Ski touring gear guide – essential ski touring equipment
Ski touring gear guide
essential ski touring equipment
There is a special fascination with ski touring, as it combines freeskiing with a unique mountain experience that gets you away from the masses. There is nowhere else one feels more free and more in touch with nature. In addition, it demands AND promotes physical fitness, as it all starts with a more or less strenuous ascent. But this is quickly forgotten, because at the summit untracked deep-snow slopes and undisturbed and secluded descents await us as a reward. But how do you get there? Before going on a ski tour for the first time, you should prepare yourself well. This includes important knowledge about alpine rules and dangers, personal fitness, good planning and of course the right ski touring equipment: touring skis with suitable climbing skins and touring bindings, touring ski boots, avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, a backpack and proper ski touring poles with a large basket. Everything else you probably already have.
Alpine ski touring consists of ascent and descent. Both demand special equipment, lighter touring skis with touring bindings and matching ski touring skins are essential.
The same applies to the boots, which should definitely have a walking mechanism. Lighter touring ski boots are most suitable. Since you are walking through terrain of varying steepness and inclination, you should also use touring poles. They usually have a large basket, which does not sink so deeply in the powder snow. It is important to have a length adjustment and a non-slip surface underneath the grip to find a firm hold even when traversing.
In the backcountry, everyone must carry an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe. The so-called beacon is worn under clothing to avoid being torn off in an avalanche. Only if all ski tour participants have a functioning avalanche transceiver, the system of active search and “being found” will work. All other things are stored in a backpack. In addition, ski touring backpacks are specially designed for that area of use and offer many advantages. Shovel and probe are stowed easily accessible and on steep passages the skis can be quickly and safely attached. A padded goggle compartment for sunglasses and ski goggles, storage space for the drinking bladder and numerous compartments for food and small items let you find what you need at hand. This includes a first aid kit (ideally for a maximum of three ski tourers). In sunny weather, use sunscreen with an adequate sun protection factor, otherwise you could quickly get sunburnt. Don’t forget your helmet, even if it is only put it on before the descent! As the energy requirement increases at low temperatures plus you burn a lot of calories when walking, a snack or at least a few bars are part of the basic equipment. Especially in high winter, a thermos flask with some hot tea is recommended in addition to plenty of liquid.
Uphill it gets warm quickly, downhill it gets cold even faster, so the multi layer principle applies to functional clothing. Several thin layers cover a wide temperature range and can be quickly adjusted to the individual taste. Particularly for long alpine ski tours, it is recommended to wear the thinnest, lightest and most breathable garments possible and to wear thin gloves for the ascent. Hardshell jackets and pants are only worn if the weather requires it (snowfall or rain), but may be useful for the descent. Once you arrive at the summit, you should quickly put on a dry shirt to avoid catching a cold. You can take it up with you in your backpack together with some warm gloves, beannie and a multifunctional scarf.