2Liberal Arts Blog — “Skinning” — the Latest Craze of Ski Bums and Why Norway is Its Mecca
Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day
Today’s Topic: Skiing III: “Skinning” — the Latest Craze of Ski Bums and Why Norway is Its Mecca
How to ski down slopes where there are no lifts? Put “skins” on your skis that allow you to climb up the slopes. Then take them off and zoom down. What’s not to love? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
ALSO CALLED “SKI TOURING” AND “UPHILL SKIING”: pluses and minuses
1. Plus: cheaper than regular skiing. No need for lift tickets.
2. Plus: escape the crowds, enjoy the back country, and the epic views.
3. Minus: hard work, lots of sweat. Need for specialized equipment.
NB: “Lung-burning, heart pumping” — not for those with compromised cardio-pulmonary systems.
ETYMOLOGY, MECHANICS, COMPOSITION
1. “Typically attached to the skis via a loop on the ski tip, a hook on the tail, and an adhesive at the base fo the skin. They are called skins because they resemble sealskin, from which the first ski skins were made.”
2. “Mohair normally glides better on the forward movement, but provides less grip compared to nylon skins. Mohair skins also tend to pack lighter and easier.”
3. “Nylon on the other hand has increased durability, especially when used in harsher, icier snow conditions, or on rocks.”
NB: “Depending on regional snow conditions, skiers will tend to prefer one or the other. As a rule of thumb, if snow in the region is softer and more powdery, mohair is preferred. In regions where icy conditions are more likely, nylon is normally the preferred choice. Some companies sell mixed skins using mohair and nylon fibers on the same skin.”
THE MECCA OF SKINNING IS NORWAY — FROM THE SUMMIT TO THE SEA
1. “It’s a place where jagged peaks rise out of shimmering seas like snow-white shark’s teeth.” (fourth link below)
2. “The epicenter is the Lyngen Alps east of Tromso and the Lofoten Islands, Vesteralen and Senja to the southwest. It’s a patchwork of myriad mountains, finger-like fjords and jumbled islands, all poking north into the Norwegian Sea like an unkempt eyebrow.”
3. “Then there’s the light, haunting and majestic. From November until the end of January, the sun doesn’t rise, and the land is bathed in blue and violet before the northern lights put on their shape-shifting show. Ski touring season runs from March until late May, when it’s possible to ski under the midnight sun.”
NB: “You can ski beautiful mountains all over the world, but when your last turn ends on a beach in the middle of nowhere, it’s pretty unique,”
A FINAL WORD
Perhaps in another life I will be able to savor these thrills. In this one, I can try to imagine.
For the last four years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.