Ski Straps

I always carry a few ski straps.  These rubber straps with simple metal buckles have tied my skis together, lashed a rescue sled up, and replaced a busted buckle on a boot.  I also think they could be used for first aid bandages, splints, and traction splints for femur fractures (!!!). I carry 2 to 4 in the winter, and just 2 in the summer.

During my Mt Baker circumnav trip, Dan's top cuff buckle failed on day three, and he simply started using a ski strap instead, including skiing down the expert-only Park Glacier headwall.

Two weeks ago on Baker with Ro and Apoorva, we met Rob and Mike, two skiers.  Rob discovered on the approach that the top plate on his heel piece was starting to shear off, and the pins were no longer able to apply enough pressure to keep the heel locked in.  But the tower was intact, and with a ski strap we were able to lash his boot into the ski.

These ski lash straps come in a variety of lengths, but I'd rather have to much strap then to short, so get the longest ones you can find.  Many ski shops get them produced with their logo on the strap, so show some local love by buying from your shop instead of online!

Close up of the failed heel piece - you can see the top of the tower pealing away.  This top piece
is held in place by four screws, and is actually under a lot of pressure from the spring-loading
mechanism in the pins that lock into the boot.  Both screws closest to the boot had failed - one
had sheared off, the other was lost completely.  This was most likely due to old age.

My solution:  A ski strap under the back of the tower and over the arch of the boot.  Rob elected to keep the tow piece
locked in tour mode as well.