TECH TIP: Making the Uphills Easy
By: Bela G. Vadasz
Sure, touring with skins can feel a bit awkward at first. But with a few hundred strides and focus on some technique tips, you can make the uphill feel easy.
Start with good posture:
A nice upright body position with your back plumb to the slope. Stay tall , yet relaxed and keep your hips centered over your feet. Avoid excess bending at the waist and cantilevering with each step.
Make short, diagonal strides:
Move your opposite arm and leg forward. Stay centered and balanced over the middle of your skis. Use your foot, knee, whole leg and hip to move your ski forward. Try to stride without rotating your upper body. Keep your poles and arms in two imaginary slots that remain parallel to your skis.
Across a slope, you can choke up on your uphill pole grip. Some touring poles even have an extra traction to give you a better grip. It's ok to grip over the top of the handle of your downhill pole. It gives a little extra power in your skiing grip and stride.
Keep track angles low:
A lot like to just rake their heel elevators high and just attack straight up. Poor form! Lower track angles (about 12°-18° max) tacking up the slope allows for a biomechanically efficient stride that can be well paced, with a cadence you can keep up all day long without tiring.
Know when to roll your knees and ankles out to flatten your skis for maximum grip with your skins and know when to edge your skis to get the bite and hold across certain slopes that you need.
Uphill with skins is like good downhill technique. It's a blending of different movements and articulations to make it easy and use the least amount of effort in the most efficient way. Strive to make it easy and you'll find "economy of motion" and you will truly enjoy the uphills as part of a great ski day in the mountains!
Caution: It is recommended to practice these techniques under the coaching and supervision of a qualified instructor. ASI makes no guarantees regarding the use of techniques illustrated or recommended on this website with regard to insuring personal safety or preventing injury or death.