What is Yo-Yo Skiing?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2020
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In lift-operated ski areas, skiers can easily get to the top of the mountain and ski down in a relatively short period of time. This allows them to make several runs throughout the course of the day. For other types of skiers, such as backcountry skiers and cross-country skiers, the methods for doing multiple runs in one day is more difficult. Backcountry skiers will often do yo-yo skiing, a method in which they will hike or skin – attaching synthetic skins to the bottom of their skis which allow them to ski uphill without sliding backward – their way up a particular section of mountain, ski down, and then hike or skin back up for multiple runs. Yo-yo skiing is more difficult than lift-service skiing, but it offers more varied terrain in areas beyond the lift-serviced ski area.

Backcountry skiers venture beyond the borders of ski areas, or even hike into areas where no ski area exists at all. They will hike their equipment up the mountain or skin it up and then ski back down the mountain. Often, backcountry skiers will ski partway down a run and change direction to another area, or they will go to the bottom of the run and then skin back up to the top for another run on a particularly worthwhile section of hill. This yo-yo skiing technique allows the skier to enjoy a particular run or section without having to move on to a different part of the mountain for more quality skiing. It also saves on time, as the backcountry skier does not have to go in search of more snow.

Cross country skiers will sometimes do yo-yo skiing either at ski areas or in the backcountry. It is not uncommon to find cross country skiers making their way up the ski area slopes to the top and then skiing down for another run. Unlike other methods of skiing, however, cross country skiers will do yo-yo skiing more for the uphill run than the downhill one. Skiing up the hill gives them more of a workout and allows them to work on powerful technique; therefore, cross country skiers will do yo-yo skiing as a training method.

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