Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

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JeffOYB
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Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:44 am

We lost our snow in the past week. Had a couple 40-50deg days with freezing nights. Still, our pond ice held up. So I transitioned to Nordic Skating. That was fun. We have some wandering, remote wetlands that have the actual BEST wilderness feel in the region. And give about two miles of wandering, scenic, big-sky shoreline and peninsulas. Wonderful change of pace from the forests. It takes away the sting from the loss of snow.

Actually, some north-facing sections of forest areas held snow a LONG time and gave nice skiing well past the green-grass phase for the rest of town.

Yesterday, after a week of ice skating the warmer days softened the surface enough that skates bit in too much. Blades sunk in 1/3" for bad glide and handling. I switched to skis on the ice and could ski-skate and doublepole.

During this whole ice period the shorelines had a few feet of open water and weak ice to deal with. People think thin ice is in the middle. ...The challenge is getting away from shore. I found that skis supported my weight better than boots and I could easily ski out to the thick ice, no cracking at all.

At one access point, a 100-ft open slot thru the cattails had been broken up by ice-fishermen and muskrat trappers and was only 1/2" thick and clear. But it had a milky white section of ice about 2 ft wide going down the center of the opening. This was disturbed ice that was thicker rather than weaker. It was like an ice-plank coursing down the opening. If I hopped out to it from a weak edge I could then walk fine out to the main ice. Trying to walk out thru the cat-tails and grass wouldn't work -- too thin. So that ice-plank was the only way.

I've seen zero other skiers or skaters this season but the fatbikers are out in force on group rides and singly in every parking lot.

I still don't quite get them. To me they seem heavy and "muted" unless they're carbon. The trails are now a mix of frozen earth, leaves, grey ice chunks and ridges. The fatties smooth all this out? Better than a hardtail? I suppose the lumpy terrain is hard on a hardtail butt. Maybe a fatty is like a full sus bike only simpler. I'd think you'd want studs for the random sections of ice. I tried a fast fatty w studs last winter and slid out on ice twice -- the studs are tiny and due to the large footprint have low pressure. The 26er I tried w studs hooked up solid.
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Neuro
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Re: Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

Postby Neuro » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:05 am

Nice. :-) The term 'Nordic Skating' is new to me. Thinking to get into this myself, even though it sounds a bit risky. What equipment do you use?

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Re: Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

Postby JeffOYB » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:35 pm

the level of risk is up to you.

i push the limits in terms of getting wet because i've already experienced a wide range of ice situations and I do take precautions and also i don't mind getting wet but i also skate in shallow waters.

be sure to know the basics of ice safety -- which incl such things as going out w someone who knows more and a half dozen other things such as 4" fresh ice thickness.

I sell the basic wood model of nordic skate at my OutYourBackdoor website for $50 mailed. i might have some pre-drilled, but with some you need to drill binding holes.

Jamie at NordicSkaters.com also sells these, plus a lot more models and everything else needed, incl safety spikes (you can easily make your own out of dowels, string and nails).
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Neuro
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Re: Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

Postby Neuro » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:38 pm

Do you use normal pole lengths, with I suppose rollerski tips?

As you say, the weak ice spot seems to be close to land, so getting it measured for safety seems a bit of a catch-22?

So do you bring skis or a piece of wood in order to enter the ice when it's borderline thickness?

Not that I'm likely to go out unless it's properly thick (should I take this up), just curious. Although I have been ice fishing on very thin and creaking ice that was open to land and we had jump over and land and slide on our deck chairs (ah the folly of youth..).

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Re: Transition to No-snow: Nordic skating!

Postby JeffOYB » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:02 pm

When thin near shore I find a log to go out on. Or I just get tricky and look carefully for a way. There's always a way. Yeah, skis carry me better than skates do! (Did that last week.)

Often the thinness can be stepped across. Or there is a gap where water has come down near the shore so you step over it to avoid that empty space where the ice is thin.

I just use ski poles w regular carbide tips.
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