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Skiers leave wallets, lift lines behind

Back country skiing is gaining popularity in Maine and New Hampshire. (Chris Carleton)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Some skiers are leaving their wallets and the lift lines behind.

Back country skiing is gaining popularity in Maine and New Hampshire.

It's giving skiers the opportunity to quench their curiosity and explore.

Forget the chairlift, it's up to you to get to the top.

It's work, but skiers say it's worth it.

Chris Carleton is an avid back country skier who's explored the U.S. and Canada. His store, Allspeed, specializes in selling the proper equipment.

"The boots, the bindings, and climbing skins," Carleton said.

The boots and bindings work in harmony to free your heel while the skins grip the snow so you can climb.

"When you get to the top, you basically rip your skin off, and you have the regular surface of your ski," Carleton said.

Carleton says if you can ski down, you can climb up.

"I would equate it to almost snowshoeing uphill," Carleton said.

Carleton is noticing a movement.

"We're seeing a lot of people that are regular resort skiers actually get back country gear to get up early in the morning and get a good workout in before they actually even start their ski day," Carleton said.

Sugarloaf has opened back country zones, only accessible by skinning.

"Bracket Basin and Burnt Mountain are two big areas at Sugarloaf that people use their skins for," Carleton said.

Carleton says there's more to the back country experience than just skiing.

"Obviously the views are great, too. Kind of when you're the only few people out there in this one zone and you kind of know you got it all to yourself, it's just a, it's a really nice feeling," Carleton said.

Carleton says if you do decide to give it a try, go with a friend. And just in case an avalanche occurs, pack a beacon, shovel, and probe.

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