onsdag 22. mars 2017

Atomic Skintec 4000s - Are skin Skis the Way to Go for Training and Fitness Skiing?

Just to give my own personal skis and experience over a few hundred kilometers on them. To summarise, as before in an earlier blog, the ski's are pretty much as good as the conditions.

 You can't expect to really get the most of a ski with a hard arch tension and a mohair insert which will have some friction and waterlogging effects, on the type of conditions we get here need the coast.

'Last Couple of Day's Conditions. We often get thaw back to this and then new snow in spring. At least it was firm and the slush wasn't too deep today.

Today the conditions were actually not bad because the ice had been churned by the machines not that long ago, and the sun as you see was melting the structure a fair bit to a softer texture. In truth it looked like a far better day for skate skis.

The ski went well today, but it made me think about how much better a good clister job would have done on a slightly softer pair of skis. There is the dilema, you need then more than one pair of skis anyway! 

Today proved though that the skintec works on any condition where there is compacted snow which is still crystaline. Blue through purple to red hard waxes, and purple to silver and of course universal clister to the point when clister will work better on harder surfaces ( but suffer abrasion down to little again after 15 km) 

For list lovers then: Plusses and Minusses: 

+ Works on Wax Conditions with Old and New Laid Tracks
+ Works in the wetter easter snow
+ Really good kick and glide in 'silky' blue and purple with firm track bases.
+ Perhaps in lillac/ blue conditions, you can scale a steeper hill before fishboning comes in
+ Seem to avoid icing while keeping good grip in Zero conditions or mild air on cold tracks too
+ (ski not skin) The arch tension in the ski is good for glide and double pole with kicking
+ Works better than wax it seems in the mid lane out of the tramlines
+ Can skate on them usually because they do not 'snag' on the mid lane and they are high tension

- Doesn't work at all on very icey (where ice clister would be best) or very hard, transformed compacted tracks
- Doesn't work well at all on fine, cold new snow. 
- Gets waterlogged it seems, and looses some traction
- Can suck on downhills when waterlogged 
(ski not skin) The arch tension in the ski is a little hard for soft conditions

They Suck - But Not Often

That would be the biggest issue there above underlined- I noticed these spring days that the skin will suck right down on even a fast down hill when the ski finds a soft spot or the contour fills the arch, and it is like putting the brakes on a bike on. 

Then to release it you have to rock back to your heels and the ski flies off again, which is of course to be expected with a pretention in that arch matching 100-120kg skiers. On a faster section you can forgive this a bit, but not if you were racing or if you then needed to step out of the tram line, or one ski plough brake, because that might knock you off balance with a thump. 

This also shows itself in undulating terratory when it gets wet or porridgey in the tracks- the ski will not glide well, although you dont feel it like brake blocks coming on, it just is there. 

I would guess that the ski skin glider / protector sprays are the way to go. I tried and HFC shoe polish style rub a couple of times, and I think it helped with waterlogging, but also I think I lost a little traction when I needed it most in the shadowy sections where the tracks hadn't started melting.

Ski For Your Weight and Style

Here comes a little of the rub. Atomic have made a training ski which is used by some pros in their team, which has quite probably a very consistent arch tension (spenn) due to carbon being used in the construction. They are a mid to high range ski, depending on your tastes and local shop and prices. However they have made the 208 cm model a monster ski which a 125kg, 2 m high giant could use as skate skis. They have a tension which is just too much for soft conditions, and quite hard work in good conditions, while in the hard conditions it seems it works against itself too, but does allow for a really fast poling ski. 

So what were they thinking of? There are very few competitive skiers over 90kg let alone 100kg, so an advanced, stiff semi racing ski is not going to be ideal for the presumably less fit buyer and actually less trained yours tuly.  Well I did get a pair of these on the tension tester machine, and 208 was correct because the feeler gauge just got to the tip of the skin with some tiny friction the last inch or so. But the thing is that the skin is quite slipply in fact in glide phase because it seems never to pick up ice crystals, it brushes them backwards of course! Also this 4000 version is a built in skin, unlike its immediate predecessor which looks very similar as a ski, which has the magnetic removable insert, with two versions. So they maybe placed the skin too far forward. 

Another guy I met and paced with had the Fischer trainer-tourer skin ski with the thinner, twin skins and a traditional groove. He had poorer glide, yet about the same grip, and he didnt seem overweight. 

Skis vary as do conditions, so I would say have a think about your average conditions and if you have a good old wax pair for softer conditions, or if you want a skin ski for soft conditions and then a hard 'clister' ski for hard conditiions. The longer the insert, and the broader it is, the more it will create possible friction and waterlogging. Get the skis on the test meter and see where the feeler gauge meets fur ! Then do the floor test too for old times sake, both skis with a sheet of A4 paper under. 

I would say buying two pairs of skin skis is going to be a bit of a bad thing to do, a soft and a hard, because then you get into conditions where the skin doesnt work anyway  ie new snow, or ice, or waterlogged when the arch is not that hard in the ski. You are better thinking if you do most of your skiing on high mountain conditions to get a skin ski and then a soft ski for blue waxing through to the spring thaw melting and harder conditions for clistering them up. Some ski areas in the Rockies and Canada, tend to get a large early dump of snow and then the tracks get older and firmer for most of the season. So that would suit the idea above, a harder skinski and a soft, loose day and end of season waxed ski which is softer in arch tension.

I conclude this year, being the sixth not very great season in a row after two seven month -blue and lillac stonkers in 2010-2011, that it is the conditions and not my skis which are the issue!! However I can see that I need a softer pair of skin skis,  and I need to get hold of a pair of clister skis, again not quite as hard as the 4000s because I feel I need a quicker contact with clister - to be able to feel how hard I need to 'paw' or slide on the harder base conditions. 

With shorter seasons, the hard spenn skis are tough to work up to pace on, a bit like a high geared track bike needing more power and technique to be built up over time. 

So picking your ski is a bit of a Science for your own personal art - a soft ski is easy to get up and going, but will limit your speed and development of a powerful kick (perhaps!) Even for a new beginner a soft ski can be a mistake for mountain conditions, especially if they are investing a bit of money in the sport there and then. 

A hard ski - correctly measured for your weight that is, not too hard -  will allow you to grow in style and keep 'the wheel rolling' - for example double pole with or without kick will be much more effective and once good in technique, energy efficient on a hard spenn ski. 

A medium spenn ski is going to be a good allrounder for your style as a fitness skier I would say, because you are most likely concentrating on diagonal style. Also it will help you build up strength for the season, rather than for the ski,  like with mine! When we perhaps see a skin ski in shop like this, we look for approximately right length for your height and then check the arch tension for your weight. I would say take it down 10kg and see how the feeler works, then up 10 kg too. Here you get an idea for the different loadings caused by hard or softer bases, and can see how the ski might suck too much if it is too soft. I say you can allow for some feeler 'rub' on the skins at the front on your own weight, and not be looking to have the skin off the snow completely ie feeler guage all the way forward and into plastic before it finds friction. Mine are about an inch and a half of friction on the scale, perhaps then two to two and a half would be better, but then that would suck more on wet conditions.

Ingen kommentarer: