Ski Touring for Beginners
Ski touring requires a whole array of new skills and equipment. In a few short hours we can find out how everything works, explore some new skiing areas inaccessible by chairlift, and discuss the pros and cons of ski touring set-ups if you think it might be a sport that you would like to pursue.
We can also refine your off-piste technique and have a look at some of the basic aspects of avalanche awareness (although this is the tip of a considerably large iceberg!)
As you will see, ski touring requires different gear. Unfortunately, standard skis and boots won’t work. Your skis need a specific kind of binding that will lift at the heel for the skin up, but clip down for the ski down.
Both the skis and the boots tend to be lighter than alpine skis, to take the strain out of the hike. Lastly, you need a pair of skins to attach to the base of your skis so that they grip into the snow as you climb. Most ski shops have sets of touring boots, skis and skins available to hire.
Skiing in Morzine
Having a personal ski instrutor comes with many benefits. This especially rings true for those wanting to learn how to ski. I have a customised approach to helping beginners learn the ins and outs of skiing.
How much equipment is needed for ski touring?
Ski touring for beginners will require a fair amount of equipment. It is important to try and keep the weight of each item to a minimum, wherever possible.
Also worth noting here is the clothing and layers. As you’ve already guessed, ski touring is a sport of extreme temperatures, and you can become very hot on the ascent and very cold when you reach the summit, so you must get your clothing right.
Proper ski socks that provide good protection around the heels and toes.
Merino liner gloves are very useful when you are skinning up. A thin beanie is handy too.
I've never been ski touring, how difficult will it be?
As your instructor, I will taking all necessary percautions to ensure you are at a level you can handle.
We will start off by keeping it simple. We do this by choosing a gentle route to start with. This helps me introduce you to the equipment (to put skins on and take them off, adjust the ski touring boots, manage the bindings’ positions), and skin technique up.
What type of fitness level should I be in for ski touring?
Ski touring for beginners, although starts at the basics is still going to be a workout. Afterall, ski touring is a blend or combination of hiking and skiing – simply put.
Basically, if you’re overweight, do little to no exercise, smoke, drink or have heart problems, I’d recommend seeing a doctor first about ski touring. Getting the right advice first is key to keeping safe.
For the rest of us, ski touring doesn’t have to be a test of our physical limits. You will need to concentrate more on your balance than usual, and master the kick turn when we need to change direction on steep snow.
For intermediate or advanced skiiers, a fun day out would involve no more than three hours of uphill, followed by a descent tailored to their skiing ability. But when you’re a beginner, an hour or two of climbing is plenty.