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Author Topic: Long distance fast light ski camping?  (Read 6491 times)

Offline JeffOYB

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Long distance fast light ski camping?
« on: November 27, 2013, 03:46:18 pm »
Bike packing is the rave new bike sport. With just 10 lbs of extra gear the dudes can go out on their bikes for day after day. The new bikepacks don't use any racks and are light and don't hurt bike-handling. People are loving it!

I haven't read anything about BC skiers adopting the "go far fast and light" approach that the new Ultralight gear might offer.

I was doing some of the math and it seems that carrying 2 days of food and winter gear even if of the new light breed still adds up to enough weight that ones speed and range is curtailed. Like, you can get it down to 25 lbs, finish weight of 17 lbs, say, ballpark.

I find that I can ski in the technical singletrack backcountry, with friends sharing the trail-breaking work, about 40 miles a day, max. I'd like to go for 50 miles and it could likely be done. But that's with carrying only a 1-day load of 15 lbs that drops to 5 lbs by the finish. That kind of weight doesn't impede me or shorten my range. But I notice that I'm darn sensitive to weight. It seems that 20 lbs would drop my range to 25 miles and double any misery factor. My "ski joy" for all-day trail-breaking hovers around a 10-15 lb pack.

Now... What about a sled? I know that sleds are popular for a lot of winter ski camping. But our mode has a twist: we ski only SINGLETRACK. ...Can a sled be set up for technical descending/cornering on hilly singletrack? I use a crossed-pole light sled that is pretty nimble but I haven't ever considered technical skiing with it. We push the limits of 55mm midlength skis and NNN-BC bindings on a low-top touring boot with light/minimal pivot cuff.

A sled might, just might, give us back our distance-range and let us do back to back 30-mile days with an overnight.

Whattaya think?

Offline evo83

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 04:41:23 pm »
I'm looking to do the same thing, 25+km days, fast skiing, small pack. I'm new to the game so I'll be interested to here what you come up with.

Good luck!

Offline gmcinty

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 05:01:31 pm »
I was surprised at the plan of covering 50miles (80km?) of backcountry per day. I intepret 'singletrack' and 'technical' to mean plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns although maybe not a lot of climbing over brush and logs. To me that is a pretty long daily distance for groomed trails with no pack for a reasonably fit skier and rather daunting for backcountry travel.

As far as the difference between weight on your back or on a sled, while it depends on the terrain and snow, I generally prefer a backpack for 20-30lbs or less and a sled for 50-60lbs or more.

You may find this site has a lot more information for those travelling with heavier loads. You might want to look into some of the ultralight backpacking sites for answers to your questions. My main words of caution though are to know what you're doing with the lighter loads and longer distances. You don't want to find yourself stranded 50 miles into backcountry and not be fully prepared and comfortable with your skills and equipment.

Offline HOOP

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 06:32:16 pm »
For a pulk and harness system for skiing, check out Ed's Skipulk.com. Good gear.

http://skipulk.com/
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 middlewoodlands

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2013, 10:46:30 pm »
Jeff I just read your article and you can get your stove/mess kit down from the proposed 2 lbs to about 5 oz for less than $10 if you use a Kmart grease pot and fancee feest style alchohol stove.  Great article and information and I like the questions you are asking.

Offline JeffOYB

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 09:24:04 am »
Thanks for the thoughts.

About the unusual long distance: yes, we're trying new angles. Going lighter and farther than usual.

It's along the lines of the Arrowhead 135 scene. Epic challenges. But on singletrack.

Weight messes up ski handling and speed. Sleds might also mess up handling, but they could get nearly all weight off the back and become a nifty high-performance rig in their own right.

I agree that this Forum/site seems more geared to traditional/expedition-type winter camping. Which is great! There's a model and range that is proven for this. We're interested in using the newer approaches to innovate on that plan where suitable.

I'll explore around. I see that Arrowhead has a forum and the UL backpacking forums might have ski sub-groups.

It seems that some of my weight and complexity might come from a more time-intensive view of an overnight. We might be able to revise that to just a bivvy for a few hours and keeping the eating somewhat constant and consistent. Possibly we wouldn't need any stove at all or any special meals. Increases potential misery factor but reduces stand-around factor. Really, motion is key to warmth, even slow motion. And eating can be just "more of the same" constant snacking routine. I'm not sure that we're running at a deficit during the day so maybe "dinner" in "camp" doesn't need to be much bigger.

Water could still be a weight problem. I don't dig starting out with 16 lbs of fluids for 2 days. And I don't dig standing around pumping a filter. So what to do?

Offline ravinerat

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 09:09:40 pm »
Try xcskiworld.com.  All sorts of toboggans for pulling kids while on skis.

RR
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Offline JeffOYB

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 04:00:58 pm »
? Are any of the tobaggans (for kid-pulling, etc.) designed for SINGLETRACK? That's our area of interest. We know that sleds are great for pulling on flat, even surfaces. But what about singletrack? That is, for technical handling, steep up and downs, near trees, with sideslopes...

Offline HOOP

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 06:43:31 pm »
Hi JeffOYB,

Look up http://skipulk.com/    They have models with retractable aluminum fins for preventing side slip off slopes.  Any aluminum fins will cause drag, so Ed designs them to retract up out of the way when not needed.   His pole harness options are excellent.

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 ravinerat

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 07:38:28 pm »
Although I am not personally familiar with all the models above I have seen one. I think it is the raised one for pulling kids on the tracked set. A local ski area (Hardwood Hills) had them to demo last year. I'm sure they are expensive but would last for many years. I always do a cost/ year I what I buy.

RR
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Offline Moondog55

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 03:32:49 pm »
If by single track you mean skating there are plenty of kids stuff around, but not cheap.
most of them do double duty as wheeled trailers for bikes. Imported into Australia by mates I think they cost about $2100- counting freight and duty+ GST

Offline JeffOYB

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 12:41:02 pm »
Singletrack isn't skating. It's singletrack! : )  Following one narrow trail, like a hiking trail. Breaking trail. Singletrack also implies technical skill required.

I need to find some hardcore proven "beta" for sleds and singletrack. I can't believe I'm the first to conceive it.

Like, side-slope slippage isn't really the main concern. It's just plain dump-overs. On singletrack you wind around a lot. When breaking trail in a forest even when you're not winding you're coming close to objects and changes in terrain, humps of even 6" will easily overturn any of the sleds that I've used. I find that I really have to pack them low and minimally. People will be hauling in sleds for our overnighters into the woods and they'll be packed 10" higher than the sled-sides -- and they'll be mostly on their sides. So we need to concept to be robust and dialed in. And very light and fast. Whew! ...But maybe it's out there. Maybe it just needs to be a bit wider than what we've used. Of course, more width is lots less handy in other ways.

Online kinguq

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 04:12:19 pm »
I found Scandinavian style pulks to be quite stable in ski tracks as they have runners at about the average ski separation. However they tend to be a bit on the heavy side for what you are contemplating.

How about two lightweight plastic sleds, one on the bottom and one upside down covering your gear. If the sled rolls over, the bottom becomes the top and you just keep going...

Of course the most important consideration in any situation where you are breaking trail frequently is to have a decent sized group, say 4 minimum. That way you can exchange the lead in turn with the relieved leader falling to the back. The leader can go all out for just a few minutes, breaking trail and then dropping to the back to rest. You can make great time that way.

Kinguq.

Offline Moondog55

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 11:37:25 pm »
If it's not skating then over here we simply call it skiing.
Even the best of us would be lucky to do 12 to 15k a day with all the gear needed to be comfortable in our soggy winters, fast and light tho 20k isn't that hard but is is uncomfortable at night sometimes, we envy you fellers your - 30 nights with dry air and snow. Better 2 smaller sleds in tandem than one big one. The trick is simply to keep all the kit to an absolute minimum

Offline Tomd

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Re: Long distance fast light ski camping?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2013, 06:02:49 pm »
I tried pulling a sled on some hilly terrain and it kept flipping over. However, that was partly due to it's design - it was a kid's sled made by Pelican (the inexpensive blue one). Also, it almost pulled me over backwards once. Fortunately, I had Voile release bindings, otherwise, I could have wound up with a broken ankle. I'm no expert skier, so that didn't help, either.

What kind of shelter are you taking? My tent alone (an old EMS 2 person winter tent) weighs about 4 kg. How people winter camp with lightweight gear is a mystery to me. I've seen it done here in California (Yosemite) in mild, at least for you up North, weather and even then, I had a lot of gear between my tent, clothes, sleeping bag, skis, shovel, cook gear and miscellaneous stuff. I have pictures posted here somewhere, Trip Reports, I think. I will look.

Found the link, theYosemite trip posts are still there with pics from a couple of trips of mine and another member I went with on my first trip there.
http://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=385.msg3053#msg3053
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 06:15:18 pm by Tomd »