Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
How To Ski It
Sidecountry skiing isn’t new. Starting about 15 years ago, the Forest Service and ski patrols began opening access gates to allow resort skiers entrée to the sidecountry—often with routes back to the lifts. What is relatively new is equipment that makes deep-snow skiing and travel easier for less seasoned athletes. Still, there’s no avalanche control here—whether you’re a few feet or a few miles beyond the ropes—so having the proper safety equipment is a must. Equally important is knowing how and when to dial back your intensity. Efficiency—on the way up and the way down—is key.
The Skinny On Skinning
Skinning is crucial in the side- or backcountry because it’s more efficient and less tiring than hiking in deep snow. The fur-like surface of skins flattens as you move uphill, allowing your skis to glide, but it grips to keep you from sliding back after each step. Click here for more about skins and skinning.
[ Tip ] Before climbing, strap your helmet to your pack and switch from goggles to sunglasses. There is nothing worse than steamed-up goggles when you’re ready to drop in.