Choosing a Backcountry Ski Setup
How to choose the ideal ski/boot/binding combination. We are regularly asked for advice on which models of backcountry skis, boots and bindings to buy (or hire) for the different trips that we run. Obviously there are many different options available and a lot depends on your skiing ability, ski style, weight etc – as well as the different kinds of ski holidays you plan to use the gear for.
Ski Touring Equipment Advice
Our best piece of ski touring equipment advice is a simple one: when it comes to ski touring kit, it’s worth remembering the old adage that every extra kilo on your back knocks 10% off your enjoyment of the descents. Getting hold of the best and lightest kit available is generally always worth it. Here is our take on the seasons best new kit.
Ski Touring Clothing Advice
On a typical ski tour the temperatures can vary hugely, from sub-zero early mornings to hot and sunny afternoons on open glaciers – with the occasional chance of heavy snow, strong winds, or even rain(!) Therefore, a good clothing system needs to be versatile and adaptable – whilst also being lightweight and durable – in order to provide comfort and protection from the elements, whilst not burdening you with unnecessary weight.
Avalanche Transceiver Interference Advice
In the modern 24/7 world, most peoples’ lifestyles depend heavily on consumer electronics – and in particular the mobile phone. This presents us with a problem when backcountry skiing, as all electronic devices create electrical interference that can compromise the function of your avalanche transceiver.
Hot Waxing Skins
Hot waxing of skins is a trick borrowed from the world of ski mountaineering racing, where the improved glide allows competitors to go much faster. For all forms of ski touring however, it is a simple and extremely effective way of preventing water and ice particles penetrating your skins – which in turn improves glide, prevents balling and stops the skins becoming saturated with water in warm conditions (wet skins don’t stick!)
Haute Route Advice
Some sound Haute Route advice for anyone thinking of skiing the world’s most famous ski tour: The Haute Route is well known as one of the all time classic mountain journeys in the world, with good reason. It links two of the most important centers for skiing and alpinism in Europe (the world?!): Chamonix and Zermatt. It has incredible scenery and glacial ski terrain. It passes beneath a host of iconic peaks, starting with the impressive north wall of the Argentiere basin and finishing below the Matterhorn. And finally, of course, it’s an essential tick!
Ski Ability and Fitness Levels
Our trip rating system: off piste tech levels and ski fitness levels explained. Experienced backcountry skiers and tourers will have a good handle on their ability and what they are happy to ski. However, for anyone who is unsure or thinking of joining us for the first time, we hope the following advice will be helpful in choosing an appropriate trip.
Ski Touring Training Advice
How to get fit for your upcoming backcountry ski trip? It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important if you want to get the most out of your ski holiday – and is essential for succeeding on many of our harder ski tours and expeditions. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you do need to be active and healthy (for our harder trips, some regular training will be neccesary).
Using Alpine Huts
Alpine huts or ‘Refuges’ are uniquely positioned in the high mountains, often in spectacular and improbable situations – worth the journey for the views alone! They offer food, shelter, a bed for the night and form an intricate network throughout the major alpine regions. Using huts allows skiers to travel light and enjoy skiing without a huge amount of extra kit, thus making spectacular high-level mountain journeys possible in relative comfort.
Some handy Altimeter navigation advice to enhance your day out on the hill. With the advent of light and affordable altimeter watches, just about anyone can now make use of accurate height information to help with navigation. So whether it’s for walking, climbing and skiing – or gaining an advantage in your next adventure race, it’s well worth knowing your altitude!
Ski Touring FAQ’s
“Does the hut have WIFI?”… “Can I get a shower..??”… Here you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we are asked about multi day ski touring and Haute Route logistics etc.