Are Sand Dunes the Future of Skiing?

Sand Skiing - Getting the Hang of it

One of the many reasons I love winter is skiing. Well, I just tried another surface for skiing that doesn't need cold weather - sand dunes. While I fervently hope that the snow keeps coming each winter (and I'm working to make sure that it does) I've found a new place to slide on some old skis - The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

I'm definitely no expert, so I went with some new friends who are old hands at sand skiing. From what I've learned the basics of sand skiing are:

  • Try to go sand skiing after a rain, dry sand is slow
  • You can 'skin-up' a sand dune on telemark or cross-country skis more easily than walking
  • Use a ski with simple bindings, 3-pin telemark bindings work well and won't jam up with sand
  • Clean and dry ski bases work best, ski wax sticks to sand
  • Sintered ski bases are harder and faster than extruded ski bases
  • Gaiters help keep the sand out of ski boots
  • Choose a steep sand dune and go for it
  • Speed is your friend, don't turn too much

If this all sounds a bit crazy, you're right. But, sand skiing is a blast! While I'm definitely not giving up on the snow, I'll be visiting the dunes again with my skis.

Sand Skiing Video courtesy of skiziskin

More Info:

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Skiing Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park

Sand Skiing Gallery

Snow Sports vs. Global Warming