Get a grip

Wet snow conditions prevailed at Lake Louise today, and it sounds like that was the case everywhere. It rained intermittently all the way from Canmore to the outskirts of Lake Louise. I arrived at Moraine Lake road to find 10 cm of fresh, wet snow from last night but it had already been trackset this morning. Air temp was -4°C.

Alex and Luisa from Baltimore on Moraine Lake road

Alex and Luisa from Baltimore on Moraine Lake road

I used my zero skis which are excellent in wet snow, and I had 100% perfect grip as I climbed the big hill. What I didn’t count on, though, was fresh snow falling as I neared the 6K mark. At this point, I had climbed about 180 metres in elevation. Fresh snow can create clumping on the zero skis so I turned around before it became a problem. If you spray the grip zone with a special anti-stick spray, it will mitigate the clumping problem somewhat. I’m still learning and fine-tuning my zero skis, as I have only skied on them three times(twice back in November; remember Frozen Thunder?)

Fairview

Fairview

When I reached Paradise creek, it was no longer snowing, so I opted for Fairview and Tramline which had also both been trackset today.

I had stopped at Wilson’s on the way in, and Bill asked me if I’d like to try a demo pair of the “Skintec” waxless skis from Atomic. I skied up Tramline with them and was impressed with the excellent grip. The glide was a bit compromised because they were a bit soft for my weight, but I could see they had a lot of potential for conditions when waxable skis wouldn’t work well.

Fresh snow on the Great Divide trail

Fresh snow on the Great Divide trail

I didn’t get the opportunity to ski in any fresh snow with the Skintecs, so I can’t say for certain how they would perform. You can read more about them Skintec waxless skis. I’d like to hear from anyone who has used these skis in icy conditions or in fresh falling snow.

The zero skis and the skintec skis are pricey compared to the traditional fishscale waxless skis.

For the upcoming weekend, anything with older grooming will be very icy after this warm weather, so keep an eye on the trail reports and try to find some fresh grooming and tracksetting to ski on.

3 Comments:

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  1. Tape is fantastic on abrasive old or man made snow in temperatures between +2 and -10 C. It is often the only grip that will work at Canada Olympic park.
    The one down side is that the tape is fairly thick and can be a bit draggy if you don’t shorten your grip zone.

  2. Speaking of waxless skis, has anyone tried grip tape? I happened to stumble across it on the SWIX website:

    http://www.swixsport.com/eway/default.aspx?pid=278&trg=MainPage_6117&MainContent_6179=6117:0:24,2723&MainPage_6117=6138:73472::0:6144:1:::0:0

    And also found it made by a company called START:

    http://www.startskiwax.com/en/skiwaxes/kick-waxes/grip-tape/product/491/start-grip-tape

    I’m really curious to know if it works, or if we can even buy it here.

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