Aspen, Dynafit To Offer Uphill Ski Rentals This Winter

Ski uphill at a downhill resort. For the first time this winter, Aspen Snowmass will rent gear for those who want to climb the mountain.

Aspen Dynafit uphill ski mountaineering rental

Effective this winter through the 2019/20 season, Dynafit will provide exclusive equipment rental and demo gear for uphill skiing at the resort’s Four Mountain Sports stores.

This is a big deal for those who would like to try ski mountaineering. Uphill ski gear is extremely light and tends to also ski downhill surprisingly well. But it’s incredibly expensive. A basic ski touring setup starts at more than $1,000.

The new rental will give those interested in trying the sport an opportunity without shelling out for gear of their own.

Uphill Resort Skiing

Many resorts in the United States, Europe, and beyond allow uphill ski access for those who want a lung-burning workout. Most permit skiers to climb a designated route on the slopes for free.

Some, like Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, let skiers climb any time during the day or night provided access is open. Others only permit uphill access when the lifts are closed. A few require a paid pass to climb the slopes.

'Uphill Skiing' sanctioned at Colo. resort (day pass required)
'Uphill Skiing' sanctioned at Colo. resort (day pass required)
For $10 you can now ski at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Oh, but forget about the chairlifts. A new policy allows skin-equipped skiers to kick and pole uphill on designated routes. Read more…

Athletes climb ski areas in ultralight gear. Known as randonee or ski mountaineering (skimo) gear, the equipment allows ankle mobility when climbing. Change configuration, and the lightweight skis and bindings lock the heel for downhill skiing.

This is the gear Aspen Snowmass will offer.

Dynafit Rentals

The brand Dynafit was instrumental in developing ski mountaineering equipment. It developed popular “tech” bindings that helped form the sport.

Dynafit hardgoods – including skis, boots, skins, and poles – will be available for rent at Four Mountain Sports: Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Snowmass Mall, and Snowmass Base Village locations.

Toughest Alpine Sport? Ski-Mountaineering (SkiMo) Is Second To None
Toughest Alpine Sport? Ski-Mountaineering (SkiMo) Is Second To None
Long painful climbs, even more painful downhills, and hours of trudging through snow-covered landscapes... ski mountaineering racing is not for everyone. But for those who love it, there's nothing better. Read more…

The equipment available at Four Mountain Sports locations will include, in this first season: Dynafit Radical A/T Boots, Radical 2 Demo (adjustable) bindings, and SpeedFit 84 skis (men’s and women’s) from Dynafit’s new SpeedFit category. This collection is specifically designed for those who ski uphill for everyday fitness, usually in a resort setting.

For uphill skiers, no ticket is needed. But users must follow uphill policies set forth by the mountain.

As part of the partnership, Dynafit will sponsor Aspen Snowmass’s ski mountaineering events and be shown at on-mountain demos throughout the winter season.

Growth Of Uphill Skiing

Uphill skiing grew out of the backcountry, where skiers traveled to remote areas in search of deep powder on untracked lines. Even before modern technical ski equipment, people toured the backcountry on cross-country and telemark gear.

In recent years, backcountry skiing gradually moved to the resort. Many ski areas now allow uphill access and even host “ski mountaineering” races. In these, skiers race for hours, up and down mountains, in grueling marathon-type events.

With the growth of uphill skiing in-bounds, athletes can train without the risk associated with backcountry skiing.

Big Ups, Big Downs: Welcome to the Sport of 'SkiMo'
Big Ups, Big Downs: Welcome to the Sport of 'SkiMo'
The sport of ski-mountaineering racing, "SkiMo" for short, is gaining steam in America. A flagged course, checkpoints, mandatory avalanche gear, and hours of time on the move going uphill are common elements of the game. Our editor clipped in to try a SkiMo race this past weekend in Vail. Read more…

Dynafit North American Marketing Manager Jamie Starr said the brand is combating stereotypes. Namely, that uphill skiers are risk-inclined elite athletes that slog for days in the remote stretches of backcountry.

“But the reality is––uphill skiing can be a very safe, low-impact, high-fitness-value sport that can be enjoyed everyday close to civilization,” Starr said.

“We feel strongly that through this partnership with Aspen Snowmass, we can continue to build upon a model that deeply and authentically integrates on-piste uphill fitness into the resort environment.”

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.