New Use for the Old Hole

| December 21, 2011 | 4 Comments

Traditionally, the main distinctions between alpine skis and backcountry skis have been that backcountry skis were lighter, may have have been reinforced for tele binding mounting and had holes in the tips & tails. The first two distinctions don’t seem to be as common nowadays, but the third, holes in the tips/tails, is still a desirable trait for a backcountry ski. This often brings up the immediate question “So, what are the holes used for?” The main reason for tip/tail holes is that it allows you to build a sturdy rescue sled, but the holes can also be used for rigging up your ski as a tent pole or setting up a self-cleaning belay anchor. Some people prefer to drag their skis by the tip holes instead of carrying them on their packs when booting. I’m not a big fan of this technique, but clipping your tips to your waist belt when bushwhacking works really well.

Last Tuesday I was out skiing (translation: hitting rocks and wallowing in 20″ of sugar) and found a new use for tail holes. One of our group lost a BD tail clip off of his skins, but by cramming the polymer strap through the tail hole, it hardly mattered. The ribbing kept the skin nice and tight, and aside from the hassle of threading and stripping it, it worked as well as a tail clip.


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Category: Repair

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (4)

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  1. Bob says:

    Very creative! My skis only have holes in the front tips – will that be a problem?

  2. Andrew says:

    Bob – no problem at all. Just turn your skins around and they’ll work fine. :)

  3. Scott says:

    I enjoy reading through your blog. Just a question if you have a moment. How would you compare the Wayback to the Manaslu? Somehow I lucked into a pair of each this year and am not sure if i should mount them both. I am already skiing on the manaslu and actually like it ( too bad its all hard snow here in colorado right now) , wondering if it would even make sense to mount the other?

  4. Ben says:

    And here I thought the purpose of tip holes was that if you tie a rope through one and whip the ski around your head, you could make the world’s most awesome, most deadly bullroarer.

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