Ski touring – correct hiking techniques

Ski touring

correct hiking techniques

Walking while ski touring or ski mountaineering should be a rhythmic, calm, flowing and ergonomic sequence of movements. It should become an automated movement, so that you can concentrate on important things like tracking and avalanche safety.

The correct leg position is more or less hip-wide in order to maintain the necessary balance even in technically demanding passages. Of course, it is often the track that determines the width of the stance, but if you are making the track yourself, you should pay attention to this. With every step make sure you put your weight on the entire (!) sole of the leg and shift the body’s center of gravity to this foot in order to stand stable. At the same time, pull the other ski calmly forward without lifting it (only when tracking in deep new snow or when walking with crampons, the tip of the touring ski needs to be slightly lifted). It glides forward on the skin in walking direction, so to speak. Then the pressure load changes. The body’s center of gravity is shifted to the other leg and from now on the movement is continuously repeated.

The step length depends on the inclination of the track and the snow conditions. On flat terrain the stride can be longer and cover more ground, while the stride length is shortened as the slope increases. This saves strength and brings stability. Short steps are also required in deep snow and when using climbing aids or crampons. As in “normal” walking, the touring ski poles are used in a pendulum motion in opposite motion to the loaded ski. They offer a lot of support to keep your balance and rhythm. In flat terrain they are used with almost no pressure, while with increasing steepness the poles support the moment when you put all the weight on one ski.

Change of direction

The chosen uphill route of the ski tour should always be as flat as possible, taking into account all safety aspects. Use the existing terrain structures to make the ascent easier. It is inevitable that the walking direction must be changed at some point during a ski tour. If you „turn“, the correct technique depends mainly on the slope of the terrain. In flat terrain, you track should look like bow shapes. This involves placing the ski with the tail facing outwards during the walking movement. The ski on the inside of the bow is then placed parallel to the outer ski. When turning in medium steep terrain, „the „bow shapes“ become „arch shapes“. The ski on the inside of the arch is first placed towards the inside, then the ski on the outside of the arch follows (illustration). From a certain steepness of approx. 30° it is advisable to switch to the kick turns when changing direction.


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