Ski Touring: What to know, Where to go and What you need
- Posted on
- By Aidan Raynor
Earn your turns! Ski touring has exploded in recent years with people looking to beat the lines and spend more time on the snow. Learn more about ski touring here
No lines, cheap tickets and more time on the snow. Ski touring has exploded in recent years with people looking to skip the lines for the chair lifts as well as paying a lot less for the ever rising price of lift tickets. Its takes some extra gear but once you're set up you're hooked for life.
(Photographed: Fischer Transalp 86 Carbon and One Way Vario Mag poles)
Coming from a cross country skiing background I always found the lines to be endless downhill skiing whereas with cross country skiing I could click into my skis and go for hours without having to wait in lines or pay an arm and a leg to go skiing. I found alpine touring this year after a couple of friends got me into it and it's the real deal. If you don't mind a bit of a hike, touring is for you. I had more access to different parts of the hill as well as experiencing a different side of a mountain I thought I knew pretty well.
Alpine touring takes a different type of ski than your regular downhill ski. You want a ski that is light enough to skin or hike up whatever hill but it can still rip turns on the downhill. The biggest difference between a proper downhill ski and a touring ski will be in the bindings.
Touring bindings need to be able to have a free heel on the way up as well as the ability to lock in your boot for the way down. On the way up your boot will be attached to the ski by two pins that lock in the way a bear trap would work then the heel piece is pivoted around to have the heel be able to move freely. The heel piece also has the ability to lift the boot in cases with steep terrain. For the way down you just rotate the heel piece around to lock in the boot the same way a normal binding would.
The boots for alpine touring are also a little different as well. They have the ability to bend with your ankle for the way up but can be locked for the way down. They, like the skis, are also built to be light for efficient climbing but stiff enough to get you down anything.
But you might be wondering how the ski is able to grip the snow on the way up the hill. All alpine touring skis have the ability to use "skins", which glue and clip on to the base of the ski. The skins are usually made out of mohair's angled in a certian way to let the ski glide forward but lock in the snow for when you push up the hill.
Around Montreal and the West-Island there are a couple gems that are best for alpine touring:
- Rigaud being the closest has a solid array of touring trails in the woods to ski up to the top of the hill unbothered from oncoming downhill skiers.
- Morin-Heights is another smaller hill that has a large variety of toruing trails with challenging downhills for every level of skier.
- Mont Gabriel is an alpine touring gem of the Laurentians. With an older side of the ski centre closed down they have opened it up to just allow alpine touring.
- Mont Tremblant is the local go to for the best alpine touring. They are big enough to have many skin tracks up the mountian with an endless trail option for the way down. If you are looking for an epic alpine touring adventure Mont Tremblant will be your best options. Beat the Tremblant prices and lines with alpine touring.
We have everything you need to get set up on a pair of alpine touring skis for the best part of the Spring skiing season or even next year. Come in and talk to us about your next skiing adventure today!