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mountainsandsound

I don't ski and it's bringing me down

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Are all you CCers skiers as well as climbers, or do other slowshoers have my problem of their friends disowning them in the winter?

 

To solve this problem, I'm thinking of picking up some Silvrettas and approach skis for my Invernos. Would it be reasonable for a person to pick up skiing without practicing at the resort? And I don't mean steep descents and nice turns, but just to the point of being more efficient than snowshoes and relatively safe? I have a background in cross-country skiing, but not downhill.

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either find slow-shoe friends (they are out there) or learn how to ski in a resort and get some good gear. There is no flat ground in the mountains so eventually you will need to be able to go downhill. Without skilz and good skiis/boots, it will either be miserable or injurious.

 

cheap option is to snowshoe. there are plenty of routes to do that are fine snowshoe routes.

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Same dilemma a lot of folks face, I did too 7 or 8 years ago. There is no way to learn to ski downhill better than going to a resort and ponying up for at least a couple of days and maybe a lesson or two. Some resorts offer pretty good deals for a like a "3 pack" of lift ticket, rental gear, and lessons for beginners. You will pick up skinning uphill and stuff pretty quickly, especially if you've spent time on XC skis. You will need to learn to go downhill, trust me, I've been there with approach skis at the top of the hill, and ended up postholing all the way out while carrying my skis.

 

As far as gear, rent downhill stuff a few times. I've found that old cheap approach skis cobbled to climbing boots are only really skiable if you already know how to ski. It's a crappy set up for a beginner. My skiing (and fun) improved exponentially when i quit trying to do it in climbing boots and got some used AT gear (a few years old, not decades). Actually the newer pack of boots out there climb amazingly well too, IMHO, the "approach ski" is on it's way out being supplanted by boots that both ski and climb fairly well for the average weekend warrior.

 

Even if you don't crave the steep, it's nice to get into skiing to have another thing to do in the winter and more friends who won't ditch you. If you are lucky you can still ski in and out of climbs too!

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As far as gear, rent downhill stuff a few times. I've found that old cheap approach skis cobbled to climbing boots are only really skiable if you already know how to ski. It's a crappy set up for a beginner. My skiing (and fun) improved exponentially when i quit trying to do it in climbing boots and got some used AT gear (a few years old, not decades). Actually the newer pack of boots out there climb amazingly well too, IMHO, the "approach ski" is on it's way out being supplanted by boots that both ski and climb fairly well for the average weekend warrior.

 

 

Thanks for that bit, I was at one point set on doing the silvretta/approach ski setup with mountaineering boots to minimize the amount of additional gear I'd have to get. I've been questioning that more and more though... especially if it's true that the newer AT boots do OK climbing and given that I won't need boots that climb extreme terrain anyway. I just have my eyes set on mellow standard routes and covering ground on FS roads.

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FWIW, I was in your shoes 2 years ago, went with the approach ski setup, and I'm doing just fine. I get up to the climbs much faster, and when I need to get down steep parts that are scary in my climbing boots and shitty skis, I take them off and glissade. Yes, sometimes it really sucks, and sometimes it's terrifying, but generally less time approaching and more time climbing. Which is nice. Someday I'll spend more time trying to learn to ski, but I'm not there now!

 

 

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Backcountry skiing in mountaineering boots isn't easy or pleasant. :laf:

 

As others have said you need to feel comfortable sliding on skis. The best way to do that is at a ski area where you can log downhill time.

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You guys are convincing. I thought this was the year I would actually invest in a transceiver, but I think I will keep begging/borrowing/renting in favor of using those funds to learn how to ski, which may include (gasp) spending cash for a few lift tickets.

 

 

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Or you could take all that dough that you would spend on gear and lift passes and take trips to Smith, Red Rocks and J-Tree over the winter.

 

PM me if you need a partner.

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Join the Mountaineers and spend weekends at the Meany Lodge. That's the cheapest option. They only groom 10% of the runs. That'll force you to ski snow in all conditions.

 

[img:center]http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/515/medium/Meany_Hut0001.JPG[/img]

 

You'll get the added bonus of learning how to ride a 20 MPH rope tow and use toe grippers ;)

 

 

 

 

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Crags are cool, but they don't have the same appeal to me as mountains. That is why I remain a marginal rock climber who may not ever get past 9s and easy 10s. That's also why I think it would be easier for me to dedicate more time to skiing than rock climbing.

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You can get really good cheap used gear on craig's list or ski sales. I don't know where you live, but I head up to the pass early mornings and skin up the groomed slopes ski down, repeat. It's a good conditioner, it's free and you can learn turns, falling, etc. on gentle slopes.

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I learned to ski the way you want to learn to ski. I got some loaned garbage can skis with Silvrettas in them and skiied in my mountaineering boots.

 

After a couple years I got better skis, better bindings and real ski boots.

 

Fact is, I still can't ski worth shit. I ski green runs on the hill, sometimes blues if I'm feeling really daring. I get more skiing in in one day of lift skiing than I do in a season of winter climbing. I ski for pleasure less than 5 weekends a season. I am climbing ice or winter mountaineering or heading south to dry rock the rest of the season.

 

But you know what? I can ski just well enough to be able to use my skis to get to and from winter climbs. And I can ski well enough to do easy tours like the Garibaldi Neve.

 

While I am a shitty skier and will probably remain a shitty skier the rest of my life, I ski enough to scrape by at the type of skiing I learned how to ski to do - easy tours and approaches to/descents from climbs in winter and spring.

 

I like skiing on lift-serviced hills but i hate all the other skiiers being there. So even though lift skiing is a lot better I slog out on easy backcountry terrain instead by preference. I may be holding back my development as a skier but on the other hand I enjoy skiing the areas that I do go to.

 

I didn't throw my snowshoes away either. There are plenty of ice climbs where snowshoes are a more viable approach.

 

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similar to JDCH two years ago I took up skiing. Mostly I was shit tired of watching people buzz by me on the volcanoes while I trudged or postholed back down.

 

Prior to this it had been 20~ years since I skied (use to do it once a winter as a kid in Michigan). It came pretty quickly, that first year I skied adams SW chutes, probably around day '15' or so of skiing for the season--not super pretty, but, I didn't fall or snowplow down it either, not that its a hard ski but it was nice to ski exit that volcano instead of walk down and see dividends so quickly.

 

One thing with the lifts--down here in pdx at least Timberline Lodge offers a spring pass for something like $120? I forget, but it pays for itself with two visits, starts in March or early April and goes until June (?). I got a ton of skiing in on that my first year, with plentiful amounts of fresh snow on many days. And its mostly great mellow/moderate terrain for learning. I think Bachy and I'm sure areas up in WA have some spring passes.

 

the hardest part for me was the money for this activity. skis. boots. bindings. skins. probe. saw. transceiver. ski crampons. whippet. spring pass, occasional full price tickets, avy class. ... now looking at roof rack. :crosseye: not that you need every bit of that right away.. its worth it though, so much winter fun, days that are shit for climbing high are now transformed to fun in the trees. and turning around on routes is no longer a defeat in the same way, but time to go from one mode of fun and pursuit to another. Every bit up is a gain for the down, even if you dont top out on objectives, I really enjoy that.

 

 

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the hardest part for me was the money for this activity. skis. boots. bindings. skins. probe. saw. transceiver. spring pass, occasional full price tickets, avy class. ... now looking at roof rack. :crosseye:

 

 

Yup. And I thought mountaineering was expensive when I first started to splurge on the gear... then came rock climbing... all of this on top of backpacking, fishing, kayaking, surfing, etc... then my wife started to ask me about how many hobbies I planned on pursuing.

 

All part of a very Pacific Northwest, first-world problem I guess.

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Skiing is a major investment. Decent gear is going to cost you 2K or more, even if you shop very carefully, unless you buy used stuff with some miles on it or just crap priced low because, well, its crap and nobody wants it. The best AT gear is pretty light - and it doesn't last that long (boots, particularly), so be mindful of that when buying used. If you're in it for the long term, you may not be saving money at all buying used.

 

I've always considered skiing an necessary, not optional, mountain skill, so it was never a choice for me. I just wish I'd AT skied from day one is all, rather than bludgeoning myself with tely gear for so many years.

 

Skiing isn't just a way to get someplace in winter. You can suffer in slowshoes for cheap if that's your only objective. Its a whole new journey; one that offers a shit ton of new freedom, beauty, capability, and uncut joy.

 

 

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I would love to learn to ski, but I plain do not have time. Not now, not for a while. I just barely get out for resort boarding once or twice a season, how the fap am I going to learn to ski?

 

I tried to teach myself AT skiing last year. I put together an AT setup with Silvretta 505s and just started going up on them, then having to come down with them. What better way to learn to ski, and do it in climbing boots, then to just go climb stuff and have to get back down?

 

Not sure how many times I went up, trying different boots (to include Invernos, which just made it suck both up AND down), different methods.. but always on shit variable snow and usually in the crap weather a winter climber usually climbs in

 

FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL, FAIL. Horrible, awful, exhausting, painful, pride-wounding, demoralizing. I suspected it would be, as all my skiing friends told me I was destined for failure. But I have one of these personality types that just can't take peoples' word for things.

 

Then I discovered splitboarding. Already being a competent snowboarder, this has become my winter mobility solution, and it's totally rad.

 

Do you board??

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Skiing isn't just a way to get someplace in winter. Its a whole new journey; one that offers a shit ton of new freedom, beauty, capability, and uncut joy.

 

Once you get to a point where you can crank a huge GS turn on a field of untouched snow in the glorious sunshine, you won't care about winter climbing. Skiing (or in my case, splitboarding) is certainly the most pure fun I have in the mountains.

 

I only go winter climbing when the ski conditions suck.

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FWIW, I was told by someone whose experience I trust that you'll take a significant risk breaking your ankles using Silvrettas if you don't know how to ski really well.

 

I'm in the same boat. I'm a shitty skier, but I'm tired of feeling stuck at home in the winter. And, I want to do winter climbs, but need to figure out the approach. And I'll be damned if I ever have to hike back down from camp muir. So, I'm in the process of buying AT gear, trying to stay as cheap as possible.

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If you are starting from scratch, a ski rental/lesson package will go a long ways towards knowing how it's supposed to work. They are usually cheap to hook you on the drug.

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I was where you were 3 or 4 years ago...I even rocked climb in WA every month of the year for a couple years before that. Now I live in Montana and tour powder every weekend all winter long.

 

Get dynafit bindings and a pair of decent fitting AT boots. Sierra Trading post has some killer deals if you sign up for the email list and wait for a 35% off coupon.

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You need to decide whether you want skis for skiing or for approaching winter climbs.

 

If you want them only for winter climbing, then it might be worth suffering with mountain boots. (On the other hand, I think some of the newer AT boots may climb pretty well--those with good ankle articulation.)

 

If you want to ski (or if you're just doing snow climbs) then get real ski gear.

 

If you're not already an expert skier, skiing in mountain boots isn't going to be fun or efficient. It's like stepping back to the 1930s.

 

Try checking out the "Yardsale" board on turns-all-year:

 

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?board=5.0

 

You might find something reasonable there. There are various ski swaps in the Seattle area. This one is good for generic alpine gear:

 

http://skiswap.info/

 

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