Evolution Of A Skinner – Kids and Backcountry Skiing

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 11, 2015      
The future.

The future.

Right now I am feeling a mix of elation and satisfaction.

Elation at seeing our 6 year old daughter “skinning up a mountain” for the first time and exclaiming, “Skinning is fun” and “I love skinning.”

Satisfaction at having conceived and executing a plan without a hitch, that needless to say, was fraught with potential pitfalls.

Our daughter, Ann, first mentioned wanting to skin up a mountain a few weeks ago. That set the wheels into motion, but in reality it all began some years ago.

Prior to November, we spent the past five years living in Snowmass, Colorado, and every time I drove into Aspen with Ann I pointed out the most prominent peaks along the way. I would talk about when she got older how we would climb or ski Pyramid and Hayden together. Eventually she talked about riding her bike up or sledding down those peaks (those would be firsts). Later she asked questions about whether we would need ropes and harnesses and if it would be scary.

Another favorite ritual for her is helping me put skins on my wife’s skis whenever my wife is headed out the door for a fitness hike at one of the areas, or greeting me when I return, tired but happy, from a tour.

As the parents of a young child, you never quite know what sticks and what just goes by the wayside. Even prior to the recent conversations about skinning, I began planting the seed about skiing on Independence Pass once it opens later this spring. I talked about how we would put on our climbing harnesses and I would tow her up. She said she was in but I had no idea if that was going to work until today.

The last piece of the puzzle was the gear. Where do you come up with a mini AT setup for a 6 year old? Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered a rig that Lou had created for Louie when he was a little whipper snapper some 20+ years ago. Turns out it was still in the garage. With 48 hours notice, the mini rig made it’s way up the valley passing from one friend to the next until it ended up on a porch for me to pick up this morning. Before we headed out, I read Ann an old blog post Lisa had unearthed about Louie’s first skin up Buttermilk and off we went. The torch has been passed and hopefully it will stay lit.

The gear.

The gear.

Practicing the tow.

Practicing the tow. Go, Daddy, go!


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22 Responses to “Evolution Of A Skinner – Kids and Backcountry Skiing”

  1. Harry May 11th, 2015 9:41 am

    Nordica firearrow jr boots, misc kid ski, and kick skins.

    Please ID the binding?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2015 9:49 am

    Shortened antique Ramer.

  3. Lisa Dawson May 11th, 2015 10:57 am

    Joie de vivre, darling Ann you have it! Let’s go skiing together soon.

  4. Ted May 11th, 2015 11:14 am


  5. Aaron May 11th, 2015 11:43 am


  6. db May 11th, 2015 12:30 pm

    Nice! Hint to Dads everywhere — keep it fun and it will pay off in spades in the years to come. I’m also digging the harness tow — as I age and my college-age son is reaching his prime. “Hey buddy. Want some help with tuition? Mush!”

  7. John May 11th, 2015 1:07 pm

    FIY –
    Placing a bungie in the tow line makes for a much better ride for.

  8. Pete Anzalone May 11th, 2015 1:23 pm

    Very nice!
    Bob, in my neck of the woods, we call that towing arrangement the “Papa Poma.”

  9. Bob Perlmutter May 11th, 2015 1:55 pm

    Ann skinned about 150yds. up the hill then we swapped out to her alpine skis for the additional tow and eventual ski back down(aka. the reward). Yes, we might be reversing roles for the tow as by the time she is ready for the real thing I might need all the help can get. Note: yes those are the new Sportiva Vapor Nano Svelte on my feet. I just got back from two laps on Hayden under clearing skies after a May storm that dropped a foot in the Aspen highcountry over the weekend with temps in the teens. More on the Svelte soon.

  10. Christy Mahon May 11th, 2015 2:14 pm

    Already looking forward to getting out with Ann! Those little boots are to die for. Gotta love the Papa Poma. Hilarious!

  11. DavidB May 11th, 2015 6:11 pm


    There is a kids touring set up available from the same people that make Contour skins. Not sure if they’re in the US.

  12. Joe John May 11th, 2015 7:07 pm

    Totally awesome!! I look forward to doing this. Great post.

  13. Thom Mackris May 11th, 2015 9:51 pm

    This is a great story, Bob – how you restrained your enthusiasm while at the same time, let it inspire Ann, and ultimately letting her make her own choice.

    … Thom

  14. Werner Koch May 12th, 2015 6:21 am

    Great stuff – get the kids going!
    Save weight on using the contour startup adapter binding that snaps into the alpine binding and weights just 860 g / pr. – available in the US through:
    Tested by my kids in the Silvretta mountains / Tyrol: https://www.facebook.com/werner.koch.378/posts/1565615330379781
    Regards, Werner

  15. Ned Bair May 12th, 2015 8:04 am

    This is awesome. I love the modified Ramer’s!

  16. Scott Nelson May 12th, 2015 10:36 am

    Super cool!

  17. GeorgeT May 12th, 2015 8:38 pm

    Excellent, perhaps Ann will join the crew on Indy Pass this year. Lou, are we shooting for May 23rd or earlier?

  18. ptor May 12th, 2015 11:16 pm


  19. Shawn May 13th, 2015 1:06 pm

    We’ll have our kids (7 and 11 years old) at Indy Pass Saturday, Sunday and Monday on Memorial Day weekend — assuming good weather. Always looking for young touring companions.

  20. Bob Perlmutter May 13th, 2015 9:23 pm

    I definitely hope to introduce Ann to the Indy Pass ski culture this spring, barbecue and all. I don’t see us getting beyond Heart Attack Hill or something along those lines. If you see some geezer towing a 40 pounder flounder around the hills then you’ll know it’s us. The more the merrier.

  21. Louie III May 16th, 2015 11:00 am

    Awesome! I (barely) remember using those skis almost 20 years ago. Good to see Ann is having some fun on them. Getting out on those when I was a kid is one of my favorite memories, although at the time it was always a bit of a suffer fest.

  22. Lou Dawson 2 May 16th, 2015 3:13 pm

    Ah yes, nothing like helping children build character!

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