As has been explored previously here, my tastes in ski gear (well, most gear, actually) is rather idiosyncratic. Driven by an overvaluation of simplicity and aesthetics, and at the moment, a strong need for affordability. I say all this as a sort of disclaimer: take my advice, and you may consider yourself misled down the road.
This evening I set out to change the binding setup on our 167cm K2 Summit Superlights. Great little skis. Bought ’em new right as we were moving up to Montana for 100 bucks. I say “our” because with three pin bindings M (women’s size 7.5-8) and I (men’s size 11-11.5) can ski the same skis without futzing around and changing anything.
I started out mounting plain Voile Mountaineer bindings on them, then in early 2009 added some 15mm risers. After using the Marquettes without risers, but with Voile wedges (an ancient piece of gear, pictured above, that the folks at RMO still have in the back room), I began to reconsider the conventional wisdom, namely that risers add leverage for turning, and are necessary to prevent binding drag on the snow while turning.
The Marquettes are, at 130mm underfoot, wider than the Mountaineers. I’m currently of the opinion that a binding closer to the snow surface provides a nicer feel, and that wedges serve too purposes: the first is to alleviate the effects of rocker launch, the second to provide a bit of forward resistance when going downhill.
You see, I don’t tele (yet). I do parallel turns in freeheel gear. Silly, one might say. Simple and cheap, sez I. In any case, I’m sure my “technique” has developed in all sorts of aberrant ways as a result. For my sort of skiing rocker launch is bad (I notice instep fatigue skiing hardpack), and having the toes ramp up to provide something to push against as you go downhill seems like it should be good, too. Heel rise might be silly in all shoes, and certainly in ski boots, when you’re to a certain extent fighting directly against gravity.
So I pulled the risers and remounted the Mountaineers on wedges. We’ll see how that goes. The method I’ve evolved for drilling skis, back when all I had was a dremel, was to drill first with a 1/8″ bit, then tap that hole with a 5mm tap. In this case I just had to drill out the epoxy in the old holes.
I like softish boots and short climbing wires (the metal wires are flipped up and back on steep hills to provide a better platform). Those are Voile’s shortest (48mm). My latest ski innovation, however, are anti-ice tapes for the heel pads. Back on Friday the wet snow on Brown Mountain built up underfoot and stuck to the pads, which made skiing harder than it needed to be. It tapes work for the toe pieces, why not for the heel? These are bits of old anti-ice tape glued on with Shoe-Goo. Very effective, and on all my skis now.
Now we just need some snow.