A TASTE OF TOURING
3rd April 2017 | Katie Bamber, Val Thorens
It is pretty powerful to be alone in the mountains surrounded by the magnitude and quiet.
The peacefulness is extraordinary, this time being disturbed with just the noise of skins on snow.
Spring is the time to tour and Val Thorens the ultimate resort to take in when the slopes are empty and the Tarentaise Valley colourfully waking up.
An hour skinning in high-altitude Val Thorens gave me a taste of how freeing and theraputic it could be and confirmed it as the discipline I would now pursue.
Now skinning up a piste in VT isn’t exactly what the sport is about.
However, it’s a good test to see how you rate it.
The rhythmic hike allowed a complete zone out – a time purely to look, think, reflect, or be blank.
Others were climbing for the downhill thrill of a speedy descent on an empty hill.
The authentic sport is certainly becoming more popular as people find the organic travelling on the mountains more and more appealing and satisfying, over and above relying on lifts, helicopters and snowcats.
A fit skier could, with a group or guide, go for a good tour and get off the beaten track.
On and up.
Longer climbs exploring the area and views of Les3Vallées would be a start.
And a hut trip is where touring really comes into its own: a group of friends, backpacks filled with everything you need, a few days off to forget about it all and a route of climbs and skiing with remote mountain huts to sleep and rest in.
This is what the sport is really about and a cert for next season.
It is a perfect – the proper? – way to see the mountains, get some space and have the 100% satisfaction of owning the climbs as well as the descents, not to mention incredible exercise.
Like all good things, it starts slower and there are a few steps before.
Get a guide, make some new friends, join a group…
The Ski Club of Great Britain runs many trips and still this season is taking groups out for touring holidays.
How about the Caucasus Mountains, for a real change of scene? Check out the trip to Elbrus, Russia here.
See here for what was caught on camera during a skin up in Val Thorens:
See more here of a touring expedition to the Norwegian Fjords taken on by Squash Falconer, as she was dropped off by boat for a remote climb of the Kopphornet peak.
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
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