Backcountry skiers and some snowboarders ascend slopes using climbing skins attached to the bottom of their skis.

To travel through mountains in deep snow, skiers and some snowboarders attach climbing skins to the bottoms of their skis or splitboards. Historically made of seal skin, the modern version is constructed of a one-way carpet-like plush that allows traction in one direction and glide in the other. Affixed to the bottom of skis using a combination of tacky glue and tip and/or tail clips, they allow backcountry travelers to break trail in deep snow and to ascend steep slopes. Prior to descending, they are removed from the bottom of skis.

Setting a skin track up a mountain slope is truly an art form, always seeking a balance between efficiency and safety. Experienced skinners know how to set a track that takes the path of least resistance, maximizing use of the terrain to keep the skin track at a consistent pitch. During periods of questionable snow stability, the trail breaker must avoid avalanche terrain as much as possible, using dense trees, lower angle terrain, and ridges whenever available. A safe skin track is critical since so much time is spent on the climb and the track often gets used multiple times.

Additional Terms:
Anchors Hard Slab Avalanche Slide
Aspect High Danger Sluff
Avalanche High Marking Snowpit
Avalanche Path Isothermal Soft Slab Avalanche
Avalanche Transceiver Layer, Snow Stability
Bed Surface Leeward Stability Test
Collapse Loading Starting Zone
Concave Slope Loose Snow Avalanche Stepping Down
Considerable Danger Low Avalanche Hazard Sun Crust
Convex Slope Melt-Freeze Snow Surface Hoar
Cornice Metamorphism, Snow Sympathetic Trigger
Corn Snow Moderate Danger Temperature Gradient
Couloir Persistent Weak Layers Terrain Trap
Cross Loading Point-Release Track
Crown Face Probe Trigger
Danger Ratings Propagation Trigger Point
Deep Slab Avalanche Rain Crust Upside-Down Storm
Density, Snow Remote Trigger Weak Layer
Depth Hoar Rime Weak Interface
Dry Snow Avalanche Runout Zone Wet Snow Avalanche
Extreme Danger Sastrugi Windward
Faceted Snow Settlement Wind Loading
Fracture Ski or Slope Cut Wind Slab
Glide Skinning, Skin Track Whumpf
Graupel Slab