“”The mountains are calling, and I must go…””
There is something about the mountains that immediately makes us associate them with fun, excitement and adventure. From treating the lungs to cool and fresh oxygen to attending to the mysteries of nature, from the plethora of beautiful landscapes to the sound of water flowing and air rustling through the leaves, from the snow-covered mountains to the green pine trees adorning them, an adventure in the mountains is an experience of a lifetime. This reason is probably why ski tours beat any other kind of mountain sport. As ski touring involves finding your way through the possible avalanche terrain, the best part of this activity is that you are free from the hefty fees you have to pay at ski resorts. The independence that comes with pursuing the sport is a supremely thrilling. But despite the thrill, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind if your are going for ski touring because the very nature of the activity requires you to be a master of ski skills along with some knowledge of meteorology. Sometimes, you also need to hike during the ski tour to find the right trails and understand which portion of the terrain will give you the proper ascent or descent.
Given all these requirements, there are a lot of preparations that you need to make because as we have always said, preparing well for anything makes it so easy. With the right tricks in your mind, tips on your fingers and items you might need right there in your backpack, you will be ready for a memorable ski tour.
So while we are at it, here are some tips and tricks that will come in handy on your ski trip.
Protect yourself: You will, of course, take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself but going the extra mile will always work out in your favour.
Take a chemical free sunscreen, preferably with SPF 30 or more. If you have sensitive skin, there is all the more reason to have one with you. Don’t be thrown off by the winters and the snow, sunscreens are your best friends for any activity outdoor.
Wearing eye protection that provides you clear vision during foggy weather will be a great favor you will do for yourself. An excellent way to prevent fogging is to buy goggles whose lenses are at a distance from the face so the warmth from the face will not settle on the lenses.
Take care of the skin of your skis: There is nothing but snow all around which might get the snow to get globbed to the skin. This globbing can add a lot of weight to your skis, and that is the last thing you need. Instead of scraping off the snow from your skis repeatedly you could prevent that from happening by rubbing some wax against the skin of your skis. You can use the special glob stopper wax made for this purpose, or you could even use a candle wax which will work just fine. The rub will make sure that no snow gets globbed.
Speed Check: Do not get carried away by the thrill, which without any doubts can be extremely tempting but not safe. Keep it slow enough so that if there is a person beside you, you can keep talking to them. You might be skilled and experienced, but accidents can happen to anyone, especially on a mountain.
Skin fitting: You have to make sure that the skins fit the skis because they might look comfortable that night while sitting at home, you’ll know how much of a problem they are because you certainly won’t like all the frozen crust on them when you wake up in the morning. If you are thinking of cutting the extra off on your own then only cut enough to expose the edges and no more than a millimeter of the base or even better, follow a guide that directs you how to go about it. If you have an old pair of skis lying around, and you are thinking of reusing their skins when they have become skinnier by 2 to 3 millimetres then resist the temptation because that can turn out to be genuinely risky.
Body Balance: The age old trick of being an excellent skier is to find the right way to maintain your body balance. See where your toes are and avoid crossing your body over and ahead of them because that will create a condition of imbalance. What you need to do instead of this is to push your skis forward and let your lower body follow.Keep your upper body upright. This position is like a backward slide which will give you a stronger stride.
Choice of the trail: Don’t be worried about creating your path because after all that is what ski touring is all about. Touring is independent and whoever comes up in the mountains first, leaves a trail behind. They might not always lead you to where you want to go. However, if you end up taking a path with ski marks then instead of skiing on the ski mark itself, create one right next to it for better traction.
It’s all about your feet: Your feet will take you places, so make sure that the boots you wear fit you well. Boot choices are made depending upon where you ski, on lower altitudes or higher ones. Whichever boots you buy, you must remember that the ski tour itself is not the first time your feet feel them around because otherwise, instead of a great trip you will only end up with sore feet, shoe bites and blisters. Where is the fun in that?
Heat your feet: You can keep your feet warm by lining the insides with heat liners which are available in the market. Without any external source of heat, keeping your feet warm might be a tough task. For any heating liners that you will attach you need to make sure that the boots you wear are roomy enough.
Do not assume: If you have ski equipment at home, and you use that to ski in artificial ski areas then don’t think that they will work as well in the natural setting because of lack of a firm base.
Clothing: If you are looking for some cool ski gloves, they will probably have short gauntlets. While you can look cool with them on, this is a tip on not to forget that the gauntlets fill up with snow quite easily providing you considerably less insulation. So go for the not so trendy looking bigger gloves with larger gauntlets.
While wearing a lot of layers is an idea that will attract you when you picture, mountain, fog, mist and snow but with too many clothes on your body, the movement will get restricted which is the last thing you want on a ski trip. Also, you might think that you will feel cold but you would love to know this, especially if you are going for a first-time ski trip that, you will sweat and then it will just turn the story upside down. So wear enough to insulate you but don’t overload yourself for convenience.
Fur coats will become wet after the first few skies. Why? Because they will be holding in so much of snow in them, all of it that is melting down from your neck while you ski away. So choose to wear jackets that have individually been made to hold the powder.
While color coordination is excellent but ski tour is no party! It is for your safety that we ask you to avoid wearing anything white because once you decide to blend in with the snow, you make it difficult for other skiers around you to locate your presence while skiing and this might lead to accidents. In the case of any mishap, it will be tough to find you too.
Food and water supplies: When it comes to water, you can carry thermos bottles to hydrate yourself during the breaks. A lot of energy is lost in skiing and hydration is crucial to maintaining the energy levels. When it comes to food, because of the low temperature, there will never be a possibility for you consuming a hot meal unless you set up a fire. And because sometimes a hot meal is all you need here are MREs or Meals, Ready to Eat that comes with a self-heating system. Once you open the MRE pack, the system is instantaneously activated and within a few seconds, you can enjoy a sumptuous meal. MREs or Meals, Ready to Eat also provide you with all the necessary nutrition and come in a lot of variety. Each MRE is packed in the hermetically sealed environment, is rugged and impact resistant. The Meals, Ready to Eat are an excellent option because they occupy a lot less space and provide a lot of energy with the taste of homemade food. You can buy MREs from military and outdoor stores, do not forget to aske for XMRE.
A repair kit: Even if all your equipment may be just a ski old, you never know when a problem might occur. And when that happens you will thank yourself a hundred times over for bringing the repair kit with you. Here is all that the repair kit needs to have:
- Pole Splint (you can also make one at home)
- Ski Strap made of rubber
- Duct Tape
- A knotted accessory cord (You can use it for cutting cornices)
- Headlamp so you don’t have to worry about rushing back when the day ends
- Extra batteries
When the day ends, all of it comes down to preparing well. The tips and tricks given here will aid you in your preparation, especially if you are going on a ski tour for the first time. If you are in the nascent stages as a skier, it is advisable to have a guide or a person in the group that has a lot of skiing experience because you have to remember that ski touring is independent and to do something independently, you must be experienced in it. Top that with a positive attitude and the desire to infuse the boring days at home with some adventure, and you have earned yourself an enjoyable ski tour right there.
With that, here is wishing you a great trip!”