XC SKI HQ Manager and Race Team Member George Frye shares his skin ski breakthrough from the race course last season!
Oh, I remember it well… It was the Hanson Hills classic race last winter and I was skiing on some Fisher twin skin carbon pros, sized perfectly for my build. I was blown away at how fast they glided on the well packed snow, but when I encountered the first hill doing my warm-ups, I found that I was slipping backwards as I tried to climb. ‘Oh no!’ I thought. ‘This isn’t going to go well. What’s up?’
As I struggled, hunched over and sliding backwards, I heard my sister yell from the bottom of the hill, just as my father did in my youth, “Stand Up Straight, and don’t stick your butt out!” I laughed and turned around and skied down the hill towards her. I asked her what she meant, and she told me that with skin skis, you have to change how you climb hills a little bit, unless you want to herring-bone the whole time. Here’s the secret to climbing with skin skis: STAND UP STRAIGHT and stop sticking your butt out! Take shorter, upright steps when you’re climbing in skin skis you will climb like a mountain goat.
I decided I would go try it and see for myself. I skied back over to the hill and as I started going up the incline I straightened my posture and shortened my strides, and lo and behold the skins gripped the snow with amazing ease! I was blown away! With a few simple adjustments to my posture and cadence, I was climbing like a lizard on a window pane. As I crested the hill and was able to go back into that glorious glide, I was overcome with joy at having learned this simple yet transformative technique. I then proceeded to have the best classic race of my life and had an absolute blast climbing up the hills and flying down them in these skin skis. Consider me a skin-thusiast!