Are you thinking about taking up ski touring this winter?
Ski touring has become extremely popular in recent years. Check out our guide to ski touring!
Many of Morzine’s locals will probably agree that there are two or three types of ski tourers.
The first are the die hard alpinists who get up early wearing skin-tight lycra with water bottles strapped to them to keep them hydrated. Often reaching the top of mountain peaks from the valley floor before most have put the kettle on in the morning, these athletes seemingly have lungs similar to Michael Phelps with the speed they climb.
These guys & girls will climb as soon as the snow falls and won’t stop until May. Fitness and reaching mountain peaks as quick as possible is the goal. Many say this type of ski touring is great for road cyclists as it builds up similar muscles, and works well for pre-summer training. Using thin skis which weigh the same as a bag of sugar, this equipment isn’t made for deep backcountry expeditions. Think about this as the road cycling type of bicycling, using super light carbon fibre bikes to trim as much weight as possible to save energy whilst climbing.
This isn’t the most popular form of ski touring for holiday enthusiasts with only a week to make the most of the mountains. However, it is a good way to see the mountains whilst not paying for a lift pass.
The second is the type of ski tourer that has a hybrid ski touring set up.
With the rise in technology making alpine ski bindings & hybrid alpine touring boots that also unclip into ‘tour’ mode stable to walk up hill and charge downhill – this type of ‘ski tour when you like’ ski tourer has boomed in the past few years. Whether you just spend one morning a week hiking, or you just ski tour to get to the untouched powder a few days after snowfall – finding a touring set up that is right for you is much easier than 5 years ago. You can often mount up all mountain skis with a touring binding to enjoy the whole mountain and brands have perfected this type of touring ski, binding & boot in recent years.
Many ski shops in Morzine and across the UK have a good range of touring skis which have been designed to ski the mountain with a fair amount of ease. We’re not saying that edge turning will be like a perfected all mountain ski, but it’s now much easier to have a couple of pairs of skis for a range of conditions rather than separate skis for piste, powder, park and touring. Traditionally, if you stripped a ski back to it’s lowest weight for touring up-hill, you’d loose a lot of the skis performance skiing downhill. Fortunately, manufacturers have made bindings and skis light enough to save energy on the climb whilst not compromising the ability to charge downhill.