Monday, February 15, 2016

Heel Lifters for Backcountry Skiing

The American Mountain Guides Association and Outdoor Research recently teamed up to put together a video on heel lifters for skiing. Jeff Ward and Margaret Wheeler, two AMGA Instructor Team members, demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of heel lifters in the following video:

In review, the pros for no lifter are:

--Longer Stride

The cons for no lifter are:

--Strains the calf muscle on steep terrain.
--Can cause you to lean too far forward, which may lead to slipping backward.

Pros for the mid-lifter are:

--Eases calf stress as the terrain steepens.

Cons for the mid-lifter are:

--Shortens stride
--Lose some ski precision

Pros for the high-lifters are:

--Trail breaking in deeper snow is easier.

Cons for the high-lifters are:

--Harder to balance
--Short/too forward to stride
--Stressful on quads

It should also be noted that ski crampons don't work well with high lifters. Most brands won't bite well when your heel is highly raised. There are a few that remain fixed to the ski, but most don't...

--Jason D. Martin

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