Why gO Up?
We've all heard the sayings 'what goes up must come down' and 'earn your turns' and heck even the latest from the CBMR Ski Patrol: 'skimo is neither'. However you slice it, ski mountaineering, or skimo for short, is gaining in popularity and we can't thank CBMR enough for their support in allowing us the pleasure of participating in one of the slowest sports on the planet—as oxymoronic as that may sound, it really is quite fun.
So let's talk about the facts. Newton's laws pertain to just about anything that defies the laws of gravity; therefore, to skin uphill requires you to also ski downhill, but when it comes to equipment, the type of ski you dare scale a mountain on will largely depend on the type of terrain you plan to ski down. Given that skimo generally demands small, light, skinny skis we're most likely not going to be shushing down large sluffs of two foot powder fields as if we were on our 120s at the top of Headwall (with a very large grin on our face). This quite possibly could also mean that the turns that we'll be earning will be small compared to the efforts it required to get to the top. And lastly, when the Ski Patrol refers to 'neither' it probably just means that they're just not sure how to explain the sport as a whole. We get that.
Ski mountaineering/Skimo races originated in the 1920s and ever since then the sport continues to grow; however, it's not just about racing up and down a mountain in a spandex suit that beckons to those that have been skinning before and after CBMR lifts run—it's about the exercise, the outdoors, the safety and the inherent strength and stamina that goes along with it.
Exercising in winter is tough- we often times resort to our local gyms or online torture sessions (which are great as well) to keep us motivated to stay fit throughout the winter. Skinning provides a great outlet for building your endurance and maintaining your strength gains during a time when we can't ride or run during the easier summertime months. On top of that it will only help your powder day turns that we all would like to practice a little more!
As you may or may not know, CBMR allows uphill skiing before the lifts start to run at 9 am and 30 minutes after the resort is closed at 4:30 pm. The uphill route also allows for skinning during anytime of the day. So when it comes down to it, your options to get outside and get some exercise and fresh air are 24 hours/day on CBMR property. In addition, the safety and security of skiing in a controlled, safe environment is a definite luxury beyond comprehension, given that the majority of tours in this valley would require a beacon, shovel, probe and some avy savvy friends. And most important, don't forget to be mindful of their uphill policies as these are set in place for your safety. This is an amazing amenity and we don't want it to be taken away!
When it comes to gear, obviously the lighter the better for this sport, but really any AT setup will do. The basics of skimo are to get up and down a mountain, on the same skis in both directions so obvious sacrifices should be made according to your abilities and goals for the sport. If you're all about getting up as fast as you can and are adept at all types of skis, then a smaller/lighter setup would do you well. If you don't care as much about the time but more into getting outdoors and a nice workout, then something heavier would suffice. Keep in mind that there are a TON of options out there including mid-weight setups that provide just as much fun, agility and exercise!
The Wednesday night gO Orthopedics Skimo Town Series is a great way to test your skills on basic touring/racing and meeting other like-minded skimo folks. The two different courses (generally one shorter than the other) allows for you to opt to take a leisurely tour or test yourself against some seasoned skimo athletes. The best part, each race is free! And this year, thanks to one of our great sponsors Rock n Roll Sports, you could win a pair of skis.
See you on Wednesday!!