If there is something I hate about backcountry skiing and breaking trail through deep powder, it’s when the snow globs up in front of your heel piece and forms “high heels” that make you walk like Kate Moss strolling down the runway. I don’t know how those modeling divas do it, but walking on the flats with my heels high in the air sure does jam my toes into the front of my boots, tweak my knees, fatigue my quads and hip flexors, which in turn throws my back out of whack and leaves me groaning in agony when I get out of bed in the morning.
It seems like there is a certain recipe that is prime for this kind of thing to happen, be it a certain density of snow or a particular air temperature, but when it’s right, it can be the most annoying thing for any AT skier that has miles of skinning ahead of them. I wonder if other forms of snow travel, be it telemark or splitboard, also fall victim to the dreaded high heels? I’m pretty sure it happens with every type of AT binding on the market, when the conditions are right. It was so bad the other day that it was better if I went into the middle setting on my heel piece, which was lower than the towering stack of frozen snow that had formed in front of my binding.