Basic ski touring equipment comprises:-
- Ski Boots
- Skis & Bindings & Poles
- Rucksack with safety equipment
CLOTHING: Clothing requires little explanation and jacket, salopettes and gloves are the key outer layers. A helmet and goggles are always strongly advised. For under layers, it is worth mentioning that if you are ski touring you will have periods of going up and down when you will be hotter or cooler. Best advice is to layer up with multiple thin layers rather than fewer thick layers, so that you can shed layers to regulate your temperature depending on your activity.
SKI BOOTS: Ensure you have well-fitted ski boots that are designed to match your touring bindings. Depending upon the type of touring binding you are using, the toe of the boot may attach differently. If using a plate binding you can use regular alpine ski boots. If using a tech binding your boots will require a toe capable of taking pins. This video helps explain.
SKIS BINDINGS & POLES: You can use any type of alpine ski for ski touring, however lightweight purpose made equipment is always preferable. Here is a short video on some of the more specific features of an Alpine touring ski. Bindings come in two types, plate and tech. This video explains the difference. For poles, you can get by with any alpine ski pole, however there are purpose made poles with subtle differences. For a video on poles click here
SKINS: Skins allow you to go uphill on your skis without slipping backward. They are long strips of synthetic material the size of your skis with one sticky side and one "bristly" side covered in hairs. The sticky side is stuck to your ski and the bristly side touches the snow with the bristles/hairs point backward. In decades gone by animal skin with fur was used and worked much the same way. Here is a video about choosing skins.
RUCKSACK AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT: The mountain environment can be pretty hostile if the weather turns on you, so planning is key to ensure you are venturing out in safe conditions and safe terrain. We strongly urge those new to ski touring to ensure they have sufficient knowledge and training to understand weather and the risks in the mountain environment. Part of mitigating risk is to carry a rucksack (something around 35litrs works well) with the right safety equipment to help you.
A simple pack setup might include:-
- Spare warm clothes/beanie/spare gloves
- Food and Drink Supplies
- Navigation: Phone, map compass, headtorch
- Mobile Phone, with external battery charger and cables
- Avalanche safety equipment: Transceiver Probe and Shovel
- Penknife/multitool or tape for in field repairs