Ski Down or Skin Up?

Photo courtesy by Liam Locke.  AHS junior Liam Locke and senior Hunter Bryant skin on an Ex-Ed.

Photo courtesy by Liam Locke. AHS junior Liam Locke and senior Hunter Bryant skin on an Ex-Ed.

When it comes to the typical image of high schoolers in Aspen, Colorado, one would imagine them whisking their way down the snowy slopes on their new Armada skis; however a new trend brings the image of high schoolers making their way up the mountain.  This trending sport is called skinning.  Skinning is basically skiing up a mountain and then coming back down – basically skiing without taking the lift.  Often, it can be much more of a workout and adds a fun twist to a typical winter sport.  

There are uphill tracks on all four of Aspen’s mountains that skiners can make their grand trek on.  To get started you need skins for the bottom of the skis, any type of skis, backcountry ski bindings,  and some sort of ski boot.

One student, AHS junior Mikella Tyler, got into skinning around two years ago in hope of finding more active outdoor activities during the winter months.  She and her father regularly skin up and ski down in the winter months, and she even skins occasionally in the spring or early summer up Independence Pass or elsewhere in the backcountry of the valley.  

“What I like about it is that I really get to earn the run I take after hiking,” Tyler said. “Skinning allows me to go ski at anytime of the day or year if the snow is around and I do not have to be dependent on a chairlift.  The skiing after the hike is more fun because I feel like I accomplished something to get there by hiking.”

Tyler enjoys skinning on the warmer days.  She feels it is much easier to soak up the sun and really enjoy the cloudless days.  Occasionally she will skin after school if let out early, which gives her a great way to exercise during the week.

Another junior at AHS, Liam Locke, prefers skinning early at 5 a.m. before school even begins.  He enjoys going to Tiehack, Ajax, and Highlands for his morning workout.  Though he enjoys Alpine skiing more, skinning has given him a deep appreciation for the lifts. However, although the lifts can be nice, Locke feels like skinning is a refreshing way to start any morning.

“Skinning is the perfect way to destress and relax before school,” Locke said.  “After skinning, my mind is completely clear and I am ready to learn. I feel great, I have fun, and I get to ski down a freaking mountain before school. I live in the best place on Earth.”

He often is accompanied by his two friends, AHS seniors Jud Hawk and Hunter Bryant, but occasionally he hits the slopes on his own.  

“I plug into my music, enjoy the stars, and get into a rhythm of skinning. I try to find a high point where I can watch the sun rise,” Locke said.  

Skinning is becoming increasingly popular with the high school students.  Get out there on some brand new ski gear and join Mikella for an after school workout or Liam to watch the morning sunrise up on the slopes we are lucky enough to call our home.