After meeting with Charly, a ski equipment specialist working in the Alps from 18 years of age, we list the equipment you’ll need for a ski touring trip and give you a few handy tips.
After the advice of Pierre-Olivier, an ESI ski instructor, we’ll go over the equipment needed for a ski touring trip in detail, with Charly’s help. Choosing the right equipment is important for safety and has also an impact on your comfort and progress.
Buying your own equipment can be worthwhile for frequent use, otherwise for occasional use you can easily hire the equipment in sports shops. Find the right store for you by typing in the name of your ski resort.
Here is a list of the equipment you’ll need:
It’s essential to choose a multi-layered outfit made up of different types clothing worn in layers that transfer and release sweat. In this way, you can adjust your outfit throughout the day.
Handy tip: Remove a layer before you start sweating.
What to pack: a spare t-shirt, (to stay dry!) a spare pair of gloves and a jacket for extreme weather conditions. You should carry equipment for all conditions in the event you’re forced or choose to stay longer.
Choose a backpack with a ski holder as you’ll need to be able to carry your skis easily during your trip. Select the size of your bag according to the length of your trip, whether you’re going for a half day or a full day. On top of spare clothing items (a t-shirt and gloves), you should carry food, drink and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and quality sunglasses or snow googles with 100% UV protection.
Ski touring equipment has evolved over the last few years. Touring skis, bindings and boots have become much lighter, and the shape of the skis facilitates an easier technique.
We recommend parabolic skis that are 10 to 20 cm shorter than your height.
- Remember: The lighter the equipment is the easier the ascent will be. However, the descent will be more challenging as lighter skis are often less stable.
Ski length: the ski hire store will definitely recommend skis that come up to the midpoint between your nose and your eyes.
- Hint: Choosing skis that aren’t too long makes certain techniques easier, such as kick turns at the end of each turn during an ascent.
Ski touring bindings are set up in two ways: your heel is free during the ascent but is locked in during the descent. You can add a wedge for a more comfortable climb.
Your choice of boots is paramount: the latest ski touring boots are both comfortable and technically sound. Everyone’s feet are unique and not every brand will suit you, so make sure you try a range of different boots and brands.
Your ski poles should be light and strong with a large enough ring to provide stability in deep snow. They should have grips with a safety release strap that open in the event of an avalanche or your pole getting caught in a tree branch, for example.
There are two types of ski poles:
Downhill ski poles: you’ll need light and strong poles with a large enough ring to provide stability in deep snow, otherwise they won’t be of much use. Another solution is to use telescopic ski poles which can easily fit into your bag and won’t get in your way. The length is also adjustable, a very useful feature during ascents.
Climbing skins are a must have, they allow you to climb slopes without sliding backwards. A range of climbing skins have been developed and are available in mohair or synthetic fabrics with a wide array of options when it comes to waterproofing, thread thickness and size. Each of these features give the climbing skins different qualities.
Choose your ski hire store carefully. They’ll take care of expertly cutting and fitting the skins to your skis, which is essential to help you get up the slope. Don’t hesitate to visit a store recommended by our community to prepare your skis. Climbing skins are only effective when they’re perfectly moulded to your skis. Consult a specialist.
Crampons are used when the snow is very hard and climbing skins no longer adhere or for very steep slopes. There are two types of crampons: fixed and floating.
An avalanche transceiver is quite simply indispensable. It’s not enough just to own one, you need to know how to use it. It can help someone locate you and can also help you save your friend. Take a rescue course before you start. You will also need a shovel, probe and your mobile phone. This equipment can either be hired or purchased.
You can hire all the necessary equipment, even the safety gear. For more information, talk to the ski rental specialists at your favourite ski resort.