Snow Shed: A Backcountry Skier's Best Friend by Paddy O'Connell
The thing I love most about backcountry skiing is carrying tons of weight on absurdly lengthy, grueling uphill trudges. I am, of course, completely lying. For me, the uphill portion of a ski tour is kind of like being forced to listen to Nickleback before kissing the girl of my dreams. I’ll deal with the terrible in order to get to the really, really great part. Even when supremely vigilant about what I am packing for a backcountry adventure, I always seem to have the heaviest pack. And the sweaty defeat I feel when schlepping pounds of gear is only surpassed once I lean over my poles to see the top sheets of my skis frozen with heavy snow. That’s when I feel really crappy. But a new product is here to help shed that superfluous weight.
Snow Shed is an anti-stick spray that transforms the top sheets of your skis from a cold smoke storage platform into a slippery, snow wicking surface. It’s an OSHA-certified non-hazardous, biodegradable silicone-based lubricant that comes in a 4-ounce spray bottle. At first, I was skeptical of the milky white fluid’s performance, as it seems like a novelty item. But, just like the surprising first time use of a ShamWow, it really works and works really well.
Five easy steps and you’re ready to go:
1. Clean the tops of your skis
2. Spray them with Snow Shed
3. Spread evenly with a non-absorbent cloth (I used an old dish rag)
4. Let dry for 5 minutes
5. Buff out
I went for a tour on a steamy President’s Day outside of Telluride, Colorado. I did not treat my skis with Snow Shed—blame it on late night laziness—and almost immediately regretted it when hot pow began to accumulate on my skis right after starting uphill. This past weekend, I skinned up the final portion of Aspen’s Power of Four racecourse, the six-mile snaking Midnight Mine road. I greased up my skis for this plod through the woods and was pleasantly surprised with the spray’s performance. We skinned through various snow types, from frozen hardpack to chilly powder, and in temperatures that barely broke into the teens. All the while, the tops of my skis stayed clean and clear of frosty buildup.
Snow Shed advertises the spray to have multiple uses, from rondonee racers to novice skiers and snowboarders to avid backcountry ski bums. For me, it’s good to know there’s any easy way to shed unneeded frozen snow poundage during the already laborious ascending march. Thanks, Snow Shed. I guess this frees me up to bring more cinnabuns and breakfast burritos, which is always a very, very good thing.