+16 16 votes

Summer Skiing - The Cost of a Second Day

Summer Skiing - The Cost of a Second Day
by Mike Rolfs

I've been slowly replacing old heavy gear with new lighter gear.  I've worked my day pack and ski kit down to a reasonable weight and I like to hike way in for late summer skiing.  If I can work out the extra difficulties associated with time away from family and work, I can now stay over night and ski a whole extra day for the very low cost (in pounds carried) of about 6 pounds.

Aaron Simmons enjoying his super light sleep system.

Note: This costs money because you can't do a second-day, 6-pound overnight load with 1987 gear.

Food: 3 pounds for second day
I carry a Jetboil stove with one small fuel can per day.  With that Stove, I can eat all the dry food I want for the carry cost of about 2 pounds per day.  The stove adds a pound, so an extra day's food, including stove, costs 3 pounds.  If it is going to be cold out, I carry the stove on day trips too, so the extra cost for the second day is really only two pounds.

Dry food doesn't have to be expensive. I like dry potatoes, beans, rice and noodle dishes.  I combine snack size meals (350 to 500 calories) into small zip-lock baggies which I label with contents and calories per bag.  I aim for 3000 calories per day, but usually carry slightly less and I usually come home with a little extra food.  I carry instant coffee and hard candies too and I also take a fatty snack for just before bed.  I make an effort not to run low on fuel by eating frequently.  The Jetboil is so fast and convenient, that I can have coffee and split pea soup at every stop.

Sleep Kit: 3 pounds
This is where I feel like I'm cheating.  Last year I bought a super light down bag.  It is so specialized it doesn't even have a zipper.  You crawl in through an elasticized oval hole in the back and pull the mummy hood over your head.  You have to keep the entry hole situated below to avoid a breeze in the backside.  The bag is called a Haven, made by Cascade Designs, the same company that makes Therm-a-Rest.  Less than 1.5 pounds, and supposedly a 20 degree bag.  In cold weather I sleep in my insulated clothing, in warm weather I can dress down for the night.  Under me I use the smallest air mattress made by Therm-a-Rest. 

It's called the ProLite (extra small) and weighs only 8 ounces!  I empty my pack and put it under my feet and legs.  The mattress cushions my hips and back, and all the stuff from my pack becomes my pillow.  The cherry on this weight loss sundae is the light bivy.  On my most recent trip I borrowed a 10 ounce bivy sack from Andy Dappen.  The shelter is made by Integral Designs and is a coated fabric (Pertex I think).  I was concerned about condensation since all the reviews I read on light bivy sacks mention this problem.  I'm happy to report that I experienced no condensation.  With this light bivy to compliment my light sleeping bag and pad, my overnight kit weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces ( including stuff sacks).  Two -Eleven!  I haven't decided which light bivy sack I'm going to buy for myself, but it's on my wish list and I've started reading.

This sleep system may not be robust enough for bad weather, but in high pressure times, this is all you need.

Photo: Adding a silnylon tarp really expands the poor-weather versatility of a superlight overnight kit.

Here's a fun video skiing Fernow and 7FJ.