To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:29 am

You are planning multi-day treks on skis? BRING KICKER SKINS.

In mountainous terrain? BRING CLIMBING SKINS AS WELL.

Remember that the only Nordic tech designed for SAFELY skiing down extreme mountainous terrain is big mountain Telemark tech. Big mtn Tele is not efficient at covering distance- but if the limiting factor is coming down very steep mountainous terrain- work with the limiting factor.

What ski tech are you planning on bringing again?
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gitrinec
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:48 pm

lilcliffy,

My plan isn't to ski any steep couloir's or steep mountainous passes, just mainly to get from point A to point B, preferably in one piece, The skis I setup are Madshus Epoch with Voile Hardwires and Scott Excursion boots. The trail is mostly rocky, trees on both sides at times, some open areas, some parts of the trails are treeless but still rocky.

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:25 pm

Well- I own the Epoch- and have put many miles on it. An excellent ski. The waxless scale base offers excellent XC kick and glide traction where scales perform best- warm, wet snow. The Epoch has a soft snow flex, and as such it climbs reasonably well in warm, wet snow as well. A longer and further forward scale zone would improve climbing traction- but likely hurt glide. My impression is that the Omnitrack waxless design was intended purely for XC K&G- assuming that the skier would put on skins for any serious climbing.

If you are going on a multi-day trip, climbing elevation and encountering variable snow conditions- I would predict that you will definitely want kicker skins. If you anticipate some cold fresh snow- you can also bring a few tins of kick wax. I have corked in kick wax forwards of the scales on my Eon/Annum/Epoch/Guide for many, many years- when the snow is cold enough that the scales slip.

TRACTION is a big f-en deal. Although we all ski for the effortless rush of GLIDE- XC skiing without adequate grip is a frustrating and exhausting experience over long distances- if you are new to skiing DO NOT underestimate that!

And climbing without adequate grip is not only frustrating and exhausting- it can become impossible- you will end up taking off your skis and walking. If you anticipate any serious climbing- bring full-length climbing skins as well. If you anticipate steep slopes plus very icy snow- consider ski crampons.

The Epochs with a set of kicker skins, climbing skins, a couple a tins of kick wax, and possibly ski crampons- this should still weigh less than carrying both skis AND snowshoes.

I can relate to this- for 20 years I carried snowshoes for winter field work. Skied the long distance into the field site- then switched to the snowshoe for work. My 145cm Hoks have largely replaced both for winter field work.

I wouldn't consider the Hok for a very long trek unless you were expecting consistent very deep, soft powder snow. When the conditions are like that- I can travel just as efficiently with my Hoks- despite the short length and integrated skin as I can with any of my Nordic touring skis. (Only the Finns still make distance-oriented deep snow XC skis- in 300cm lengths!) Once the base is stable though- my longer touring skis blow the Hok out of the water in terms of travelling speed.
Last edited by lilcliffy on Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by connyro » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:07 pm

lilcliffy wrote:Well- I own the Epoch- and have put many miles on it. An excellent ski. The waxless scale base offers excellent XC kick and glide traction where scales perform best- warm, wet snow. The Epoch has a soft snow flex, and as such it climbs reasonably well in warm, wet snow as well. A longer and further forward scale zone would improve climbing traction- but likely hurt glide. My impression is that the Omnitrack waxless design was intended purely for XC K&G- assuming that the skier would put on skins for any serious climbing.

If you are going on a multi-day trip, climbing elevation and encountering variable snow conditions- I would predict that you will definitely want kicker skins. If you anticipate some cold fresh snow- you can also bring a few tins of kick wax. I have corked in kick wax forwards of the scales on my Eon/Annum/Epoch/Guide for many, many years- when the snow is cold enough that the scales slip.

TRACTION is a big f-en deal. Although we all ski for the effortless rush of GLIDE- XC skiing without adequate grip is a frustrating and exhausting experience over long distances- if you are new to skiing DO NOT underestimate that!

And climbing without adequate grip is not only frustrating and exhausting- it cam become impossible- you will end up taking off your skis and walking. If you anticipate any serious climbing- bring full-length climbing skins as well. If you anticipate steep slopes plus very icy snow- consider ski crampons.

The Epochs with a set of kicker skins, climbing skins, a couple a tins of kick wax, and possibly ski crampons- this should still weigh less than carrying both skis AND snowshoes.

I can relate to this- for 20 years I carried snowshoes for winter field work. Skied the long distance into the field site- then switched to the snowshoe for work. My 145cm Hoks have largely replaced both for winter field work.

I wouldn't consider the Hok for a very long trek unless you were expecting consistent very deep, soft powder snow. When the conditions are like that- I can travel just as efficiently with my Hoks- despite the short length and integrated skin as I can with any of my Nordic touring skis. (Only the Finns still make distance-oriented deep snow XC skis- in 300cm lengths!) Once the base is stable though- my longer touring skis blow the Hok out of the water in terms of travelling speed.
Great info here LC! I agree that traction is a big deal and most definitely should not be underestimated. I like your idea of kick waxing forward of the scales. I'm not creative enough to figure that one out!

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gitrinec
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:27 pm

I've got kicker skins, I've heard of using f4 glide wax on waxless skis , you're saying to use some kick wax on them as well, got that as well, did you cut your skins to fit your skis, also with the waist of 68 underfoot, ski crampons mostly come in larger widths, would 83mm crampons be to wide?

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:58 am

gitrinec wrote:I've got kicker skins, I've heard of using f4 glide wax on waxless skis , you're saying to use some kick wax on them as well, got that as well, did you cut your skins to fit your skis, also with the waist of 68 underfoot, ski crampons mostly come in larger widths, would 83mm crampons be to wide?
I have never found the rub on liquid glide waxes to last very long. I have used it successfully for afternoon outings on sticky snow- in order to prevent snow sticking to the scales. If you want to cover some serious distance- over multiple days- definitely bring the liquid wax- but, I would also iron in hot glide wax to the entire base of the ski. Remove the excess wax from the scales before it hardens (i.e. while it is still warm and tacky). Lo-Fi recently posted an excellent video demonstrating how to do this without the frustrating task of clearing out hardened wax from the scales...(been there- done that :evil: )

Apply the kick wax ONLY to the glide zone of the base, forward of the scales- if you need a little extra grip. Kick/wax both grips and glides. It won't offer as much grip as the kicker skin, but it will DEFINITELY glide better. And remember- the Epoch is a hybrid single-cambered ski- there is no traction pocket underfoot. The kicker skins will drag during the glide phase and the kick phase of your XC skiing.

Which brings me to another question- what kind of snow are you expecting? Remember that the Epoch is a hybrid single-cambered SOFT snow ski.

As far as crampons, I wish I could help you! It has been almost 20 years (is that possible? :( ) since I have needed those babies...I would suggest starting a new thread specifically on ski crampons compatible with the 3-pin hardwire and the Epoch.

OH- and a tube of universal klister probably wouldn't go astray either...
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gitrinec
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:01 pm

Lilcliffy, I think I could end up with all kinds of snow conditions in that area, though like anywhere else depending on the year, weather conditions, snow amounts vary. Though right now the temp is -27 windchill of -40 and lots of snow on the way, luckily I'm not going this month, lol

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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by STG » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:01 pm

gitrinec:

I have hiked that area in the Winds many times. From Eklund Lake you drop in elevation and climb again to get to Hobbs Lake. Going from Hobbs Lake to Island Lake you are going to climb and drop in elevation. Skins are a must. Crampons would be essential gear and/or some sort of ice cleats (Yaktraxs, Due North etc.) and/or snowshoes if you have to walk the trail at all. As you know, conditions could vary greatly on the trail and over-time. Mohair skins work fine on the downhill. If you are going to use skins to check your speed on the downhill when conditions are sketchy, I would stick with mohair skins and avoid synthetic ones: http://www.colltex.ch/en/products/skins/race and https://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/colltex-race-pdg-skin

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gitrinec
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:37 pm

STG,

Ya, I remember that terrain from my last hike dropping down from Eklund lake, that area as well as several other parts of the trail were torn up from all the pack horses, I assume I won't have to dodge all the horse #$*%# during the winter, lol.. I've been looking for some ski crampons but not much available for 68 width skis. I'll make sure to get the Full length skins as well, For myself I have all the other gear for climbing Gannett peak, ie, crampons, snowshoes if I have too, they'd be nice on the glacier.

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:43 pm

gitrinec wrote:Lilcliffy, I think I could end up with all kinds of snow conditions in that area, though like anywhere else depending on the year, weather conditions, snow amounts vary. Though right now the temp is -27 windchill of -40 and lots of snow on the way, luckily I'm not going this month, lol
Many, many skiers love skis in the profile of the Epoch/S-Bound 98. I find them to be even more of a compromise ski than a narrower ski like the Eon/Fischer 78. At my weight, the dimensions of the Epoch/S-98 don't offer enough width for me to consider it a "powder" ski- and, it is a much slower touring ski than longer narrower skis like the Eon/S-78. If you are light enough, the Epoch/S-98 is a perfect profile because it offers decent flotation and better K&G than wider, softer skis like the Annum.

I speak about the Epoch and the Fischer 98 as if they were the same ski- they are not- at all. The Epoch is a very soft single cambered ski- in my experience, it has a wonderful flex for soft, fresh, snow- especially when downhill skiing. BUT- on dense/hard snow, I find the flex of the Epoch to be miserably soft- skiing becomes this murderous shuffle. By comparison, the s-Bound 98 is still a single-cambered ski, but it is significantly stiffer than the Epoch. Despite the fact that I find the S-98 a bit squirrely for my taste- in truth, I believe that it is a much more versatile design than the Epoch, as the S-98 performs on a wider range of snow conditions- PLUS, it definitely climbs better with the current Offtrack Crown- and those open tips feel great on the downhill..

What is the point of this ridiculous ramble? I think your ski- the Epoch- is not very versatile. I think that you may find the Epoch to be challenging, if not exhausting in conditions that are not ideal for it.

Here is where things get even more frustrating. If the Epoch is not wide enough to float you in deep, fresh snow (it certainly is not for me)- then you need to go even wider for a powder ski- which is going to be even more of a slog on hardpack and over distance...

Here is my point- if you don't expect to be travelling long distances through truly deep, soft snow- then I would consider something significantly narrower than the Epoch. Either midwith (e.g. Eon/Fischer 78/E-109) if you want a mix of XC and downhill performance- or even narrower if XC trumps easy-turnin (e.g. E-99/Glittertind).

I am not a big man- and I weigh 185lbs. I keep reading posts from all these skiers that are feather weights- perhaps for a feather weight the Epoch is the ideal comprimise...BUT- I know that there are a lot of Nordic trekkers that actually weigh something- and if you do weigh something, the Epoch is going to feel like a limp useless noodle on anything other than 6inches of nice fresh snow.
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