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Ski Uphill? You Bet! Find Out How

Ever heard of Uphill touring? If not, you’re not alone. Uphill ski touring is a fun and exciting activity that’s relatively new to the ski industry. If you love challenging yourself, time in nature to admire the views, and (of course) skiing, you’ll want to keep reading. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about uphill. Read through them, and if you get as excited about it as we do, make sure to book your guided Intro to Uphill Tour to really get a feel for what the hype is all about😊. 

What is uphill? 

Uphill is a fast-growing activity around the World, but especially here in Colorado. It is also commonly known as “skinning” or “touring”. Skinning is the process of  getting up the hill the old-fashioned way, hiking up with your skis on your feet, earning your turns back down.  

To uphill, you’ll need special bindings and these things called ‘skins’. You can read more about both of them below. 

FYI: If you book one of our experienced and knowledgeable Intro to Uphill guides here at Winter Park, the tour includes: Dynafit touring equipment (boots, skis, skins, and poles). 

How do you not fall backwards? 

Great Question! The science behind that is easy, yet complicated: Synthetic material, also known as ‘skins’.  

Once made of actual fur, this synthetic fur is stuck to the bottom of your skis by an extremely sticky adhesive. The fur flattens and allows you to move up hill, but the fur lengthens if you try to slide back and stops you.

SCIENCE RULES!

Can I use my normal skis and bindings? 

Though you are able to use any ol’ pair of skis, you will need specific touring bindings. 

Tour bindings have a special function that allows your heel to lift up off the ski, but keeps your toe mounted while going uphill. These bindings are then able to lock in place for skiing back down.  

What about my normal boots? 

Yes, but they may become uncomfortable during long tours. We recommend getting special uphill boots. 

Alpine touring boots are more forgiving and lighter weight. These boots have multiple settings: a walk mode that’ll give you a greater range of motion, and a downhill mode that locks for more stiffness. 

Is it just like hiking/Snowshoeing? 

Eh, sorta? It’s similar! You are putting one foot in front of the other, going uphill. But you’re actually gliding your feet forward, instead of stepping.  

Can snowboarders do it? 

YES! Though we don’t offer splitboarding setups here at the resort, it is a possibility for those single stick shredders to experience the beauty of touring. 

FYI: IceBox in Fraser rents splitboards for $39, and you’re more than welcome to bring that on your tour!  

Can anyone do it? 

Though just about anyone could do it, we recommend having an intermediate ski or ride skill set.  

How can I do it? 

If you’re interested in learning more, book one of our experienced and knowledgeable Intro to Uphill guides here at Winter Park! Tours include: Dynafit touring equipment (boots, skis, skins, and poles).  

For those who already have the gear, make sure you check out our uphill policy and get your season armband here.

You can also venture out under the stars with our new Moonlit Uphill events! Join us Jan. 9, Feb. 13, or Mar. 13 for this unique event. Get all the details here.

All-in-All, skinning is a fun, exciting, memorable experience (not to mention a great workout)!  After you learn the basics, get out there and practice! On those beautiful pow days, you’re able to skin up before the lifts open to grab some freshies. On the clear, corduroy mornings, you can experience the magical sunrises on top of mountains. Most importantly, you’re becoming a part of a new, ever-growing, mountain community! We’ll see you out there!  

Need a place to stay for those early ups? Check out our latest slopeside lodging deals here

2 thoughts on “Ski Uphill? You Bet! Find Out How

  1. Jake, can you recommend a set up that isn’t thousands of $? I need binding and boots for a relative beginner, but can’t afford high end Scarpas…? Any thoughts appreciated.

    1. Hey David, first of all, thanks for reading the article! Second, I’d recommend going to a local gear trade shop (Winter Park Trading Co. is a personal favorite) or try Facebook marketplace.

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