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Mind blowing - when friction helps you defy gravity and how you learn to trust your skins

Even though I’ve only picked up skiing recently and I’ve only done downhill skiing, I must admit I enjoy it a lot. Back-country skiing was completely unknown for me until this year and every time we went on a hike it completely baffled me that Jon was skinning up the mountain. Stepping on the trails he was breaking I was always saying to myself: that’s beyond you, just focus on climbing in the normal way because you’ll never get to go up the mountain on skis.

Never say never. As we are preparing for a hut trip, I’ve rented a pair of back-country skis one day in advance of the planned departure date, in order to test them first on Vail’s ski slopes. Listening to Jon’s instructions on how to put them on was music to my years…it felt like listening to a magician sharing the tricks behind his greatest act!

One day all by myself on Vail’s ski slopes - what a treat! I am on the slopes before the lift opens to try for the first time in my life to go up on my skis. Saying that I am excited about it is an understatement. At the base of the slope I put the skis on, take them off, analyze them, put the skins on as if putting on a magician cloak, and start making small incredulous steps …is this really going to work? It is working and finally, I am going up the mountain, on skis! The sun is shining like never before and every step feels so normal that I can’t help asking myself why I haven’t tried it before. Big smile on my face…a day to remember, in the same way as the day I learnt how to walk.

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Apr 05, 2019

I don’t know what skins are, nor how to get up a mountain on skis (nor why, come to think of it) but I do think you’re a remarkably brave and feeling woman. I’m with you every step of the way on your journey

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