Over the past few years, we've watched the niche of uphill skiing grow within the greater ski industry. More skiers are adventuring off piste and into the backcountry. Others set out for pre-dawn and post-work tours for outdoor winter exercise at resorts that allow uphill travel. In response to this growing trend, many ski areas are establishing uphill ski policies to keep skiers safe, offering uphill ski classes and even weekly races. This segment of skiers is on the rise.
Last weekend, we joined the Aspen Experience with uphill-ski pioneer and client, Dynafit. During an early morning session, we introduced New York City-based mainstream media from outlets such as InStyle, SELF, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Women's Health to the growing sport of uphill skiing. After a quick introduction and demo, we made our way part way up Aspen Highlands, before skiing down to a hard-earned and bacon-fueled breakfast. We had a blast.
So what is uphill skiing ? As our journalist and editor friends discovered, it's similar to walking, but with lightweight skis that stick to the snow's surface. Gear, from companies like Dynafit, is essential.
Lightweight skis allow for an effortless ascent, and more importantly, an enjoyable ski back down. Touring ski boots have specific walk and ski modes - with the walk mode allowing for more flex and added comfort to the ascent. Unlike alpine boots, these boots also feature special receptors for touring bindings at the toe.
Touring bindings allow the heel to lift, facilitating a walking/gliding motion for the uphill. These bindings attach at the specific toe points of the boot and are very lightweight and minimalist compared to regular alpine bindings. The bindings also lock the heel in for a stable descent.
Finally, uphill skiers attach skins to the bottom their skis to provide uphill traction. A skin is built with a plush fabric on the outside that grips against the snow, and glue on the other side, to stick to the ski. These are fastened with tip and tail clips on the ski.
Scroll through all the action from the morning below.
PC: Matt Kisiday, CerconeBrownCompany