freedom glider wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 01, 2022 11:49 pm
Stephen wrote: ↑
Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:08 am
Llilcliffy, just curious — would you rate the Nansen as a “countryside touring ski?”
How about the Gamme?
wondering the same things. this seems sort of the dilema with the ousland. its skinny enough to be tempting for some use in tracks and for "countryside touring." if one were designing a ski for pure polar expedition - why make it this skinny? wouldnt deep snow be a likely condition to expect at times when heading toward the poles? wouldn't width help support the weight of pack/pulk?
and the ousland seems to be thought of as somewhat similar to the e99 - and the e99 does not seem to be considered an expedition ski.
not questioning anyone's impressions or insights here at all. just confused about the asnes story about this ski compared to its specs. and am interested in the ousland as sort of an e99-ish ski in this time of e99/tn66 shortage.
To understand the Asnes ski design, you have to understand the polar environment.
Snow at high latitudes tend to be windblown and hard. Not deep. Also, most snowfall occurs in the mountains or near the ocean. The northern tundra is cold and dry. And in the south pole and Antarctica, I have been told that its also similarly cold and dry. Any big snow storm usually is often met with high winds as the system comes through. It will go from being foggy/cloudy to clear skies. These high winds either blow the snow away or if the snow is moisture rich and bonds to the surface, it freezes into a hard layer of crust. The freezing takes place rapidly as warmer air is lost in clear skies (warmer air is trapped when there is cloud coverage). So when it's sunny and clear in the arctic in the winter, it tends to be very cold...also because of shorter days (when the sun sets, the temp can drop 20 degrees in minutes...all the moisture is gone). I have experienced moist warmer air transform into floating ice crystals as the skies clear up (it will be "snowing" on a clear sunny day) and it will feel very cold and dry within the hour.
The surface snow completely melts away above the arctic circle in the summer with permafrost about 6"+ below it. The permafrost of the arctic is up to 1700ft. So the ground is spongy, soft, and often wet during the summer. The vast tundra is hilly, bumpy (tussocked), or flat. No trees, no bushes. Mossy and grassy. And in many areas, low grass and marshy, swampy with many streams and ponds/lakes that form (more like giant puddles). All of this is frozen solid in the winter.
The snow is very dry on the tundra and gets blown off during periods of high winds. Snow in the early and late winter and spring which carries more moisture will stick and then melt and refreeze with huge temp swings and also become crusty from prolonged sun exposure (suncrust) and/or windblown... so this layer is either solid hard crust or breakable crust. Sustrugi will also form from the high winds and tend to be very hard, boilerplate features.
The most ideal condition in spring or late spring is the perfect skateable crust that allows for fast gliding...the crust is just soft enough and sometimes has some light dusting of newer snow on top and allows a pair of skinnies to slide perfectly and gracefully...this is a nordic skiiers dream (usually only lasting 1-3 wks in Alaska...and sometimes as little as an hour in a day depending on where you are...may have much longer windows in the higher latitudes).
So, overall, you wont encounter very deep snow on polar expeditions unless you are at higher elevations, on glaciers, or mountainous areas.
The thin, long Asnes skis are tuned for these conditions. The snow is hard and unforgiving for a thousand miles. There might be some areas of deep snow, but on many of these routes, these are relatively "short" sections of the trail. I say "short" because it still could be 20miles long of breaking trail in a foot or more of snow.
See photos below of the north slope in Alaska
taken between july and oct of various years.