When buying ski touring gear, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience in the backcountry. Here’s a short description of what you need to think about:
- Ski Touring Specific Skis: Look for skis designed specifically for touring, which are typically lighter and have a shape suitable for both uphill climbing and downhill skiing.
- Skins: Ski skins are essential for climbing uphill. Ensure they are the right length and width for your skis and have a strong adhesive for grip.
- Bindings: Choose touring bindings that can switch between uphill and downhill modes easily. They should also be compatible with your boots.
- Boots: Ski touring boots need to provide a balance of comfort and performance. They should be compatible with your bindings and have a walk mode for ascending.
- Poles: Adjustable ski poles with comfortable grips are crucial for maintaining balance and providing support while climbing and skiing.
- Avalanche Safety Gear: Always carry an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel for safety. Ensure you know how to use them and have taken an avalanche safety course.
- Ski Clothing: Dress in layers suitable for changing weather conditions. Invest in waterproof and breathable outerwear to stay dry.
- Backpack: A touring-specific backpack should have enough room for your gear, safety equipment, food, and water. It should also have straps for carrying your skis.
- Navigation and Communication: Bring a map, compass, and GPS device. Consider a two-way radio or satellite communication device for emergencies.
- Food and Water: Pack enough high-energy snacks and water to stay nourished and hydrated during your tour.
- First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit for minor injuries and be prepared for more serious situations with the knowledge of how to use it.
- Weather Forecast: Check the weather forecast before heading out, and be prepared for changing conditions in the mountains.
- Route Planning: Plan your tour carefully, considering the terrain, avalanche risk, and potential hazards. Share your itinerary with someone who can raise the alarm if you don’t return as planned.
- Fitness and Training: Ski touring requires good physical fitness. Train and prepare yourself for the physical demands of climbing and skiing in the backcountry.
- Education and Training: Take avalanche safety and ski touring courses to learn essential skills, including avalanche awareness, route finding, and rescue techniques.
Remember that ski touring involves risks, so prioritize safety, and always be prepared for unexpected situations in the mountains. It’s essential to have the right ski touring gear and knowledge to enjoy this exciting outdoor activity safely.