The DIY Pow Surf As...
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The DIY Pow Surf Ascent Ski Thread

Cold Chillin' Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2008
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Idk who's interested in this build but I thought I'd post up what I've done and things I've learned along the way, fwiw. 

So like any good recipe post I should first give a complete 2 paragraph detailed history of my family tree and a poetic heartfelt editorial on why these completely common cookies hold a unique place in my heart.

But the long and the short of it is, Pow surfin is good fun on the way down but the uphill suxxx. I see some companies (like Capita and Drift) make short ascent skis that would work for making the up easier when pow surfin and I thought maybe I can make my own out of an old diy splitboard and Voile splitboard kit I had laying around. My ancestors can go suck it.

Keep in mind that my intent was to have something functional and be cheap about it. A lot of this stuff I already had laying around collecting dust and the quick calculus told me I had most of what I needed, so I can't really do an accurate build cost analysis and compare costs for a premade one. 


Step 1: Get yourself a $2 old snowboard to cut up. The longer board the better (probably) since you're going to halve it one way or another and no one wants to be caught pants down lookin shrunk shrimp out in the cold. Since everything you do from here on out rests on this choice it's probably best to just wing it. Just kidding. Actually, agonize and over think it until you don't start at all. Your choice. 

Cut board up for Opthing 1 and Opthing 2 (see pic): Now like I said (in a previous post) I already had a 155 cut in half vertically so my fate was already set for Opthing1.

Opthing 1 will make 2 sets from 1 board which is cool and be a slightly lighter ski.

However Opthing 2 makes only 1 set of skis but will have more volume and float. Also be more symmetrical and visually gratifying. But heavier. 

If I were to start from scratch on this project, I'd probably get a longer board (makes a longer ski) and go with opthing 2. But I also fully recognize for what I'm doing... the length and girth I'm slangin will likely be more than adequate. The weight/float trade off is unknown since I haven't used them yet. 

filling holes

Step 2 (for me): Since mine was already somewhat fondled up for a split, I just chopped it in half and then filled the holes I had made for the split hardware with epoxy. 

I knew I needed the seal the exposed wood core on the edges. Previously I had use spar urethane but I didn't want to buy a whole can, so I tried the spraycan version. Pro tip: It's shit and didn't work, save your money. Instead I used the Gflex epoxy I had bought to save my Optimistic, and used that to seal up the edges. 

I used a good deal of Gflex epoxy on this build. About 50% of the 8oz kit... so... for you math impaired apes, that's ~4oz total start to finish.

layup lines

  Step 3: Cover shit with tape to mark where the splitboard interface will go and then make so many lines that you don't know which lines you wanted anymore. This is a crucial step because the placement and orientation of the binding will effect how it works and I had to think through everything, which is hard, because I'm not smert.

I made a lot of lines. At first I thought I'd mount it like a Xcountry ski so the balance was just slightly to the back of the pivot point on the binding, basically 1/2 back on the ski. But that put my foot wayyy to the ass end of the short ski and I could envision that not working so well.

So then what I did was pull up a picture of the Capita Ascent Ski offering and see what people smarter that I am did. Turns out, they put their binding pivot point about 1/3 of the way back from the tip so there's a lot more tail to give float. So. Monkey see, monkey doo doo.

Also, because I had asymmetrical Opthing 1, I had to make a decision on which was ski the left and which was the right. Now I could have chopped things up more to make them more symmetrical, but at the cost of volume. I wanted to keep as much volume as possible. I opted to put the float toward the outside of my foot so that way if the ski's sank asymmetrically they would be canted inward vs. outward. and give me a more natural stance. 

I wanted to make sure I wouldn't be fighting the ski to go straight so this also forced me to think about if I was going to orient the interface to the straight outside edge, or to the tapered inside edge. Lots more line drawing to help visualize both options and compare placement of the binding on the ski. 

In the end I oriented towards the straight outside edge and had to cheat the binding just slightly to one side to get it to fit goodly.

Conclusion: You can make this step a lot easier on yourself by going with Opthing 2.

20211107 145736

Step 4: Put yur Voile template on the shit and center mark yur shit with a punch. Or whatever. 

At this point I still hadn't made up my mind if I was going to just screw my interface directly into the top of the board and call it good like a dumb monkey, or if I was going to drill shit out and drop in t-nuts like a still dumb but more ambitious monkey. 

I went slightly more ambitious monkey route because I made the mistake of thinking about it. Thinking about shit is dangerous because when you think then you realize one way is better than another and unfortunately the better way is rarely the easier way, and then by virtue of thinking you're stuck doing more harder or, alternately, having to accept you're a lazy POS. 

I'm a lazy POS sometimes, but in the back country it seems like a stupid time to gamble with shit falling apart. I also had the parts and the tools, which brings my ability to make excuses to pretty much nil. (As in '0'. Not to be confused with the gorgeous girl Nil from cyprus I once met)

If I didn't have the tools at my disposal, I think I might have just screwed the interface onto the board and crossed my fingers it held. Then been sad when the snow got heavy on the board and the binding ripped off somewhere half up a hill.

drilling tnuts

Step 5: Can you believe this is only 5 easy steps so far!? Okay. Now that you're somewhat hopeful you have placement done good, drill some cool holes in the board.

You might be able to tell I kept escalating my commitment to this project so rather than just ramming the fatter drill through and hoping I aimed goodly, I did it right by first making small pilot holes, then bigger'uns. At this point I was thinking I'd actually just drop the pronged tnuts into those holes let them rest on the base of the ski... because I knew I was putting skins over the bottom and it wouldn't matter if the stuck out a tiny bit.

Then, due to the thinning profile of the ski tip, I realized the tnuts I had would be too long and stick up out the top. So I had some shorter prongless tnut, and since they didn't have a prong to stop them from spinning, I'd have to sink them into the base and epoxy them in.

So I grabbed the forrester bits make a hole to set the tnuts in, but because I had drilled the holes out previously it was hard to center them and I just had to eyeball it. I did okay.

Pro Tip: first to a pilot hole, second the forester bit (or spade if that's what you have) and then third the larger drill for the tnut shaft.

Double Pro Tip: Hey dummy, you're drilling into fiberglass and shredding it into tiny tiny bits.... wear some fukkn gloves or feel the wrath of itchy hands for a few days. Don't ask which one of those two options I did. You already know I'm dumb.

Bottom tnut

Step 6: Drop in the tnuts and epoxy them in.

The only thing I'd do different here is use a the longer pronged tnuts for the rear.  

topsheet chippin

side note: When I took off the tape it peeled away some the glossy coating on the top sheet, so then I took it all off with a razor. I liked it, but in the end (due to a nother step) I may use the spray spar urethane to cover the top and have it be shiny again. depending on what kind of board is used this may or may not happen to folks.

skin iron

 Step 7: Skins. This is a whole thing.

Skins are expensive, I think because they serve a specific function of needing to fit a specific ski and be able to be taken off and put on. I couldn't think of a reason I'd ever need to take skins off here because I'm only using the skis to go uphill and nothing is going to fit these right anyhow. I didn't want to buy new skins and cut them in half. At first I thought I'd find some old used ones and make em work somehow but while looking around for used ones I saw someone selling new skinny skins on ebay for cheap. 

Cheap is good. I figured I could make skinny work because I would cut them up and lay them parallel to cover the bottoms. Which only left... how do I keep them on?

What I decided to do was see about removing the adhesive goo and epoxying them directly to the ski bottom. 

Removing the adhesive goo: I tried several solvents first. Acetone, citrus cleaners, ect. those did nothing. Looked online and people said heat them up with an iron and scrape. This is the ticket.

skin goop scrape

Put newpaper over the goo. Get it hot with an iron. Pull the newspaper off and scrape. Finish by being covered in goo and reenacting the Brer Rabbit and Tar Baby scene.

In the end I had what I thought would be sufficiently clean skins. bet.

skins layup

Step 8: Use an old dull scissors to poorly chew through the skins while cutting to size. Don't notice that you have a much much better and sharper scissors sitting literally 6 inches from your workstation until your hand is cramping from the shit one.

Mix up some epoxy. Apply liberally to both the bottom of the ski and the bottom of the skins. Mate them together like a sexy PB&J of ptex & glue & fur. Roawwww

Note: I knew when I was gluing that I wasn't sure how well the epoxy would adhere to the ptex base. I scuffed the bases of the skis on a belt sander but even that I worried wasn't enough after the first ski got glued, so on the second one I used a razor and made hundreds of tiny scores to give the epoxy something to hopefully bite on to.

Skins clamp

In a sTroAke of what I can only call GenIoUs that puts me on par with Galelaeieio and Calpunicuss, I used the other half of the skis as a form to clamp down against the skins. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't thought of this because I hadn't thought much at all about how this would work and I was unprepared. But it did work. Almost perfectly.

Obviously anyone going with Opthing 2 would need a different solution because they wouldn't have those extra bits to do that. 

In the end some of the skins did move and not fully sit flush to the bases. While this was less than ideal in a sense it did force me to address that...

I'm not sure how long just epoxying the skins to the base would last. The fact that a bit of the skins didn't adhere perfectly forced me to address this weakness in my build. More on this in 3.....2.....1.....

bottom skins
climbing wires complete
Top view complete

The end: Not quite the end.

This is where I was at up to this point and it's probably usable as is. I think if the skins had been glued perfectly I'd have just left it at this because I was really happy here. But while trimming the skins I kind of got nervous that they'd start to peel off. In theory the epoxy should be okay... in reality I have no idea. This is all an experiment.

I knew I should probably secure the tips and back of the skins to prevent then from beginning to peel off better and so what I did was drilled holes and used snap rivets along the tip and tail and sides. I figured snap rivets were light weight vs the other options I was coming up with. Then I epoxy'd over them. (no pics yet)

I thought about using screws, but the thin profile of the board really hinders this as a viable option. I thought maybe capping the tip and tail... but idk how I'd do that. 

I left it thinking I didn't love what I had done with the rivets and I think I can come up with a more elegant solution, but idk. I think right now it's functionally going to be sound though. 

The Bindings: I haven't addressed this yet. So I had this older spark base plate with the pin system in a drawer. I had it left over after I upgraded to the LT system and just bought the LT baseplate. Since it was just a baseplate I emailed Spark and they let me but new heel cups for it. Due to it being an older baseplate and design changes Spark has made to their newer gear the heel cups don't fit perfectly but, I think good enough. 

I used an extra set of Now ankle straps I had laying around. For the purpose I think I can get away with not having a toe strap, and just save some weight and hassle. 

What next: Idk. First I'm going to try them and see how it goes. I'm going to do an apples to oranges comparison to snowshoes too. And I still have the other set of skis from the initial Opthing 1 that I can try again with if I have slight changes I want to make. Or if it fully doesn't do what I want then I might start over with a different board and do Opthing 2. 

I'm tired of writing this up now... so I'll update as I think of things I overlooked or please feel free to ask questions.  

This topic was modified 2 weeks ago 3 times by c.fuzzy

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Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 32

So ngl I only skimmed this but I think it's amazing.

Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
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i have a question: are you horny for pow?

Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
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I enjoyed the hell out of this science experiment

c.fuzzy liked
Cold Chillin' Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2008
Topic starter  
Posted by: @casjcade

i have a question: are you horny for pow?

Proof Of Work bby! 

I can't wait to flop around in the snow like a fish on mushrooms

casjcade liked
Mr. Lomax
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 257

nice work, I m planning on making a set as well, something similar to yours, but I am going to use some skis that I will cut down and my local shop has a roll of skins (most hardcore ski shops do) and I will get the skins from him,skins shouldnt cost much cause the skis will be small enough to fit into my pack, 

anyways, thanks for doing this and giving us some pointers !

Cold Chillin' Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2008
Topic starter  
Posted by: @lomax

nice work, I m planning on making a set as well, something similar to yours, but I am going to use some skis that I will cut down and my local shop has a roll of skins (most hardcore ski shops do) and I will get the skins from him,skins shouldnt cost much cause the skis will be small enough to fit into my pack, 

anyways, thanks for doing this and giving us some pointers !

Of course YOU would use skis


jk. Some old or busted fat skis is a super idea and I wish I had options like that around me