Skin up then
29th April 2009
The lifts are closed, thereâ€™s powder to be had so thereâ€™s only one way to get there. Walk up on skis.
For those people that have never put skins on the bottom of their skis and walked uphill it seems a rather odd thing to do, but it is catching on in popularity.
You don’t have to be some sort of extreme skier to do it and you don’t have to go far or walk up steep gradients. You just choose your route – it can be easy or hard.
It is just like going for a walk, except you do it on skis.
The lifts closed in Verbier last weekend but we have had a huge dump of fresh snow so a group of us decided to walk uphill and make a few turns.
We had no particular plan but just thought we’d set off and see where we ended up.
You need to have special bindings that allow your heel to come up and skins on the bottom of your skis so you can slide forward, but not slip backwards.
We set off in Verbier at 1500m and two hours later were at 2000m at the Croix de Couer. We never quite made it to the top as the weather closed in but got to within 200m of the summit.
Our leader was Jeff Heathers who had just returned from a week touring in the Atelas mountains in Morrocco.
“We used mules to take the food with us and the animals carried our provisions and gear too. It was amazing.”
Today though was an altogether gentler experience as we slid gracefully up the Savoyleres side of Verbier.
We will have a full piece about ski touring next week on PlanetSKI – where to go, what it’s like, tales of life in mountain huts and why more and more people are doing it.
Meanwhile, here are a few pictures of our afternoon out in Verbier.
On the up,
free the heel,
thirsty work though,
the snow gets thick and heavy,
but worth it for the view,
don’t you think?
Last week our content editor, James Cove, was in the same place with his walking boots on.