View the most recent posts on the forum.


Author Topic: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs  (Read 5477 times)

Offline rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« on: September 06, 2015, 12:23:53 am »
I have been browsing around this forum for the majority of the Summer.  Struck upon this place by its numerous glowing mentions of the Ã…snes surplus skis from Coleman's.  Eventually decided on the 190 for my 145 lbs based on a reference to the Marines specifying that size for people under 160 lbs.  They showed up and eventually I mapped out an almost flat length of kitchen floor the correct size to lay them out.  The wax pocket seems very small weighting both skis evenly.  Standing with my toes on the balance point a crisp American bill shows around 50cm of movement, inexactly, barefoot in a pair of light shorts.  Boots, warm clothes and a daypack are certainly going to cut into that further. 

Does that sound about right for how these should fit or should I be looking at the 200?  Them being sliding snowshoes instead of having an acceptable glide has been bothering me for a month now.  The former would be a foot shorter and a lot more maneuverable if that is going to be the case here.

Edit:  Overnight it occurred to me temperature and humidity may be playing on my mind and the skis.  It has been +90 F and above 90% humidity every time I laid them out to determine the wax pocket.  Not much question why I was indoors dreaming of snow.  Winter weather can safely be described as 100 degrees cooler and half the humidity percentage.  Surely that must have some effect on flex but not enough to counteract function.  Below zero a larger surface area in contact with the snow is a very good thing for the most part. 

Kaifus lives not too far away so his experience with these skis may be helpful.  Or his need to sell them due to striking upon the same problem?

http://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=2578.0
 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 09:21:50 am by rando »

Offline HOOP

  • Administrator
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 2030
    • View Profile
    • My YouTube Channel
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 10:06:07 am »
Hi Rando.  I do not own that model of ski, so I do not know the camber or flex.   Here's my take on skis, camber, weight and length:

The only skis I have personally seen where a person could be under-weight for the ski camber, are skinny track skis.  These can be so stiff that with your hands you cannot push them together and make them touch base to base.  For these skis, your body weight matters, especially because groomed ski tracks are packed hard and flat. 

But for back country skis, they are almost always a soft camber,usually quite easy to push together with your hands.  I would not be surprised that the paper test is quite narrow.  Waxing for a back country ski is very different than for a track ski, unless your backcountry trail is packed hard like a groomed track ski trail.  With any sort of softer base snow, especially when you are breaking trail in unpacked snow, the softer camber will perform better for grip because it will compress the snow that much more to lock the crystals, so the grip surface (scales or grip wax), can grip without the fluffier snow shearing.

I think for BC skis for making distance (not downhill skiing, not telemark turning), you should pick a length as long as possible for your body shape (leg stride) that is comfortable for you.  For me that is 190-195, and I am only 5'4" with stubby legs, and without gear, I hover around 150 lb's +/-.  The charts would have me on a shorter ski, but I found the 190-195 best for me in the skis I own.  Yes the tips will get tangled more in the bush for my short leg stride, but generally in the bush its impossible to ski where I go, so I have to use snowshoes anyways in the bush.

In some soft snow conditions, despite my softer camber BC skis, I have still experienced snow shear and had no grip with wax or scales.  Maybe my skis are too long, but my bigger heavier buddies on 200's also hit the same issues, so I think its the unpacked snow shearing.  In these cases I have to put on the kicker skins (short climbing skins).   Then one is shuffling along, but that's what happens.  In fact my un-skinned skis of any length including my 180's often cannot climb any sort of incline of unpacked snow (e.g. rolling portage trail) without shearing and slipping, because the snow is very airy and fluffy under the trees, and same for bigger heavier buddies.  Its either time for the skins, or lots of herringbone, side stepping, and using the poles.  On the way back over my own freshly packed trail, the grip is there and its a pleasure to ski with kick and glide.  Breaking trail in deep snow is often a shuffle fest of no fun.

For waxable BC skis in deep snow, I will wax that grip wax pocket differently than I would with a track ski.  Sometimes its narrower, sometimes its wider.  Its usually decision between waxing long with a harder wax or short with a softer wax.  As the temperature gets warmer, there is more caking and friction with a softer wax. 
So its always an adventure!   :)   I always carry several waxes colder and warmer than what I think I will be in, just in case, and always my kicker skins in my daypack. 

In general, my theory is that if the BC ski is at all soft, I would suggest first picking the length of  ski that will suit your stride and variety of snow conditions (unpacked snow vs. packed), and purpose (straight ahead skiing vs. downhill turning), then go for the length, and don't worry about the weight charts.

Your kitchen floor may not be exactly flat?  If those 190's are good for your stride, give them a try and carry a good wax kit with you, and they may work out perfect.  I should also note that what a company marks their skis as for the total length is often not accurate.  I own skis marked as 190 that are the same length as another make of skis marked as 195's.  I say give those skis a workout, and see what happens!   :)
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 Kaifus

  • Supporter
  • Hauling Sled
  • ****
  • Posts: 494
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015, 11:04:04 am »
Hello Rando, they're awesome skis for the money and for backcountry use. Give them time. When I bought mine I wasn't sure what size to get so I bought both the 190's and 200's, I kept the 200's and sold the 190's but only because I didn't have use for them. I measured the marks from when I did the paper test on the 200's and they were abit under 17 inches. I was never really concerned with kick and glide as I was always using them for backcountry skiing and also pretty much always while hauling a sled but they did okay. Last year I bought a pair of waxless skis and I don't see going back to the Asnes but that's just because on the Asnes I had to use kicker skins for man-hauling which is not as efficient as using a waxless ski, otherwise I'd have no intention of using something else. I still think the Asnes are beautiful skis compared to the silly graphics they're putting on currently produced skis and I like the way the Asnes are made in Norway but my Madshus are made in China by someone who probably has no concept of snow or skiing.

Offline rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 04:49:45 pm »
That was a very valuable explanation of what makes a good back country ski, HOOP.  Your personal experience and reminder to buy kicker skins was much appreciated as well Kaifus.  Thanks for the replies. 

I used to do a fair amount of Winter camping and snowshoeing with a pack.  Shearing snow and trudging along at the expense of great labor is very familiar.  Moving back up here wasn't in the plan when I sold off the majority of my gear.  So since I was going to have to start fresh I decided to try true cross country skiing.  Lakes very much fit that description so I wanted metal edges.  Initially the plan was to get Nansen's for every day use and a set of midrange classics that could fit in tracks or handle untracked snow.  When life allowed I would be plenty acquainted with the wider skis and raring to get them out on something challenging like the Superior Hiking Trail.  Thinking that would be an excellent place to reboot my camping skills and spend the day exploring the back country unencumbered.

The similarity to these USGI skis caught my eye more than the variances.  The one glaring difference I expected ended up being possibly their greatest shared trait, not holding grease.  If asked to describe the first thought that came to mind regarding a military ski it would have been unforgiving and stiff enough to facilitate carrying a wounded soldier across terrain barren of snow.  Now it is very apparent that they will be a very good match for the ungroomed terrain I plan to ski.  Also that I should find a longer set of skis better suited for lakes and packed trails that better protect the grip wax from sharp ice.  The surplus skis are plenty long since they will see a lot of woods and brush.   

  Been plenty busy hiking with heavy poles and doing other preparation.  Had I not bought a nice little pile of waxes and accessories the issue of marking out a kick pocket would have waited until snow flew.  Instead a heat wave hit and I found myself engaged in a hair raising situation (groan) where I wanted to stop smoothing the base at a very defined point.  After I cleaned a believable amount of dirt out of the base for 20 year old skis that had been stored in a warehouse.  Could see the bases were really oxidized and I had time to go at them with fibertex instead of letting the snow abrade it away.  With all of that settled now, they just need to be tuned of sharp burrs on the base edge before being waxed and put away.  In case you couldn't tell I'm really looking forward to using these.

   

Offline HOOP

  • Administrator
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 2030
    • View Profile
    • My YouTube Channel
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 01:05:58 pm »
Also that I should find a longer set of skis better suited for lakes and packed trails that better protect the grip wax from sharp ice.

Hi Rando:  Re ice scraping kick wax off:  This happens quite often in the back country after freeze-thaw cycles, or freezing rain.  An ice crust, or buried ices crust layers under softer snow will scrape your kick wax away, no matter what ski, even the very stiff double cambered skis.  I recall a trip with my old Atomic Mountain's, 195, 59-50-55 (quite narrow, steel edged), and these are true double camber, so stiff I cannot squeeze them together with my hands, or just barely.  Anyways in early March after several freeze-thaw events, skiing on a lake on a cold day, the ice crust scraped all my kick wax off within 200 m.   I re-waxed, same thing happened, and I had good base binder prep too.  To make matters worse, all the snow underneath was melted and refrozen blobs, no fine crystals, so there was nothing for the kick wax to grip into, even if the ice had left it on.  The only way I could move was to put on the kicker skins.  The alternative which I did not have on me, is of course the evil Klister!   :)  Klister (either Universal or for the temp) is designed to ski on ice crystals and melted and refrozen ball bearing or corn snow.  I hate removing klister so I never bring it, but there is no doubt that klister rules in the icy conditions.
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 rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 03:26:07 pm »
That bit of info I did know already.  I have an entire containment system and separate set of tools for that awful stuff including a mini travel iron just for base klister.  In fact the longer pair of skis I mentioned are going to be devoted to the evil stuff.  Looking back I see I said wax but meant wax over klister for the really icy stuff like a frozen lake.  Mohair kicker skins are all that will ever touch everything else in challenging conditions.

Since I'm here I might as well give an update on the surplus skis.  I bought in the Summer because I had a feeling they were going to take a lot more work than a normal sane person would put into them.  As expected the whole of last night and a couple hours this morning were spent thrown away before finally seeing a ray of hope.  Long story short, 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and soapy water used in thousands of strokes followed by violet fibertex and a brass brush finally exposed a clean layer of base material.  When I gave up last night there was almost no doubt I'd need an expensive base grind.  There are worse Labor Day projects.       

Offline Kaifus

  • Supporter
  • Hauling Sled
  • ****
  • Posts: 494
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2015, 09:06:13 pm »
Those sure don't sound like the skis I got. On mine the steel edges were rust free and the sintered bases were clean and like new.

Offline rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2015, 11:28:21 am »
I thought it looked really oxidized, as do yours in this picture, compared to a new ski.  Being too cheap to spend $70 on a stone grind on $20 skis I decided to clean it up myself.  What is underneath that layer of dried out p-tex is dark black like the groove.  They should actually hold wax now.



Edit:  After hot scraping the first layer of yellow soaked completely into the base a few spots.  Gave me a scare for a second until I realized what happened.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:20:26 pm by rando »

Offline rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2015, 01:44:54 pm »
Finally got the pictures off my camera.    First is the finished product before applying a coat of storage wax.  Second is the untouched kick zone from the same vantage point on that ski.  Last is a juxtaposition of as delivered and halfway through sanding. 

   

   


Offline HOOP

  • Administrator
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 2030
    • View Profile
    • My YouTube Channel
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2015, 06:10:04 pm »
Good job Rando - those bases look nicely restored and filled with wax. 
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 rando

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Surplus skis or surplus to my needs
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2015, 02:06:00 pm »
Just want to touch on the process I used a little bit more since these seem to be a popular recommendation here.  Mostly because I didn't really figure out the order of operations until the fourth ski, second set.  You will have to remove all trace of structure to refresh the base

Materials needed: 180 grit sandpaper, 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, medium abrasive fibertex, sanding block, steel/brass/bronze brush, STIFF nylon brush, lint free towel, wet rag, small cup with cold water/dish soap solution, tape to mark off grip zone.

1.  Mark out your grip zone with a couple layers of tape that won't leave residue.  I used painters tape which eventually disintegrated during the wet sanding.

2.  Wipe off the base and wrap the 180 grit around the narrow side of the sanding block.  The ski is too wide to lock the paper into the tacks.  Use even medium pressure full length strokes from tip to tail being sure to clean off the base and sandpaper of removed p-tex every couple passes.  It will get clogged up quick so keep and eye on it and shift it 1" or so to expose a fresh sanding surface regularly.   Do a couple passes in the opposite direction once or twice to really clean off the hairs but be sure to do numerous tip to tail afterwards.  Clean the base and sandpaper often so you don't push dirt or dry p-tex into the base.  Your goal here is to knock off the structure but not go below it.  Be careful and stop earlier than later.

3.  Wrap fibertex around the wire brush in the same fashion and repeat the process with again only a few passes ending at the tip.  20 passes or so total.  Wipe off base.  Repeat the process with a wire brush always ending with multiple tip to tail passes.  Wipe off the base.

4.  HARD scrubbing motion with stiff nylon brush until the base is polished and hopefully looking much darker.  Still very cloudy but darker. 

5.  Spread water/soap solution on the base a couple times to get it wet.  Orient wet/dry sandpaper across the narrow side of the sanding block and use nice even strokes tip to tail.  Keep it very wet so the excess carries off any particulates.  Shift to clean new sandpaper often.  You shouldn't need as many passes here to get a smooth surface.  Wipe it off with your wet rag and then dry it with your lint free towel.  It will be very very grey.  Let it dry a few minutes.  Run your finger down the base and see if it feels smooth or still a little dry and ragged. 

6.Repeat steps 3 & 4, repeat steps 3 & 4 again remembering to wipe the base off often.  You should be able to assess if the dry p-tex is gone by feel and appearance.  IF it feels smooth with just a light texture from the metal brush you can apply texture.  If not start all over again up to this point with a strong focus on spending the majority of your time on the finishing steps that remove little or none of the base. 

7.  It is really cold here so I want a very light linear structure.  I accomplished this with another light pass of 180 grit and use of the metal brush.  100 grit or less will give you a more pronounced structure for wetter conditions that you can try to make any pattern you want with. 

8.  You cannot brush the base out too much except for with hard pressure on the metal brush.  The unfinished but highly polished base will not be pitch black until wax is applied.  The more time you spend with the fibertex and metal brush the faster the ski will be.

A few example pics of the structure and my finished very cold structure.

   
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 02:39:32 pm by rando »