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A 2017/2018 Guide to Skinning Stowe

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Believe it or not, uphill skiing is one of the fastest growing ski categories at the moment. Lighter, stronger, and more efficient alpine touring (or “AT”) gear paired with friendly new ski resort rules has helped backcountry and “slack-country” skiing explode over recent years. Many AT ski enthusiasts also appreciate the exercise and lack of the usual daytime crowds.

If you haven’t tried skinning yet, there has never been a better time to get into it. Stowe Mountain Resort makes it really easy to get started because you can try it out on familiar terrain. The gear has also never been so abundant and user friendly. Here at MountainOps we have hundreds of AT ski and binding combinations to suit every type of skier.

What’s new for this year?

Since the recent purchase of Stowe Mountain Resort by Vail Resorts, there has been a lot of talk about what the new uphill policy will look like. The resort recently released the full set of guidelines (https://www.stowe.com/ski-ride/mountain-safety/uphill-policy/). They did make some changes to last year’s rules, so be sure to take a look at them.

Here’s a summary of it all:

First of all, anyone skiing after hours must park in Lot D by the Gondola or in the Toll House parking lot, not by the Base Lodge.

Similar to last year, after hours skiing will be divided between the Gondola and Quad sides of the mountain. Between 12am and the opening of the Quad, you can ski up and down Nosedive. You will also be able to ski Perry Merrill between 12am and the opening of the Gondola. You must ski down the same way you came up.

New for this year, the resort will be allowing uphill travel during operating hours. This will only be allowed on Toll House and Easy Mile. Be sure to check the Stowe Mountain Resort website for further details and up to date information.

It’s important to remember that this access is a privilege and not necessarily a right. These rules are here because of issues the resort has had with downhill traffic in the past, so make sure you study up on the uphill policy before you head out and obey any posted signs when you get there.

Never tried skinning?

MountainOps has a full line of demo gear for skiers of all sizes. We will make sure you are comfortable with all of the gear before you head out of the shop for the day. We also have plenty of knowledge about the resort and the skiing in the surrounding area.

Be prepared:

Just because you’re at a resort doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack like you’re heading out into the woods or on a longer trip. Here are a few items I don’t skin without, whether in the backcountry or seeking early morning groomers:

-Headlamp. I usually bring two just in case.

-Extra down layer. I almost never put it on, but if you have an accident or a gear malfunction, you’ll be glad you have it.

-Two pairs of gloves. The pair you skinned up in will probably be soaked by the time you get to the top.

-A liter of water and a snack. I usually don’t drink or eat that much when skinning up Stowe in the morning, but it’s good to be prepared!

-A red flashing bike tail light or reflective clothing. This will help snowmakers and groomers see you from behind.

-Dog leash. Just because you love your doesn’t mean everyone else does. Stowe’s rules say “Keep dogs on leashes, or leave them at home.”

Remember that it’s still about having fun!

Stowe has all of these rules because of how popular skinning has become. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not a big deal. It’s super easy to ski Perry Merrill or Nosedive bright and early, but if sleeping in is more your style, there’s plenty of mellow terrain in the Tollhouse area.

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