For many people, ski tours equal freedom, nature, mountains, no people and no noise. Even Ernest Hemingway raved about this experience in the 1920s:
„You set a certain pace well under the speed at which you could climb and it was easy and your heart felt good and you were proud of the weight of your rucksack.”
from „A Moveable Feast“ by Ernest Hemingway
During a descent in powder snow, your body releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins; just like during sex only in the descent, it takes longer. Away from the patrolled ski area you can enjoy happiness, powder snow, dream views and peace. However, you will also be exposed to all alpine dangers that have the potential to ruin a wonderful day, not just the ski tour. These 10 rules should help to reduce the dangers of the alpine environment so you can fully enjoy your ski tours.
If you have never gone on a tour, enquire about ski and mountain guides in the local ski school. They can facilitate your entry into the mountain world.
1. Find out about the area
Decide which area you would like to go to and find all the relevant information about it. In many areas it is forbidden to go on ski tours in the evening or night as this is when the slopes are being prepared. This is to avoid accidents with cable winches. Search for tips for the ascent, explore various route options and descents. The internet can help you a lot for this. If there is a hut on the mountain, check that it is open so that you don’t end up standing hungry in front of closed doors. Very important: Check out the current avalanche risk level Lawinenstufe.
2. Check your equipment
Attach the skins at home. This way you can ensure the functionality and get going right away. Adjustable ski poles often do not last long with wear. Check your ski boots for fit and functionality. Are your phone, LVS-device and head lamp batteries fully charged?
3. Select a route that meets your needs and capabilities
No top sportsperson has ever just fallen from heaven. Be honest with yourself and choose a route that you can handle. Most of the ski tours are given in altitude (vertical meters) and length. If Tour A requires you to walk 6km to reach 600 vertical meters and Tour B requires you to walk 4km to reach 600 vertical meters, you can assume that Tour B will be steeper than Tour A. We recommend you start with tours that less than 500 vertical meters and that are flat rather than steep.
4. Regulate your ascending speed
The biggest mistake made during a tour is to run from the start and after 15 minutes being out of breath. Check your breathing or use a heart rate monitor to control your pulse. Consult a sports doctor to find out which heart rate range you should be ascending in. Try to go slowly at first and find a good pace for you, regardless what other tour goers are doing. It is of benefit to choose an area that starts off slightly flatter.
5. Protect yourself
Bring all the necessary emergency and safety equipment with you. This includes but is not limited to: LVS device (avalanche detecting device), avalanche shovel, probe, first aid kit and a phone. Of course, suncream is also important during winter. A helmet is recommended for the descent. A light helmet will not add much weight for the ascent.
6. Choose the right sustenance
Take enough water or drinks contraining electrolytes. Store this somewhere where it will not freeze. For food, we recommend any type of sport snacks such as muesli bars, etc. Do no take heavy goods.
7. Take dry clothes with you
Dress lightly for the ascent. At first you might be a bit cold, but not to worry, that will quickly change. For the descent you should do the opposite. Take a spare T-shirt and jacket with you. We also recommend bringing another hat or headband to prevent colds.
8. Take a headlamp with you
You never know how late it might get and in winter it gets dark early and very quickly. In order to ensure your descent does not become a blind run, take a headlamp with you. The headlamp is useful except for under a full moon or on illuminated descents.
9. Descend properly
After you have taken off your skins and set the binding to descend, it’s time for the fastest part of the tour. Here too, safety must be your first priority. Risky descents and avalanche-prone slopes can result in a disasterous end to your tour. You should have experience skiing in deep snow, breaking and broken terrain. Otherwise, we recommend you select tours where you can ski down on prepared slopes.
10. Let us be a part of your ski tours experiences
Share your experiences with friends and … us. Give us the insider scoop on specific areas. Where have you been, how did you prepare, how was the weather? Keep us motivated with cool photos and videos from your ski tour. Feel free to contact our Mogasi Magazine social channels or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to tell the story of a ski tour, go ahead and write it down.
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