The weather forecast for today was terrific, so there was no way I wan't going out to bag some more miles under my newly aquired 2013 model Atomic Skintec Pro 4000s. Conditions looked aboslutely beautiful with the tracks prepared in the morning. The temperature was on the rise for march, it being notably stoked up from both sun and when the wind picked up from the south west later. The type of snow in the valleys was wet and gritty, thawing back quickly now. Up at 300m over sea level, it seemed like rather peachy fresh snow for perhaps Lillac hard wax conditions.
This prove not to be the case and I like many other skiers, had a bit of a frustrating day. Most it seemed chose clister, but the snow in the shadow was too new and light for it, while on the sunnier gradients the snow was becoming like a nice easter, a bit wet and almost spongy in the base of the tracks. The 75cm plus new snow had come ontop of a minimal base, if not completely absent, after the dread intrusion of mild rain weather over Scandinavia back in mid February.
I drove to our nearest tracks above 250m which include most good snow winters, a climb of about 400 ft and a route round a hill top looking towards biggerr neighbours which I would count as mountains. So this route includes a lot of fishboning to gain altitude as it meanders round different ridges, ascending them on their shallowest shoulder. Also there is though a very good deal diagonal and some staving-with or without kicking, plus enough dips to give you a breather when you most need it.
Warming up in the valley in the shadow, the skis seemed pretty good but glide was not absolutely tops, A gang of very spoorty looking housewives had departed 5 mins before me and I never caught up with them, but we are talking about being in deep ski country where folk compete at a national level in all age groups. Their staving holes were very similar to mine, I just presumed they had better glide and gort away from me, but five minutes is long enough ahead to not see someone doing the same pace as you on any part of the route.
The skis were about 10% slipping on the kicks on any gradients and that went up to about one in three kicks on the steeper diagonal doable sections, which meant experimenting with jogging, staving, fishbone or trying to see if the middle lane created more traction- which it sometimes did, but other times it seemed too loose. Snow was falling from the Scots Pine which pepper the wild country root, in great dods onto the tracks in places and these were definetly a killer for traction!!
Glide was furstrating also and I immediately started to think of how the skis would compare to my old Fischer planks? Did the soft, melting conditioins lend themselves to a wider ski? Was the fell (skin) dragging or sucking?
I took a photoshoot break on the top of the first shoulder of the ascent after 100m of fishboning. There is a little dip right after this with a cute 180 degree turn to take you along the next valley to the end of the spur so you can climb the next shoulder. Here the skis proved to be super compliant, with some one sided plowing to shed speed being very firm, while step turning proved more stable than my blue planks.
Where the snow was colder, kick was a bit better, while on the other hand where the snow was warmest it seemed that double pole was quickest in the flats. It was a really beautiful day, so there were several photostops and a strip off gloves stop too, so in combijnation with the deep, soft conditions all this meant travel time to the summit was up from what then prove to be a really fast time for me on a course which absolutely will never suit my massive size!
The reason to do the round the mountain is partly as a good day out if you are going with friends, but otherwise a really good cardio work out followed by an exciting and very testing down hill, with both cross slope gradient, some hairpins, and some real deep little bowls to dive into and try to stave hard out to keep on the move. The latter caught me out today as the narrower ski would loose float on the deep beds of the bowls, and dig in, thus messing up both my step turn and any plow corrections and I got unceremoniously thrown off into the soft bank twice, once face plkanting at about 30 mph which broke my sunbglass arm on one side, Damn, why did I go so fast in and try to be clever step turning in the softest snow? I was more cautious on the hair pins, combining a good brake in lough wiht some step turning. Other bends I could take slalom style as usual. The skis felt really nice down hill, with no noise from the skin as far as I could tell, and a really positive, controlled feel to the ride and steering. The skis really came alive today on the dowhill, which is on the North face so maybe that tells me something.
At the end of the hill top route, the tracks plunge back onto forrest roads and I chose to branch off down for another 1.6 km of decent , with it being so fun an' all - going with gravity. The climb back up the same way was a real plod as I knew it would be and I wasnt expecting so very much- it worked out to feel much like being on lillac or red when you needed to go to clister, a bit of 'wheel slip' and the need to come out and bone up. But that is par for the course for me on this long 2km climb.
Since it was such a beaturiful day I decided to take in the third wing of the route, completing the circle to the foot of the mountain top route and then going down eastwards. Here some usually fast staving sections seemed slow and I got quite frustrated. There was no one around to judge my pace or slipping gains.
So the jury is unfortunetly out on both the camber and glide qaulity and the adhesion from the ski and the SDS system hard camber, soft kick carbon skulduggery.
What I really needed to do waas to test against my old skis and then get a well waxed pair of these https://shop.atomic.com/en/catalog/product/view/id/17023/s/redster-marathon-classic-hard/category/1245/ to test agosing ........