Instruction Ski-touring do’s and don’ts for the uphill curious. Hint: It’s not just like walking.
THERE’S MORE TO SKI TOURING THAN SIMPLY WALKING UPHILL.
Skinning, touring, uphilling— whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to the same concept: moving uphill on skis to earn your turns. Seems straightforward enough, especially if you have the right gear: lightweight skis, skins that fit those skis, touring bindings, ski boots with walk mode, and adjustable ski poles. While the right gear will certainly make traveling uphill easier, it won’t do all the work for you. At the end of the day, skinning is still a vigorous workout, and many beginners (and even those with ski touring experience) don’t make it any easier on themselves.
Laboring under the assumption that ski touring is simply walking on skis, some put in twice as much effort lifting their skis between steps, charging straight up steep slopes instead of taking the path of least resistance, and adjusting their balance with every move to get their skins to stay connected to the snow. If you learn how to move efficiently, you’ll have a lot more gas left in the tank when it comes to the fun part: skiing downhill.
The key to moving efficiently in the skin track? Posture and stride technique, says Charlie MacArthur, longtime professional ski instructor at Aspen Snowmass, Colo. Where you stand on your skis, how long your stride is, and even where you look can impact how much energy you expend. Ready to maximize your uphill momentum and minimize energy waste? Follow Macarthur’s cues—and don’t forget to undo your top boot buckles and switch boots to walk mode for the uphill portion.