Ski to Skin
At the top of each climb, a skimo racer must switch from uphill skinning to uphill skinning and do it in less than 60 seconds to be competitive.
With enough practice with the right gear, a ski-to-skin transition can be done in less than 30 seconds. Think of 60 seconds as a maximum.
How to do a ski-to-skin transition
The following method is one of many. Different body mechanics and levels of flexibility may require some adjustments. Practice it a lot, and then make it your own.
Entering a transition zone is similar for every type. Review the entrance process as part of practicing each transition type.
Pick up the first ski
After placing your poles on the ground, move your hands straight to your boot levers. Unlock them into uphill mode.
Using the heel of your left palm, press down on the right-hand toe lever to release it. By using your palm, your fingers will be open and ready to grab the ski. It will also set you up well for the moves ahead.
After opening the toe piece with your left hand, immediately grab the ski and lift it off the ground. As the ski comes off the ground, close the heel piece with your right hand.
At this point, your right hand will be in a good position to wipe the bottom of the ski. Take the opportunity to clear the base of the ski of any snow. This'll keep the base clean and improve skin adhesion.
Once the ski is wiped, let the ski fall into the crook of your left arm.
Apply the first skin
To guide the skin into the tip notch of the ski, you'll want one hand on the bungee and the other grabbing the tail.
Depending on which side of your suit your skins are on, you may have to pass the bungee to the other hand to get into the best position. You'll want the bungee hand to be on the same side as the ski.
With the bungee int he tip of the ski, pinch the tip of the skin with your thumb. Do not pull on the skin and rely on the bungee without pinching it. Doing so can easily over tension the bungee which will make the next rip very awkward, slow, or impossible with one hand.
With the skin tip pinched to the ski, open the skin with a strong pull down the length of the ski.
If it's difficult to get the skin open with one hand, then the skin has too much glue on it. Reglue your skins before the next race.
With the skin open, you can line it up and paste it to the ski. Try to center the skin on the base. If too much of the skin glue is exposed past the eddge of the ski, it'll collect snow and reduce adhesion in the next transtion.
As you bend over for the next ski, slide your left thumb along the skin and paste the tail with your right hand.
Put on the first ski, pick up the second
It's important to double-check that the heel piece is closed. Sometimes the closure can be missed when picking up the ski. If you step into the ski with an open heel piece, your heel will lock into the binding, you won't be able to skin forward, and you'll lose time by re-opening and re-entering the binding.
To avoid that, glance at the heel piece as the ski touches the ground. Close the heel piece if necessary.
As soon as your right foot clicks into the toe piece, lock the toe lever with your right hand while simultaneously opening the left toe piece with your left hand.
Apply the second skin
Put on the second ski
As you step into the left-hand toe piece, put your left hand on your poles so you're ready to pick them up.
Exiting a transition zone is similar for every type. Review the exit process as part of practicing each transition.
Watch the video
The following video breaks down the Ski to Skin skimo transition according to the above instructions.
The Ski to Skin skimo transition