Songs For The Uphill

Post by blogger | January 14, 2007      

Guest blog by Lisa Dawson

When you’re chained to a desk during the week, something needs to be done as cross-training for backcountry skiing. I swim before work almost every morning. I love it but to be honest, sometimes it is mind-numbingly boring. Luckily, our public pool blasts loud music overhead and recently the songs have been so perfect that I’ve been zipping through the water. One day this week I swam almost three miles in the time it normally takes to do two.

It’s no secret that good music motivates. After my record breaking swim, I was eager to bring tunes along next time I uphill the ski area. I don’t have an iPod so I tucked a small radio in my pack. On a sunny day, I snuck away at lunch, clipped into my Dynafits, and dialed in. Our local stations are usually great but this particular afternoon, each song was slower than the last. It made me feel like I should be trudging through mud, the antithesis of what I wanted. Now I’m motivated to get an mp3 player and take the time to program a mix of upbeat, kick-butt music.

But what to load? I have the type of memory that can’t recall a single title so I’ve got to make a list. For suggestions, I thought of querying folks when I ride the chairlift, but music for downhilling is a lot different than music for uphilling.

Since this is my last day of reign over the blog, let me ask you. What are the best songs for keeping your rhythm on skins and for making you push just a bit harder with each stride?


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13 Responses to “Songs For The Uphill”

  1. adam olson January 14th, 2007 6:54 am


  2. Louie Dawson January 14th, 2007 7:28 am

    Devil’s Dance Floor, by Flogging Molly

  3. Lisa January 14th, 2007 7:35 am

    I saw Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1979. Awesome concert and good memories of being young and in the sun. Thanks.

  4. Marcin-PL January 14th, 2007 9:58 am

    On the road again, Going up the country and Poor Moon all by Canned Heat.

    Good for climbing AND a drive in the country.

    Marcin in Poland

  5. dave b January 14th, 2007 12:49 pm

    Best Of The Gipsy Kings – album

  6. Thom January 14th, 2007 1:51 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    I can relate to using music as a tool while working out in a gym. The indoor experience can reduce itself to drudgery.

    For the gym? Little Feat, The Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, Bob Marley, whatever …

    I would argue however that playing tunes while trail running and skinning is not only counterproductive but potentially dangerous. If you’re blasting Megadeath (not my favorite, to say the least) and there’s a sudden “whumpf”, will you hear it?

    If you play music that gets you too “fired up”, you could easily tweak something. I think it’s best to monitor your body a bit more closely and not distract yourself with music that can get you going too hard. We’re probably close to the same age, but even when I was in my thirties, I had a tendency to get a bit over-enthused.

    Outdoors, we all need our wits about us, and equally important (to me) are the aesthetics of the situation. Is skiing that unpleasurable that you need music to enhance the experience?

    I write this as a guy who runs a small audio business as a night job, so I’m very hip to and appreciate music. I fear however, that music “consumption” is becoming like the fast food experience. We are more and more becoming a culture of quantity over quality. How much vertical did you ski today? What’s your 10K PR? That sort of thing.

    I would suggest that you look into your motivations a bit more closely. For me, (and I’d hope for everyone), the outdoors experience is all about dialing into yourself, your rhythms, the wind, weather, and everything else that makes the outdoor experience so special.

    Call me an old fogie, but that’s my opinion.

    Thom (galibier_numero_un on the Couloir Forum)

  7. Lou Lorber January 14th, 2007 5:05 pm

    Use It’s a free web music service that plays music based on ‘stations’ you create by entering a song title or artist. I love it. I’m like Lou, I don’t have a great list of favorite songs, but with Pandora, I’ve discovered a lot of great music not readily available on broadcast radio. Of course, I still have to aquire the music to load on my MP3 player.

  8. joe spieler January 14th, 2007 8:10 pm

    Beastie Boyz – You got to fight for the right to part. + She’s Crafty

  9. Tabea January 14th, 2007 9:22 pm

    Music is motivating for sure and I can really relate. Sometimes I just “need a little booster”. We all appreciate the calming effects of going unplugged. But when I need a boost I load in
    “Power” by Snap, and ” Search for the Hero” by Mpeople. Turn up the VOLUME!

  10. Tom Courtright January 14th, 2007 11:41 pm

    Nirvana- Dive (Album Incesticide)
    NOFX- Kill All the White Men
    Ween- Don’t S**t Where You Eat
    A-Team theme song from TV

  11. Chase January 15th, 2007 6:06 am

    Hey Lisa,
    I have Big Head Todd,AC/DC,Stone Temple Pilots,and many
    more on my ipod.I have 150 songs to choose from so
    far.This music is serious rock.It really pumps me up. I even
    take my ipod when I hike the BOWL.
    Good luck,Chase

  12. Brianstory January 15th, 2007 9:12 am

    I must agree with Thom – I’d suggest simply leaving the music at home. For me, much of the value of winter backcountry skiing is so closely tied to nature’s delicacy i.e. quite thump of snow falling off trees, birds chirping, (or, in the Front Range, wind howling,) that music simply lessens the experience. And, there are minor safety implications with blasting music, namely listening to what the snowpack is saying. Don’t get me wrong – as a semi-professional musician, I love music. I just prefer to keep it in the urban setting.
    cheers, Brian

  13. JohnHemlock January 15th, 2007 4:43 pm

    Birds chirping and quiet snowfall is all fine and good but I need more decibels to drown out that styrofoam ripping sound in my head that my therapist refers to as “the bad thoughts.”

    So I like Calexico, Thomas Mapfumo, Social Disortion and mid-70s Bowie.

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