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| | |-+  May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
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Author Topic: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation  (Read 2984 times)
Splitboard Graham
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May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« on: 05/14/18, 12:43 AM »

Hey y'all. Haven't posted in a while, but maybe you'll find this interesting...

Get to paradise only to find I'd left my skins at home. Gave myself a healthy tongue lashing, but decided to see how far I could get with just the fish scales on my Viole Revelator BC splitboard. I'd used it sans skins on flatish approaches, but never for an ascent. I made it to 9,000' no problem (newbie ski partner was ready to turn around). It was actually great. I was forced to focus on technique and maintain low angle switchbacks without heel lifters, but I got used to it quick. After awhile I started noticing how LIGHT my feet felt without (water logged) skins. I had to do more switchbacks, but I wasn't getting fatigued, and I maintained a fast pace easily. I don't think this would work in many conditions - needs to be pretty soft. Worked great in the mush. Looking forward to experimenting more in fresh snow next season.

Anyone have experience with extensive fish scale use? I'm more curious now that they don't seem limited to just flats.
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Zap
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #1 on: 05/14/18, 08:36 AM »

I have used a pair of Voile Vector BC (fish scale) for years. It is funny that you learn to skin at the right angle for your style and you are not breathing heavily and have to stop more often. I’m in my 70’s so I usually set a track with an “old person” style. You could watch a backcountry guide with his/her style to get all the clients to the destination at the same time.  Wink
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Tulio
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #2 on: 05/14/18, 04:19 PM »

I have a new to me pair of voile ultravector bcs and I'm still trying to get used to ascending moderate slopes without skins. Maybe I'll give Muir a shot!
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Micah
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #3 on: 05/14/18, 07:52 PM »

I'm a fish scale evangelist. I have a pair of Voile Chargers with the fish scales. I really like them, especially for low-angle deproaches. You can double pole or skate mild downhills that would not be worth deskining for. There is something liberating about starting a decent without having to mess with gear or take your skis off: just switch the bindings to downhill mode and take off.
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peteyboy
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #4 on: 05/15/18, 12:04 AM »

I have quite a ski hoarding habit and have been fish scale curious for quite a while; the idea of textured bases as an alternative on spring/summer mush tours to soaked skins (no dis of my frog skin friends intended) is very intriguing.  Thanks for the input!
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Splitboard Graham
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #5 on: 05/15/18, 09:00 AM »

Yeah, it definitely forced me to stick to an "old man" style up track. I've been leaning towards lower angle tracks recently based on reading Martin Volken and Kyle Miller. Not having waterlogged skins to drag up hill, scrape the water out of, and wax with glop stopper... Priceless.
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ps44
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #6 on: 05/15/18, 02:00 PM »

Can you also stick skins on fish-scaled bases if things become steeper?
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Micah
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #7 on: 05/15/18, 04:36 PM »

Can you also stick skins on fish-scaled bases if things become steeper?

Yes, skins work great on fish scales and are necessary for efficiently climbing steep pitches.
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RossB
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #8 on: 05/16/18, 08:21 AM »

Yeah, I'm a huge fan of fish scales. They are especially good in rolling terrain with skis, as the transition is much easier. The Paradise area has lots of great terrain that are especially good for that. I don't know if you have ever gone downhill in ski mode, but if it isn't too steep, you might try it. Go up something gradual, then down a little bit, then up again, followed by making big turns with the board (when you encounter the steep stuff). Obviously a split board while split doesn't offer much in terms of control (probably less than cross country skis) but it might be worth checking out. 

But I also agree -- just avoiding skins (even for a trip like Muir) -- is still great. A lot depends on how many extra switchbacks you have to make, or if someone has made a nice track already. Sometimes it is just easier to put on skins -- especially if it allows you to go straight (on a ridge of gully) instead of traverse. But if you can find a nice line, then keeping your skins in the pack is a lot more fun.

I think this type of gear (e. g. the type made by Voile) is especially good for this part of the country. We just have so much varied terrain. I've used my cross country skis in the backcountry, but it is tough to do without falling down (you are going to encounter some steep terrain eventually). There are plenty of steep up, steep down tours, but a lot more areas that are a mix, and having gear that allows you to handle each type of terrain really well is great.
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Splitboard Graham
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #9 on: 05/17/18, 02:49 PM »

I don't know if you have ever gone downhill in ski mode, but if it isn't too steep, you might try it. Go up something gradual, then down a little bit, then up again, making big turns with the board (when you encounter the steep stuff). Obviously a split board while split doesn't offer much in terms of control (probably less than cross country skis) but it might be worth checking out. 


I ski small downhills and rolling terrain with the split in the bc for efficiency. I enjoy it, actually. I can ski blue square runs at resorts but it ain't pretty lol. Makes me wish I was still using a hard boot setup!
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Kyle Miller
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #10 on: 05/18/18, 02:57 AM »

I can't stress the value of low angle skin tracks enough. I haven't used heel risers for a decade Smiley
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Robie
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #11 on: 05/18/18, 08:06 AM »

All the old Nordic Jedi masters set low angle tracks.Some used Fishscales and others just waxed for grip. Gary Vogt , Neil Johnson ,And James Hammaker know the tricks. Wax is trickier but there are cold dry days when just Blue 40 extra will work just fine for road approaches.

Currently I have in my working fleet A pair of Madshus Annums (Karhu Guides ) mounted with Dynafits and skins cut to fit. A real fun light rig and might be the skis I 'll ski off into the sunset on.
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Splitboard Graham
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #12 on: 05/18/18, 09:22 AM »

I can't stress the value of low angle skin tracks enough. I haven't used heel risers for a decade Smiley

Dammit, Kyle! Reading your trip reports has ruined 99% of skin tracks for me! 😜  Also, happy birthday!
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everestbigbill
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #13 on: 05/18/18, 10:09 AM »

All the old Nordic Jedi masters set low angle tracks.Some used Fishscales and others just waxed for grip. Gary Vogt , Neil Johnson ,And James Hammaker know the tricks. Wax is trickier but there are cold dry days when just Blue 40 extra will work just fine for road approaches.

Currently I have in my working fleet A pair of Madshus Annums (Karhu Guides ) mounted with Dynafits and skins cut to fit. A real fun light rig and might be the skis I 'll ski off into the sunset on.


( I loved reading your response, I am an old, (very old) BC from back East (upstate NY) and I often had to wax with Green and tad of Blue and I had a tube of Swix polar that only came out at -40') I now just throw on the skins and go, low angle skin track is what I always do. think Snow
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vogtski
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Re: May 13, 2018, Muir Snowfield fish scale revelation
« Reply #14 on: 05/18/18, 10:29 AM »

All the old Nordic Jedi masters set low angle tracks...

Thanks Robie, but Canadian mountain guides are the champion tracksetters in my experience, with their consistent gradients and terrain milking for minimal kick turns.   One of them told me Chic Scott, author of the wonderful ski books, failed the CDN guide exam because his skin tracks were too steep.

During a Paradise poverty period with old skins that were only good for a couple transitions per day, I would grunt up an existing skin track, then sacrifice my first powder run to downhill break a track I could climb the rest of the day without skins.  Another advantage, especially for Nordic gear, is snowshoers and post-holers seem to prefer steeper tracks.

The Norwegian geology grad students who taught me to ski in the CO Front Range used to joke that "turns are for beginners", but they could climb several thousand vertical feet on technique and wax mastery, then parallel the fall line powder on light nordic gear without metal edges. They also preached that the #1 rule of backcountry skiing was to save energy, you might need all of it and more to get home.
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