January 26, 2019
Time to ‘Ski Tour’
There’s not much ‘side piste’ powder left and almost all the standard ‘off-piste itineraries’ have been tracked out so for most skiers it means skiing on piste. Happily most of these pistes have nice packed powder surfaces. The weather has been very cold which has kept the snow cold and dry. And the sky has been bright blue, making for very enjoyable skiing days. But for those who come to Val to ski powder that is not satisfying. The solution for them is to go ‘ski touring’ to regions that can not be accessed by ski lifts. These regions contain large slopes of perfect, untracked powder just waiting for adventurous skiers to mark them with smooth, sinuous depressions. Fortunately we have many very good ‘off-piste’ slopes that abound the ski area, many just a 1/2, 1 or 2 hour trek from the lifts.
To tour up to the top of these slopes you need to use ‘skins’ on the bottom of your skis. It makes it a lot easier if you also use touring bindings that lift at the heel, enabling you to walk easily uphill. As these slopes are well off the beaten path and are not ‘controlled’ to prevent avalanches I would advise joining a ski school that specializes in ‘ski touring’. A very good one in Val d’Isere is Alpine Experience. The photos below were taken by them during one of their touring adventures. To learn more about ‘ski touring’ check out this weeks ‘Ski Tip’.
‘Ski Tip’ of the week
Ski Tour to find enjoyable, untracked powder
I would recommend checking out the section on ski touring in the ‘Ski Tips 3′ app:
There is also an extensive section on ski touring and mountain awareness and safety in my e- book : ‘Powder and Off-Piste Skiing’, which can be downloaded at the Apple ebookStore.