Snowshoes Or Skinning -- Which Should Be Used To Get Into The Uphill Game?

Did the title of this article make you think that I was going to write some kind of guide that might help you with the choice as to which equipment might be best for you to get into the uphill game? If the answer is yes, then I guess I should ask your pardon and tell you that this is not that. This is me actually asking which the masses think might be better, using skins on the skis or just using a pair of snowshoes. With that said, I might have gotten you with a piece of clickbait, which was not my intention and I didn't even consider it until now. However, that doesn't mean that you can't continue reading. Let's ask a few questions and talk about a few points and either get the answers we are looking for or answer the question ourselves.

First, I must make it known that I know very little about going uphill during the ski season. The only experience that I have is the little bit that I had from cross-country skiing back in high school. I'm sure that going uphill with cross-country skis shares in technique, but I'm also fairly certain that going uphill or touring with skins has enough difference that my little bit of experience really doesn't mean anything. So, with all that said, I really don't know anything about going up, just going down. Which then brings us back to the question;

Should I use snowshoes or skins to start going uphill next season?

Now, for me anyway, I'm not really thinking about the learning curve involved with either set of equipment. I know how to walk and I know how to ski. Not to say that I can just go out and do either with no issue. I know that I would be a beginner in either. I'm just saying that I think I have enough skills to make learning using either of those pieces of equipment a little easier. In any case, I'd be willing to learn either no matter what the learning curve might be. So, again, that part really doesn't matter.

Nope, I think for me it's going to be a couple of different things. First, would it be accurate to say that I can do more with a pair of snowshoes that I can do with a pair of touring skis? Meaning, would I get more use out of the snowshoes because I can use them for more than going uphill? Now that I think about it, I don't think that's very accurate at all. Using touring skis on flat ground and getting some cross-country like action in would be a thing, huh?

Is it clear yet that, when it comes to cross-country and touring, I really don't know as much as I should? That's why I'm writing this, though. To learn.

Anyway, let's get down to what could be the biggest issue for me on this one. The cost. Now, I have seen pairs of snowshoes going for a bit less than a pair of touring bindings. With that said, would that be the right way to go, in that case? We all like to do stuff for as little money as we can and my equipment budget isn't the biggest. Let's not forget, along with bindings, I would need to buy skins that w work with my skis. That would add to the cost.

I'm also not so sure that I want to change the bindings that are on my skis. I like the way my skis are set up. It's a setup that has worked for me for many years. Why change it now?

Now that I think about it, though, it might not be bad to use my skiboards for uphill runs. Hmm? It is possible to get touring bindings for skis that small and the bindings on the skiboards are wicked easy to change. Some would say that changing bindings isn't the hardest thing in the world to do anyway, but the bindings on my skiboards are even easier than that, believe me. Plus, I have seen skins for sale for skiboards. That might actually be the way to go for me since I love my skiboards so much. But again, there is a bit of cost in that with new bindings and skins and I don't know if I am ready to pay that yet.

With that said, it does seem like I have made up my own mind about which way I want to go. It does sound like I am just going to go with snowshoes, but maybe not. Again, I don't have any experience with going uphill and it's clear that I don't know much about it either. I do need to ask questions, get feedback from those that do know what they are talking about, then make a choice and try it out. That was the point of this whole article.

In the end, I think I would like to learn how to do both anyway, but I would like to know where people think one should start. Snowshoes or skins? Well, I'll let those that read all the way through this shoot some advice my way. Until then, I'll go make shopping lists that are fitting for both and I'll wait to see what you all think. Thanks for the help and feedback.

Photo Credit: Edited By Tim Meyer For Ski Rex Media Using The Following;

  • Snowshoe Photo Left - 0x010C / CC BY-SA
  • Backcountry Ski Photo Right -


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