Do we still need tracks?

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JeffOYB
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Do we still need tracks?

Postby JeffOYB » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:34 am

Why were tracks invented?

Offhand, I'd think because skis were long and heavy, and boots were soft, and bindings didn't do much -- and so the whole set-up was hard to control.

Are tracks still needed?

Todays' skis are shorter and light with strong torsion/edging. Our boots have great sole and torsion stiffness and often have superb ankle support (pivoting carbon cuff, nil weight). And our bindings are incredibly effective, offering massive control, heels can't slip off, etc.

Have our courses changed in response to changes in our gear? If so, how? If not, why not?
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Magnus Johansson
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:26 pm

JeffOYB wrote:Why were tracks invented?

I don't think they were invented. They were just the result of classic cross-country skiing.

JeffOYB wrote:Are tracks still needed?

Yes, for guiding the skis and keeping them parallel. If there are no tracks and the surface is compact enough, the skating technique is more natural.

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Neuro
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby Neuro » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:39 pm

I'm spoiled for good tracks now. Near the point where I will only go on recently prepped ones (unless beginning of season when there's no choice).

For me the difference is huge. In good light and max focus (before getting tired), it's possible, to some degree, to anticipate how older/unprepped tracks undulate + bank and so move the body weight accordingly, but otherwise it's just a fight with the balance where there's little focus on pure technique and it can be tiring. Even World Cup racers complain of this so it seems it's not something one can ever master.

It's like when I was golfing before. As a beginner I was happy to play anywhere, but later on the courses had to be just so before I'd go out. Shame to say, but both with golf and XC, course quality makes it a totally different thing when it comes down to it.

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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:02 pm

As long as I can glide I can power and have a blast on any snow surface. I can't see how a track could help me.

You mention balance? How?

My glide ski might go in a slightly not-straight direction without a track but I just go with it. I'm attached. My weight is on it and I'm along for the ride. I feel even more relaxed letting them do their thing.

I suppose I got over needing them after getting used to striding, etc., on rollerskis -- no tracks there.
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Triarii
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby Triarii » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:45 am

So you are saying that because you don't feel like you need tracks, tracks are useless? What about kids and beginners?

Why were skis invented?
I can walk on my feet just fine.

If you are really wondering, tracks were originally a thing because it was more efficient to ski after each other. Now we have just replaced the guy first in line with a machine.
I don't know about the conditions where you live but I find that wading through 1.5m of powdery snow is extremely hard work and not my idea of fun, and while you are compressing, why not put in a set of tracks as well?

I find that the density of skiers are almost always positively related to the quality of the track preparation so I guess it is a market for good tracks.

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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:21 am

I said tracks not packing. Why are grooves needed. Not why is packing needed. The need for packing is obvious. Anyway, see my post. Grooves are used to guide skis. Do modern skis still need guiding? (I don't mean skis designed for tracks, of course.)

Do shorter lighter skis w modern boots and bindings benefit require or really benefit from the guidance of tracks?

I suggest they are easy to control just as they are.

Again, why was tracking invented? As distinct from just packing.

Is there a downside to tracks? ...They are suitable only for skiers. Not suitable for mixed-use. Also, is the easiest, most stable skiing the most restricted in motion? It might be that it's more natural if skis can take slightly varying tracks.
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby JeffOYB » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:26 am

...when it's rock hard and icy. ...need tracks then. ...unless you're skating. but even in skating sometimes the tracks are very helpful.
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby dcpattie » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:05 am

Watching the women's finals, it seemed liked they were out of the tracks quite a bit.

Question - is it easier to DP in or outside of the tracks?
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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:27 pm

dcpattie wrote:Watching the women's finals, it seemed liked they were out of the tracks quite a bit.

Question - is it easier to DP in or outside of the tracks?

Often when Stina Nilsson and her friends and competitors double-pole out of the track instead of in the track it is because the glide is better out of the track. It is normally easier to double-pole in the tracks.

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Re: Do we still need tracks?

Postby JeffOYB » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:26 pm

i suppose they test both places. ... i've had races where i hop back'n'forth and conditions change w some places in tracks faster, some not. w classic i typically don't need the tracks but they can be nice -- esp in ice. i sometimes skate in the tracks too -- marathon or just DP.
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