The American Birkebeiner is the second largest cross-country skiing race in the world and is quite a big deal within that sport. At 55 kilometers it’s not a short event, either, requiring a significant amount of training to even complete, let alone perform well enough to be competitive. Around a decade ago, friends [Joe] and [Chris] ran afoul of the rules when [Joe] accidentally won the race wearing [Chris]’s assigned entry number, a technicality that resulted in both being banned from the race for two years. Now they’re back, having learned their lesson, and are strictly adhering to those rules this time using these tandem cross-country skis.
The idea for this build was to make sure they could both compete in the race and win because they’d compete in a category no one enters, mostly because it effectively didn’t exist before these two invented it. This required a custom set of skis, but since ski manufacturers don’t typically make skis for two people, they had to get creative. The duo picked up the longest pair of skis they could find at their local ski shop, moving the bindings forward on the skis to make room for the second set of bindings that were added to the back.
This presented a few unique challenges, the first of which is that cross-country skis typically use a special material on the bottom of the skis which grabs the snow to make uphill travel possible, and with the wider distribution of weight this material wasn’t functioning at peak efficiency. The other problem was the stress on the bindings caused by two riders, especially during a crash. This eventually resulted in a broken binding while [Joe] and [Chris] were training. They then upgraded to a more modern pair of skis rated for a single 269-pound rider, had the bindings fitted for two riders, and added a special grip tape over the larger area on the bottom of the ski.
After four months of training and getting in sync, the two were ready for the race. The results are covered in a second video linked below, and while neither of them won the overall race this time, they did finish the event with in-tact skis, first in the new “tandem” class, and completely within the bounds of the strict rules of the race as well. Although winter is winding down in the northern hemisphere, for any of our southern friends looking for some other things to do with an old set of skis for the upcoming winter season, take a look at this sled which adapts some alpine skis to achieve some extremely high speeds.
While you might have bought the best pair of skis in the 90s or 00s, as parts on boots and bindings start to fail and safety standards for ski equipment improve, even the highest-quality skis more than 15 or 20 years old will eventually become unsafe or otherwise obsolete. There are plenty of things that can be done with a pair of old skis, but if you already have a shot ski and an Adirondack chair made of old skis, you can put another pair to use building one of the fastest sleds we’ve ever seen.
[Josh Charles], the creator of this project, took inspiration from his father, who screwed an old pair of skis to the bottom of an traditional runner sled when he was a kid. This dramatically increased the speed of the sled, but eliminated its ability to steer. For this build [Josh] built a completely custom frame rather than re-use an existing sled, which allowed him to not only build a more effective steering mechanism for the skis, but also to use bicycle suspension components to give this sled better control at high speeds.
Tis The Season, for those who are so inclined, to loft themselves to the top of a steep snow-covered hill and then go downhill, really fast. And if something gets in their way, turn. Whether they be on skis, a snowboard, or some other means, getting down usually involves using gravity. Getting up, on the other hand, usually involves a ski lift. And in the video by [kalsan15] after the break, we learn how technology has stepped in to make even the most inaccessible slopes just a lift ride away.
In its most simple form, a ski lift is two pulleys connected by a steel cable. The pulley at the bottom of the hill is powered, and the pulley at the top of the hill serves as an idler. Attached to the steel cable are some means for a person to either sit down or grab a handle and be hoisted to the top of the hill.
Such a simple arrangement works fine if the geography allows for it, but what if there are turns, or there need to be multiple idlers to keep the wire taut but also close to the ground? Again, the most basic ski lifts have limitations. If the cable turns left around the idler, then the attachment for the handle or chair has to be on the right, making a right turn around the idler an impossibility.
How then can this problem be solved? We won’t spoil the outcome, but we recommend checking out [kalsan15]’s video for an excellent description of the problem and the solution that’ll leave you wondering “Why didn’t I think of that!?”
Snow skiing looks easy, right? You just stay standing, and gravity does the work. The reality is that skiing is difficult for beginners to learn. [19mkarpawich] loves to ski, but he was frustrated seeing crying kids on skis along with screaming parents trying to coach them. Inspired by wearable electronics, he took an Arduino, an old jacket, some LEDs, and created Ski Buddy.
A little face protection is a great idea when first testing out your homemade bow. [Austin Karls] made this recurve bow during what he calls an engineer’s Spring break.
He settled on the idea after seeing a few other projects like it on Reddit. After first drawing up a plan he headed down to the shop to cut out the wooden riser (the middle part of a bow). Unlike traditional recurve bows this is made up of three parts. Traditionally you would laminate different types of wood to achieve the flexibility and tension levels desired. But [Austin] went with a synthetic material: the tips of two skis. Each were cut to the final length and affixed to the riser with a pair of bolts.
After a few test shots he gained confidence in the design and did away with the face mask. Now if you’re in the market to take your existing bow and add some firepower to it you’ll want to look in on this shotgun enhanced compound bow.
If you own a cabin in the mountains of British Columbia what do you do during the warmer summer months? Well, we’d probably mix of a cocktail and string up a hammock, but [Darrin] is quite a bit more motivated. He planned for the snowy season by building his own ski lift. He shared the details in a forum post, but you’re going to have to register and wait for approval before you can view that thread. Perhaps you’ll want to look at the video after the break before making that kind of commitment. Normally we would just pass over projects that require a login to view, but this one deserves the attention.
The setup is essentially a very steep tow rope. 1600 feet of 1/8″ aircraft cable covers an 800 foot span of his property. Apparently he’s got a total of 1000 feet of vertical drop but the lift doesn’t cover the whole area quite yet. That 6.5 horsepower Honda engine drives the cable loop, with the pulley system seen above used as an RPM reducer. Each skier can hook onto the cable used the nylon rope with a ski-pole spacer and a hook. The RC vehicle remote control works as a dead man’s switch, starting the lift slowly when the throttle is depressed and stopping it when released.
Normally we like to link to similar projects, but so far this is the only ski lift we’ve covered. You’ll have to settle for this ski-pole mounted POV display.
[Powder4u] wanted to make a persistence of vision display for his bicycle but with 50 cm of snow on the ground it’s hard to get out and ride right now. Instead he made this persistence of vision ski-pole accessory. We asked him to share some details and he obliged. It’s made using an Arduino compatible ATmega168, LEDs with resistors, and installed on some protoboard. The enclosure is a clear pencil case, which isn’t water tight but he’s tried to bolster that with some creative scotch tape placement. There’s no sensor to detect which direction the board is moving in so displaying alpha-numeric messages will have some issues, but as you can see he managed to display image data without issue.
We’re used to night skiing with floodlights along the slopes. This would be a fun little thing to have along with you on those dark lift rides.