Archive for November, 2009

Chair lift strap

Over the years I have tried a lot of different options when it comes to chair lift straps. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term let me explain it this way. Some resorts don’t want you to ride with a board in your lap. You can ride the chair but the skate must be strapped to your foot.  Your not required to ride with it so you take it off at the top. Reasons for this vary but center on insurance restrictions and definitions of foot passengers. So back to the strap issue, here at Schweitzer we use the strap. These have ranged in style from actual snowboard bindings carried in a backpack, to various styles of nylon webbing.  All of these systems had there draw backs and were each a pain in their own special way. Even the very last version of my foot strap which was the easiest of all to deal with,  got old. This new system though changes every thing and has symplified the process on several fronts. First being it’s cheap, free in many cases. Second it’s really easy to put on and take off. Third you make it yourself which greatly reduces liability. So here we go. First find an old bike inner tube, cut  it next to the stem of the tube.

tube strap one Chair lift strap

Then cut up the tube twice making a wide and narrow strip. The wide one goes around your deck, the narrow one around your ankle.

tube stap two Chair lift strap

Tie the wide strip around the deck in between the trucks. The strip will stay in place when you ride. Tie the narrow strip around your ankle, not super tight but snug enough to insure it won’t come off. Use a square knot to insure it won’t come undone.

tube strap three Chair lift strap

Put your foot under the board strap…

tube strap four Chair lift strap

Stretch the ankle strap up and over your toe so that it captures the board strap. Your ready to load!

tube strap five Chair lift strap

tube strap six Chair lift strap

Remember, the ankle strap stays on your foot and the board strap stays on the board the whole time.

Thanksgiving post

Working on refining my sub with some subtle shape and flex differences. Will be nice to ride the mountain on both set ups and compare how they handle. Same basic dimensions 0n this sub as the “spatula”.

- Length: 116 cm, 46″

- Nose: 155 mm, 6″

- Tail: 140mm, 5 1/2″

- Waist: 115mm, 4 5/8″

Sub02 Thanksgiving post

Update

Well, the mountain opens on Fri. I’ve hiked a couple of days and its been really fun. I’m off to shape a 36″ top deck this morning and mount it to another sub I’ve built with a less spatula shaped nose and better flex. Adam is sending me a 151, 152, and 158 today, should see those next week, get them built up and into the hands of some locals. Trucks will be ready first of next week. All of this leads to hopefully a fully functional Shop page on the site where you can purchase stuff. The grip continues to work great but I must admit it really hasn’t seen a true test, Snoqualmie !###%% snow.  Look for a real update on the sub and grip after riding the mountain Friday.

Mark

Backyard

backyard teigen 300x161 Backyard

I often hear people say that once kids in Wyoming discover snowskating then its going to get huge. I’ve never understood this sentiment. It seems like they’re saying that kids who live in a town with a ski resort  would never have to resort to snowskating to entertain themselves. I think that any place with snow on the ground can be a great place to ride, you don’t need to live in a boring town to enjoy it. We are very fortunate to live around some great hills and usually have a couple of feet of snow in the backyard most winters. You don’t really need that much snow and that big of hills, just a bit of gravity, a shovel and a rake.

max on the dk 300x206 Backyard

Our backyard is layed out with a wall ride, big table and hip.

backyard overview 300x225 Backyard

There is plenty of speed from the hill in back but you need at least a foot of coverage to utilize it all. The hip will need a lot of snow and packing to be rideable and even then not sure how it will work, right now it looks a bit dangerous but hopefully with some snow things will change.

backyard hip 300x225 Backyard

With this seasons first dusting of snow its easy to get excited about building up the backyard. I’ll keep you posted.

Archives revisit #2

At this point I should probably call these Shut up and Snowskate retrospective. Yes another SUAS post from the past. All I have from this last one is a little bit of footage. It is so hard to film when there is a really fun course and everybody’s riding. You just want to be a part of it, not documenting it. When this comp was going we didn’t know it would be the last one. SUAS had been going for 6 years with the first one comprised of 4 stops across the U.S.A Krush and Shag were the motivating forces behind the project with the goal to spread the word about snowskates. Each comp was a similar format with all having the “slash for cash” downhill. The Summit stop was always the last of the season and I guess considered the finals for the tour. The course was always amazing and this last years was no exception. The set up was perfect, lots of fun lines all bunched together so you could watch and ride everything. There was a barbecue and tent off to one side with all the food you could eat. Tons of skaters you’ve never met and lots of spectators. The only problem with this course was there wasn’t quite enough speed for some of the better riders to go off. This particular morning started with about 6″ of fresh pow and a blue bird day. The course was pretty icy first thing so most of us hit the powder lines off the left side of the lift. That was a trip, 30+ snowskaters ripping the pow in a huge group. At one point it was Jordan, Spico and me flying down this gully, of course I was in back which made for a great mental  picture.

SUAS SIXX

TIPS: Grip it!!

Have you ever heard the old saying, “if your grip sucks, then so do you.” Well I just made it up so good chance you haven’t. I believe its true though. Grip can make you feel invincible or balanced on a razor’s edge. Unfortunately this is kinda an overlooked area in snowskating and by that I mean there just aren’t a lot of choices out there. So today’s post will be a couple of tips for gripping your board. This will also prepare you for the not too distant future… where board makers will send you the deck ungripped to save money. If your re gripping a deck then the first thing to do is get the old stuff off. This is a royal pain in the ass and is akin to shaving a pig bald. Adam Bennett at Florida Powder Skates gave me this tip though, put the deck in the oven, (if it will fit) and set the temp at around 150-200 deg. This will warm up the adhesive and the grip will pull right off. I haven’t tried it but it sound better then shaving the pig.

1- Take the grip and position it over the deck, use a small clamp on either side to hold it in place. I like to trim around the tip a bit and take the excess off to build up the tail for a bit more concave.

newgrip one 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

newgrip tail 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

2- After the tail, reposition the grip over the deck and hold in place again with the small clamps at the bend for the tail in back. The clamps really help hold the grip centered and without them its easy to get off track and mess it up. Don’t use tape or it will rip the grip. If you don’t have clamps have someone else hold it there while you get started on the nose. Peel back about 2″ of the grip paper backing and fold it under.

newgrip start 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

3- Press down the grip at the nose, starting in the center and working your way out to the edge with your fingers, making sure to avoid air bubbles (pop them with a pin if they sneak by.)

newgrip start two 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

4- Keep working your way back to the tail in 6″ increments, pulling the paper under and back and smoothing out the grip from the center working towards the out side.

newgrip start three 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

5- When you are finished adhering the grip you can cut the shape. This is the tough part to make clean, and the first try won’t be so pretty. You want to cut without stopping. Start by forcing the brand new razor blade up into the grip.

newgrip cut 300x225 TIPS: Grip it!!

6- You can start a 1/2″ off the nose then cut towards the board until you hit the edge of the deck. Keep the razor blade angled back and pressed against the edge of the deck. Work your way around slowly. The sides will be easier then the tip and tail so go slow. Once you are done, press firmly all around the perimeter of the deck to make sure the edges don’t peel up later. Good luck!

Sub Update

Yesterday was a surprise all around. We got 2″ of snow in the valley and ?? at the mountain. So with the sun poking out I loaded up the “spatula” and raced up there. To date, the snowfall has been in tiny increments but Friday night delivered around 6″ to the mountain. This 6″ was a drop in the bucket compared to what they need to open. They do make snow at Schweitzer but only on the beginner hill.  They build up huge piles in front of the machines then spread them out and repeat. I parked by some condos and walked to the run. The snow was pretty light and fairly deep. Rounding the corner and seeing the run my thought was, “dang, should have brought the powderboard.” Well I’m glad I didn’t cause this was a perfect time to test the “spatula”. At first glance it appeared that they had flattened out the mounds and that the fresh snow had fallen on top of the groomed run, sweet!! I hopped on and started down the slope. Being the bunny hill its not exactly steep but it has a consistent fall line that goes for a couple of hundred yards. Snowmaking snow is really gloomy and crusty until they spread it out so if you rode directly under the gun then it was weird but on the sides it was light. My first run was ok but not great, I was able to keep speed but not cut hard. When riding on the groomer’s track (not the blade just the bumpy track) the board turned fast and easy and felt really stable. But off the track it was hard to bury the tail. Could be the core was a bit stiff, something I felt from the start or more likely the inserts were too far back which kept the sub from bending where it should. Well, luckily I do have two rear truck settings although they are only an inch apart and might not make any difference seeing the adjustment is so minor. I pulled the pin and moved the rear truck towards the front hole, then hiked back up for a second try. Wow, what a difference an inch made, night and day and all of a sudden the nose was popping out and the powder wasn’t a struggle. Powder might be too nice of a word for crusty wet man made snow but it was untracked that’s for sure. The board rode really well, super fun on the groom and very lively off piste. Now this isn’t the proof I need to start building these, on the contrary this thing has only proven itself to insure another trip to the mountain, but I’m stoked for sure.

Now for the really BIG NEWS the grip kicked ass!!!!! No snow build up, no icy spots, didn’t deteriorate under my tread, looked the same when I left as it did when I started. Completely blew me away and puts my mind at ease.

Hungry?

It may look like a “spatula” but it was tricky getting this egg on there icon smile Hungry?

spatula egg Hungry?

Before I get into too much detail on the sub check out the new narrow insert bases. These are mainly for the Ralston 1 1/2 insert spacing although the spatula is sporting a 2″ dim. That’s right I just introduced another option. Actually I think we should all change to 2″, would fit both narrow and wide boards. But I’m sure that’s not going to happen so I guess I’ll be alone in that.

spatula truck base Hungry?

spatula complete apart1 Hungry?

spatula camber Hungry?

this either looks like a duck bill or some kind of serpent with its mouth open. Any other sugestions?

spatula duck bill Hungry?

Ok even I’ll admit that the nose is HUGE and square. Uh….what can I say, I wanted a plunge proof nose. I want that thing to pop up like a toaster. I will concur that the shape could be a bit less sponge bob . The dims on this thing are 46″ long, 6″ at the widest on the nose, 5 3/8″ wide on the tail. Camber with early rise nose. Basically its a 40″ ski in a 46″ body.  I have not ridden it but if we get a few more inches with this next storm I’ll at least hike a bit this weekend and report back to you.

spatula verticle bottom Hungry?

Tomorrow….

I was working late last night so I could post up some new stuff. New ideas on a couple of fronts. Hopefully today I’ll get lucky and tomorrow you will see. Sent off a stack of decks yesterday to Adam at Florida Powder Skates, if you want a green one, go to his site Now!! The black sidewalls look great but were a pain, so these may be the only ones to make it to market. Still no snow down low, which means hiking for turns this weekend. See you tomorrow.

Board Width, what’s it to ya?

boardwidth boot1 Board Width, whats it to ya?

I think most people would consider board width to be a matter of personal preference. There are the obvious cases when the sub is very thin and the top deck is very wide, or vice versa when the sub is very wide but the top deck is narrow, that problems can arise. With the first case of the sub being dwarfed by the top deck you can have problems with the deck dragging on the snow when carving. This takes away leverage from the sub edge plus limits it from digging in any deeper. The other case of a narrow top deck mounted on a wide sub creates a lack of leverage or a diminished amount of force onto the ski. These both are pretty obvious examples of extremes and while they can create problems they wouldn’t necessarily make it impossible to ride, just a bit harder. So far I’ve got two widths in production, a 10. 1/4 POWDER and 9.3/8 ALL MOUNTAIN.

board width compare1 Board Width, whats it to ya?

The benefit of a wide board in powder is that you reduce the drag created by your feet when carving. Also it creates more surface area which helps keep the tail from sinking so much on drops. This is especially helpful when running a short tail like on the Florida powderskate 125. The advantage of a narrow deck on a narrow sub is that you can lay it over more on hardpack carves without bouncing the top deck off the snow.

boardwidth lib ralston Board Width, whats it to ya?

Check out the size difference in the Lib tech 48″ and Ralston 41″. There’s almost 1.3/4in the tail alone. While that’s not a huge number it does translate into difference in of leverage and float. Running a 10.1/4 wide deck on the Ralston would be an overkill and limiting unless you had a really high truck height. Running a 9.3/8 top deck on the Lib tech would be fine unless you really needed some leverage for carving ice. But if that was the case you probably wouldn’t have your powder skate loaded.

So when choosing a deck width the things to think about are first; personal preference, second what type of terrain will you most likely be riding and third how many subs are you hoping to mount to it. If you want to run both narrow and wide subs then a 9.3/8 top deck is best but if you only want to hit the pow… the bigger is better.