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malks


Guest
getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 13.29hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
as per the title, I'd really like to start to learn to ski tour/ do a bit of back country/ off piste skiing and dont know where to start.

Are there any courses that are worth while? I've noticed Glenmore lodge do a few different courses, does anyone rate them? Are there any other courses/ days in scotland or am I best heading abroad on a week long course?

I like the idea of getting out into the hills, not necessarily the steep/ hard stuff, just getting away from it, earning my turns.

Obviously there is a lot to learn, i'm not expecting a one day course and I'm off into the back corries at nevis. I'm expecting a lot to take in:
- mountain navigation
- reading snow/ avalanche conditions
- touring kit (boots/ bindings/ skis)
- learning to skin/ turn on the way up
- avalanche kit and how to use them

At the moment, I have normal alpine skis (salomon Q90's with normal marker bindings) and normal alpine boots. Can you learn the basics of touring with this set up, or do I need to hire/ borrow touring boot/binding/ ski's?

Any help greatly appreciated!
teleshred


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 14.18hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
In my experience, the Glenmore Lodge courses are excellent and give you a very good starting point. They also offer intermediate courses etc so there is plenty scope to progress.

You would need to use skis with at least proper touring bindings which would allow you to pivot and therefore skin up and also kick turn etc. Sorry if these words don't mean much, but pretty much impossible to skin using regular alpine bindings. Glenmore Lodge do also have all the kit so you could try it out first before having to make any big purchases!
Beastie


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 15.00hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
You'd need skis with touring bindings, if these were of the Marker/Fritschi type you could, at a pinch, do some short tours with alpine boots if cash is tight. I'd walk in with hiking boots and swap over once you hit snow though, the idea of walking any distance in alpine ski boots doesn't appeal!

Thankfully the above mentioned binding types seem to have gone right out of fashion compared to the Dynafit ones so there are often reasonably priced ones on ebay and ski shops wanting rid of them. They can be used with cheaper boots but they're heavier.
jabuzzard


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 22.22hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
Beastie Wrote:
You'd need skis with touring bindings, if these were of the Marker/Fritschi type you could, at a pinch, do some short tours with alpine boots if cash is tight. I'd walk in with hiking boots and swap over once you hit snow though, the idea of walking any distance in alpine ski boots doesn't appeal!

Thankfully the above mentioned binding types seem to have gone right out of fashion compared to the Dynafit ones so there are often reasonably priced ones on ebay and ski shops wanting rid of them. They can be used with cheaper boots but they're heavier.


I am not sure that I would recommend someone starting out to go with dynafit aka pin bindings. In fact I am not sure I would recommend them for anything but hardcore multiday touring, as the safety due to compromised release is significantly reduced. I am also not sure frame bindings have gone out of fashion just yet either.

In fact both pin bindings and frame bindings are about to take a massive hit with the new Salomon S-LAB Shift binding. Full Alpine binding on the way down (that is a proper Alpine toe piece and Alpine heal), but a pin binding on the way up.

Basically frame bindings will be reduced to those starting out with out inserts in their boots. Pin bindings will be reduced to the minimalist only ones for multiday tours. Anyone else would be nuts not to shift to the Shift binding in either it's Salomon or Atomic guises.

Really bad news if you are a frame or pin binding manufacturer, and I expect Salomon hold a bunch of crucial patents that will lock other manufactures out. Then again they deserve to reap the rewards of the seven years of development that has gone into the S-LAB Shift.

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 22.25hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
malks Wrote:
as per the title, I'd really like to start to learn to ski tour/ do a bit of back country/ off piste skiing and dont know where to start.


Can you ski off-piste is the first question I would ask? It's a completely different ball game to skiing on piste. I have seen good skiers struggle big time when encountering boot deep powered for the first time.
PD


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 22.47hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
+ 1 for Glenmore Lodge
Mike_w


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 23.12hrs on Tue 15 Jan 19
malks Wrote:

- mountain navigation
- reading snow/ avalanche conditions
- avalanche kit and how to use them

You can learn these three independently of ski touring.
Doug_Bryce


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 10.51hrs on Wed 16 Jan 19
How to get into ski touring is a common question...

IMHO there are 2 stages.

1) Go hillwalking in the summer. Learn to navigate / pack / plan for a day on the hills
2) Learn to ski variable snow. Plenty opportunity to do this on piste in Scotland!

Kit has got much better in last decade. Lots of advice on web, no point repeating it.
Summary : pin bindings are much better option for touring.
Frame binding a good compromise if you want to use same ski for inbounds.

If you want to do an introduction course then I would recommend Blair Aitken.
He is BASI4 ski instructor and used to teach full time in alps before moving home to Scotland.
One of very few top level instructors running regular courses on Scottish snow.
Nice guy : and also a friend, so I am biased - but seriously he is excellent and his prices are great value.
His web site is below.

[sites.google.com]





Edited 2 times. Last edit at 10.53hrs Wed 16 Jan 19 by Doug_Bryce.
Beastie


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 12.04hrs on Wed 16 Jan 19
jabuzzard Wrote:
I am not sure that I would recommend someone starting out to go with dynafit aka pin bindings.


I was recommending the opposite
malks


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 12.55hrs on Wed 16 Jan 19
wow, thanks for all the info, some really good stuff in there.

@ doug_bryce thanks for the link to Blair Aitken, some of his stuff looks exactly the type of thing I am looking for.

I think my first port of call would be improving off-piste skills/ knowledge. I dont think I'm really looking for multi day hut to hut type touring, ideally just being able to access better snow/ off-piste. I definitely need to get into the hills and practise/ learn navigation/ map reading and hopefully get doing this in the summer. for now I'll just pray for some snow so I can at least get on the pistes.
WindyMiller


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 17.53hrs on Wed 16 Jan 19
Hi malks,Not sure where you normally ski but if you are on cairngorm look us up.

When there is cover we venture away from the main ski centre for sort of off piste. We ski the corries either side of the lift served area and if navigated it correctly get back to the lifts with minimal walking. There is always an open invitation for folks of reasonable abilities to join us and if you ever follow the cairngorm snow thread or my face book page you can see there is usually someone wanting to venture further afield. We have had under 10s and over 80s come with us,they survived and enjoyed themselves.

The corries to the left and right of the cas and ciste offer slopes ranging from gentle green to time to change your underpants so there is something for everyone to try the untracked. We always assess what kind of group we are skiing with and the equipment they have. Many times it is inexperienced people with standard down hills so we tailor the runs to suit with little as possible walking. It is a great introduction to get the remote off piste feeling but know we are only a short hop back to the centre. It builds confidence and gives you exposure to the off piste techniques also gives you an idea to what sort of equipment you would want to buy before making an expensive mistake. Everyone has their own preference and advice, trying for your self in a safe-ish (its never 100%) environment is best.

If you do ever want to come with us make sure you know how to P-Tex your skis. We are all graduates of the Les McLaren and Helen Rennie school of rock hopping and heather skiing . Shiny planks beware!

If cairngorm is not your usual hang out I am sure there will be others that do similar at the other centres. Look at the Inverness Back Country facebook page.

Graeme

malks


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 14.04hrs on Fri 18 Jan 19
@ windymiller thank you for the very kind offer. I dont really ski at cairngorms, any time I've tried its been rubbish! But I may consider a trip up that way and take you up on the offer once the season gets going.
WindyMiller


Guest
Re: getting into ski touring/ back country/ off-piste
Date Posted: 17.32hrs on Fri 18 Jan 19
malks, Sent you a PM

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