If you have been to Breckenridge this season, chances are you have had the opportunity to ski some powder or enjoy some mixed and ungroomed terrain. With all the snow we have been getting it has been almost impossible to not be here on a powder day. Ripping through soft powder and deep conditions is many skiers’ dream day on the hill. Or, maybe you are looking to up your game in the terrain park or put down the deepest carve you can on a groomed run. There are many different types of skiing you can try when you visit Breckenridge and having the right gear can give you the best experience as you try different types of skiing. Even bottomless powder can be a challenge if you are not prepared for it. Getting stuck out in the snow with the wrong gear can make an epic day go south fast. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of some of the most common types of skis and types of skiing for different conditions you are likely to encounter at Breckenridge.
As the name suggests, all-mountain skis are built as a one-size-fits-all type of ski and can handle just about anything that the mountain will throw at you. These are usually built wider, lighter and shorter than other types of skis and are generally twin-tipped. They perform very well on the mountain in almost any conditions. All-mountain skis are perfect for anyone who wants to try different types of skiing but doesn’t want to get pigeonholed into just one type of ski. The drawback is that if you do want to up your game at any one type of skiing, all-mountain skis might not perform as well as a more specific type of ski. Examples of all-mountain skis are K2 Pinnacles, Blizzard Brahmas and Armada Invictus.
Carving skis are the most common type of skis that recreational skiers will be used to. These skis have an hourglass shape that is thinner under the boot and wider at the tip and tail of the skis. The curving of the skis allows the edges to dig into the snow and makes it easier to turn. Carving skis are most effective on groomed runs and allow skiers to easily make graceful carving turns. They are less effective in powder and off off-piste terrain. Examples of carvings skis include Kastle FX95’s, Head Kore 93’s and Elan Ripsticks.
Powder skis are built for exactly what their name implies: powder. They are typically the widest skis you will find and are built to keep you afloat even in the deepest of power. They are usually a bit softer than an all-mountain ski and are unique in that the ski itself offers a reverse camber with the tip and tail of the ski thinner than the middle. Powder skis are specific to deeper snow and are a little wonky on groomed runs and mixed conditions like moguls and spring conditions. Some great powder skis are Saloman Rocker 2’s, Armada Bubbas and Faction Royales.
These used to be known as “twin tips” and are primarily built lighter, shorter and narrower than typical all-mountain skis. Freestyle skis are specifically designed for the park and the pipe. These skis always have twin tips and usually a more symmetrical setup than other skis. They are designed to make riding switch (backwards) easier. Although freestyle skis are specifically designed for the park, they are usually pretty good all-mountain skis, too. Some of our favorite freestyle skis are Faction Candides, Line Magnum Opus skis and Armada ARV 96’s.
If you are interested in trying something different than your usual gear or need some top-of-the-line gear while you are visiting, check out Breck Sports. This winter you can enjoy up to 20% off your rental equipment. Breck Sports will provide FREE delivery of the latest ski and snowboard gear right to your door. Prefer an in-store experience? Head over to one of Breck Sports’ eight physical locations. With the ability return or exchange gear at any location (including Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone) renting your gear with Breck Sports couldn’t be any easier. Click here to visit RentSkis.com!
I’ll never forget when I first heard about this “uphill skiing” concept and I thought, “Don’t they know they’ve invented chairlifts?” I never thought I would try it, let alone love it, and basically be addicted to it.
Why do I like to ski uphill? The feeling of crisp, fresh air on my face as the sun rises and I begin my trek up the slopes. The overwhelming gratitude I am filled with to have such a beautiful experience in nature. The feeling of accomplishment for summiting a mountain as the sun rises. The overflowing amount of joy and happiness that I feel from head to toe for the rest of my day. The serene and peaceful turns on untouched snow. These are the reasons I have fallen in love with skiing uphill – I suggest you try it and see for yourself!
- Register online for uphill access parking.
- Choose your route at Breckenridge Ski Resort. (Did you know you can skin right from your door at Grand Colorado on Peak 8 or Grand Lodge on Peak 7?)
- Read these guidelines for uphill access at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
- Call the Breckenridge Ski Resort Cat hotline the morning before heading up hill 970-547-5627.
- Invite a friend – the backcountry is always better with company and it is recommended for safety too.
So, what is “Skinning”? “Skinning” is the affectionate nick name given to uphill skiing because the mechanism that is placed on the bottom of your skis in order to provide traction used to literally be made of animal skin. Today (rest assured) they are not made from real animal skin, yet the nick name remains. The more formal names for this sport include: “Randonee” skiing, Alpine Trekking, AT or even split-boarding. As long as you are using one’s own power, paired with specialized equipment and “skins” to get up the hill, you can consider yourself “skinning”.
I only have one last warning: try this sport at your own risk, the gear can be quite expensive and there is a strong chance that after you try it once you will be hooked and have to purchase your own gear. The good news is, you won’t regret it.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Breckenridge Ski Resort. Please refer to their uphill access guidelines and always pay attention to snow reports to remain safe in the backcountry.