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Ski touring is a thrilling way to discover the mountains and tackle new and diverse terrain. If you are ready to embark on your first ski touring adventure, we have put together all the information you need to help you prepare! Read on for top tips and advice for ski touring newbies as well as how to get started and book your ski touring guide. 

What is Ski Touring?

Unlike traditional downhill skiing, ski touring involves going up a mountain without the use of ski lifts but instead with special gear, such as climbing skins and touring bindings, designed to allow you to climb uphill and ski back down. Ski touring is an exhilarating activity that enables you to escape the crowds and discover some incredible off-piste skiing on untouched powder. 

ski touring

How Difficult is Ski Touring?

Ski touring can be challenging, but it mostly depends on the uphill path you choose to take and how steep it is. If you are new to ski touring, make sure to ask your guide to take you on an easier path to start with. Ski touring is a tiring activity that requires a certain level of physical fitness. However, the hard uphill hike is worth it when you reach the top and are met with unbeatable views. Plus, the higher you climb, the more exhilarating the descent will be!

Ski touring also involves off-piste skiing, which requires a slightly different technique than when skiing on piste. You need to be able to read the terrain, choose a safe path and adapt quickly to varying snow conditions. Your ski touring guide will be experienced at this, so follow their lead!

What Equipment Do You Need for Ski Touring?

It is essential to have the right equipment when going ski touring. You always have to be careful when out on the mountain, but since you will be venturing off-piste where the terrain can be more unpredictable than a pisted ski slope, make sure that you have the correct safety equipment and are prepared for any unexpected event that could occur. 

Key Equipment Needed for Ski Touring:

ski touring

1. Skis with Touring Bindings and Ski Touring Boots

Your skis will be a little different from the skis you usually use for downhill runs. Ski touring skis have a different binding, called a touring binding, that allows your ski boot (which should also be a touring boot) to detach from the back and remain attached at the front so you can lift your heel when going uphill, making it easier to walk. 

2. Skins for Your Skis

Ski touring involves wearing skins on your skis. These are a specific type of fabric attached to the bottom of your skis that provide friction to prevent you from sliding backwards when you are going uphill.

3. Metal Snow Shovel

A metal snow shovel will help to dig someone out of the snow if an avalanche were to occur. 

4. Avalanche Probe

An avalanche probe is a metal pole that allows you to pinpoint the exact location of someone buried under the snow and also understand the depth at which they are, making the rescue mission faster.

5. Avalanche Transceiver

An avalanche transceiver is a device you wear that continuously emits a radio signal which is picked up by other transceivers in order to locate somebody buried under the snow easily and quickly.

6. Map/Compass

A map and compass to help with orientation if conditions change for the worse

7. Whistle

A whistle helps others locate you easily in case you need help. 

The shovel, probe and transceiver are sold together as an avalanche kit. You can also wear an avalanche backpack with an integrated avalanche airbag system that will stop you from being completely buried under the snow. 

You are unlikely to have to use this equipment, but it is crucial to have it with you to make sure that you are as safe as possible when you venture off-piste. Make sure that you know how to use the equipment so that you are prepared in case of an emergency. 

For a detailed look into the equipment needed for ski touring, Maison Sport instructor, Freddy W. talks through equipment setup, the styles of bindings you will be using, safety gear, how to put skins on your skis and more information about what kind of boots and poles you need in the video below! 


3 Top Tips For Your First Ski Touring Trip 

ski touring

1. Book a Ski Touring Guide

Make sure that you are a confident downhill skier before attempting ski touring. If you are new to ski touring it is always better to have a guide to accompany you. A guide will help to teach you the ropes on your first ski touring expedition and ensure that you are as safe as possible. They can also show you the best paths and the most amazing views in the area. 

2. Dress Appropriately – Layer Up

When going ski touring, we recommend wearing layers that can be added/removed according to your body temperature and stored easily in your bag. You will undoubtedly get hot while you’re touring uphill due to the physical exertion involved. But the higher you go the colder it gets and the descent can get chilly, so make sure to bring a warm mid-layer with you – no one likes being too cold!

3. Maintain a Steady Pace

When ski touring, there is no rush to get to the top, the best part will be the path to get there, so take in the views and enjoy the journey. Try to maintain a steady pace and stop when you feel the need to, take a breath, have a drink of water and then keep going. Make sure you let your group know when you are stopping, it’s important to stay together and support each other. 

Book Your Ski Touring Lesson on Maison Sport 

Now that you have all the knowledge you need, you are ready to embark on your first ski touring adventure!

We’ve made it simple to find and book a top-rated ski touring instructor, who can open up the mountain for you to create unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re looking to head to the backcountry in search of amazing views and powder, or just want to hike up your favourite piste, your ski touring instructor will show you the best ascents and descents for your skillset.

To book your ski touring guide just head to Maison Sport, select your resort and dates, and under the lesson tab select ski touring, then choose your preferred instructor and enjoy. We promise the feeling of reaching the top and the views will be worth it!

Please note that if the tour involves any glacier skiing or requirement to be roped up, then you will need to book a mountain guide rather than a ski instructor who offers ski touring. 

Book your private ski touring instructor today! 

You might also like: What is Off-Piste or Backcountry Skiing and How to Do it Safely