Hi @Dmitry I've only toured a couple of times in that area, so I can only give rough guidance - there is pretty decent opportunity for touring near Pinecrest. The area east of Highway 108 from Bell mountain north to Eagle peak(there are 2 Eagle peaks in the area - this one is closer to Donnell lake) offers some fairly accessible turns. Skiing east out of Dodge Ridge past the Gianelli trailhead will get you into some of the better terrain quickly. Further up, heading north from the Hwy 108 sno-park and then moving upslope to the east will get you to some mellow exposed rolling ridges. Geographically, the area is generally low(er)-angle, punctuated by steeps. Expect lots of short mini-golf lines in interesting terrain. My recommendation would be to hike the area once the National Forests reopen and scout your lines. Don't end up surprised by one of the many cliffs here. If you're feeling industrious and want to venture further on multi-day trips, there is some interesting terrain between Granite dome and Blackhawk mountain, and some large alpine faces near the PCT between Leavitt peak and Molo mountain/Big Sam Overall, if this is your backyard for local laps this winter, I'm sure you'll find plenty of untracked turns to keep you happy all season. Pray for Snow!
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Hey fellow snow enthusiasts! I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to scheme about my winter adventures and indicators in the outdoor and resort industry point to dramatic shifts looming in the way we’re used to getting outdoors and recreating this winter. With several resort companies announcing reservation-only ticketing and continued uncertainty about how physical distancing requirements will impact operations and wait times on the mountains where we love to play, REI and other outdoor retailers are seeing early demand for equipment that will allow folks to get out to play in the snow without waiting in lift lines – think backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking!
I noticed that the Mountaineers in Washington State has already begun posting their winter sports classes and activities schedule, and snowshoeing classes are beginning to fill. And many local trail associations are beginning to prepare for an influx of snowshoers, XC skiers, and winter fat tire bikers. Just like we saw this summer on popular hiking trails, it’s likely that there will be a surge this fall/winter of folks who are hungry to get out and play (and it’s seeming likely that inventory in these categories may be hard to find).
So, we’re curious: how are you planning on getting outside this winter? Are you dusting off the XC skis you’ve always had around? Looking at a new pair of snowshoes or maybe a fat tire bike to try out a new way to play? Share your ideas below!
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@alex27 You two are about to have SO much fun! Even if you're used to having quite a bit more space at home, living in a van is not as crazy or difficult as it may seem. The challenges (yes, there will be some) will quickly be outshined by opportunities you'll find to discover and explore amazing places and meet great people. The best advice I can give is find some way to start with a trial run. Take a couple of weeks before you leave your traditional housing and practice what it will be like to live with your adventure partner in a confined space. The biggest adjustment is finding and getting in a routine of living in a small space together. Some tasks and chores will work better to team up on, some things are easier if one person just stays out of the way. Getting a feel for this before you take the plunge will make the first few weeks on the road a lot less daunting and frustrating, leaving you free to focus on your adventure. A trial run will also help identify what you need and don't need in your new four-wheeled home. Regardless of what kind of van you buy or build, there will be some amenities and parts of the layout that need adjustment once you start the day to day activities of living from a van. Spending a few nights or more will make these apparent in a way that a test drive or walk-through tour just can't do. Having a home base where you can unpack to make the adjustments will be far less stressful than having to try and find a place do do some carpentry or electrical work on the road with a van full of gear. Get educated on the living systems that will be in your van. Will it have wiring for lights and outlets fed by a solar charging system? Learn enough about 12v marine electrical systems so that you can safely troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Will it have a sink and potable/grey water system? Learn enough about plumbing that you can troubleshoot, repair and replace components. An afternoon trip to the hardware store to replace an electrical fuse or sink fitting is a fun and challenging part of the adventure; having to unpack your things into a hotel for a few days so that a mechanic/plumber/electrician can diagnose and repair your components is an expense of time and money that you could be using to get a whole bunch more miles down the road. I Hope this is helpful! Congrats on your decision to live home-free!
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@Dmitry Getting skin glue clean and keeping it sticky is a constant struggle. I use this method for getting skins clean and applying fresh glue:
That snow-catching can also be alleviated somewhat by how your skins are trimmed. Cutting straight taper lines at the tip, rather than convex or concave curves can help with this. There's a good picture in this article from BD:
For summer storage, I like to put a sheet of plastic mesh between the glue sides: This, or This. Then fold them up neatly in the bag they came with and store in a cool, dry place out of sunlight.
Raw ski base material that manufacturers use comes in thicknesses ranging from about 1mm-3mm. Touring skis will generally fall in the 1.2-2.2mm range. How many base grinds a ski can sustain depends on a LOT of things. It's hard to put an exact number on what constitutes 'typical' wear.
Bases take a beating every time you ski. How much that surface is impacted depends on a lot of things- how fast/far/often you go, the quality of snow you're skiing(icy snow is tougher on bases than soft snow), whether there's debris on the snow surface, etc.
When we're grinding a ski, we aim to remove the least amount of material necessary to achieve a flat base. We use a straightedge tool called a true bar to evaluate for flatness across the width of a ski. Depending on what's going on with a ski- scratches, uneven/warped base, etc., sometimes that means a few more cutting passes over the stone, sometimes a few less.
Contrary to what most folks imagine, it can actually be beneficial to have your ski bases tuned more often (at least 1x/season, 2x with frequent use) because we can usually keep the bases closer to perfect flat between services and don't have to cut as much material away with each shop visit.
Either way, you should be able to get around a dozen or so base grinds out of a touring ski with thin base material, barring any other factors.
Thanks for the questions!
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Hi @Dmitry! Thanks for always bringing great questions! You've come to the right place for these answers: You can come to any of our Bay Area stores to get all of your skis tuned. I and all of our Bay shop teams are really proud of the quality of ski tune work we do in our stores here. The process for tuning AT and resort skis is actually the same. We use a stone 'cutting' wheel to remove the minimum amount of base material that we can for each individual ski to be flat and free from nicks and gouges. If a gouge or scratch is deep, we first fill it in with p-tex material (the same stuff that ski bases are made of) so we don't have to remove too much of the ski bases' material to get them flat. Then we re-dress the stone wheel so that it cuts 'structure' into the base. Structure is a pattern of tiny grooves that allows the water formed from the top layer of snow melting as the ski passes over it to escape from under the ski base. Water's surface tension naturally creates suction which is felt as drag on the ski. We cut these little grooves- like the treads on your car's tires- to allow the water to pass more freely underneath and the ski to glide over the top. Good structure and wax = a ski that glides freely and fast. When storing skis, the most important element is a thorough cleaning and application of storage wax. Cleaning and adding wax removes moisture and contaminants, and seals the surface of the ski- and more importantly the steel edges- from moisture. If a ski sits all summer exposed to moisture, rust can develop and we have to remove more edge and base material to get all the rust off- this can shorten the lifespan of a pair of skis. All skis should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. The position of a ski when storing is not as important. There is historical lore that skis need to be stored a certain way so they don't flatten and lose their camber. Modern ski construction negates this- they will not deform or lose their shape under their own weight. Make sure nothing is stacked on top of a flat ski, or that nothing is pushing on a vertical ski causing it to bend, and they'll be just fine. Bindings and brakes should be just fine too. It's not a bad idea to back all your DIN settings off and let the brakes fully extend at the end of the season, but certainly not a death sentence for your bindings if you forget to do so. Just remember to have your shop re-adjust before the next season starts. I hope this is helpful!
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@Dmitry, Glad it was helpful- I did miss the insole step in what I described- Putting an insole in the liner/boot should always be the first step for fit. As for the quest for perfect fit, just remember that it's an evolving process. I've been in the "perfect" pair of boots for 3 seasons, and have had to adjust fit with foam pads and new insoles each season and sometimes mid-way through the season. Liners pack out, the musculature and flexibility of the foot/ankle changes between seasons and throughout the season. What feels/skis great in October will feel different in February. If you're on a quest for truly perfect fit, don't expect a 'one and done' solution. Also, a note regarding warmth: if your liner is too tight over the instep and blocks the veins there, it won't matter how thick or warm the liner is- if blood can't circulate, your feet will get cold. Just something to keep in mind (: Fingers crossed for a very snowy '20-'21!
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Hi @pboggs! Thanks for the great question! Yes! This is totally possible! The easiest way will be to mount a Sram 7-speed grip shifter on to the left side and connect it to the rear derailleur, along with a dual-pull brake lever. This is something that you can do at home if you're comfortable making all the adjustments yourself, but the Technicians at your local REI Co-op will be happy to do this for you once our shops have re-opened for service. Please reach out to our Cycling Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org! We can get you connected with the service department at your local REI Co-op store for this service! Thanks!
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Hi @Dmitry! Great question! The best way to address this issue- particularly the heel pocket space- is by adding foam pads to the outside of the liner between the liner and the boot. The pads we use when boot fitting are pre-cut self-adhesive 'L' shapes and fit on either side of the back of the ankle to hold the calcaneus (heel bone) down into place and keep it centered. They fit inside the pocket where the achilles tendon meets the heel bone, with the 'L' shape curving around the knobby anklebones on both sides. This will do wonders for keeping your heels locked down, and costs ~$5 instead of the ~$175 for a new liner. Especially for touring boots, all the hiking and movement happening in the boot can cause these pads to slip and move slightly. I like to add a strip of duct tape or gorilla tape to completely cover the pad to reduce friction and keep the pad exactly where I want it. You can do the same thing for the toe box- identify where there's too much room, cut a corresponding shape from a rectangular blank of foam and add it to your liner. Of course you can always replace the full liner, however the Intuition Pro Flex is on the thinner side of liners that Intuition makes, so putting something even thinner in there will still have you feeling like that heel pocket is too roomy. I hope this helps!
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Hi @sarahpaty! Sounds like a great adventure! You've got some great questions to start out- it sounds like you're definitely putting some thought into this. Are you looking at staying close to big urban centers, or are you headed out in the hills? What will the weather be like in each region while you're there?(the hot, humid Southeast will have very different conditions than the rainy coastal Northwest, for example) If you're going to spend more than a week or two on the road, I can't recommend strongly enough to set up some storage systems. This can be as simple or as complex as you want, but having the supplies, clothes, power cords, gear, etc. you're looking for easily available when you need them will save a TON of annoyance when you're on the road. The simplest option is stackable storage bins, but you could get creative and make a small wood shelf/drawer system for your trunk or backseat. For refrigeration, having fresh food and veggies makes a big difference between happiness and drudgery. A 12v electric cooler is the tidy way to keep things cold because it doesn't need ice, but can drain your car's battery. A small, inexpensive regular cooler will get the job done if you don't mind refilling ice every few days(most fast food restaurants will sell you a huge bag of ice waaay cheaper than prepackaged bags at the grocery). For recipes, think about easy dishes like stir-fry with minute rice. I really like simple coconut curry- fresh broccoli/squash/onion, canned cream of coconut(not coconut milk), curry powder, done. A simple 2-burner cookstove on a small folding table will give you full-kitchen function in a packable size, with fuel available anywhere. If you're visiting an urban-ish area, you should be able to find a franchise gym(life time, 24 hour, etc.) within a few miles of a laundromat to stay exercised, showered and be able to wash your clothes. Most yoga studios and some climbing gyms offer an unlimited first month trial for a reasonable price, if you're going to spend a week or two checking out one area- these can be great places to meet folks who will probably be interested in hearing about your adventures! (bonus note: I've never been to a climbing gym that didn't have at least 3-4 vans parked around with people living in them.. New friends!) Parking and privacy depends a lot on what kind of area you'll be in. Getting a roll of this stuff, cutting pieces to fit each of your car's windows, and spray painting the outside surface satin black will make it less evident that someone is sleeping in a car. Even still, an unfamiliar car is likely to draw attention in places like a suburban residential neighborhood. Trust your gut- if it feels sketchy, keep driving. If you're going to a new place/town, get there early to find a good/low-key spot and make sure you have cell service where you're going to be parked. I hope this helps! Have fun on your trip and reach out if you have other questions!
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Hi @Dmitry ! Great question! Being stuck inside means we have to get pretty creative about how to train for next season. I think there's some obligation here to mention that everyone should talk to their physician before beginning any exercise program. An important thing to talk about is the phases of your exercise program- making sure that we're first spending time adding muscle with progressive overload exercises is the first step. These can include squat movements, lunge movements and explosive jumps, or any other mix of bodyweight or weight-added exercises. Aftwe we add muscle, then we start training that new muscle in the right way for the activity we want. It sounds like you’ve got the strength part pretty dialed. It’s great to mix aerobic activity into this routine- working until you feel the lactic acid burn will stimulate capillary growth to get more blood to that muscle you’re adding. This part can be the toughest at home, though. A stationary bike or bike trainer can do wonders for passing the time. With a stationary trainer, you can put on a movie or listen to music to help the time go faster. Now, with plenty of new muscle that’s trained for concentric, aerobic movement, the skin track to the top will feel like a breeze and you’ll have plenty of gas in the tank for the way down. I really like that the Backcountry article mentioned leg blasters right out of the gate- I don't think I've found a better eccentric training exercise routine that shows real results in skiing fitness/ability. I can’t overstate how important eccentric training is for skiing. Every bump and turn on the way down loads the muscles in your legs while the muscles are being extended instead of contracted. If you haven’t trained for this, it doesn’t matter how much muscle you’ve added- you’ll get tired sooner. Leg blasters are the cornerstone of my ski training routine every year. Another thing I like to add are wobble board and/or bosu ball foot/ankle exercises. Keeping the ankles and feet strong and connected to what the rest of the leg is doing is just as critical. Last- don’t forget to stretch! It’s so important to make sure the hips, knees, shoulders, back, neck- your whole body, really- are all supple and free to move without strain. Hope this is helpful!
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