Ski Touring and Snowboard Splitboarding are one of the best ways to enjoy the backcountry snow covered hills and mountains in winter. With the right equipment you can get well away from the crowds in the resorts and travel up and down mountains, go significant distances and have a great day out in the alpine environment.
Touring skis have special touring bindings (where your toe is fixed to the ski and your heel is free and can rise). This allows you to slide move across the snow in a walking motion.
Splitboards are snowboards which can be split into two, to make two splitboard “skis”. Each of these splitboard “skis” also has the same sort of touring binding enabling you to lift your heel and slide in the same walking motion across the snow.
To “slide” uphill you can attach “skins” to the sole of your skis or snowboard. Ski touring skins are synthetic, but like a natural animal skin have bristles that lay flat if brished in one diretion. With skins attached to the bottom of the ski with bristles pointing backwards, these enable the skis to grip the snow and not skide backwards as you ascend the slope. Once you reach the top of the hill you simply remove the skins from the skis, click both your toes and heels into the bindings and then ride downhill as with normal alpine skiing. If using a splitboard, you simply remove the skins, click the two halves back together, and then snowboard back down the hill as normal.
People consider ski touring the equivalent of hill walking in winter, but without the frustration of sinking down into deep snow in boots. The added bonus, of course, is the chance to ride downhill after the climbs!
A day out in the mountains on touring equipment is always an adventure and the fact it is the fastest growing aspect of snowsports is perhaps a testament to its appeal.
Here is a taster of the Snowsport Scotland zero to hero fastrack learning course that aimed to teach non-skiers how to ski tour so they could get straight out into teh off-piste wilderness and tour around and enjoy the backcountry.
Find where and how to learn below…