Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New skis

My downhill ski quiver was looking rather grim with only two skis in them. My powered skis: Line Prophet, and my Daily Drivers: Solomon Pocket Rockets. With the lack of snow, warm days and cold nights, the ski slope resembles an ice skating rink, more then the fluffy posters ads seen in magazines. Like the frozen lake in my last post, but tilted on its side. Being relatively new to skiing both my downhill skis are wide (100 and 90mm underfoot); not the best for firm icy conditions.

Earlier when I said I had two pairs of skis in my quiver, that was slightly misleading. That is because I have several quivers, as does my wife. Therefor I could not justify dropping large amounts of cash for a new ski.

I was in the used gear shop (9 lives) one day, and what did I see. A narrow Atomic Beta Ride 8.20 for $5.95 (circa 2000 +/- 2). I looked at the bases, though dirty and dry they were in decent shape. My friend Kemen, who works at the shop sees me inspecting the ski and comes over. "You can have those for free", he says. Turns out he bought those earlier that week and pulled the back country touring bindings off of them, and was reselling the skis (basiclly jsut giving them away). The dirty base was skin glue, they were only mounted once, and appeared to have very little use.

(pictured ski is not mine, mine are blue)

My next task was to procure a set of bindings. When asked, many people offered me their old bindings, but I wanted a pair of Demo bindings, which can be adjusted to any size boot. With the large number of winter guest we receive, having a ski that can fit everyone is a nice feature. Soon a pair of Salomon S900 came up for sale, mounted on a pair of giant 190s with blown out edges. I ended up paying $45 for the monstrosity and pulled the bindings off if them.
(binding pictures is not mine)

Finally came the task of mounting them. I have mounted bindings myself a few times but they have always been touring bindings, where the boot clips into the binding without them being mounted. As you can see in the picture, with a two piece binding this is a little more difficult. I figure I could spend all night mounting these things, or I could spend a hour at a shop using the right tools. Two shop tools in particular make mounting bindings a piece o cake. A jig and a ski drill.

A ski drill is special due to it's shoulder, which sets the depth of cut. Its shoulder also acts like a bushing guide for the jig.
The jig is super simple to use. Set to type of binding, line up to center line of ski, drill holes in the color coordinated holes. The holes are drill bushings design to interface the ski drill.
Total work time about 30 mines. But the whole process required the better part of an evening to BS with my shop friend, and to drink a few beers I brought for him.
If you want to read more about ski bindings check out this PDF by Salomon about bindings.
So there you have it, my new ski, and possibly your ski if you come up to visit me!

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