Hi @shawnpstone ! Great question- Unfortunately, I have to start my response with a caveat: Avalanche conditions in the western US are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS this season. This has been one of the most deadly avalanche seasons the US has ever seen. 25 people have died in avalanches in the US since January 30th. Never travel in avalanche terrain without appropriate training, appropriate equipment and the ability to carefully and properly assess the risk you assume when heading into the backcountry. Know before you go. On to your question, the shortest answer is 'No'. Most access trails to backcountry turns near TSV travel through at least some exposed, avalanche-prone terrain, even if exposure is brief. Even the lower-angle slopes near TSV are at risk right now from dangerous snowpack conditions up high. Long Canyon is good example of this. The route itself is lower-angle and is popular among folks seeking turns when avalanche conditions are not ideal, but it is still below terrain that can and does produce avalanches. Here is a picture from Taos Avalanche Center 4 days ago showing a slab building on the leeward side of Long Canyon. The ski ascent/descent route is just out of frame to the right. Do not ski this route right now. I hope this is helpful, although I know it's not the answer you wanted. Stay safe out there!
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Hi @Dmitry ! Glad you're getting some turns in this season! This is a subject that many folks who tour with packs encounter: you ski your setup unloaded and get the 'feel' of the ski/boot system- where it skis best with your weight distributed fore/aft, etc.- then put on a pack and all of a sudden you've got burning quads and the ski just doesn't feel as quick or responsive. While forward lean is something to consider, it's not the only factor. On the surface, it looks like if a skier has added 20-30 lbs on their back behind the center of gravity, we can just change forward lean to rebalance weight about the center of gravity. While this can help some, it won't resolve the issue entirely. The real crux here is the concept of 'sprung weight'. Your legs are the 'suspension' and everything above your hips is the 'suspended' or 'sprung' weight. For most folks, the weight distribution above the hip to below the hip is about 60:40. if we take a hypothetical 175lb person, that equals 105lb above the hips- not counting gear/clothing. If we add a 25lb pack to that person, that's a ~23% increase in weight that the legs need to carry uphill and then work as a 'suspension' to support while skiing. More off-axis weight up top that the legs have to maneuver around in order to move in the direction you want to go adds even more effort. It gets easy to see why legs get tired so much quicker when carrying a pack. That said, forward lean is an issue that can help correct for this to a very slight degree. I would resist the urge to change the fit of your boot to accommodate a pack, however. Changing things here can have unexpected and significant consequences to the way you’re able to ski. I’ve found an appreciable difference in how my skis mounted with different touring bindings feel while skiing with a pack. Part of this is a result of the difference in binding ramp angle between bindings- that is, the delta of difference in heights between two binding’s heel and toe pieces. There are surprising differences between brands and models. Here’s a chart from Wildsnow that shows those measured differences. I feel a significant difference between skiing Radicals (∆15.16mm) vs. skiing Kingpins (∆9.7mm). This may seem insignificant, but using a little geometry, we can figure out that even this small ~5.5mm difference at the foot ends up shifting the center of mass of your torso/pack rearward about 100mm, causing your body to have to work differently in each binding to correct the imbalance. These are all just interesting factoids, and no cause to go obsessing over whether you’ve got the correct binding. The simplest solution is just to pack the heavier items in your pack closer to your back, keep it cinched as snug to your body as is comfortable, and keep doing leg blasters on your off days to make those quads strong. Hope this is helpful, or at least interesting- -Enjoy your turns! Reinke
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Hi @mjspielvogle - Great question! I'm wondering, are these going to be used for skiing/sports? Or are you looking for something that's a bit more rugged for work wear? If you're looking for something to get outside and play in, I would second @Diesseldorf 's recommendation on the Yotei bib- they are great, durable and very breathable If you're looking for something for work or around town, Dickies and Carhartt both make a cotton duck fabric overall bib with insulation that I think could work for you! I hope this is helpful!
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Hi @Bizzo !
Thanks for the great question! That stem will be a 31.8mm threadless. If you're looking for an adjustable alternative to the stock part, the technicians at your Local REI Co-op Bike Shop will be happy to order one for you (I don't see any available on REI.com at the moment).
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Hi @Dmitry I've only toured a couple of times in that area, so I can only give rough guidance - there is pretty decent opportunity for touring near Pinecrest. The area east of Highway 108 from Bell mountain north to Eagle peak(there are 2 Eagle peaks in the area - this one is closer to Donnell lake) offers some fairly accessible turns. Skiing east out of Dodge Ridge past the Gianelli trailhead will get you into some of the better terrain quickly. Further up, heading north from the Hwy 108 sno-park and then moving upslope to the east will get you to some mellow exposed rolling ridges. Geographically, the area is generally low(er)-angle, punctuated by steeps. Expect lots of short mini-golf lines in interesting terrain. My recommendation would be to hike the area once the National Forests reopen and scout your lines. Don't end up surprised by one of the many cliffs here. If you're feeling industrious and want to venture further on multi-day trips, there is some interesting terrain between Granite dome and Blackhawk mountain, and some large alpine faces near the PCT between Leavitt peak and Molo mountain/Big Sam Overall, if this is your backyard for local laps this winter, I'm sure you'll find plenty of untracked turns to keep you happy all season. Pray for Snow!
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Hey fellow snow enthusiasts! I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to scheme about my winter adventures and indicators in the outdoor and resort industry point to dramatic shifts looming in the way we’re used to getting outdoors and recreating this winter. With several resort companies announcing reservation-only ticketing and continued uncertainty about how physical distancing requirements will impact operations and wait times on the mountains where we love to play, REI and other outdoor retailers are seeing early demand for equipment that will allow folks to get out to play in the snow without waiting in lift lines – think backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking!
I noticed that the Mountaineers in Washington State has already begun posting their winter sports classes and activities schedule, and snowshoeing classes are beginning to fill. And many local trail associations are beginning to prepare for an influx of snowshoers, XC skiers, and winter fat tire bikers. Just like we saw this summer on popular hiking trails, it’s likely that there will be a surge this fall/winter of folks who are hungry to get out and play (and it’s seeming likely that inventory in these categories may be hard to find).
So, we’re curious: how are you planning on getting outside this winter? Are you dusting off the XC skis you’ve always had around? Looking at a new pair of snowshoes or maybe a fat tire bike to try out a new way to play? Share your ideas below!
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@alex27 You two are about to have SO much fun! Even if you're used to having quite a bit more space at home, living in a van is not as crazy or difficult as it may seem. The challenges (yes, there will be some) will quickly be outshined by opportunities you'll find to discover and explore amazing places and meet great people. The best advice I can give is find some way to start with a trial run. Take a couple of weeks before you leave your traditional housing and practice what it will be like to live with your adventure partner in a confined space. The biggest adjustment is finding and getting in a routine of living in a small space together. Some tasks and chores will work better to team up on, some things are easier if one person just stays out of the way. Getting a feel for this before you take the plunge will make the first few weeks on the road a lot less daunting and frustrating, leaving you free to focus on your adventure. A trial run will also help identify what you need and don't need in your new four-wheeled home. Regardless of what kind of van you buy or build, there will be some amenities and parts of the layout that need adjustment once you start the day to day activities of living from a van. Spending a few nights or more will make these apparent in a way that a test drive or walk-through tour just can't do. Having a home base where you can unpack to make the adjustments will be far less stressful than having to try and find a place do do some carpentry or electrical work on the road with a van full of gear. Get educated on the living systems that will be in your van. Will it have wiring for lights and outlets fed by a solar charging system? Learn enough about 12v marine electrical systems so that you can safely troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Will it have a sink and potable/grey water system? Learn enough about plumbing that you can troubleshoot, repair and replace components. An afternoon trip to the hardware store to replace an electrical fuse or sink fitting is a fun and challenging part of the adventure; having to unpack your things into a hotel for a few days so that a mechanic/plumber/electrician can diagnose and repair your components is an expense of time and money that you could be using to get a whole bunch more miles down the road. I Hope this is helpful! Congrats on your decision to live home-free!
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@Dmitry Getting skin glue clean and keeping it sticky is a constant struggle. I use this method for getting skins clean and applying fresh glue:
That snow-catching can also be alleviated somewhat by how your skins are trimmed. Cutting straight taper lines at the tip, rather than convex or concave curves can help with this. There's a good picture in this article from BD:
For summer storage, I like to put a sheet of plastic mesh between the glue sides: This, or This. Then fold them up neatly in the bag they came with and store in a cool, dry place out of sunlight.
Raw ski base material that manufacturers use comes in thicknesses ranging from about 1mm-3mm. Touring skis will generally fall in the 1.2-2.2mm range. How many base grinds a ski can sustain depends on a LOT of things. It's hard to put an exact number on what constitutes 'typical' wear.
Bases take a beating every time you ski. How much that surface is impacted depends on a lot of things- how fast/far/often you go, the quality of snow you're skiing(icy snow is tougher on bases than soft snow), whether there's debris on the snow surface, etc.
When we're grinding a ski, we aim to remove the least amount of material necessary to achieve a flat base. We use a straightedge tool called a true bar to evaluate for flatness across the width of a ski. Depending on what's going on with a ski- scratches, uneven/warped base, etc., sometimes that means a few more cutting passes over the stone, sometimes a few less.
Contrary to what most folks imagine, it can actually be beneficial to have your ski bases tuned more often (at least 1x/season, 2x with frequent use) because we can usually keep the bases closer to perfect flat between services and don't have to cut as much material away with each shop visit.
Either way, you should be able to get around a dozen or so base grinds out of a touring ski with thin base material, barring any other factors.
Thanks for the questions!
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Hi @Dmitry! Thanks for always bringing great questions! You've come to the right place for these answers: You can come to any of our Bay Area stores to get all of your skis tuned. I and all of our Bay shop teams are really proud of the quality of ski tune work we do in our stores here. The process for tuning AT and resort skis is actually the same. We use a stone 'cutting' wheel to remove the minimum amount of base material that we can for each individual ski to be flat and free from nicks and gouges. If a gouge or scratch is deep, we first fill it in with p-tex material (the same stuff that ski bases are made of) so we don't have to remove too much of the ski bases' material to get them flat. Then we re-dress the stone wheel so that it cuts 'structure' into the base. Structure is a pattern of tiny grooves that allows the water formed from the top layer of snow melting as the ski passes over it to escape from under the ski base. Water's surface tension naturally creates suction which is felt as drag on the ski. We cut these little grooves- like the treads on your car's tires- to allow the water to pass more freely underneath and the ski to glide over the top. Good structure and wax = a ski that glides freely and fast. When storing skis, the most important element is a thorough cleaning and application of storage wax. Cleaning and adding wax removes moisture and contaminants, and seals the surface of the ski- and more importantly the steel edges- from moisture. If a ski sits all summer exposed to moisture, rust can develop and we have to remove more edge and base material to get all the rust off- this can shorten the lifespan of a pair of skis. All skis should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. The position of a ski when storing is not as important. There is historical lore that skis need to be stored a certain way so they don't flatten and lose their camber. Modern ski construction negates this- they will not deform or lose their shape under their own weight. Make sure nothing is stacked on top of a flat ski, or that nothing is pushing on a vertical ski causing it to bend, and they'll be just fine. Bindings and brakes should be just fine too. It's not a bad idea to back all your DIN settings off and let the brakes fully extend at the end of the season, but certainly not a death sentence for your bindings if you forget to do so. Just remember to have your shop re-adjust before the next season starts. I hope this is helpful!
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@Dmitry, Glad it was helpful- I did miss the insole step in what I described- Putting an insole in the liner/boot should always be the first step for fit. As for the quest for perfect fit, just remember that it's an evolving process. I've been in the "perfect" pair of boots for 3 seasons, and have had to adjust fit with foam pads and new insoles each season and sometimes mid-way through the season. Liners pack out, the musculature and flexibility of the foot/ankle changes between seasons and throughout the season. What feels/skis great in October will feel different in February. If you're on a quest for truly perfect fit, don't expect a 'one and done' solution. Also, a note regarding warmth: if your liner is too tight over the instep and blocks the veins there, it won't matter how thick or warm the liner is- if blood can't circulate, your feet will get cold. Just something to keep in mind (: Fingers crossed for a very snowy '20-'21!
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