Ski touring is a movement in a snowy landscape, by no means just a descent downhill. In winter conditions, skis are often the only ones that provide mobility. We can’t get anywhere on foot due to the snow, and snowshoeing is slow. For a touring skier, ascent is as important as descent. The step uphill is elegant and healthy, similar to that of cross-country skiing. Both the legs and the arms are loaded, as well as the whole body. On top of that, there are no vibrations and loads on the skeleton, as in normal running. The descent can be more strenuous in demanding snow conditions, depending on how well we master the skiing technique. Poorer skiers just have to wait for the right conditions or plan a tour near the groomed ski slopes (or even on them), so that they descend into the valley on a beaten track.
Those who swear by freerides have a different imperative. For them, the descent is important, preferably as long as possible and deeper powder. If there is a rock jump in between, even better. The cable car is welcome, but the ascent on skis is also OK.
Ski touring gear
Ski touring equipment should be as easy as possible, because the weight is known on a longer ascent, and every kilogram is extra on the descent. But light skis are generally quite useless on hard scratched surfaces. With advanced technology and materials, this problem can be solved to a large extent, and this is where the difference in quality between individual models and brands becomes apparent. A mandatory addition to modern touring skis is the rocker, which increases the buoyancy of the ski and makes it easier to make turns. Touring armor should also be lighter than usual, it should allow more back and forth movement. There is also a rubber on the sole like on hiking boots.
The biggest difference is in the ties. Touring bindings allow walking upwards, so that the heel releases and rises and then fixes again when descending. An important part of the bond are crampons, which allows you to walk on a hard surface. An indispensable part of the equipment are touring skins (also called dogs), which prevent the skis from slipping down. Without them, climbing is virtually impossible.
Avalanche equipment – airbag and avalanche trio
This is equipment that protects us from landslides or before their consequences. An airbag is integrated in the backpack. We activate it when we are caught in an avalanche and two air balloons keep us on the surface of the avalanche. The classic avalanche trio (beacon, probe and shovel) helps to detect the backfill. The avalanche beacon makes it possible to find the location of the victim under the landslide. To define the position of the buried person even more precisely with a probe, and to dig it out with a shovel.
Ski touring insurance
We advise specialist mountaineering insurance for ski touring. Tourist insurance covers only travel and skiing on groomed ski slopes or you are insured up to a height of 3000 m. PZS card or with membership in PZS you are also accidentally insured in the mountains up to a height of 6500 m. The insurance is also suitable for the needs of touring skiing. You can read more about insurance here …
For truly carefree ski touring, we recommend insurance via the Alpenverein. More about Alpenverein …