Rando ski mountaineering (racing) transitions with Reiner Thoni

Ski mountaineering is as much about having fun as it is about efficiency. In fact, the more efficient you are the more time you can spend having fun. Hunting powder in the backcountry or during a skimo race lots of time can be saved on transitions – getting you set from uphill to downhill modes and the other way around.

There are couple of styles for wicked fast transitions and no style is really too much faster than the other – it all boils down to pick your style and practice it again and again. In the two videos below, Reiner Thoni (current Canadian and North American skimo racing champion) will talk you through his way of transitions.

There are separate articles about different rando ski mountaineering transitions coming on Skintrack – with more in depth analysis and videos from the last World Ski Mountaineering Championships 2011 in Italy.

Reiner’s skins off transition

It may seem that this transition is only possible with skimo race gear but in fact many of us are doing it the same way with any Dynafit style bindings. Of course, the boots might have more buckles or the skins might need to be ripped off from the back but otherwise the workflow is the same.

Reiner’s skins on transition

What was said below the “skins off” video applies for this transition as well. The same logic can be applied with non-racing gear but might require some additional steps – undo buckle 1, buckle 2, buckle 3… ;)

Small differences, and personal preferences

Since there are more ways of doing the fastest transitions differences occur mostly with personal preference. As you can see in “skins on” video, Reiner likes to bring up the whole ski to finish putting the skin on. Many of us do that with back end/toe of the ski being firm on the ground the whole time which I consider an advantage in crowded European race transitions where every inch is shared or has to be fought for.

What are your thoughts? Maybe you want your transition analyzed?

You are welcome to ask questions or share your advice through the comments below.

Also, if you want your transition analyzed I can help you two ways – meet you at a race or you can upload your video to a site like YouTube and send me the link. (If you can’t or don’t know how to upload to any video sharing site just drop me a line below and we’ll figure something out.)

Training Plans for Skimo Racing

Skimo Racing Manual


  1. Honestly, I like the rule. Levels the playing field a bit. Without a doubt it keeps people from losing eyeballs from flying pole tips. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes this season.

  2. Brian,

    Yes, new vids are coming soon ;)
    However, the ISMF seems to be reevaluating that “ski poles on the ground” rule. They will be easing it to some extent.

  3. Stano,

    Good to have this stuff for all to see and learn but, as you know, the poles off the ground maneuver prior to completing the transition is now verbotten, no? Probably should just take the vids down until your new ones are done lest some newby get hosed at his/her first event, eh.

    Keep ‘em coming!

  4. Hi Tim, glad you liked it. Yes, there are small inconsistencies in these and that’s why I am already working on much better tutorials. Keep checking back, there are even better goodies coming ;)

  5. Thanks for the video. I just started skimo racing and this was very helpful!
    Nevertheless, I recognized that on the second ski Reiner is doing it differently to what he is saying.
    He says Skins-Boots-Bindings-Skins, but then does Skins-Boots-Bindings-Boots-Bindings-Skins.

    Right, no one likes a wiseass. Just wondered, though.

  6. Fulvio, all racers use about 130cm long skins and the racing skis are very short (only 160-164cm long for men and 150-160cm for women).

    As you see the skins are about 30cm shorter which does require a good skinning technique to get you up all terrain you need. As any skill this can be learnt but takes some practice.

  7. Thank you for the video, very useful. I don’t understand how long is the skin you use in the race.



  8. Hello John,

    I will post one of mine in full speed in next couple of days…just hope there will be enough snow in Europe, so I don’t have to do it on grass ;)

  9. John Baldwin says:

    Hi Stano and Reiner
    Thanks for posting the skin transitions video! If you could it would also be very good to see the same transitions done at race speed.

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