So I just sold my Khyber 156 split and was looking for approach skis so I can ride my everyday non-split skatebanana when venturing out our gate. I have an old homemade split (163) that I'll never ride again and it's too beat up to warrant selling and I started thinking: how feasible is hacking one third of my old split off, taking the uneeded hardware off leaving only the tele-bracket to relocate on the now 99cm split skis? I'm using old xbase full carbon bindings and am thinking I can just throw the setup on my back for the ride back down. It should weigh maybe 7 or 8 lbs total. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I'm thinking with full width approach skis and tractor skins, I should be able to still float enough on the short skis since they are so wide. I'll be using the voile crampons as well. Anybody tried this yet? I'm gonna cut the board so that I have no twin tip left so the contact length on the 39 inch ski would be about exactly 3 feet. Any thoughts? I suppose using two snowskate decks could work too but you'd have to buy them and I'd like to experiment with fairly useless materials first to see if it works at all. I weigh about 130lbs and would be carrying my 10lb board and bindings on my back. I guess my question is: has anyone tried really wide, really short approach skis and what did you think?
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 4952 Location: California
In my opinion any slight performance you gain by using a solid board over a split is going to be quickly compromised by the fact that you have to ride with approach skis on your back. The board might be a little lighter but your mobility to huck, jib, and spin will be limited with the awkward and bulky skis on you back. You'll also have to carry your board on the way out/up so in essesnse you'll always have something besides a pack alone on your back whereas with a split you'll never have anything besides the pack on your back. The exception would be if you needed to boot something. On that note, what happens if you need to boot up something with the approach skis? Now you have to carry the board AND the approach skis!
Have you used the Spark bindings yet? That option will take over a pound off the split set-up, bring you closer to the board, and increase torsional rigidity. If you really like the skate banana you could always pick up another one (cheaper than a split) and have Monk151 split it. Now you've got the solid banana and banana split. Sick.
I appreciate the input, bc. Here's my deal, I've split my own board before and used it extensively and it still compromises alot going down. My main beefs are the weight and the lateral flex from the binding interface. I fully understand the spark binding and even though it gets you closer to your board and is a great solution to the problem you're still riding a heavier setup. I agree that the concept of the split is great for most everything except for when you want to do something technical with big consequences. In my experience, I feel better on the board I use on a regular basis than on a split. I agree carrying shit on my back up sucks and carrying some shit back down sucks, but if the shit is small and can be stowed properly on a back pack, I can deal with 8 extra pounds on my back when I want perfect response from my board, you know? I think there is something to a 13cm wide 3 foot long approach ski. If it could be about 5lbs for the ski/binding it would be worth doing to get to ride my usual whole board. Funny thing is, I've been racking my brains on whether or not to just cut my old splitboard and make the approach skis and ended up calling a buddy who works at Wagner Custom Skis in CO which is within a mile from my house ( I haven't talked to him all summer long) just to run the idea by him and he tells me that they actually screwed up a pair of 3 foot long approach skis that were for someone in AK that has been using approach skis with great results. Go figure, I'll let you know how it turns out. My xbase bindings mounted on the voile plate weighs the same as a complete sparks binding. A little less than 2 lbs. Oh yea, around here if you're not able to skin anymore and need to boot it, I usually use the board to climb up stuff so I'd only have the approach skis on my back. Maybe the idea sucks, but I'm thinking the splitboard as it is now, as nice as it is, still leaves me thinking there might be a better way. Oh yea again, I have an extra banana to split but I'm waiting to hear results from a friend who split his. He hasn't ridden it yet and I'm hoping that the reverse camber doesn't screw up the skin up. Theoretically I'm thinking the contact patch might be as small as a 3 foot approach ski and might just be a pain in the ass when it gets gnarly. I'm thinking a short ski would make technical skinning easier and safer, especially with the crampons. We'll see, it's starting to pile up here already.
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 4952 Location: California
All good SPG.
The best way to find out what works best is to try the options for yourself. I don't think you'll find too many people here that have done much with experimental approach skis though. Regular approach skis yes but cut down splitboards probably not.
I agree that the concept of the split is great for most everything except for when you want to do something technical with big consequences.
When you say "technical with big consequences", do you mean like steep, firm Stephen Koch type lines off The Grand? Is a skate banana really the best board for that? Seems like all that rocker and soft flex would be a concern.
In my experience, I feel better on the board I use on a regular basis than on a split.
I can relate. Its just that I'm the exact opposite. My regular basis board IS a split so that's what I feel most comfortable on.
I've split my own board before and used it extensively and it still compromises alot going down. My main beefs are the weight and the lateral flex from the binding interface. I fully understand the spark binding and even though it gets you closer to your board and is a great solution to the problem you're still riding a heavier setup.
Unless you have the home-split skills of someone like Monk I think you'd be surprised how much tighter the tolerances are on a factory split as opposed to a home-split. I know you had the Khyber but that's not the right board for steep, technical lines with big consequences anyway due to the deep sidecut in the board. With Sparks, the lateral flex of the interface will also be noticeably improved over the Voile set-up because the baseplate of the Sparks covers more surface area than the narrower slider track.
As for weight differences. You're right that splits will always be a little heavier than a solid board with really light bindings like the x-base. But if your just turning down technical lines, not hucking and spinning, in my experience it doesn't really matter. The awkwardness of the approach skis on you back, more weight, larger pack, etc. while going down a really technical line would be a much larger concern to me than a little extra weight of the board.
It's all good though and these are just the thoughts of one dude. Try out your proposed set up and let us know how it goes!
ps. if you can find them or make your own, the Zig Zag approach might be something to consider. It's an approach ski that comes apart so its easier to pack. http://www.zigzagtour.de/index2.htm
Yea, bc, the banana works for me everywhere, to the point of making a cambered board obsolete. I rode it every day last season and tried a regular board again at the end of the season and to me there is no comparison. Try it and you might see what I mean. Yea, steep, icy lines that end in huge cliffs is what I'm talking about. You know, kinda like free climbing way past the point of being able to survive a fall, once you're in it, you're IN it stuff. I'm going to test some approach skis and do as much weight savings as I can on the binding interface. So far the setup would weigh about 3.8lbs per foot or a little under 8lbs total on the back. If I could shave another 2lbs and get the package streamlined to the pack it could feel ok going down, I'll let you know how it turns out. Looking at the zig zags they look decent but weigh almost 7 lbs for the pair. Looking at their binding interface, I'm thinking I could just take the voile slider plate, drill some holes in the side like the ones for the pin and bolt a couple straps on and a heel cup and I'd save the weight of the complete binding. That might get the package down to 5 lbs total and you'd have the option of completely releasing the bindings, put those in the pack and just strap the two naked approach skis to the outside maybe in a triangle fashion. I now it all sounds like a lot of work when you could just ride a regular split but the damn banana ruined it for me. Until we see if a reverse camber split will skin up ok, I won't even consider another split. I guess another reason i'm kinda over the whole splitboarding thing is because I bought a sled for the big trips and the only thing I'd split to around here involves sidehilling some scary terrain to get to the crazy shit on the other side of the valley behind the ski area which has some truly scary lines that are totally doable with the right snow but if you screw up, maiming and death would be most likely. I'm 41 with wife and child and have rag-dolled myself into the hospital over the years and can't see risking too much due to non-bomber equipment. If I were simply touring around riding huge aprons I'd ride the split again but that's about it. Anyway, wish me luck.
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 7:22 am Posts: 255 Location: The Kootenays
I now it all sounds like a lot of work when you could just ride a regular split but the damn banana ruined it for me. Until we see if a reverse camber split will skin up ok, I won't even consider another split.
I encountered a guy with reverse camber skiis last year...set up with touring bindings...being that I'd seen a few suppositions that reverse camber boards wouldn't skin adequately I wandered over and asked this guy about his experience with skins on the reverse camber skiis... His reaction was that it wasn't an issue at all, and he seemed sort of surprised that I was even asking.
As for increasing the torsional rigidity, why not build some overlapping pucks, per Jogi's on this site. It makes a big difference, even if you're not using the integrated cants.
Before I switched to the split, I used the K2 approach skis fitted with dynafit toepieces - probably the lightest approach ski combination. This was much better than the snowshoes I'd been using to that point, but in the end when it comes down to the amount of touring possible with a split vs a solid and approach skiis...there really isn't any comparison. I can go further with much less effort on the split, than with approach skis and a solid.
_________________ skis are for walkin', boards are for ridin'...
I used the k2 approach skiis all last year and they work amazing well and you get use your favorite board yet. The weight does wear on you over a multiday trip. I also had problems ascending steeper uptracks in really light (good) snow. I came up last in a group of 6 skiers and the uptrack would give out when going side hill in reaily light dry snow because of the lack of float compared to skiis/splits. It was kind of frustrating and exhausting.....
Buy the k2's in the swap section of the forum... add climbing wires...works good in cascade snow but super dry n light?????
Hey thanks everyone for the input. Hearing that a banana split works, I may have to bite the bullet and just make one. I really don't want to spend the money though because money is tight and I have to gear up the whole family. I'm gonna try my idea and it might suck but at least I'll know for sure. It's good to hear they kinda work. Did either of you ever use crampons?
bcrider, I wasn't suggesting that the split wasn't worthy of the most gnarly terrain but if there's exposure involved I just feel weird having 2 extra lbs. dangling from each of my feet. I guess what I really need is a super light banana split and I'd ditch the approach skis. For now though, doing the skis thing will cost me $120 bucks to find out how bad they suck but all I really want to do is be able to get to some good stuff within an hours hike out our gate, so maybe it'll work, I'll keep you posted on what I find out and what mods I end up with as far as binding/interface weight goes.
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:34 pm Posts: 291 Location: kelowna bc canada
Last time i was on apporoach skis was a trip to the Asulkan hut in Rogers pass. Ended up being last all the time. Girfriend ended up leaving with a rockstar skier from Calgary Money may be tight but eventually think of getting a banana split
i found a pair of snollerblades (~60cms by 120mm) a bunch of years ago and mounted voile touring plates, chopped some ol bindings, fixed some scrap skins and got after it fer a few years on that. i thought the weight saved on the feet roughly made up for the extra weight on the back, seemed all good even on longer trips, like jumbo to the bugaboos. easier trailbreakin and edging too, but a lil punchy in early season conditions. only got a splitter when i found out ns made em, still not sure if i'd trust many other options.... and the first most obvious benefit to splitting that i noticed is: no mo snow down the back of the neck from the board on the back scrapin some branches....!
that sounds like what I've got going on right now. I just got done hacking together bindings using hardware I had laying around and a drill.
(by the way, when I was talking about technical no fall zones ending in huge cliffs, I meant lines involving working your way through the huge cliffs, not off them. But a fall might take you over them to your probable death and or maiming. That's why I want a light, easy to not screw up on solid board, I'm just a wuss that way.)
Anyway, according to my variably accurate hand scale, they feel as light as one xbase binding which if anyone remembers those are crazy light. One xbase mounted on the voile plate feels about as light as the sparks/missionary binding, I can't tell the difference in weight.
I used nylon spacers to make the toe strap wide enough for the boot, and two binding screw washers oriented like a snowmobile clutch and coincidently the highback sits perfectly in the notches made by the washers keeping the highback from dropping down below the slider plate.
So the whole thing will be this binding on the voile touring plate and the climbing blocks and that's it, no other hardware. I'm hoping 6lbs for both skis and bindings and 7 with crampons.