Skinning Over Timber

| December 31, 2009

I tend to do a lot of skinning over timber.  Why, I’m not sure as it is not really that much fun, but I suppose it is better than traversing way around a fallen tree, then backtracking.  Timber skinning is especially common early in the season or when it is a low snow year, such as we have now (sniff…).

Attacking timber head-on is an exercise in frustration as your skins will grease off of it and your edges won’t bite, so you end up turfing face first into some wet wood.  Not so fun.  It only took me about ten years to figure this out, but patience and setting up for a log crossing is almost always faster than a direct assault.

Step 1

Approach the log and introduce yourself, explaining the you are going to cross it whether it likes it or not, and the log can either make it easy on itself, or get debarked.  Your choice buddy.  Turn parallel to the log and scrunch up as close as possible, then lift your uphill ski over it, using your hand to help position the ski if need be.

Step 2

When establishing your uphill ski, MAKE SURE AND LEAVE PLENTY OF ROOM FOR YOUR DOWNHILL SKI BELOW IT.  This is the crux, as if you crowd it too much, you will be stepping up onto the log instead of snow and will inevitably grease-off again and curse a blue streak.

Step 3

Stand up, regain your composure, and continue on.  Repeat as often as necessary.

Help support and show timber who’s the boss with a G3 Bone Saw from Click on the photo below…


Category: 05 Uphill

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (11)

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  1. Omr says:

    Plenty of timber skinning so far this winter. Is that you in the photos? If so, Do you like the Radiums?

  2. Polly says:

    How about doing kick turns on trees? I seem to remember an outing where you made the skin track over and under trees and finally with a change of direction right on one!

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi OMR – no, I took the photos, but the boots belonged to Doug. It was his first day on them, and he said so far, so good.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hmmm, I’ll have to see if I can find that photo…

  5. atommy says:

    Stand up, regain composure, open toe of dynafit on right ski, regain attachment to ski and continue on. Repeat often.

  6. Brendan says:

    Does it help to have you heels at different heights too? :)

  7. atommy says:

    Look closer.

  8. Stan says:

    Andrew, good tips and a follow up post can be “Skiing over Timber” :)

    Even with a bit of a weird winter up here in Canada too, we have pretty decent snow coverage to allow for more proper skinning than on your photos. And damn, we even skied some awesome powder at Rogers Pass at the end of November.

  9. glew says:

    went up to try and ski parleys summit yesturday, made a few turns, but mostly kinda looked like your picture. im livin in pc old town. its wierd no one tours there. lets get out eh? got a sweet hour long commute skin up pcmr drop usa bowl or something like that and bam ur in bcc. bet ya never heard of such a thing, sure beats drivin or buyin a pass. take care andrew peace tg

  10. ron says:

    Looks to me like the right dynafit toe did retain attachment and he’s just skinning up with his downhill heel post set higher than the upper one…works for me on steep side hill traverses, but then a lot of wrong stuff works for me so never-mind.

  11. atommy says:

    On first glance, I just figured he’d twisted his uphill boot out of the toe piece. Maybe he did retain attachment….this time.

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