What is ski touring?
Appreciating exceptional natural surroundings, finding your way, understanding the mountains, taking the time, sharing… That defines ski touring: freedom and commitment! To enjoy it, you will have to make an effort and persevere. You will need to learn, exchange, and also stay humble, and sometimes even give up. Ski touring is all of that but also a choice: that of being privileged.
Ski Touring: a traditional and definitely modern activity!
Ski touring has existed since ancient times. First it was a way of moving over snow, and it then became a sport that we are all familiar with: Alpine skiing. The idea is simple: to climb, only the front of the shoe is attached to the skis, to be able to lift the heel like for walking. To avoid sliding back, fabric is attached to the skis: the seal skin. When you have that equipment, you can climb up snowy peaks when they are not too steep. To ski down, just remove the skins and attach the heel to the binding, and don’t forget to tighten your shoes.
Climbing is strenuous and the thought of the descent encourages skiers to surpass themselves. All ski tourers will tell you that the bigger the effort, the better the reward and the more thrilling the descent is. You are alone on the top of the mountain, facing the silence and landscapes. Then, when the time comes to ski down and make your own tracks, a feeling of freedom will overwhelm you. Ski touring is a way of feeling truly at one with the mountains.
Skin story: from seals to mohair
At the end of the 19th century, a Norwegian explorer who was crossing Greenland had the idea of cutting up skins to attach them under his skis. Seal skin was found to be ideal: against the nap of the fur, they grip, and when going forwards, they are very strong and slide nicely.In the 1930s, when seal hunting peaked, an alternative had to be found. Mohair, woven from angora goat wool, appeared in 1939. However the real revolution came about in 1968, with the invention of stick-on skins: It marked the end of skis being weighed down by snow between the ski and the skin. Despite these advances, the maintenance and preparation of skins is crucial: cutting them out, re-sticking them, and even waxing are vital to ensure that the hike goes well. Now you can find synthetic skins, which are more resistant, as well as countless types of bindings to attach them to the front of skis.