Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

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t-$

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby t-$ » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:16 am

howdy,

i definitely second learning how to snowplow. it's one of those things that i hate to do, but end up doing more often than not. even after skiing for 4 years i still rely on plowing (probably too much). it helps to have that safety mechanism available and to be able to get into a good plow from any situation.

what i mean is, it's harder to start a snowplow when you are at speed and already are committed to schussing. you either start it at the top of the hill, or not at all. when you are an expert snowplower (like me! :lol: ), then it's nice to know that you can jump into a safety stop right before you hit that oak tree.

of course, i also recommend becoming comfortable with the safety fall and getting back up again. ain't no shame in just sitting down when speeds get too high for you. that's harder than it sounds though when the trail is only a couple feet wide and there are trees left and right. keep heading out there and you will get it. one last pointer from one newb to another is that i found it helped me to ski the same trail over and over. that way you know the trail, the turns, the hills, and you can get more comfortable more quickly when you know how long a hill is and what's at the bottom.

books and vids are great, but they are no substitute for skiing, imho. if i had the choice between reading and skiing, i'll take skiing every time! this is why i really can't help you out with book titles...i should read a couple myself and have a couple books on my list. barnett's book might be a good one, i don't know. it might be a little advanced for you (and me) but inspirational none-the-less, and iirc has stuff about all the basic turns and skiing stuff. have fun, and keep your ski's on the snow...

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Lars » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:13 am

Maybe I'm doing this wrong (which would explain a lot!) but I found when I started out I was using my calves way too much and this caused me to do more of a shuffle than a glide.

I made a conscious effort to focus on driving with my quads and it helped a lot. I also overemphasized a toe point just to practice my balance. Not that this is necessarily a good thing to do, but it forced me to learn to get more comfortable with my skis and boots in a glide position.

This may well be all wrong. If so, I hope someone will chime in and let me know so I can get better!

Keep in mind, I've done this about a half a dozen times. :D

Great pics!

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:15 am

Wonderful, beginning to your ski log Satchel! (I greatly appreciate the photos- I must admit that I am useless when it comes to taking photos- my wife is always after me to do it- the only camera I own is my phone, and by the time I get out on my skis, I am so socially exhausted that I want nothing to do with that damn thing. Could buy a camera, rather than ski equipment I suppose...)

(Can't remember whether you have any experience XC skiing or not- so forgive me if I ever go on about stuff that is already part of your skill set!)

You have bought a set of XC skis and boots. Yes- this equipment is designed and tested for backcountry skiing on variable terrain, but the fact remains that it is XC equipment. Those skis are designed to track straight, and crush miles on backcountry snow, and hilly terrain. And your boots are designed for comfortable effortless striding.

SO- my first point is that no matter what you read, see or hear- I would not waste too much time- or disappointment- with expecting to be able to drive and steer those skis- with those boots. There will be ideal conditions where you can turn them- and I expect that you will be able to make snowplow or wedge turns quite effectively.

(I come from two strong and VERY different ski backgrounds- one is XC skiing- the other is downhill skiing. My introduction to XC skiing was both on groomed track, and also offtrack exploring in rolling terrain (with some family off-track trail skiing in more mountainous terrain (Laurentians/Green Mountains/Eastern Townships/Adirondacks). My introduction to downhill skiing was heavy rigid Alpine skis and boots- at the resort- which I quickly got good at. I first learned to Telemark ski in the Western Mountains with heavy, rigid Telemark equipment.)

The point of my story, is that there are things that I can do on downhill equipment that I just cannot do on XC equipment- and that is more than okay.

Now- that being said- I do love to make wide open turns on BC-XC equipment- when the terrain and snow allow.

BUT- when I am blasting down narrow trails or through the woods on my XC equipment, I don't wait for my skis to turn and "come around"- I MAKE THEM TURN.

From my perspective the most important dimension to XC skiing is XC skiing- RACK UP THE MILES.

The more you ski, the stronger and more balanced you are going to feel on your skis- and most importantly the stronger and more balanced you are going to feel with all of your weight on ONE ski.

I make far more striding, step and jump turns (+wedge turns) on my XC skis than true telemark turns. The reality is that most of the downhill terrain I XC ski on just does not give me enough space to make wide-open equally weighted telemarks (I am speaking of using long, straight, cambered XC skis, with XC boots here).

And if the slope I need to get down is extreme- I traverse the slope at a gentle angle- stop- then make an uphill kick-turn- then traverse in the opposite direction- repeat.

I guess my entire point is that there is nothing gained by pretending these are downhill skis and boots (NOT that I am suggesing anyone here is!).

This setup is going to rock. You are going to be able to fly across the countryside and through the hills. And the stronger and more balanced you become- you will be surprised at the steep hills you will end up handling.

Don't allow yourself to get disapointed if you are unable to shred like all of those vidoes of expert downhill skiers- that is not what you are doing!

XC skiing(on XC equipment) is more like trail running than it is downhill skiing- when you are skiing imagine that you are running- with huge long strides- and AMAZINGLY- when you stride forward- MAGIC- you are able to FLY as you glide forwards on the lead ski. NEXT- think- how would I RUN down this steep slope?

I have read a lot of books on skiing. But- perhaps the best thing I have ever gotten from any of it is Paul Parker's repeated emphasis on the key to free-heel skiing- KEEP YOUR FEET ALIVE!
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:43 am

Your family and day-to-day life situation resonates.

I have 4 children at home- ranging from 4 to 15 years old.

Our 5-year-old son is autistic and non-verbal- he requires 24/7 supervision- and not the kind of supervision that is easy to come by. I have no problems asking my two older children to look after him when I am out in the barn doing chores- but, it is too much to ask of them for me to leave them for a few hours.

Through the week I ski most every day- often after all the chores are done- and often after the little ones are asleep- so that I am sure my wife is also getting a little break!

I am VERY fortunate that I can ski right from my doorstep- and there are endless miles of beautiful forested hills and fields to explore!

During the week my tours are definitely XC-oriented- I typically get out for up-to an hour of a daily ski.

My more adventurous and downhill-oriented tours have to wait for the weekend as I need a few hours to properly access them and truly enjoy them!

My wife and I now only get to ski together when Grammy and Grampy come on the weekend.

We too live off of one income- one of us MUST be home. But, we have also chosen to pursue and grow our little farm so that it is now offsetting our cost of living, and slowly becoming a profitable business.

I do not know what the future holds for my son or our lifestyle- I may well be tied to home until I am old enough that I can no longer care for my son...impossible to know for sure! But- I am very grateful- have much to be thankful for.

What is most important is having the gear that allows you to just get out and fly- be able to fit it into your everyday life.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Johnny » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:11 am

Niiice...! I hope this is just the beginning of a life-long adventure...!
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:49 am

lilcliffy wrote:Your family and day-to-day life situation resonates.

I have 4 children at home- ranging from 4 to 15 years old.

Our 5-year-old son is autistic and non-verbal- he requires 24/7 supervision- and. not the kind of supervision that is easy to come by. I have no problems asking my two older children to look after him when I am out in the barn doing chores- but, it is too much to ask of them for me to leave them for a few hours.

Through the week I ski most every day- often after all the chores are done- and often after the little ones are asleep- so that I am sure my wife is also getting a little break!

I am VERY fortunate that I can ski right from my doorstep- and there are endless miles of beautiful forested hills and fields to explore!

During the week my tours are definitely XC-oriented- I typically get out for up-to an hour of a daily ski.

My more adventurous and downhill-oriented tours have to wait for the weekend as I need a few hours to properly access them and truly enjoy them!

My wife and I now only get to ski together when Grammy and Grampy come on the weekend.

We too live off of one income- one of us MUST be home. But, we have also chosen to pursue and grow our little farm so that it is now offsetting our cost of living, and slowly becoming a profitable business.

I do not know what the future holds for my son or our lifestyle- I may well be tied to home until I am old enough thatI can no longer care for my son...impossible to know for sure! But- I am very grateful- have much to be thankful for.

What is most important is having the gear that allows you to just get out and fly- be able to fit it into your everyday life.


Your advice and support are both SO appreciated man; seriously. That sounds like a hell of a load to bear, and it appears you do it admirably with a bit of time “to spare” (lol) for skiing! That’s what I’m trying to do as we speak!

My 4.5 year old has an extremely rare incurable genetic disorder that causes blindness and eventual renal failure. As if that weren’t enough, at age 2 he was diagnosed with ASD and is currently non-verbal and extremely sensory sensitive. Both these things are amplified by his visual impairment. Because of this, Access portals as a parent are super limited, but when he’s happy it is a fucking joy to behold :-) we hold on to those moments as I’m sure you do to.

While skiing isn’t literally “out my back door”, I live in a semi-rural area and am fortunate to have an array of excellent nature preserves within a five-to-fifteen minute drive of our home. This includes three areas within a stones throw of my boys’ daycare center, and these have become my regular training grounds as a trail runner and will be the same as a budding Nordic Skier :-).

As for my experience, assume I have none, since that is basically the case. I snowboarded for over a decade and had some alpine experience prior but was never able to get beyond some sketchy parallel turns on intermediate slopes in that regard. I tried XC skiing at a couple of centers in my teens and really liked it. I actually felt it Came quite naturally. But that almost was 2 decades ago lol. So for all intents and purposes I’m brand new and wet behind the ears.

As far as my Initial report, I don’t want you—or anyone else—to get the impression that I’m overly frustrated already. I made it out again today (more on that later) and both trips have been a blast and extremely rewarding. I’m just the type that likes to learn to do things WELL, and I hold myself to a high standard in any discipline I practice. But since I’m doing this totally solo I’ve got no one to show me the ropes. That results in a lot of “am I doing this right?” And “is this the way it’s supposed to feel” etc etc. But ultimately I’m confident in my ability to figure this shit out with enough Ski time. As you say, that’s TRULY the name of the game.

Having discovered this little 8-9:30AM “tiny tour” pocket in my mornings, I think I’ll do my best to get out there as much as the conditions and my schedule allow. It’s really quite an invigorating way to start the day!




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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby t-$ » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:57 am

Hey again,

sorry to overload you with stuff, you have gotten lots of great feeback for folks with way more experience than me. but, one thing i think helped me to xc ski was learning to feel the glide. and like lc (i think) said, just get out and ski a lot. each kick you can move your weight a little differently and see how it feels when you glide ahead. in short order you will be able to feel how some positions you just stop almost and others you just move nicely along with no effort. but it just takes practice and feeling the skis under your feet.

i found that my form improved only when i felt it while skiing. watching other people ski didn't really help with efficiency. i could see how it should look, but not how it should feel. form will develop over time with feeling.

i think this is the same with learning to turn xc skis. gotta just keep at it and learn to feel it...

have fun though!!

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Cannatonic » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm

great pictures! The new skis look good, I've got a pair of them too. just FYI, on fresh dry snow some wax like Swix F4 or Maxiglide can really help a fishscale ski to glide faster and work better.

The downhills always feel awkward compared to alpine gear. My technique is to either snowplow or jam my legs into the telemark position and hold it for a few seconds before falling :D

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Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:28 pm

t-$ wrote:Hey again,

sorry to overload you with stuff, you have gotten lots of great feeback for folks with way more experience than me. but, one thing i think helped me to xc ski was learning to feel the glide. and like lc (i think) said, just get out and ski a lot. each kick you can move your weight a little differently and see how it feels when you glide ahead. in short order you will be able to feel how some positions you just stop almost and others you just move nicely along with no effort. but it just takes practice and feeling the skis under your feet.

i found that my form improved only when i felt it while skiing. watching other people ski didn't really help with efficiency. i could see how it should look, but not how it should feel. form will develop over time with feeling.

i think this is the same with learning to turn xc skis. gotta just keep at it and learn to feel it...

have fun though!!



That last part is the most important, and I’m having a blast. Got out there again this AM for another 90 minute Tiny Tour️ And was experimenting more with weighting and form this time with some success. Your advice in this regard definitely resonates.

Another issue I’m seeing is that these probably aren’t the best boots for my feet. I’ll write about this a bit more in another post, but essentially it’s an issue of the length/toebox being perfect, but the midfoot being too wide and the boot being a bit too high-volume over all. It’s not BAD, just not ideal. I think that some insoles paired with a thicker sock may help some. We’ll see.


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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:22 pm

Johnny wrote:Niiice...! I hope this is just the beginning of a life-long adventure...!


Thanks; me too!


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