Tag Archives: gear

Winter Gear Modifications

The bikes are hung up, most of the trail shoes are put away, and the Wasatch has already had over 300” of snow.  We are off to a great ski season and everyone is hoping the big snow continue.

I am a self proclaimed gear-head and I am constantly looking for new gear and modifying the gear that I have so that it works exactly like I want (and frequently to avoid buying another piece of gear that would do the same thing).  With winter in full swing, I thought it was a good time to share my favorite gear modifications for winter which are my ‘screw shoes’ and ‘semi-split skins’. 

You can buy all kinds of winter running traction devices from Yak Traks to Micro Spikes to Ice Bug shoes.  All of these are great, but I don’t run that much on the trail in the winter so why spend the money on shoes/devices.  I got the screw shoe idea from Matt Carpenter’s web site.  Since I go through 5 or more pair of trail runners each year, I used a retired pair of Montrail Hardrocks as base shoe.  Adding anywhere from 12-18 1/8” (or as short as you can find) sheet metal screws to each shoe and using an electric drill with a socket bit, in just a few minutes you have a great pair of winter running shoes.

Part of being a gear head is also always trying to shave a few ounces off my gear.  The old adage is that you shouldn’t spent a ton of money on lighter gear when most people can shave far more ounces from their bodies.  I don’t have too many ounces to spare so I look towards my gear.

When Black Diamond came out with the Split Skins, I thought they were a great item for my Voile Drifters.  My calculations determined they would save me 8 ounces over traditional skins.  The problem with these skins is that you now have a strip of slippery nylon under your foot.  When you get on a hard skin track, the nylon causes a lot of slippage.  To counter this, I sewed a small strip of skin under the mid section of the skin to provide a little additional traction.  I have not weighted the difference, but my estimate is that this only added 3 ounces to the skins so I still have a 5 ounce savings.  Thanks to Mark at Voile, I was able to stitch the skin strips on with their machine rather than hand sew them with a sewing awl.

As I mentioned, we are well underway to a great ski season.  Check out Matt Hart’s You Tube Video of one of our ski days and Andy’s show of perfect powder.