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Author Topic: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?  (Read 5322 times)

Offline JeffOYB

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Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« on: February 02, 2011, 02:35:25 pm »
I just tromped a loop around my yard during this huge snowstorm we're getting and I noticed something lame about how my 210cm Forest skis are performing. Jarvinen Lapponia ("Rock") skis model. They're mounted so the tip swings down. When I tromp thru the deep stuff I can tell the skis want to work nice but the snow on the top-deck of the forward part of the skis just makes the tips fling downward and drag with each step. A normal XC ski has a weight-forward tip to keep the tips in the tracks. That's NOT deep snow skiing! I think I'd prefer to have the TAILS stay down -- LIKE A SNOWSHOE! -- to help track LIKE A RUDDER and to have the tips shed their snowload with each step, rising out of the deep like porpoises... :) I'd be happy to remount the bindings further forward to give a tail-drag if that seems like a good idea. I might just test anyway, but would rather not drill more holes if it's be tried before and is dumb. ???

PS: I remounted one of them 1.5" forward, to give forward balance, but once boots were in they were still tip-heavy -- but maybe just due to the rubber-stopper -- far less so than before, anyway. They didn't seem to handle much differently in the deep snow. Maybe the tail-heavy one was a little better. Maybe I should remount the other 2" forward. ??

PPS: I do notice that these skis have rather zero grip. They have a small grip section. I suppose I could add kickwax fore'n'aft. Is there a fairly easy way to add your own extra nowax grip? A friend said he uses an exacto blade to slice in rearward facing slits to refresh worn out nowax tread.

--JP
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 03:16:18 pm by JeffOYB »

Offline kinguq

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 04:13:26 pm »
Hi,

Instead of remounting the bindings why not just tape some weights to the tails, just to try out the concept before you start drilling more holes.

Kinguq.

Offline HOOP

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 08:17:14 pm »
Hi JeffOYB,

Yes back country skis should be "tail heavy" to raise the tips when you stride forward.  Also for turning around in the bush.  But not too tail heavy because there is a move where you lean forward and angle your foot forward to raise the tails up and over some debris, when you are dealing underbrush, or having to back out of a jam. 

I do not recommend just moving bindings around to attempt to compensate.      You can Google "back country ski binding mounting", or "mount bindings back country ski", etc, and search for the telemark sites, many of which have step by step instructions.    As far as I know, there are two methods for standard 75mm 3-pin or pinless:

1)  Chord center:   You measure from the upright tip to the back end in a straight line, i.e. as a tight string would look from tip to tail, NOT along the ski.  Divide by 2, then measure this distance from the back end, mark a line, and that's where the pin line goes for 3 pin bindings, or for pin-less, where the pin line would be.   Line your holes up relative to the pin line. 

2)  Balance point:  Find the balance point, and that’s the pin line.

Pros will then add or subtract a small increment on these lines.  Like on method 2, you might add a 1/2 a centimeter forward....maybe, or maybe not.     

Personally I have used the second method using my Voile Mountaineer 3-pin, and used the balance point for the pin line and been pleased.  But most of my other skis were mounted by ski shops and I don’t know what they used, but they are good.   

I recommend having the pros at a ski shop mount them.    If doing yourself, you need to make a jig, to space the holes, and make absolutely sure the binding is facing true forward.  Remember 3-pins are not symmetrical side to side, and there is a left and right binding, so its tricky to get the orientation just right.   Solomon BC or NNN BC bindings are symmetrical, but I don’t know where they mount.  The websites of the manufacturer would likely say.

You need a jig, or to make a jig using your binding as the template.    You also have to be careful with measuring the drill depth to not puncture or bulge out the bases with the binding screw.   It’s easier to mess up than you think!
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Online yardsale

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 09:15:53 pm »
The weight of the ski has little to do with how the ski performs in deep powder as has been suggested, you could mount at balance point back a quarter inch or so to improve flotation. The two most important characteriscs, however are the with and configuration of the tip. How wide is yours? 100mm is good for flotation. "Skinny skis" just don't make it in deep snow. The other characteristic is the configuration of the tip. I just bought some "G3 Soulfly"  backcountry tele skis with an "early rise" shovel. They float much better in deep snow and hardpack than my older skis.  This info is of little use here as I don't think any bc skis have adopted this innovation yet. I actually made some attachments to for bc skis which doubleed the width of the shovels. Worked quite well.

Offline kinguq

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 10:12:47 am »
I actually made some attachments to for bc skis which doubleed the width of the shovels. Worked quite well.

See http://www2.smumn.edu/deptpages/~finnovations/SkiTip/SkiTip.html

I have not tried this but it looks interesting...

Kinguq.

Offline lare

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 05:13:42 pm »
FYI:  I just noticed that LL Bean has a sale this weekend only.  They have Berwin bindings listed for $81 or $82 - that's the best p[rice I have seen on them for a long time.  They also have a pair of what they call "Boreal Snowshoes:"  these are really wide (123-90-115), 130 cm, no-wax skis with metal edges.  These skis already have the Berwins mounted on them - $180.  I know Bean is not necessarily a favorite destination for many, but the price is right.   Lare


Offline outsyd

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 02:04:26 am »
Definitely having "tip dive" is a major problem when trailbreaking in deep snow.  You can grind to a halt as the tips sink deeper and deeper on every stride, eventually having to back up and lift the tips onto the unbroken snow.

One aspect of this is the height of the tips.  Modern backcountry skis seem to be repurposed downhill skis.  Only minimally turned-up tips are needed at downhill areas.  The more tip you have, the better the skis will ride up on the snowpack whether you are breaking trail or gliding over a snow bump.

Another aspect is the binding design.  Free-heel ski bindings using a pivot/hinge system will allow the tip to rise as you step forward.  Then the placement of the binding to make the tip or tail heavier comes into play.

On the other hand, non-hinge bindings, such as the otherwise excellent Voile CRB's clamp the boot into the binding so that the stiff rocker sole of the boot pushes the ski tip down as the heel is raised off the ski.

In 3-pin days ski bindings were mounted with the pins a bit behind the ski balance point.  Say .5".  This was so that the ski tip would track in the ski track as the ski was lifted to move forward.  If the tip lifts out of the track, you have to deliberately place it back into the track.  However, little backcountry skiing is done in circumstances where this is a concern.

20 years ago you could buy emergency ski tips, that clamped onto the skis when you broke a tip during a trip.  These could also be used to make a higher tip that would tend to rise over the unbroken snow.  I've also heard of really desperate people tying strings to the tips to raise them.

Offline CampKat

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 01:57:50 am »
I think my Dad used to keep the company that made the emergency ski tips in business!  Haven't seen them anywhere in years!

Offline Telebob

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 05:37:05 pm »
Try some Zero Pivot bindings on some rocker skis and your tips will always float. I have some Blue House Mastro Pandas with some 22 designs Axle bindings. These have a free pivot mode which allows the binding to flex like a door hinge.  Put some skins on them and you can drag a lot of weight.  I have a Great Northern fiber glass sled (6') and I can go anywhere. We don't use heated tents in Vermont but we do have cabins with wood stoves. We go to ski the hills so the big fat ski works well for the descent. It also works well for hauling.

Go look at our web site  Boysweekend.com and check out the winter events to see what we do.

 

Offline SupGen

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Re: Should forest/deep-snow skis be TAIL-HEAVY?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 11:47:25 pm »
  There's one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet...the skis are attached to your feetas such, you control them, not the other way round. In deep snow you have to (MUST) press down with your heels and lift up with your toes! The skis will not (and are not intended to) do it all for you. My (1990's vintage) Europa 99s have plenty of tip-up and it's just something you have to do-move your feet and it'll be alreet!