I was skiing at Glencoe on Sunday and noticed a couple of people were carrying packs with ice axes attached to the outside. They didn't seem to be going touring as I saw them several time throughout the day, always on piste. Not quite sure what that's all about, if you did that in the Vallee Blanche (where an ice axe could be quite handy) you'd get shouted at and told to put the axe inside the pack.
I'd be wary about puncturing myself (or even worse someone else) if I fell over while skiing with an ice axe strapped outside.
Best guess is they had walking boots packed away too & were hedging bets on whether to ski or use the chair to go for a walk if not. I'd have just asked lifties nicely to mind them at access chair if I'd opted for skiing if that was the case though.
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 15.01hrs Tue 9 Jan 18 by Beastie.
I used to carry an axe attached to my pack when my kids were young. As a retired climber I felt a bit unequipped without one in the mountains with snow about. My logic was for a rescue situation and it transpired it was needed.
My [then] about seven year old daughter had a panic on the Glas Maol red run and ran out towards the west wall. This was iced solid and she ended up losing ski's and sliding half-way down the face. The axe proved invaluable in getting down to her after a scary slide and recovering her kit. I would stress that I always had rubber adze and spike protection on the Charlet and I don't take it now they are all "Adults".
"Masherbrum, Gasherbrum, Distegil Sar
make excellent training for dark Lochnagar"
- the immortal Tom Patey
But actually, it would appear that ice axes are for macho skiers to ward off hordes of marauding Glenshee staff, swarming around them on snowmobiles and quad bikes like a scene from "Mad Max: the winter war"