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Skin up then

The lifts are closed, there’s powder to be had so there’s only one way to get there. Walk up on skis.

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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.

skin_1_400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the up,

skin_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

free the heel,

skin_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thirsty work though,

skin_5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the snow gets thick and heavy,

skin_4_400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but worth it for the view,

skin_6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

don’t you think?

Last week our content editor, James Cove, was in the same place with his walking boots on.

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