I first got into crossing streams with my skis on by accident when I was trying to cross over a slender snowbridge which collapsed and dumped me in the stream. I was mainly worried about scrapping up my bases and edges, but on the other-hand, my feet stayed dry and it was fairly secure, so now I do it intentionally. The rocks tend to have some river slime on them, so they are pretty easy on your edges and bases, especially if you just step and don’t slide on them.
Some of the other techniques I’ve tried are the time-honored ski toss, which often results in a ski hitting the far bank, then bouncing back into the river and getting swept downstream. Not recommended. Crossing with poles in one hand and skis in the other is a recipe for disaster. Putting your skis on your pack and using your poles for balance sounds good at first, but you inevitably turf on a slippery rock and go in, or at least I do. The “find a log and try to shinny across it” sometimes works, but can also take a lot of searching and still leave you in the stream if/when it breaks. Cut your losses, find a wide spot with shallower water and ski straight across. P-tex is cheap and edges can be sharpened.
Crossing with skins on is better yet, but best saved for the very end of a tour as water-logged skins are a glomming nightmare. Also, this technique works best in low volume creeks – raging rivers are a whole different story.
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Category: 05 Uphill