Questions And Answers On Ski Mountaineering And Ski Touring

How Are These Two Connected?


Ski mountaineering and ski touring are types of skiing that describe a similar activity. Both are done sliding and gliding through the snow uphill and downhill using ski equipment. Mountaineering is focused on reaching the peak of the mountain while touring is focused on the journey to getting there. Between the two activities, there is an overlap, which is why these two terms can be used interchangeably.

Ski touring enthusiasts use climbing skins, which are attached to the skis, allowing the skier to glide uphill without slipping. When he reaches the top, the skins are to be removed before skiing downhill. Ski touring can really be tough, with some terrains long and winding, and occasionally the downhill is difficult if the snow isn’t very favorable. Nevertheless, the thrill and success of reaching up and back down is what the skier finds fulfilling and all worth the climb.


Does One Need To Be Slim And Light?


Not really, but a skier needs to be reasonably fit. Ski touring requires more energy, especially if the conditions are not so good. So the more fit you are, the less hard for you to maneuver and the more you will love the activity. The uphill climb is quite tough carrying that rucksack behind you. What’s worse is if the snow is not as expected, you might get very tired going downhill and fall over and over. Just to be sure, prepare your mind and your body.


Do I Need To Have Sufficient Experience?

Like fitness, the more skills you have as an off-piste skier, the better. It would be a good start for you to be initially capable of skiing efficiently on pisted runs as well as have enough off-piste skills. Some people who have a mountaineering background but very little snow ski experience get devastated, as they find that it takes a long time for them to learn ski touring skills. Thus, it is encouraged that if you are interested in doing ski touring, that you join the off-piste training.


What Are The Required Equipment?

The gears that are important for all ski tours include ski touring boots with touring bindings, skins, shovels, avalanche probe,and transceiver, and harscheisen. You’ll be spending quite a huge amount if you purchase everything all at once, so perhaps you can try renting equipment initially. Once you are sure that you do want to continue and make it a hobby, you can buy one or two items at a time.

Harscheisen or ski crampons are important while skinning uphill during very icy conditions. It is also crucial for the skier to always carry a transceiver when he starts touring, as it allows him to ask for help in case he gets trapped in avalanche debris. Other equipment needed for the ski include suitable clothing, goggles, rucksack, harness, and ice axe.


What Are The Dangers?


Ski touring and mountaineering usually takes place in challenging terrains and environments, and there are risks of accidents or deaths from falls, cracks, or worse avalanches. It is therefore important that a trained mountain guide must accompany you on your first, second, and even third try at ski touring. Additionally, ski training and avalanche safety and assessment courses will help you tremendously in getting to know the sport you love to learn.

When you slowly lose the hesitance and become more confident of your skills and knowledge, then you can start skiing with a partner through the easier slopes. In time, you will master the art of skiing and challenge yourself to take the difficult trails – and love the thrill of ski touring and mountaineering.