Kelly recounts her first skin adventures to The 10th Mountain Division Hut just east of the Continental Divide, outside of Leadville, CO and a few others!
A little over a month ago I purchased my first pair of skins. Yeah, seems like a simple and somewhat boring sentence, but if you are on this website, you realize what a phenomenal and life altering moment this was for me. I would now like to elaborate upon the moments that my skins have allowed me to be part of.
As you know, skins are cut custom to a ski. Having never actually seen or used skins before, I had no idea how to go about cutting my skins. Allow me to educate: Step 1 – Crack a local microbrew. Step 2 – Watch the black diamond youtube video, “How to Cut Skins”. Step 3 – Attempt to copy. Step 4 – Cheers, success. A fun little mini adventure.
The first adventure actually using the skins was a relatively laid back 4ish miles to the 10th Mountain Division Hut. It felt rather liberating and serene to sit on the porch of the hut in the middle of Colorado’s beautiful backcountry and drink a cold beer.
A group of us out here in Vail have trademarked the new skinning pub crawl (a special shout out to Liz for being brilliant). This is also known as the Mountainbeering workout plan. One or two times a week headlamps are adorned as we trek from the base of the Vista Bahn lift in Vail Village up to the base of Chair Two. About halfway up the frontside of Vail, the skin takes just under an hour ending with a delicious beer and a fantastic view of the lights in the valley with a little night skiing to the bars in town.
Last week, at the top of the mountain, my friend Brian opened his beer, took a sip, sighed, looked at me and said, “This is the way to do it, it just tastes better when you earn it.” I couldn’t agree more.
This trip was followed by a 1.78mi day skin up to a hut outside Breckenridge a few days later. This trip however, was done in pure Mountainbeering excess, hammered. At 8 am on Sunday morning, I was greeted by a text telling me to get up and be ready in 10 minutes. Doesn’t sound too demanding but after a Saturday night of beerlympics, it is indeed a bit demanding. My instincts took over and I immediately grabbed a bunch of beers for my backpack. The trip to the base of the trail was about a 35 minute drive and I was able to put away 5 beers of mixed assortment.
Fantastic. The skin was a short one, but beautiful in the majestic backcountry.
Not too soon after this excursion, I was invited on another hut trip to Skinner Hut outside of Leadville, CO. It’s interesting packing a 24 case in your bag along with all your gear for an overnight hut trip and then walking up the side of the mountain. We trekked a 7 mile skin to the base of the trail and then a 3 mile skin through 1-2 feet of fresh pow up to the hut.
Needless to say, a warm fire and a beer in hand in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain has never tasted so good!
Overall, I’m pretty pumped on the skin purchase. I highly recommend buying a pair if you haven’t.
One of the featured beers in Kelly’s arsenal of intoxicating adventures was The Yeti Pils, made by Oskar Blues out of Lyons, CO. They’ve been a big player in spearheading the transition to great beers in cans, making Mountainbeering much easier!
Thanks for the stories, Kelly. Cheers!