Sunday, 13 October 2013

How to trim skimo race skins!

There are two ways of ordering your skins, pre cut with the tip attachment installed or off a bulk roll with no tip attachment and not cut to shape. Buying mohair skin material off a bulk roll is normally quite a bit cheaper. Although bulk rolls of skin material are not common in North America, they may still be found. I'm going to walk you through how to prepare bulk skin material into skimo race skins.

Step 1) Order your preferred brand of mohair skin material. Three metres will do one set of race skis. I normally use 60mm or 62mm width.

Step 2) Cut your three metres of skin material in half.

Step 3) Make a trimming template. The trimming template helps you keep the tip dimensions the same on both of your skins. There's no exact science for making one, just copy the picture below!
Bulk skin material on the left, trimming template on the right.

Step 4) Trace the outline of the trimming template on the glue side of the skins.

Step 5) Cut off the extra skin material from the tip. Before cutting double check that you are putting the tip attachment on the right end of the skin. Think - is the finished skin going to glide in the intended direction?

Step 6)  Using a thick plastic that can withstand freezing temperatures, make two circle shaped stoppers (about the size of a toonie). Drill a small hole in the centre of the stopper just large enough for two strands of elastic cord to pass through.

Step 7) Fold over the narrow portion at the tip of the skin and sew it back to its self.

Step 8) Thread a piece of elastic cord through the loop at the tip of the skins. Slide the plastic stopper onto the elastic and tie a knot just above it. Tie another knot near the ends of the elastic cords. You've now finished constructing the tip attachment. When your skins are installed on your skis, the plastic stopper sits on the top of your ski to keep the cord from sliding through the notch on your skis. 

Step 9) Fit the skins on your race skis and trim them to length - any place between the heel attachment of your binding and a few centimetres from the tail of your ski will work. When trimming the ends of the skins, remember to round the corners of your skins to keep them from peeling off during your kick.

Step 10) Get outside and test them out!

This is one way of building race skins. Everyone has his or her own way of doing it, and you will have to experiment to find something that works for you. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My South American Ski Trip - in photos!

I just got back from South America - what a great place to do some spring ski mountaineering! Here are a few photos from the trip. I will be posting some short trip reports from some of my favourite ski days in the coming months.

Looking off the back side of Cerro Catedral on the way to
Refugio Frey.
Lots of fun ski touring to be had from Refugio Frey.

Emilio holding the fort down.

The German town centre of Bariloche, Argentina.

Next, off to Chile!

First stop was Volćan Puyhue with its lack of snow.

A change of plans and we were off to
Volćan Villarrica and its steaming crater. 

Weather moved in on Volćan Villarrica
just as we finished skiing it.

Aimee on the way up Volćan Llaima in the early morning

Lots of wind affected snow on Llaima.

Aimee skiing off the top of Volćan Llaima
in high winds and on styrofoam snow.

Volćan Llaima after a successful ski descent.

Monkey Puzzle trees grow all around
the lower slopes of Llaima.

Nothing breaks up long drives through Argentina like
feeding roadside animals.

There was not a lot of snow left around Bariloche
by the time we got back from Chile.

So we did lots of walking with skis on our backpacks...

But there was still some fun skiing at López Trees.
Can you tell?
Looking down on the town of El Bolsón
from the top of Cerro Piltriquitron.

Home-brewed beers at Refugio Piltriquitron after a fun run
down from the summit.

What the end to another great day in Argentina looks like.

Time to say goodbye and walk back to the road.
 I wish this guy could come with me.

We found a fun race for the last day of skiing in SA. 

Now that's what you call being in the pain cave!

The long trip home started with a 20 hour bus ride,
 but it all went well.

What an amazing place, I will be back!