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skiing??

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skiing??

Postby mrtex » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:52 pm

Quick question for the masses.

I really enjoy climbing mountains but lately my knees have been bothering me a little bit on the way down. I glissade at any opportunity to give my knees a break. I noticed that during the appropriate months, many of you ski down the mountain. I would love to learn how to do this but honestly don't know the first thing about skiing (i've never been). My real question here is what type of skis are most appropriate for this type of thing. My intentions are not to jump any cliffs or do any stunts, just ski down saving my knees and time, assuming the mountain provides a safe slope to do so.

i have heard "all terrain" and "telemark" used to describe certain types of skis that may be appropriate for this. I don't know??

thanks in advance for your time.

mason

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Re: skiing??

Postby Aubrey » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:00 pm

I haven't skied any 14ers, so I can't really help you there ... but have you tried using trekking poles? I know a lot of people with knee problems (one of which is my wife), and the poles really seem to help.

On the way up, you size them how you like them ... then, on the descent, you telescope them out just a bit. They kind of act like "brakes," and they take a lot of weight and pressure off the legs and knees. (They also take weight/pressure off on the way up.)

You can get a pretty decent pair for under $100.

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Re: skiing??

Postby ascent+descent=fun » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:00 pm

It depends what you want to do, I would suggest alpine touring, which is a binding that releases at the heel, allowing your foot to pivot for hiking ability, and when you get to the top, lock your binding back up and ski down alpine style. but first, 14ers arent the thing to learn on, you might want to consider lessons and avy courses before you get into the backcountry, and especially 14ers. having said that, I think it is a great goal and hobby (or lifestyle) to have, it will definately make your descents quick and exhilirating.

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Re: skiing??

Postby mrtex » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:23 pm

aubrey, i appreciate your suggestion. i do actually have a pair of Leki trekking poles i bought a few years back. they absolutely help. its funny, i find myself going in phases where i want to use them and other times when i just don't want anything in my hands. while they help, even when using them, i still feel enough discomfort to make me want to logroll down the mountain at times. wisely, i refrained from the logroll coming down wetterhorn.

alpine+descent=fun, it looks like i have already shown my a** on this one. i though"AT" clearly was short for "all terrain". Alpine Touring i guess makes more sense. When it was mentioned to me before, the free heel concept you brought up was referred to so that sounds familiar. just so that I understand, while you dont have to, the option is there with this type of ski to actually hike up with the skis on (free heel)??

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Re: skiing??

Postby Hacksaw » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:40 pm

mrtex wrote:.... I noticed that during the appropriate months, many of you ski down the mountain. I would love to learn how to do this but honestly don't know the first thing about skiing (i've never been). My real question here is what type of skis are most appropriate for this type of thing. My intentions are not to jump any cliffs or do any stunts, just ski down saving my knees and time, assuming the mountain provides a safe slope to do so. .....

mason


Before you buy any skis, go take a ski lesson (teaching yourself to ski on a 14er isn't the brightest idea). You might find out that you have as much knee pain skiing as walking, etc.... #-o

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Re: skiing??

Postby USAKeller » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:43 pm

mrtex wrote:just so that I understand, while you dont have to, the option is there with this type of ski to actually hike up with the skis on (free heel)??

Mason,
Yes, you do hike up on the skis by sticking skins on the bottom of each ski to prevent you from sliding backwards. The AT binding allows you to clip in like you would on a normal ski binding, which latches to another 'binding' that is mounted to the ski. Unlocking the mounted part is where the free-heel comes from. I just started with backcountry skiing, and while I haven't done too much, it definitely makes things a lot easier (I skinned ~3mi up the Grays Peak Road in about an hour and half, and it took about 15min. to ski down).

That said, I agree with Hacksaw - try learning to ski at the resorts first until you're really comfortable there!
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Re: skiing??

Postby mrtex » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:17 pm

USA Keller and Hacksaw, thanks for the fair advice and clarification. going to the resorts doesn't sound like the most fun to me, but i will do what i have to do. The thought of skiing down 3 miles in 15 minutes blows my mind. I don't get the opportunity to come to CO and climb nearly as much as I would like so I am learning as i have a few 14ers under my belt that efficiency in every aspect of climbing is going to maximize my ability to bag as many as i can in a limited time frame. This (skiing) sounds like it could really work to my advantage. thanks again.

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Re: skiing??

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:18 pm

My advice is to only consider skiing 14ers if you are an Advanced skier. High alpine ski conditions in the backcountry are almost always more difficult than comparable terrain at a ski area. Wind, rocks, lack of continuous snow and other factors can make the conditions quite varied and more difficult. If your ski skills aren't strong enough to meet the challenge of the terrain, you're just adding unnecessary risk that you may not have had if you were simply walking down in snowshoes.

I'm not trying to be a buzz kill here, just being realistic. Even Quandary can have snow conditions that challenge very experienced skiers. If you're serious about it, then spend a few seasons sharpening your ski skills until you feel very confident on some of the most difficult ski area terrain.

Good luck and be careful out there!
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Re: skiing??

Postby ajkagy » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:28 pm

If you have never been on skis in your whole life you definitely need to go to a resort and learn, take it slow, learn the right way. Learning in the backcountry is just downright dangerous.

In my opinion you should be skiing blacks/double blacks comfortably at a resort before going out and tackling terrain in the backcountry. I only say this because you should be comfortable on skis, be able to control your speed, turns, just all around versitile. Remember an intermediate rated ski descent in the backcountry does NOT equal an intermidiate run at a resort.

As far as skis, like everyone has said on the thread before me, AT bindings are your best bet. I currently have some BD kilowatt skis + dynafit bindings and scarpa AT/tele boots, which makes for a pretty lightweight rig to skin up on.

Good luck!
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Re: skiing??

Postby mrtex » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:38 pm

Hmm, I guess i have been a little naive. Bill your wisdom is appreciated. once i learn to ski at little more than a novice level, perhaps I could just ski down the trail to the trailhead until i get skilled enough to ski down the mountain. nonetheless, this gives me something to work toward.

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Re: skiing??

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:43 pm

That approach would also give you a better feel for the different and heavier ski gear that you'll be carrying. If you do get to the point of skiing these great peaks, it's a blast!
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Re: skiing??

Postby mrtex » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:52 pm

ajkagy, thanks for the response. double blacks huh? wow. i have a ways to go.

i am starting to realize that i was under the wrong impression. i assumed wrongly that you would typically ski down the route you came up. i suppose that may be the case at times. it sounds like from everyones advice, if i am reading into it correctly, that thats not always the case. for example, last march i climbed elbert via the standard route. i thought, "wouldn't it be great to just ski down the ridge. no avy danger. just a nice ride down. " giving it further thought, ridges are typically wind blown and often rocky. the skiing would be terrible if not impossible anyway.

dang it. i'm years away.

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