Stride length and touring efficiency

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #50685
    Mariner_9
    Participant

    I’m currently reading “The Ski Guide Manual: Advanced Techniques for the Backcountry”*. In it, the authors write, “a short stride…conserves energy”. However, the sales pitch for using hardboots when splitboarding is that they facilitate a longer stride length, which I thought was more efficient. Can someone clarify? Which is more efficient?

    *”Training for the New Alpinism” gets a favourable mention on p25!

Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

  • Participant
    trygve.veslum on #50707

    Hi,
    Ive been splitboarding for a few years and mixed in some ski mountaineering lately because of the light gear for the longest trips.
    I think you can be confident that a higher cadence and shorter steps wins in the long run. Its less fatiguing.

    Some of the pros with hardboots is that they often have a larger range of motion than softboots, which allows for longer strides. But it doesnt mean you should do so. However, a good thing is that its less likely you need to use the heel climb wire/support which saves time.

    Generally speaking there are def. some advantages using hardboots vs softboots for sure. But it has cons as well.

    Unfortunately, Ive sensed that the splitboard community is a bit behind ski touring with regards to efficieny/training, probably because more people ski tour and it has been around for longer. Also, in the splitboard community its not that common to do structured training and most people dont think that far wrt optimizing as you probably do -since youre a member here. (Please dont get me wrong – I love splitboarding).

    Participant
    Aaron on #50904

    I’ve noticed similar variation in advice. My recent observations is the flatter the terrain the longer stride can be good (a little glide sometimes), as angle increases shorter and higher cadence better. Pretty analogous to running.

    Participant
    Mariner_9 on #50909

    Thank you both for your comments, much appreciated.

    Would perhaps have been fairer of me to write that *part of* “the sales pitch for using hardboots when splitboarding is that they facilitate a longer stride length”. I do understand there are other advantages. And I’m not trying to bring the hardboot/softboot religious war to UA. 🙂

    Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #51528

    A shorter stride length with a higher cadence will create more of a cardiovascular load. For a given speed with similar economy, heart rate will likely be higher but leg load will be lower.

    A longer stride length with a lower cadence will be more muscular. For a given speed with similar economy, heart rate will likely be lower but leg load will be higher.

    You’ll become most efficient at the movement pattern that you do the most. So practice both. This is something that skimo racers do often because terrain often dictates a shorter or longer stride.

    I can’t imagine hard boots being more efficient in any context. They reduce the range of motion in the ankle, so the rest of the leg has to compensate. And your bindings get heavier because you need to use a heel lift (which is unnecessary with a boot with a big ROM.)

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