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Author Topic: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!  (Read 11448 times)

Offline JeffOYB

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Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« on: January 22, 2010, 01:43:45 pm »
Anyone here know of or HAVE any forest skis?

I believe they're Finnish.

The concept has been around awhile. It's a ski that's like 280cm long and normal/wide width -- 65mm, say. They're used apparently mostly in springtime to stay on top of the snow. --To go bear-hunting with! They're also used mostly with RUBBER high boots. Crazy stuff!

I've never seen a pair but I've enjoyed reading about them and would likely buy if I ever had the chance. Then I'd be sure to proudly strap them to a roof rack when going on a trip... : )

Here's more: http://outyourbackdoor.com/article.php?id=556

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 02:55:26 pm »

Offline Forestwalker

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 12:38:53 am »
Anyone here know of or HAVE any forest skis?

I believe they're Finnish.

The concept has been around awhile. It's a ski that's like 280cm long and normal/wide width -- 65mm, say. They're used apparently mostly in springtime to stay on top of the snow. --To go bear-hunting with! They're also used mostly with RUBBER high boots. Crazy stuff!

A ski binding that can handle rubber boots is very usefull in spring. Think about all those days with almost wet snow, rotting ice in creeks, etc. With a rubber boot -- and plenty of socks -- you can be out in that kind of conditions. Nokian makes rubber boots that has the traditional square sole in the toe end, groves for the cable in the rear, and felt liners.

My skis are only 240 cm long (by 75 mm), never tried anything longer. They are no fun in dense scrub, but float surprisingly well even in loose snow. See http://www.tegsnas.se/rajd2.html for pictures. If we had more deep powder and less scrub birch here I'd incest in the 270 by 95...

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 09:51:49 am »
The bush is so thick around here that these would be unuseable. My 190's are bad enough. I may try making a short, very wide ski just to see how it works.

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Offline HOOP

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 11:39:33 am »
Good links to other discussions. 

Karhu (Finland branch of the company), list two "forest" skis on their website, both of which are cut straight for tracking on flat terrain:  the "Era Cap BC" at 70mm width  and up to 250 cm in length, and the shorter and fatter "Jakt BC" at 108mm width and 160 cm length.   Long and narrow, or shorter and fatter.   http://www.karhuskiing.fi/?page=Product&i18n=en_US&ca=skiis&cCat=44

I would love to get the long skis for a serious long expedition trek on flat terrain/lakes, but in our forests here, which are incredibly thick, I would still need my snowshoes on my sled for camp chores and portages. 

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 ABU

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 03:34:14 am »
Anyone here know of or HAVE any forest skis?

I believe they're Finnish.

The concept has been around awhile. It's a ski that's like 280cm long and normal/wide width -- 65mm, say. They're used apparently mostly in springtime to stay on top of the snow. --To go bear-hunting with! They're also used mostly with RUBBER high boots. Crazy stuff!

I've never seen a pair but I've enjoyed reading about them and would likely buy if I ever had the chance. Then I'd be sure to proudly strap them to a roof rack when going on a trip... : )

Here's more: http://outyourbackdoor.com/article.php?id=556

The skis in the enclosed link are the Lapponia skis made by Finnish Jarvinen factory. They are still in the market, and here in Finland they cost about $200 per pair. They are glassfiber skis with wooden core, available with two different bottoms, waxfree and waxable. Max 280 cm long. As in the link was mentioned, the tip of these skis make the trick: they are flexible, which helps a lot skiing in deep powder. However, the Lapponia is just a poor man's copy from the original Lahdenpera skis that I own. Unfortunately, Lahdenpera skis are not made for 20 years, which makes them rare and very wanted even here in Finland. Today, the Jarvinen Lapponia are definately the best forest skis available.

Karhu makes only up to 250 cm long skis. The third company, Peltonen, makes up to 270 cm skis. Tips of Karhu and Peltonen skis are far from the quality of Jarvinen.

The Swedish Tegsnas wooden skis are very beautiful but the standard Raid is shorter (270 cm) and more narrow (70 mm), so they do not flotate very well. The wide (95 mm) Tegsnas skis flotate very well, but they are not that nice to ski, IMO. The Finnish Vilmiko wooden skis may be the best forest skis today, with 305 cm length and 75 mm width, but the price is about $600 :(

Finally, here one pic that shows how well the long forest skis can flotate 200 lbs of Finnish man in 1 meter of powder snow 8)

« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 04:05:42 am by ABU »

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 06:46:37 am »
I grant you they will float well and probably dispurse weight well on ice but at 5kg they way THREE TIMES  as much as a more typical BC ski. That is one hell of a lot of mass to initiate every stride.  They would be EXHAUSTING IMO.

Offline ABU

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 07:04:45 am »
Exhausting? I can easily ski 2.5 miles per hour in snow conditions of the pic. What is really exhausting is the skis that do not flotate you, i.e. typical BC skis...

Offline HOOP

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 07:08:33 am »
Hi Abu,

Thanks for that educational post.  Do you have a web link to Jarvinen?   I searched and cannot find their website.  I only see sites that mention them, not the company home page.

I know very little about the big forest skis.  We don't tend to see those kind of ski around here being used, although I do do see the old, huge wooden skis mounted on walls here and there for decoration (big Finnish comunity here in Thunder Bay, as you know!   :)).    Our cross country ski club has several pairs on the wall.   There may be some old timers still using them out in the bush on old logging roads and lakes.   I heard that in the old days, people used to spend a lot of time cutting trails in the bush and maintaining them.  If they are not cut every year, they get covered in blowdown and grow in with shrubs.  Even our old logging roads around here tend to grow in with shrubs, so one of the issues here is the lack of open country without undergrowth for using long skis.   Our forests are also very rugged with the Shield rock, with sharp changes in topography, where snowshoes have evolved as the system to get around.  Our big open bogs still have problem undergrowth for skis to get caught up in.    That photo of you looks like the open forests without a tall shrub layer, and deep snow, that would be found at high elevations in the western mountains of North America.   However there (a few thousand km's west of where I live!), they have slopes to deal with, so from what I know, folks there are using the shorter BC skis for turning.  

I wonder if there are people in our northern prairie regions using the big forest skis?  Not sure about the snow depth and shrub issues there.  

There is a heritage type shop and school just south of me in Grand Marias, Minnesota, called North House Folk School,  http://www.northhouse.org/  where one can sign up for a course and make big birch forest skis.  So the art and craft are still alive.
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 ABU

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 07:38:10 am »
Hi Abu,

Do you have a web link to Jarvinen?   I searched and cannot find their website.  I only see sites that mention them, not the company home page.

Our forests are also very rugged with the Shield rock, with sharp changes in topography, where snowshoes have evolved as the system to get around.  Our big open bogs still have problem undergrowth for skis to get caught up in.    That photo of you looks like the open forests without a tall shrub layer, and deep snow, that would be found at high elevations in the western mountains of North America.   However there (a few thousand km's west of where I live!), they have slopes to deal with, so from what I know, folks there are using the shorter BC skis for turning.  

I wonder if there are people in our northern prairie regions using the big forest skis?  Not sure about the snow depth and shrub issues there.

I think that Jarvinen company makes poor businness, because they do not provide any kind of web site. Just compare Tegsnas or Vilminko sites (only in Finnish).

Indeed, certain type of terrain favour certain type of gear for moving. You have snowshoes, we have forest skis, and this is not because of coincidence but long tradition of human innovation and experience. Of course we have shrubs in Finland, but the skier can avoid them quite easily, at least in nothern Finland.

Geographic distribution of long forest skis seems to quite limited. They are common in Finland and Sweden and in western part of Russia (thoug Russian skis tend to be VERY wide but not that long). In Norway people use mostly normal BC skis, because the Norwegian terrain is covered with mountains and deep walleys between them.

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2010, 03:21:34 pm »
Abu,

I am unclear. Do you have a pair of these skis?  If you are talking about managing 2.5 mph with these skis trail breaking then I agree. That is fast.

Offline Forestwalker

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2010, 11:35:51 pm »
How wide are these skis? I know of someone who makes skis, and have been thinking about giving him some money...

Offline ABU

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 01:39:43 am »
Abu,

I am unclear. Do you have a pair of these skis?  If you are talking about managing 2.5 mph with these skis trail breaking then I agree. That is fast.

Yes, there is always a pair of skis, like in any other skiing type. Without a sled 2.5 mph is a piece of cake. With a sled the skiing speed is around 2 mph. Usually we ski 10-12 miles in a day, but the longest days have been 17 miles with a sled in deep powder.

Offline ABU

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 01:52:51 am »
How wide are these skis? I know of someone who makes skis, and have been thinking about giving him some money...

Traditionally the long forest skis are 3" (75 mm) wide. The binding site is very important for floating. First measure the sole length of your skiing boots. Then measure the total length of your skis (directly from end to tip). The bindings must be situated so that the middle point of the length of your skiing boots are 45.5 % of the total length of the skis, percentage is from the end of the skis. By that way the skis flotate at the maximum rate.

Offline JeffOYB

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Re: Forest skis? 280cm of fun! Talk about FLOAT!
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2010, 10:27:22 am »
For those considering making their own, don't forget the flexy tips! My hunch is that typical wood project skis are way too stiff for the deep snow forest mission.

About weight... were they all about 5kg? I'd think that might be the max. A 75mmx250cm fiberglass ski should be that much or too much to manage. I agree that you surely have to be careful of weight. I'd noticed that for their length some of the forest skis were fairly narrow -- maybe as little as 65mm or so -- that helps for weight. The one poster mentioned not liking the 90mm -- maybe if you don't get carried away with width the weight and performance will take care of itself. ?? All unknowns to me!

Here in Michigan we have thousands of miles of two-track roads. These skis might be dandy for such conditions. That's where I'd intend to use them. I think Michigan in general has a decent mix of open terrain and fields where they'd be good for floating.

The big question: HOW TO GET SOME OVER HERE INTO THE USA???!!!

Perhaps a way to test the concept would be to try a set of the more available 220's we have here...to see if more float offsets the greater weight. ...If our 220 test ski was wood maybe we could even try shaving the tip a bit to increase flex... Are any good/fiberglass military surplus skis longer than 220?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 10:34:15 am by JeffOYB »