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Choose Your Tools: Skiing light, fast, and far.

This is Part 5 of the Choose Your Tools series.  Also check out Part 4: Universal Gear Truths.

Going Light

The world's lightest ski boot, the Pierre Gignoux XP-444.  590g. You don't need these.

The world’s lightest ski boot, the Pierre Gignoux XP-444. 590g. You don’t need these.

Going fast and light is, among a small but growing crowd, all the rage these days.  This makes a lot of sense considering the currently plummeting gear weights and the growing popularity of backcountry touring. In small, speedy enclaves throughout the Mountain West, folks are experimenting with the low-end of the weight spectrum, stealing techniques and technology from mountain-racing disciplines to push the limits of minimalist weight and maximum vert.

Going Light is defined here as seeking to use the minimum gear possible to achieve the greatest amount of mountain travel.  Lightening you pack, clothing, boots and skis frees the energy that would be used to tow those pounds around, and that energy can be applied to traveling farther or faster in the hills.  Just as fast-packing and distance trail running are coming to dominate classic backpacking routes, so too is lightweight skiing turning previously multi-day traverses and enchainments into impressive day trips. Read on →

Mounting Dynafits at Home

I’ve skied for around 20 years now. My first pair of skis, Salomon X-Screams, are the sort of ski that’s now being turned into fences and benches in ski towns around the US. Since that pair, I’ve cycled through many pairs, and several different bindings to boot, but I had never performed my own mount.  I knew that I’d have to do it some day– It’s a right of passage for life-long skiers– but I’ve always been too afraid that I was going to screw it up.  Well, when I was given a new pair of skis by my two favorite parents this season, it seemed like it might be time.  You see, I’m no rich man, and I can’t afford another pair of Dynafits right now.  But what I can afford are Quiver Killers, the binding inserts that allow the user to move one pair of bindings between many skis using just a Phillips head screw driver.  They’re cheap, elegant, and increase the strength of the mount without adding significant weight (MFD plates anyone?).  They’re also a labor of love to install on an undrilled ski, and the local shop wanted $110 to do the job.  That sealed the deal– I’d do the mount at home.

(Workspace courtesy of post-futurist retrograde thought-pilot inventor Alex Ragus)

mounting skis at home with dynafit using simple tools

The workspace: Oxyacetylene welder, shopping cart, wheel-truing stand, and fixie handlebars optional.

Read on →