Now that we’re “gearing up” for the new ski season, I’ll give some gear tips to help keep you safe this winter. With many seasons under my belt while reading the occasional review on mountains and gear, I seldom see gear safety write ups…..so here goes my take.
Not all ski brakes are designed equally. Some fold up nicely while clamping in and others may not. If brakes do not elevate and wrap inward, then protruding brakes can catch on your snow pants or boot buckles. This could send you tumbling. Upon stepping in, check on your brake alignment with feet apart. If they don’t fully wrap, you can manually bring them in with a squeeze in order to save a trip to the pro shop. However; do have a technician tend to them in advance of your next outing.
Ski poles are still sold with straps. When you insert your hand into a strap, you don’t want your pole to catch on anything while whizzing by….like boundary netting. Never put your hands through pole straps in advance of disembarking from a chair.
Binding settings – this is one that you do think about. The settings need to be adjusted to your weight and proficiency level. If there’s a change in these two variables, your settings need to be changed accordingly.
Boot grips – there are none so buckle down when walking around the base area and mid-mountain lodge. This way your more nimble gait will lessen the chance of a slip. Smaller steps when walking in boots.
Ski day at Nakiska and first foray into vlogging March 14, 2019. Busted out with a day off work after the schedule cleared. I’ve had a season pass here for the past five years. Definitely good value if you catch the early bird discount. It’s really the quickest trip from Calgary and need not occupy the full day.
Those learning to ski need an easy going comfortable setting with appropriate terrain. Nakiska fits the bill.
There’s never a snow issue here because of the well developed snow making infrastructure. The snow park is well equipped with ramps, jumps and rails. Downhill skiing not your thing? Just jump on a tube or snap into X country gear and tour the picturesque landscape of Kananaskis Country.
Without question, Mr. Miller and his annual ski movie editions were tantamount to the excitement circulating through the halls of Kamloops’ Sahali Junior secondary as friends and I anticipated the first snow and trips to local Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks Resort). The thing most distinct in my memory of his adventure movies was his calm yet drama filled voice and perfect annunciation fitting of the exuberant spirit of the sport. This self proclaimed “ski bum” grew his audience from modest beginnings by sharing with friends scenes captured from his eight millimetre camera taken at Sun Valley Idaho while working as a young ski instructor.
Over time, with success and a growing budget, he moved his sets world-wide and depicted wondrous winter landscapes as backdrops for elite skiers stunting or careening knee deep in breathtaking unmarked fresh powder. Now, I marvel at the planning which would have went into acquiring the miraculous footage when factoring in winter travel, weather, procuring skiers, cooperation from resorts and heli-ski operators. As teenagers, these things didn’t cross our minds while mystified by the possibilities of where our ski interests may lead along with the upcoming ski season.
In anything we do, there needs to be particular seeds of inspiration which compels us to move and to actualize the joy freedom offers. To this day, Warren Miller and his movie making team play a definite role in inspiring yours truly to seek winter solace and athletic prowess in the mountains ranges of Western Canada and to them I say thanks!
Waxing becomes more important as temperatures rise because the subtleties associated with stride length, kick wax surface length, wax application technique all play into your ability to maintain stride when course manoeuvrability becomes restricted. You’ll find that you can really blaze in moderate temperatures if you’ve prepared your skis effectively for the conditions.
If it’s old snow, you’re using glister as your kick wax. This stuff is gooey and you don’t need that much. In fact, I recommend that you shorten from your cold weather kick wax length because of the power of this stuff. You want to be careful that you don’t get it in contact with your glide bases because it’s a nuisance to remove while anticipating your ski day. On course it’s best to take breaks during the flats since restart will be easier since glister wants to adhere while stationery. Take full advantage of the slick conditions by extending even further during stride. Aim for a 90 degree finish at the knee with aggressive poling. On a good track with nicely prepared skis, these are the days where you’re close to the athletic zone actualizing the benefits of this aerobic winter sport.
Don’t despair, “skin skis” (google it) are now all the rage allowing you to bypass the kick wax procedure should you want to just get out on the trails with no fuss.