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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Converting my skate skis to classic skis

Lately it has been freezing at night and setting up the crust on top of the snow up at the pass.  But by the time I get up there after work the snow and crust has softened up down low by the road, and it is difficult to skate ski up the hills to where the crust is still good.  So yesterday I brought along mini little climbing skins and put them on the bottom of my skate skis for the climb up to a spruce tree covered plateau where the crust cruising is still sublime.

For the skins I cut in half a left over strip from trimming my downhill climbing skins.  The skins have a reusable stick surface on one side and 'reverse hair' on the other.  The hair allows one to walk in skis up pretty darn steep slopes.  To turn my skate skis into classic skis I just use a short, 18 inches or so, piece of skin directly under and slightly forward of my boot.  I then use hockey tape to wrap around the front and back edge of the mini skin to keep it from peeling up (I have already removed the tape in the above photo).

Then off I go using the skis just like classic nordic skis.  With the soft corn snow on top of a pretty solid base it was very easy going.  I had a bomber kick and I was amazed at how well the skis glided along.  I climbed 300 feet or so and cruised in and among the spruce trees until I got as high up the mountain as I wanted to get.  Then I peeled of the tape and skins and converted my skis back into skate skis. If you look closely below you can see my classic ski tracks in the distance and then my skate tree tracks in the foreground - this is where I converted my skis back into skate skis.

Then it was off to the races.  I skate skied all around and slowly lost elevation until I was back at the car.  The snow was a tad bit soft but I did not mind because it made it easier to snow plow when i wanted to slow down.  I was even doing parallel turns in my skate skis on downhills.

Only bad side of the day was that I got back to the car and found that the clutch did not work.  I had to hitchhike back into town and call a tow truck.  Good thing I got in a good ski or that might have made me GRUMPY.   Patrick

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