Volkl Vacuum skin review and long term testing results

I've been using the Volkl Vacuum skin on my Black Diamond Convert ski for the past few weeks and have some immediate thoughts. See long term update at the end

1. Putting typical skins on my skis is sort of like wrestling with a honey covered anaconda. The vacuum skins are domesticated and incredibly well behaved. Putting them on and taking them off is ridiculously easy.

2. Grip and glide are awesome. Used to use straight nylon skins - these things glide a little bit better and grip just as well.

3. Once on - they have never once some loose on the skin up - even in very cold snowy conditions. My last skins would often pick up snow pack under the center section.

4. The problem lies in going for multiple laps. Once the skins come off  - they have absolutely no "stickiness" that allows them to go back on a cold and snowy ski. Unless you had the forethought to keep the skins on an inside pocket on your jacket on the way down - and keep the base of your skis clean, you don't stand a chance in hell of getting them to stick on again.

5. For a dog hair, wood chip and dusty encrusted home like mine - normal skins get crazy dirty over the course of my 70+ ski days per season and eventually lose their stick. The vacuum skins are super easy to clean and will (i think) be every bit as useful at the end of the season as they are now.

Overall big fan - just need to figure out a better way to keep them dry and warm during the descents.

After a full 100+ day season on these things I've figured out a few things.

1. They are harder than standard skins to do multi laps with but with a little practice (and outside very cold or very wet conditions) multi laps work well. I did a 5 lap day in LCC Westbowl this winter with no worries each time. In certain cases you have to take off your gloves and with a glove liner on - rub hard on the skins to get them to adhere. Storing the skins in an inside jacket pocket helps.

2. Cleaning the skins at the end of a season was a dream. I filled a bathtub with a few inches of soapy water and washed both the fur side and the smooth side - and ended up with a pair of skins that looked liked new.

Overall for me the benefits outweigh the shortcomings but I'm still probably going to reglue an old pair of skins for next season's high angle multi lap uses...

Update update: It is now 2019 and I've been using these skins for 100+ days/year since buying them January 2016. Three years in and they still look like brand new and work like they did on day 1. Understand the limitations of these and you'll never be disappointed.


Colonoscopy tips for men who are scared of them

I'm a coward when it comes to hospitals and medicine. I hate needles. Lying flat in hospital beds. IV's I really hate! Not a fan of hospital smells, lights and tile floors. I hate hospitals. I'm scared of blood and pretty much everything to do with hospitals. And I'm not a big fan of the idea of having a rubber tube stuck up my ass with a camera on the end.

So it was safe to say that  was scared to have a colonoscopy. First step was to try and figure out how or why not to have one. Read a lot. Talked to doctors and searched online. Bottom line (no pun intended) was that for someone like me who hates needles and tubes up my ass, getting colon cancer would suck a lot. Best way to avoid having to have more needles and god only knows what stuck into me if I get colon cancer is to keep from getting colon cancer - which is why everyone is told to get a colonoscopy in the first place. So away I went. After all was said and done it wasn't as bad as I expected - but for those other chickens out there - here are some tips for you.

1. It really isn't as bad as you think. Drinking the prep solution and not eating was probably the worst part - but there are ways around that as well.

2. My prep was a mix of a laxative and gatorade. I now permanently hate gatorade and so will you.

3. Best way to manage the prep drinking process was to have a bottle of fizzy seltzer water. In between chugging the bottles of prep solution I would swish and gargle with the seltzer water. This cleared out the taste of the prep and made it easier to finish each round of the prep drinking.

4. I had really dreaded not eating anything but broth  - what I did was use packets of chicken broth with hot water - then I added pepper and powdered hot spicy - making a really spicy broth. The "heat" killed my appetite and made the broth taste a little more meal like. Jello is nasty and I couldn't eat any of it.

5. You will shit like crazy once you start drinking the prep - it took about 1/2 an hour after my first prep chug for it to kick in. My doctor recommended using vaseline around my anus and this was a great tip. Do it before you start chugging and then keep applying. This keeps you from getting torn up from all the shit.

6. I really hate IV's a lot. Getting them in the back of the hand is the worst - so I opted for getting one in the crook of my elbow - much less painful.

7. Getting knocked out with the combination of versed and fentanyl wasn't bad - I never felt like I was out of control or crazy - just sort of dozed off and then woke up easy (but tired) in the recovery room. I was worried I would start ranting like a maniac before, during or after but it never happened.

8. Keeping the prep solution cold was a good idea - but it you make it too cold the laxative stuff congeals into a nasty glop and is even harder to drink. Put it in the fridge but not freezer.

9. Just do it. If you don't and end up getting colon cancer all the shit you are scared of will come back 100 times over - and this time it won't be optional or brief and you might die even if you do everything you are told.

Good luck.