every time out, but probably more than half the time (which, admittedly, isn't really so many days).  

There's also an AT binding, it might be one of the Fritschi's, that's got a built-in crampon you can engage by flippng a lever or something. Let me see if I can find a link.

Fritschi Axion folding crampon........see more here

http://www.fritschi.ch/index.php?page=589
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