Luc Mehl, of the Selway packraft trip and awesome ski videos, has written an article for BPL disclosing many of the secrets of winning the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic. One of the better reasons to pay BPL money I’ve yet to come across.
Timely too, as the first thaw of the year has come to the Flathead Valley. The best skiing of the year is almost certainly ahead of us, but many other and very different things are, as well.
Melted snow is pretty nice. (Both photos from the S Fork Flathead, not far below it’s creation at the confluence of Danaher and Youngs Creeks: a place I must visit several times this year.)
I’ve had plenty of time to think about such things, as my ski accident the weekend before last has combined with colonoscopy prep today (read: no energy during the day and staying within 10 meters of the toilet all evening) to make the last two weeks a wash as far as training goes.
But psyche has been rapidly building, to be discharged once my leg is all the way back.
Luc’s article and my free time got me started on a new project last night: cold weather touring boots for mileage-oriented ski trips. I took the old T2s, removed the tongue, ground down the back ridge to nothing (I cut the lean lock assemblage off last winter), cut the uppermost heel tab off the inside, and glued some sticky foam into the top of the heel pocket. I also shoe gooed some waterproof fabric over the front opening, and replaced the lower strap/buckle (one was broken) with units from a pair of Supercomps (thanks again B). These buckles tighten much more than the stock ones, vital given my skinny foot and the lack of bulk resulting from the lack of a tongue.
The liners are Intuition snowboard boot liners, remolded for these boots.
I’m not sure about the weight, our scale has gone missing since the move up here last fall. Most relevant is the massive degree of forward motion, pretty good rearward motion, warmth, and waterproofness. They’re not meant to ski downhill well, with the total lack of forward support, though I imagine I’ll use them for that anyway.
Most exciting of all, a potentially very useful piece of gear sprung to life for zero dollars and a few hours of fiddling. Very exciting. Given that I plan to do the Ski Classic over a year from now, it is not too early to start getting things in order.
Backwards range of motion is key for an efficient stride.
You can see the cuts made to take off the tab at the top of the heel pocket. This restricted range of motion quite a bit. The tacky foam is to ensure maximum heel retention, and thus fight blisters.