Ski touring on the up
22nd March 2016 | Francesca Pangli, Les3Vallees
With Spring underway the ski touring season is well and truly upon us. We asked Francesca Pangli from Powder N Shine to explain what it’s all about.
I started touring three years ago after having a well established love for the off-piste and backcountry skiing.
I simply wanted to try something different.
However the thought of climbing hundreds of vertical metres, at altitude, for hours on end was somewhat daunting.
However after my first ski touring outing I haven’t looked back.
I fell in love with it for three reasons: getting away from the pistes, the fitness element of touring and the incredible beauty and peace you get when you ski tour.
It simply makes me feel alive.
I have toured a few times this year, and most recently I did a day tour from the Belleville Valley in Les3Vallees.
It involved travelling from Les Menuires to Val Thorens and Pralognan with a taxi back to Courchevel Le Praz and then a ski home to Les Menuires.
All in one day!
Before we got back onto the piste in Courchevel, we saw two skiers the whole time we were out.
I usually go with an instructor from Ski School – see here for further details
And these are the views you can feast your eyes on:
If you are interested in ski touring then you need to consider the following:
– Always go with a qualified guide, who knows what he/she is doing and knows the mountain routes very well.
– Ensure you have the correct equipment – touring boots, which are light and have more flex at the heel which allows you to climb more easily. Touring skis these skis have bindings which release the heel so you can walk uphill with skins on the base of your ski. Plus avalanche equipment – beeper, shovel and probe and perhaps an airbag. You may also need crampons, especially in Spring (these are for your skis).
– Clothing – you should really have a three layer system: a base layer, a fleece / down jacket and a winder breaker / lightweight ski jacket. The key thing is not to sweat too much as you will get very cold as soon as you reach the summit. Hence you need to climb at a pace that allows you to sweat the least. Don’t forget you also need to save your legs for the descent – it isn’t a race.
– Supplies – water and food. Your rucksack doesn’t need to be more than 20-30 litres for a day tour. You will need to fit in a few important things: At least I litre of water. You will need some sugar, chocolate or sweets to give you energy when you are struggling the climb. A small first aid kit and survival blanket. I would also get into the habit of carrying an OS map and a compass, just in case.
Les3Vallees has a huge amount of touring available, and once you have experienced getting away from the pistes, you will probably fall in love forever.
Powder N Shine has explored the possibility of offering ski touring adventures as part of the Powder N Shine experience. In order to enjoy one of these breaks (typically running on a Tuesday to Wednesday), you will need some off-piste skiing experience.
Details to follow: www.powdernshine.com
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