With recent resort buyouts and ever increasing lift ticket prices a lot of skiers and riders are growing more concerned about the affordability of winter sports. A full day at the resort including lift tickets, lunch, and parking can really add up. Luckily there is a way around all of this and it just requires a bit of effort and offers an entire new dimension to winter sports.
Human powered skiing involves releasing the heel of your boot in order to travel across multiple types of terrain. Whether you are an experienced alpine skier looking to reach more exciting places to test your skills, or someone who just enjoys a walk in the woods, there is a way for you to enjoy this alternative.
When most people think of back country skiing they imagine giant peaks, massive cliffs and the sound of a helicopter droning above watching from afar. The truth is that you don’t need to be an expert to get into this sport, you just need the proper gear and preparation.
A great place to start is with an alpine touring boot. These boots are designed to be lighter and allow walking to feel more natural than a traditional ski boot. Touring bindings come in many different varieties but what they all have in common is the ability to release in the heel as well as lock back in for descending. A good touring ski is both light in weight and able to perform well once you are ready to ski down from your destination. Lastly, you will need skins in order to travel uphill with your skis. Skins are traction devices that stick to the base of your skis. They come in many varieties but share the ability allowing you to slide forward but not backward down an incline.
“you don’t need to be an expert to get into this sport, you just need the proper gear and preparation”
Like with lift powered skiing, it’s important to start small and slowing work your way up to more challenging terrain. The best place to become familiar with your new equipment is at your local resort. Be sure to check the resort’s uphill policy before heading out. New Hampshire has more backcountry skiing opportunities than ever before that cater to both intermediate as well as expert skiers. Tuckerman Ravine is considered to be the pinnacle of back country skiing in New Hampshire where many have treated it as a right of passage for skiers and riders. It offers steep chutes and alpine zone terrain that should only be attempted by experienced back country skiers.
Before even considering traveling into the back country, taking an avalanche course is crucial to the safety of both yourself and others you are touring with. These courses teach you risk management and how to properly use life saving gear such as probes, avalanche shovels and beacons. for more information check out these avalanche courses in the white mountains.
“taking an avalanche course is crucial to the safety of both yourself and others you are touring with”
Cross Country Skiing
Do you enjoy taking walks through the woods, snowshoeing, or hiking? Then cross country skiing may be for you! Cross country skis are different than alpine skis because of their lightweight design and lack of metal edges. There are a wide variety of options to choose from that will handle terrain from groomed tracks all the way to the back country.
“Cross country skiing is an amazing cardio workout”
If you often find yourself missing the mountains during the workweek, cross country skis get you outside and into nature. Cross country skiing is an amazing cardio workout. If you are like me and miss trail running in the winter months cross country can be a great way to fill the void.
Not sure where to go? check out this site for a list of established nordic centers in New Hampshire.