Skinning techniques

Mastering efficient skinning techniques is essential for splitboarding in the backcountry, as it allows you to ascend slopes with ease and conserve energy for the downhill ride. Here are some key skinning techniques to help you navigate various terrain and snow conditions:

Skin Placement: Start by attaching your climbing skins to the base of your splitboard. Ensure that the skins are centered and aligned with the edges of the board, with the adhesive side facing down and the tail clip secured at the back. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles to ensure proper adhesion.


Stride Technique: The stride technique is the most basic and efficient method for ascending moderate terrain. Take long, smooth strides with your splitboard parallel to the slope, keeping your weight centered over the skins. Use your poles for balance and propulsion, planting them firmly in the snow with each step.


Herringbone Technique: The herringbone technique is useful for ascending steep slopes or traversing across angled terrain. Angle your splitboard across the slope, with the tail of the board pointing downhill and the nose pointing uphill. Take short, diagonal steps with your feet wide apart, pressing the inside edge of the skin against the snow for traction.


Kick Turns: Kick turns are essential for navigating switchbacks or making direction changes on steep terrain. To execute a kick turn, stop ascending and flatten out your splitboard on the snow. Lift the uphill edge of the board and pivot it around the downhill edge, using your poles for balance and support. Practice this technique until you can execute smooth, fluid turns with minimal effort.


Sidehilling: Sidehilling involves traversing across a slope with your splitboard at an angle to the contour of the terrain. Keep your weight centered over the downhill edge of the board and use your uphill edge to grip the snow. Take short, deliberate steps and maintain a slight uphill traverse to prevent slipping.


Switchback Climbing: Switchback climbing is a technique used to ascend steep terrain with multiple direction changes. Plan your route in advance and identify suitable spots for making switchback turns. Execute kick turns at each switchback, ensuring that you maintain a consistent rhythm and minimize unnecessary exertion.


Efficiency Tips: To maximize efficiency while skinning, focus on maintaining a steady pace and conserving energy. Use your poles for balance and propulsion, engage your core muscles for stability, and take short breaks to hydrate and refuel. Experiment with different stride lengths and cadences to find what works best for you.


By mastering these skinning techniques and practicing them in various snow conditions and terrain, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of backcountry splitboarding and enjoy the rewards of pristine powder descents. Remember to always prioritize safety, avalanche awareness, and responsible mountain travel while exploring the backcountry.

Stay tuned for the next Chapter about Transitioning ...