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Isère Pilots Marked Trails For Ski Touring

The French region is trialling 33 signed and secured ski touring routes in 12 ski areas this winter.  The idea is to make touring more accessible and safe as it continues to grow in popularity.

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Last season, ski touring took off like never before, especially in France.

The lifts were closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving those in resort with no choice but to find other ways of enjoying the mountain.

Many skiers were introduced to the joys of skinning up and skiing down the mountain that had, in the past, been reserved for the more hard-core, adventurous types.

Isère was one of the regions that witnessed an influx of skiers and snowboarders keen to experience something different.

Now it’s planning a policy of ‘structuring ski touring’ over the next two years.

It’s an experiment that could be extended nationally.

All the Isère massifs and resorts are supporting the project.

It involves:

  • Official signposted routes that match the degree of difficulty of the pisted slopes
  • The routes will be secured with rescue service available and an avalanche triggering plan, if necessary
  • Breaks in the routes for people to join or leave the secured areas
  • Counting units at the start of marked routes to monitor the number of skiers and snowboarders

Isère is organising ski touring initiations in conjunction with local professionals; equipment testing in partnership with Ortovox and Dynafit; avalanche rescue prevention workshops; and awareness about the winter disturbance of wildlife.

The 12 pilot ski areas will begin setting up the 33 routes this winter.

They will be suitable for all levels.

The resorts taking part include Alpe d’Huez, Oz en Oisans, Vaujany, Les 2 Alpes, Chamrousse, Villards des Lans and Les Sept Laux.

“By stimulating and creating an experimental national benchmark with our partners on ski touring itineraries in resorts, we are supporting the development and diversification of outdoor sports in Isère,” says Martine Kohly, Vice-President of the Department of Isère in charge of children, family, youth and sports.

“A highly attractive option for our mountains. We are continuing on the path following on from the creation of the marked itineraries for snowshoeing, already used in many French resorts”.

Ski touring in Isère photo © Villard tourist office

A guide on ski touring in winter sports resorts will be published soon.

It is intended as a toolbox for mayors, planners and operators across France who want to develop the sport in their area.

There is also a series of discovery and awareness clinics being held in partnership with Dynafit, the provider of ski touring gear, and Ortovox, the specialist in avalanche victim detection and search systems.

Here are the dates for those of you lucky enough to be able to travel to France.  (Fingers crossed the travel ban on the British will be lifted soon).

  • Sunday 9 January 2022: Lans-en-Vercors
  • Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 January 2022: Les 7 Laux – La Belle Etoile
  • Saturday 5 February 2022: Chamrousse – Ski touring days
  • Saturday 19 March 2022: Les 7 Laux

You can register at https://sport.isere.fr/ski-de-randonnee

 

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