The Skinny on Skinning

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by surfsnowgirl, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    Ok I like the idea of this. I'm lazy and am the first person to admit it but I really want to try skinning up a mountain one day. Maybe I'll hate it and never want to do it. Maybe I'll get hooked and will have found my calling for an exercise besides skiing downhill that winds my watch.

    I know skins are the 'thingy's that you put on the bottom of your skis so that you can traverse up hill. Where does one get these, are they expensive, can you put them on any skis. Is there a used market so I can pick up a cheap pair.

    This might be common knowledge for some but it's something I'm curious about, I don't know anyone who does it and I'm curious.

    I want to at least try it once..............................

    Any assistance or advice on how to get started would be dandy. Thanks.


     
  2. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    Go up to Stowe. There’s a couple of shops up there that will rent/demo gear. Others here can chime in on shop specifics; I forget.

    But first....have you cross country skied? I adamantly recommend doing this first, to see if you like that kind of motion/physical activity. It’s easier to learn that motion on lightweight XC gear....and it’s cheaper to rent it, too. It you hate it, skinning on alpine gear might not be your thing.

    You need to try before you buy. The boots, bindings, skins, are expensive. You probably should be a fan of aerobic endeavors. ogsmile And, unless you are skinning up at a resort and accessing groomers, you should be comfortable skiing down off piste. This means trees, bumps, and both, along with varying snow conditions. Remember also that going uphill is taxing, so you need to be confident after that effort to ski downhill.

    Skins are usually specific to the ski or the width of the ski.

    Bindings are a whole ‘nuther ball of wax. There’s a lot of options, features, and price points. Maybe the new Salomon ones will simplify the decision making process. Then there’s boots....multiple options here, too. Do you want a pair that favors the uphill, or the downhill, or a mix of both?

    Skinning up has started to become more popular here in PA, believe it or not, but it’s mostly got to be done within resorts, on designated trails.

    Being an aerobic junkie, I’d dive right in if I had friends to accompany me. At this point, my friends are sticking to lift served access. I don’t blame them, because doing otherwise here really doesn’t open up terrain options, it just provides an aerobic option to going uphill. And it’s extra money that could be spent on a ski trip.

    A friend in Lake Placid who owns a shop, and who I’ve skate skied with over the years, has tried to get me on AT gear multiple times. I’ve had the chance to examine boots, bindings, etc, but things change year by year.

    If I lived out West, it would be a no brainer for me. I like to skate ski uphill, I’ve cross country skied for many more years than I’ve alpine skied, I’ve done a few CO hut trips....so skinning up seems like a natural thing for me to do. When we move West, and we will, one of the first things I plan on doing is getting educated, finding some people to take me out, and renting some gear. My guide friends in Lake Placid who have offered to take me out....maybe I’ll try that if I get the chance.

    Now it’s time for the experienced folk to chime in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  3. Thread Starter
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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    I have no doubt skinning up is taxing which is why I haven't tried it thus far ha. I definitely want to try before I buy. I wasn't sure if I needed a whole AT setup or if I could slap some skins on what I have. Definitely getting comfortable on bumps and more comfortable in trees. No way was I going to go all out before I even know I like it. I really just want to try it. Sounds like a trip to Stowe will be in order at some point. Thanks.
     
  4. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    In brief:

    OGE will have everything you need. You need a binding that allows striding and a boot that works with that binding. Skins are the least of the problem. The skins are usually cut to the dimensions of the skis you will be working on. Cheap skins are generally not worth the cost because they are not cut right, the glue needs refreshing and the hair bits are filthy/scuzzed.
     
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  5. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    You need a binding and a boot that allows stride length, at reasonable weight.

    Skinning in most alpine setups especially boots with aggressive lean = running cross country in a pencil skirt.

    Skinning in alpine setups with Trekkers = running cross country in a pencil skirt with chunky stilts.

    Skinning with heavy duty tele gear = running cross country in vintage tennis clothes.
     


  6. tinymoose

    tinymoose Getting on the lift Skier

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    If God had wanted me to skin up a mountain, he wouldn't have had someone invent lifts... or something... ogwink
     
  7. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    OGE= Outdoor Gear Exchange?
     
  8. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    That pretty much sums up why I haven't tried it so far. ;)
     
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  10. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    Have you hiked in your alpine boots, carrying your skis, uphill, off piste? Not as efficient as skinning with skis on your feet, but it’ll give you a taste of whether you enjoy the uphill journey. I do know this: Most people who go uphill, go it as much for its enjoyment as for the downhill.

    Your bindings and boots need to allow for your heel to be freed, unlike traditional alpine bindings. This is why I recommend cross country skiing, and also doing that uphill, first.
     
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  11. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    You're going to spend ~90% of the total time doing it, might as well enjoy it.
     
  12. elemmac

    elemmac AKA Lauren Skier

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    There's a few shops in NH that rent as well, both in the North Conway area, and in Lincoln.
     
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  13. Willy

    Willy aka Goldmember Industry Insider

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    Go with someone you know who does it. You're going to need some coaching/help to learn some of the finer points. Have them accompany you to the shop to get the gear, too. It's not really something you just go out and do if you don't really know anything about it.
     
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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    Makes sense about the bindings and boots. I'd be open to trying both options. However, given my feet issues I think I'd be more open to hiking up in snowshoes than my alpine boots. Never cross country skied either. I love walking down ski mountains in the summer so why not give it a try going up hill. Here's to trying new things.

    :beercheer:
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    Thanks everyone for your responses. I definitely want to rent to see if I even like it. Who knows I might be one and done or I might go hey I like this. Time will tell. I'll do this adventure one of my trips next season, going on the goal list... to at least try it.
     
  16. NE1

    NE1 Booting up Skier

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    I too have been curious about the folks I see skinning. I do a lot of hiking, including winter.

    It might be helpful if someone in the know would review the different kinds of gear and their uses. We are talking about "AT" gear, not "Tele" right? How do they differ, and how do you tell them apart in the shops?
     
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  17. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

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    You won't like it.
    You live in Connecticut.
    Nuff said.
     
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  18. Crank

    Crank Out on the slopes Skier

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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    Ha ha. I'm only in Connecticut M-F afternoon. I'm in vermont almost every weekend for about 6 months out of the year so I'll get my taste somewhere, sometime up there :)
     
  20. Thread Starter
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    surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    Thanks. That is exactly what I'd want to skin at a resort. Perhaps a way to enjoy the mountain after it closes and I happen to be up there for the weekend or simply earning my turns when they are open. It's just another option to play. I've never gone skiing outside of a resort, one day.
     

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