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Essential Gear for Ski Touring

Ski Touring can be both exciting and challenging at the same time. Whether you’re a skiing enthusiast looking for an upgrade in your regular terrain, or whether you’re a professional who frequently enjoys ski touring, it is important to have the right skiing gear with you.

While the most important thing to remember is to take a proper safety course beforehand, it is also equally important to have a ski gear checklist with you before you embark on your adventures.  

Search no further! We’ve got a list of the best essential gear for ski touring just for you!

And if you’ve got any additional queries about outdoor gear, you can head over to this site where you can read reviews and select from a range of skis, snowboards, tents, gloves, and so much more!

  • Gear

The most important thing to remember is to buy the right gear. Good quality equipment can go a long way in ensuring your safety and ease for the entire trip. 

  • Skis

I’d go so far as to say that a good quality skiing pair is perhaps the most important equipment for your Ski touring. The two things to look for when it comes to backcountry skiing are its weight and performance. 

You want to prefer a lightweight ski pair for uphill skiing, and at the same time, lighter skis are easily deflected when going downhill. It is therefore important to look for skis that are both lightweight, and offer a good performance downhill. 

  • Ski Skins

Ski skins, or climbing skins, are ski-shaped strips that attach to the bottom of your skis for when you ascend backcountry slopes. It gets its name from the fact that they were once made out of actual animal skins!

These strips have scales on the outer surface that grab onto the snow and stop you from slipping. It is ideal to keep some skin wax handy to avoid freezing or running out of adhesive on the skins. 

  • Bindings

Ski bindings are often overlooked, but they’re an equally important gear for your skiing trip. Depending upon where and how you’ll be skiing, you can choose from tech bindings and frame bindings. 

If you’re looking for backcountry skiing exclusively, you might want to go with tech bindings. These bindings are light-weight and are very convenient and durable both uphill and downhill!

  • Poles

Ideally, you can also use a regular skiing pole for this purpose. But backcountry skiing poles come with adjustable and collapsible pole lengths for a convenient user experience. These come in handy when changing from regular slope to steep terrains.

  • Avalanche Safety

Avalanche safety equipment is one of the most important things to remember when considering backcountry skiing. You simply cannot, and should not, ignore it. It is also crucial to remember to take all the necessary safety classes and measure and practice with this equipment beforehand.

An avalanche beacon, a probe, and a shovel are the three essential gears for avalanche rescue. But remember that there’s a fourth one too- proper training.

  • Avalanche Beacon

An Avalanche beacon, or an avalanche transceiver, is a device that emits and receives radio signals that help track fellow skiers in case of an emergency. This device is worn close to your body and can be vital in case of an avalanche is locating other people, or asking other people to search for you through the ‘search’ mode.

Remember that a transceiver is only as good as the person using it. Practice using it until it comes as second nature to you. If you’re looking for further guidance, refer to this video.

  • Shovel

A good avalanche shovel should be durable and tough, good enough to shovel rock-hard snow debris. Most shovels are made out of metal. Look for a good handle grip and adjustable lengths. Some also come with advanced features like a built-in probe. 

  • Probe 

The avalanche probe is a device that locates the exact location of an avalanche victim and determines the depth of their burial. As a rule, your probe should be at least 2 meters in height, the more the length the more durable it is. Remember to check with your snowpack for storage space and weight capacity. 

  • Necessities

Necessities include your garments, insulation layers, and belongings. As basic as all of these sound, they’re often overlooked. 

  • Ski Boots

When surfing for backcountry touring boots, it is important to consider the type of skiing you’ll be doing. If you’re going for a longer duration or will be doing a lot of uphill and downhill skiing, you should look for boots that are light-weight and touring-specific boots. 

You should also consider your bindings and skis while buying touring boots. It is very important to buy the right size and fit. Consult a boot specialist before you make a decision.

  • Puffer Jacket

It is always a good idea to carry an extra puffy jacket or a warm layer of insulation in your snowpack. You never know when the weather conditions might become unfavorable, and it’s helpful in keeping your companions warm in case of injury.

  • Gloves

The topmost priority while looking for skiing gloves is water-resistance, durability, and breathability. They should be properly insulated and warm, but not so warm that they feel slippery. You will be spending a lot of time wearing your gloves, and a lot of activities will be performed while wearing them. It is therefore best to try out various gloves in person for the best fit.

  • Backcountry Ski Pack

A good snowpack should be water-resistant and highly durable and stand under extreme weather conditions like snowstorms and avalanches. It should also feature high-quality abrasion-resistant lamination for the high-wear areas like the base of your snowpack and the edges. 

Remember to check out all the features and make an informed decision. Be sure to check this video for further details.

  • Navigation

Navigation tools are a piece of important equipment when it comes to alpine touring. Not only do they help with locating your surroundings, it is also convenient to familiarise yourself with the location before you go skiing.

  • Compass

The ability to use a compass right can literally save someone’s life in case of an emergency. When buying a compass for touring, you want to look for one that is water-resistant, has magnetized needles, and may come with luminescent indicators. 

  • Map

Professional skiers will always emphasize on one thing- never trust batteries in the snow. While it is very convenient to have a GPS app handy, your best bet will be to carry a map of your terrain along with a protective case. 

  • GPS Navigation app

Having an GPS app while ski touring can be very convenient! Although optional, this is a great addition for better efficiency and navigation. Everything else apart, never solely rely on GPS for your navigation gear. 

  • Emergency Rescue Equipment 

Emergency Rescue Equipment that is updated and stocked after each season is of crucial importance to your skiing trip. Having this equipment handy can ensure your safety and leave you prepared for unexpected weather conditions. 

The following things come under emergency equipment:

  • First-Aid Kit
  • An extra layer of insulation 
  • Ski Straps
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight/headlamp 
  • Knife or Multitool set 
  • Fire-starter kit 

 

  • Nutrition and Hydration 

As basic as it sounds, people so often neglect it that it’s important to have a reminder. A snack as simple as a sandwich or a PB&J can go such a long way for your much needed energy boost. Always remember to carry water and stay hydrated. Pack extra in case of emergency. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re informed with all the right kind of equipment you will need for ski touring, all that’s left to do is go out there and find the right fit for you. Remember to trust your instincts and look for gear that best suits you, while also consulting a professional for help. 

If you have any further queries, feel free to drop them below!

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