Jeff’s grip job

Jeff using no snow time to go organic primitive.

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B-line base from Spencer

It’s fun using old snowboard bases

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Jeff’s grip job

Still in the works but this “organic primitive,” is leading the way

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Because I’ve taken so long to update…

Who knows maybe this will start me updating again.

The following testimonial is from Daniel, an older gentleman who still enjoys pushing his limits. He wrote this very nice note to me about riding his snowskate. It was one of the very early completes that I sold so to hear that he is still riding it makes me feel great!!

Thanks again Daniel,

I started skiing when I was 8 years old. (back in1961) on a rope tow. As a teenager I practiced with the Olymipic Ski Teem. As an adult I skied, not as often as I’d like, but when I could.  When I took a job in Washington state I thought I’d learn to snow board instead of ski because I most often ski with my wife who althought an expert is causch and goes slower.  So I was always waiting for her. I nearly beat myself silly always falling either on my butt or knees. The first time I taped pillows on my butt.  I had a hard time standing up after putting on bindings and once spent a half hour at the top of the slope before I got going just trying to stand. Then I saw a young girl, about 22, and she just slid off the lift, stopped, set the board and steped on. Off she went. I knew I had to have one of thoses. So I chasted her down and asked her what it was. I then spent the next month reasearching dual-deck snow skates. Finily I found ChillerDecks. That was back in 2009-2010.

 
 I still enjoy my 135 cm dual deck snow skate purchased from youall back in the early wenter of 2010. Now over 6 years later I take it wherever I go in the wenter when I might be able to ski (skate). [What do I call it?]
 I am now almost 63 and find the ride very enjoyable and sometimes taxing on steep slopes. I mostly ski (skate) on groomed slopes and light power up to about 4 inches.  More than 4 inches and it bogs down. I’ve used it in Michigan, Ohio (where home is), Pinsilvania,  Washington, Arazona, Maine, Iowa (across the bridge from Omaha, Na),  Minnisoda, Massachautts and South Korea, where I am working now.  I was here last wenter and if the job continues will be on the slopes hear again. I generally get to ski (ride) 10 to 20 times a wenter. Sometimes more sometimes less, when I’m close to a ski area that allows snowskates.
 Now for some stistics:
 Board is custom made by ChillerDecks with a Helicopter on the bottom.
 It’s less than 5′ long. Its’ numbered, I think 135 or 139??
 wider in front than rear
 I added studs in the board when I first got it because I thought I’d need more tracsion. 4 (2 each side on the front) and 8 (4 each side rear)
 my home is Ohio.[ I grew up in Maine]
 my Height is ~ 5′ 8″
 my Weight is ~ 165# [not as much muscle as I once had]
 I am Right handed
 I ride Regular Foot (left foot forward) not Goofey Foot, but I can switch when I prastice.
 I stand with both feet facing right and not left foot foot more straight.
 I don’t do jumps or tricks, but I can do 360s when I prastice.
 I ride chair lifts and get off by setting the board down infrount of me and quickly climbing on for the short slide off the landing.
 The green coiled dog leash is too long and I have each end wrapped back about 10 inches.
 I put a couple of holes in the tip of the deck and ran a nylon roap through them and through a piece of dubing to make a handle.  This helps me cary it and also get off the lifts.
 I find T bars hard, but can ride them if I have a good skier on with me. Their stability lets me stay in the groves up the lift line.
 For those who want more excitment then I heartly recommend switching to a dual deck snow skate by Chiller Decks.  I’ve ridden other brands and ChillerDecks if a far better ride and far better control.

 

Update to last post

Just a quick update on my last post. Yes you can now watch snowskating on Netflix!! Supervention has a sweet, although short, snowskate segment. Won’t spoil it for you so go watch this video!!

Radical Reels

You have all heard of the Banff mountain film festival I’m sure. Some have probably heard of the Radical Reels off shoot of the Banff film tour. Its like the Banff film festival but without hippos and such, just action sports. Kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, wing suit flying, climbing and biking are the usual topics. Its a popular night in Sandpoint and we usually attend. The night starts with the lights dimming and a montage of clips from all the different movies. Two second video parts streamed together with pumping music to get you stoked. It’s fun to watch and gives you an idea of the nights offering. As I watched the pow shots connected to the mtb jumps, wingsuit clips and waterfall drops there came a moment of clarity. On the screen was a bideck snowskate attached to a snowskater….. Just like that. Someone catching a bit of air, tweaking it a bit. It looked amazing, just one second of snowskating on the big screen. Who was it? What board were they riding? Were we going to see a full snowskate video tonight? It couldn’t be, I would have heard something about it. I mean we all know who we are right? I literally feel like I know every snowskater on the planet or at least have one degree of separation. Had someone told me that there was a short snowskate clip in the intro I definitely would have gone just to see it. Just like I bought many of the Absinthe videos just for the Wolle strapless segments.

So there was a snowskate clip of someone catching air and the video quality looked pretty awesome so who what were how? I watched each video that night waiting for the segment. Would it suck or be goofy? I kinda felt like we wouldn’t see it, just would be impossible for me not to know about it. So when the night ended without any more snowskating shots I was left with a mystery that in the end was pretty simple to solve. The first flick of the night was Supervention. A great movie out of Norway. I searched it on the web, read the rider list and discovered that Terje was one of the riders. Then all the blanks filled in. No wonder the shot, how ever brief, was rad and I’m pretty sure he was on a Ralston. A facebook search of the movie even had a post about Terje launching on a skate.

The nights videos were amazing, the film quality out of reach and the stunts all next level but that short one-second clip, and the mystery it provided was the highlight of the night. Netflix streams Supervention so now my job is to see if there is more then just one second of snowskating in the full uncut version. If not there are still plenty of snowskate videos to enjoy. Especially this new one from Adrian Rassmusen called “Cascade Concrete”. Its a rad little film about real skaters riding every chance they get. Its the closest I’ve seen to representing snowskating in a way that I can relate to. Thanks Adrian!!

Scratching the dirt for blog post content

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I tried to get starfish to publish this picture of Jeff Tulloch in one of the Skate the sawtooths articles but Tim said I was crazy to want a butt shot next to one of Jeremy’s powsurf hammers. Problem was it was one of the few pictures I took that weekend.

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One of my favorite pics. Look where snowskating has taken these guys!

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Pretty sure we would not have gotten the invite to Smith optics backcountry reserve had we been strapped in. That we haven’t gotten an invite back is the question….You take what you get!

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This is what Alan Gerlach wears when he’s hiking the backcountry

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Just let it be white this winter!

 

 

 

 

Roots Ramblings

Check out the German Swingbo National Team

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I dig the twins in matching garb. Every once in a while I think about the concept of two skis moving independently to create edge control. Then I think about weight and cost and realize that simple is usually better. Its always a balancing act. You can’t forget to remind yourself that you ditched the bindings to simplify. Of course it made it harder in a way. Do you remember why you started snowskating? I wanted something for the backyard. Easy like a skateboard to use. I had no idea in the beginning that people were riding them on slopes. Once I started having fun on it then the “potential” became a driving force. Building up my backyard was hugely entertaining.

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We have a gravel pit down the road. I rode by it on my bike yesterday and was reminded of how fun a zone it was. Six inches of snow or so was good enough for some turns. Since it’s a snow skate you don’t care if the base get trashed!

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But even fun things get boring after a while. Thankfully I discovered backcountry access via the chair lift at Schweitzer.

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Which of course led me to want to explore other backcountry zones with snowmobiles. I got a new sled this summer. Its way over my head and I’m a bit nervouse about the trouble I’m going to get into but excited too.

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It’s a simple sport that will broaden your horizons. Thank you snowskating!

 

Building skis with my boys

I know every snowskater has gone through at least a couple of situations where friends or strangers have been kinda blown away by riding without bindings. As a builder its even more intense when they learn I made the snowskate. Its fun…sometimes, to share with interested parties the why and how of snowskating. Most of my friends are accustomed to seeing me on a skate so now there really isn’t any more wide eyed looks from them. I bring a new sub into the house and the kids are always nice and say that it looks good but no one is blown away any more. So I was a bit surprised at the reaction I got after making a set of skis with my boys. Let me say that my boys do snowskate but they LOVE to ski. They have a group of ski buddies, they watch all the vids and they follow the pros. They love to ski! So when I started on this ski project the difference began with the kids being waaaay more interested in the shop process. Always asking if we could go out and work on the skis. Then all their buddies got excited then the parents of the buddies got excited. People were asking me crazy questions like did I drip all the ptex onto the core to make the base, or how did I bend the wood. How much did it cost, how long? Were did I learn to do this? Where did I get the material? And these are from people who have been watching me snowskate for years and know I make all the parts on the skates??

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Well I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I do live in a ski town. But that’s ok cause I have an ulterior motive for building skis for my boys and that’s to try and make a super fast sub for snowskating. Maybe its because I’m a bit worried about our el nino winter prediction and how it often leaves us with few pow days. My guess is it falls into the summer wacky idea category. Way back in the early days of bidecks, a company from england named Barefoot tried to start a revolution with skate decks mounted to full size skis. They looked a bit wierd and disappeared soon after buying a full page add in starfish. But there is no reason a long narrow sub with the right dimensions couldn’t instill confidence when going really fast. It might need a high truck mount and I’m kinda in the dark as to radius but hey that’s the fun part when building a product so few people understand.

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Climbing up them hills

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It’s a known fact that you got to go up if you want to ride down. If the snow at the resort isn’t to your liking then trekking out of bounds is your best option. This can be as simple as grabbing your skate and plodding up hill, as E2 does in the picture above, its cheap, easy and a good workout. If there is more then one of ya, you can take turns putting in the boot track. The great thing is, on the next lap the boot will be solid and the climbing will be easy. The hard part though, if its deep it can take a lot of energy. You’ll most likely be soaked in sweat when you reach the top and not so ready for lap number two. Luckily there are a few tools available to make the up hill trek easier. Starting from the left MTN Approach skis, Atlas snowshoes, and Verts.

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The cheapest option are Verts. These are the small plastic snowshoes on the right. They are light, easy to put on and kick ass in steep terrain. At around 110.00 shipped they are a great option for starting out. They only weigh 2 lbs and can easily fit into a pack making transitions even faster.  It really just feels like your boot packing without sinking in so deep.

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As you can see in the boot pack picture above, you do sink a bit but since your foot is at the front of the verts, its easy to step forward without dragging snow. As with boot packing the second lap will be a breeze and it will be fast as your path tends to go straight up. We usually drop from above then put the first boot pack in our track. This cuts down a bit on how much snow you have to walk through but is only an option if you get to start from the top.

Verts don’t perform as well on long flat sections. Your toe tends to dive since your strapped to the front of the shoe. On icy terrain they do ok but its more of a work out to get the toe to dig into the dense snow pack. If long flat sections are in the mix then traditional snow shoes are the way to go. You’ll want to make sure they have heal lifts. These are wire bails that flip up and support your heal when hiking steep terrain. You flip them down for the flats. A good set of snowshoes with heal climbers will run 200-250.00.  They are a bit more weight, at around 4 lbs a pair. As with boot packing and verts, the second lap will be easy and working with a crew will make breaking trail a snap.

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If you’re hiking the back country with alpine touring or telemarkers then snow shoes and verts won’t work quite as well. You can do it but snowshoeing on a skin track will usually get you some negative vibes from your touring partners. It tends to wear out the skin track and make it difficult for the skiers to climb. They main reason I don’t like it though is that skin tracks tend to wander across the hill. Side hilling on snow shoes sucks. It wears out your knees and ankles and isn’t very efficient. There is an option though, MTN Approach skis. These are foldable skis that fit into your pack. They are heavy weighing in at 8 lbs, there expensive costing around 800.00 and the hinge mechanism sometimes breaks. All that being said I really like them.

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They haul ass over flat terrain. They are long enough with a wide waist that you don’t sink in but their short length makes kick turns on switchbacks a breeze. They transition really fast. They stow in your pack close to your back so it doesn’t throw off your weight when riding down hill. Best of all, no stink eye from the skin trackers. They just function really well. They are currently coming out with a much beefier hinge so the snapping hinges should be a thing of the past. You usually carry an extra hinge and surprisingly you can swap out a broken one faster then a split boarder can get their stuff back together. If your touring with skinners it’s the way to go.

 

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