Backcountry Skiing at Alpental

With my new backcountry set-up. Forgot to wax my skins and ended up carrying up half the mountain.

After much research, deal hunting, purchasing of gear and help from friends I finally put a stellar backcountry set-up together – Dynafit Gaia boots, Dynafit TLT Vertical ST PRO Touring bindings, K2 Miss Baker skis and skins from a friend.  Thursday evening I got my first chance to use these bad boys.  Gerhard, David and I headed up to Snoqualmie Pass to get in some turns after work (and for me to break in my shinny new toys).

The temps were barely above freezing and the snow was coming down wet and heavy.  After slapping on our skins and donning our packs, we started gliding up the snow slope that I have ridden the chairlift up so many times for 20 some years.  Skinning is a lot like cross-country skiing, and an even better work out since you are endlessly going up a very steep hill.

I learned two important things on my first BC outing: 1) wax your skins (otherwise you will carry up half the mountain, WD-40 makes great skin wax) and 2) skinning is great cardio so don’t bundle up too much because you’ll be sweating.  It took a few hours to skin up Alpental, by then I was ready to enjoy the ride down (it’s way too short for the amount of work it took to get up there).

The sun had just set as we stripped our skins off and switched our skies and boots to ski mode.  We skied with

Locked and loaded and ready to carve up the slopes.

headlamps and the fresh, soft snow.  My skis performed incredible on the half a foot of new snow, they floated through the soft white stuff with the greatest of ease, yet were very responsive and turned easily (unlike my metal Volants which sink in powder).  The Dynafit bindings were very easy to use and felt very solid skiing downhill.

My first backcountry experience was a fun success and definitely is something I’m excited to do a lot more of!

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~ by Genevieve Hathaway on April 12, 2010.

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