Mar
25
2014
Français

Ski conditions and a quick skins review.

Weather this winter is definitively dry and sunny. Last week-end, it was sunny again but the wind was the trouble maker. Turning a nice bue bird day in a chilly day. The North wind was very present in the White Pass area. With the windchill, in the morning temperatures were close to -30c. With gusts up to 50km/h, the wind moved a bit of snow too. Snow conditions are not too bad, it is still possible to find some good soft and cold snow. It is not deep, but enough to have some good sensations. Snowpack stability is very variable, from very good to very touchy, all the snow we got after the january warm up and rain, is set up above a nice rain crust, in some places it bonds very well, in some other places, it is just waiting for the little addition of energy (a skier) to produce a nice big avalanche. This rain crust is our most important problem for snow stability, and it is going to be worst when the temperatures will really rise. So if you want to have some good trips, you need to ski smartly, finding a sheltered area from the cold wind, good snow and good stability. But with a bit of reflexion, it is possible to find a good area, and with good route finding you can have a lot of fun.

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Snow was a bit wind affected, but with a good reading it was possible to find areas with still soft enough to make some nice turns.

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Skins are a very important pieces of equipment. Bad skins or skins in bad shape and it can ruin your day.A couple of years ago, I have been very disappointed by the new glue-less climbing skins (Gecko). It was promising, but they had some serious  lack of efficiency, especially  when it came to use them in our real cold winter, the adherence was far less efficient than the glue. So I was a bit reluctant to use some of them again, but  I tried another model from High Trails the Swiss brand. The glue or what works like a glue feels smooth and rubbery to the touch, not gooey and tacky.Now I have been using them  for about 20 times and I am very happy. It works good and it really makes things easier. It is way  easier to peel off, put on or take off your skins. When it is cold, I really appreciate to do not have to remove my gloves to manipulate the skins. I am using the Mix model, 50% mohair/50% nylon. The tip, is a classic plastic and wire system, but it works good and keep the skin well in place. On the tail, the system is easy to use and seems to work well.They have a very good compromise between grip and glide for a very competitive weight. Glide is very good, not as good as 100% mohair from Coll-tex but way better than G3 or Black D. They weigh less than most of the G3 and Black D skins.Dirt and  other gunk are not adhering too well and the adhesive side seems to be easy to clean up, just with clear water.Compared to the Gecko, they works good even in very cold temperatures. I let my skis and my skins out for a night with temperature less than -30c, in the morning it was still -31c and I had no problem to put the skins on and they stayed very well.They only thing I do not know  is how long they will last. So far after  a bit more than 15 days on them, I did not see any change.So far I really like them, so easy to set up, to remove and to store. I also like light skins with good glide and they are very good for  that.

So far they are not easy to find in North America, but it will come. But not get lured by poor imitations.

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