View the most recent posts on the forum.


Author Topic: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?  (Read 4560 times)

Offline Hiline

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« on: November 19, 2010, 01:55:16 pm »
Question:  I have a pair of straight sided 195cm alpine skis that I will never use again so I was wondering I i could convert them to backcountry touring skis.  I have two sets of X-Country skis I got a the thrift store but upon further reading they would be too light for me (I'm 290lbs) even though they're about 195cm also.  I want to ski ungroomed flat land with a sled and I don't think the skinny skis will work.  Can I cut scallops in the bottom of the alpines and use them?


Offline kinguq

  • Supporter
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
  • Det finnes ikke darlig vaer, bare darlig klaer!
    • View Profile
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 04:07:52 pm »
Sure you can, but don't expect to kick and glide. The camber is generally too soft for that. You might be better off using skins rather than cutting scallops.

I have done this and it works well enough. And you can pick up used alpine skis for almost nothing at garage sales.

Kinguq.

Offline Moondog55

  • Supporter
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 1536
    • View Profile
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 10:30:08 pm »
Very few of us kick and glide while packing or hauling anyway, and you get the best control on any downhill with a ski designed from the start to turn.
Skins are the way to go, although I have never used them having wax still in my skiing kit

Offline Hiline

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 11:37:35 am »
Okay, I'm such a noob at this, if you're not kicking and gliding while hauling then basically you're shuffling your feet forward and using the skis for floatation over the snow? Instead of Using snowshoes.

EDit:Never mind, watched a video and answered my question.  Can't with till this weekend to try it out.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 11:47:49 am by Hiline »

Offline misterpatrick

  • Warming Up
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • View Profile
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 06:28:21 pm »
Shuffling along will work, but won't be pleasant. With XC skis you need either wax (or non-wax zone) or skins. Using skins when not going uphill wouldn't be that pleasant. It's all about the camber and the camber is all about your weight. When you weigh the ski, you are engaging the "wax" zone which gives you the kick. When you are not engaging that wax zone, the ski glides.

I really think that hauling with snowshoes and bringing skis along for day trips is the way to go. At least in the hot camping style we all seem to use.


Offline HOOP

  • Administrator
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 2030
    • View Profile
    • My YouTube Channel
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 10:46:43 pm »
Hi Hiline,

Like others have said, you can make them work, but they will be slow.  But slow is OK.    The advantage of skis over snowshoes is that you don't have to raise your legs.  You can shuffle efficiently.   There will be no kick pocket, so you can kick wax them stem to stern if you want.   You can get awesome grip that way, which is good if you are hauling a load.  But you won't have a glide.    Skins are also highly recommended.   I like kicker skins, but full length ones provide even more grip for steeper terrain. 

I still think a dedicated back country ski with a double camber (very rare), or a camber and a half (like the old Karhu's...BRING BACK THE BEAR!), are better, because you can get a bit of glide.   But if you are on a budget, use what you have, and get out there.  Its better than reading discussion forums like this!   :)

I have never cut a pattern into skis.  If you search Telemarktips.com, you can find detailed discussion about this.  There are pros and cons as I understand.   Results are mixed. 

I ALWAYS have snowshoes and use these in camp, and for hauling in twisty trails, or on slushy lake ice conditions.   In deep fresh snow, if I forget my skins, my skis shear and are useless, and I am switching using snowshoes.   Its all good, and I almost always trip with both skis and snowshoes.
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline Hiline

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2010, 10:43:44 am »
I hauled sled last year with snowshoes and had a blast. This year I got some used skis and boots and have been tinkering with them.  I think I'll get good at using the touring skis I have and then think about getting the proper backcountry ski next year.  I'm so large it's hard to get stuff for me.  My snowshoes are a pair or modified bear paws in 10x36 and a pair of magnesium military one's 12x42.  Both are really too small but they work okay.  The more I get out the skinnier I'll get and then they'll work better.  Thank you all for your reply's.  BTW it's -8 and snowing in Helena Montana right now.  Windchill of -30.  Wish I wasn't at work. :)

Offline oldboyscout

  • Stoking the Woodstove
  • ***
  • Posts: 171
    • View Profile
    • Earl & Sedor Photographic
Re: Turn Alpine skis into backcounty touring?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 10:52:26 am »
I remember a touring ski in the 70's that had shallow 1/2" wide grooves recessed in the base, in which was mohair climbing skin.  That should be easy enough to do and retain a good amount of glide.  Even without a double (or 1/1/2) camber, they'll outgo snowshoes.
check Colemans for cheap surplus skins to cut up.
Before there were good wide backcountry skis with sidecut, we did mount pin bindings to alpine skis, and it worked pretty well for serious backcountry skiing, not quite as well for touring.