How to ski tour | Equipment for your first ski tour

Basic equipment for ski touring

Do you strive for experiences far away from pistes? Believe me, you are not the only one living with such an adventurous desire in their hearts. Ski touring has become one of the most beloved winter sport trends. But the moment we decide to go on a skiing tour, we ask ourselves – what equipment do we need for a skiing tour? This blog post – How to ski tour | Equipment for your first ski tour – will be the perfect guide for you to find equipment for your first ski tour.

Parts of the ski touring set

Okay, so let’s start making a general list of items you will need for your ski touring experience. The basic ski touring equipment comprises tour skis, tour bindings, ski skin, crampons, and last but not least, tour ski boots. These parts of a ski touring set could be expanded by several gadgets and, of course, special touring equipment derived from usual skiing equipment (such as ski touring helmets derived from ski helmets). Still, we rather recommend you start with the basic ones mentioned above. The interesting thing about ski touring is that there are more sets to choose from depending on what type of ski tourer you are.

But now, let’s help you find your equipment for your first ski tour.

ski touring at the Arlberg region
Nina with here touring skis

What type of ski tourer are you?

Ski touring is such a great sport because you have so many various possibilities to create a ski tour matching your desires. Knowing exactly how your ski tour will look is also a prerequisite for choosing the right tour ski sets. We know this might pose a problem for beginners – but do not worry; you are on the right website. We are lucky to help you, beginners, finding out what type of tour skier you are:

I want to do it all – All-rounder.

The name “All-rounder” basically explains it all. An all-rounder in ski touring is one who masters almost every ski touring situation. They love both parts of ski touring: hiking no matter how steep or flat and the downhill no matter in what type of snow. The outdoor experience itself is what gives them the thrill and they are up for every ski adventure.

I am in for the long hike – Upward-oriented.

Some people really want to train their stamina with ski touring. They focus on a long hike and therefore appreciate tour skis reduced in weight to not carry a gram too much up the mountain. Upward-oriented ones love it to make their way up to the top and focus on the hike rather than the downhill. Real hikers in winter clothes over here.

I’ve got the pow(d)er – Freerider.

Are you a powder lover? Are you willing to give all the power that you have for the best powder slope? In that case, Freeride-tour skis might be very interesting for you. Especially if you see yourself using the skis for classic ski tours followed by powder downhills and powder days on which you use lifts and have to hike upwards for the perfect powder slope shortly. The weight of the equipment for your first ski tour only comes secondary – as you said – powder is worth the power.

I am fast and furious – Racer.

If you are all about speed, you are part of a sporadic group of tour skiers. Racers are mostly experienced tour skiers who want to level up a bit. Weight plays a decisive role in the game of speed – it matters for every bit of the performance.

Did you find yourself in any of those types? Yes? Perfect. Then let’s go and find exactly what you need.

Ski tour set for the All-rounder

Do you want both? Fun hiking up but also carving down? Then you really are an all-rounder. For you, an all-round tour ski would be best. Most of the time, their medium width is between 82 and 85 mm, and they weigh something between 1,200g and 1,400g. This is a ski that will make you smile hiking upwards but also skiing down the hills.

Sometimes there are allrounders out there who call themselves classic allrounders but secretly prefer skiing down, willing to pay a little price in the process of hiking upwards. If you are one of these All-rounders, we suggest you try out a downhill-oriented ski with a medium width starting at 95 mm that gives you buoyancy for the perfect skiing experience. Unfortunately, you will need to carry something between 1,400g and 1,600g up the hill for such an experience. But if you have strong legs – it is worth a try.

Besides the tour ski, you should opt for light-weighted Tec-bindings or framework bonds. Even though we want to mention that you should be careful when opting for framework bonds because they are not compatible with all kinds of tour ski boots.

Anyhow, moving on to fitting tour ski boots for an all-rounder, we have got two options again. Classic all-rounders probably prefer tour ski boots with three buckles that provide optimal hiking mobility but still stabilize while skiing. If you are an all-rounder who secretly prefers the downhill part, you might opt for ski boots with four buckles.

Ski tour set for the Upward-oriented

As mentioned above, you are all about the hiking part in ski touring. Therefore your equipment for your first ski tour should be all about slim and light tour skis. Ideally, your tour skis should weigh around 800g to 1,100g and have a medium width between 72mm and 82 mm. This very combination of shape and weight will help you to perform excellently in your hike. But if you still want to have an outstanding downhill experience dare to opt for tour skis with 82-95 mm medium width and 1,100 – 1,300g in weight. With such models, the buoyancy will be much greater, even though hiking will be a bit tougher.

When it comes to ski tour bindings – light-weighted Tec-Bindings will do great for you. Weight should also be the focal point when it comes to deciding on tour ski boots. Opt for boots with two or three buckles that weigh around 1,300 g per shoe. They are perfect for uphill hiking as they provide mobility and lightness – even though they are not as insulated and stiff.

Ski tour set for the Freerider

Welcome powder lovers; let’s find out what the perfect ski touring equipment looks like for you. To master the powder slopes, you definitely need a ski with a wide medium width (something starting at 95 mm up to 120 mm). But remember, the wider the ski, the heavier it will be. If you are searching for a freeride tour ski, then they might weigh something between 1,300g and 2,200g, depending on the model. Anyhow, hiking up will make the powdering even more, an accomplishment, well-knowing that every step was a real workout.

Freetouring bindings are Tec-bindings or strong framework bonds. As mentioned in the Allrounder section – you really need to be careful choosing those to make sure that your boots are compatible with your bindings.

Speaking of the ski tour boots, free touring boots should be stiff and strong. Most of the time, they are equipped with four or three buckles. They must enable an optimal power transmission to the skis.

Ski tour set for the Racer

No matter whether the hike or skiing down – you want to be super fast. For you, it is all about time. Therefore, you need to save on weight and opt for tour skis with 650g to 800g per Ski. Race skis have a medium width of 65 mm and are between 151cm and 161 cm long. Not only the touring skis should be light, but also the ski binding. Racers preferably choose for Tec-Racebindings – they weigh less than 130g. unfortunately, this incredible weight goes along with discretions in other characteristics of the bindings: they lack stoppers – so they do not have a release mechanism – which poses a risk in terms of falling. Anyhow the performance stays the same.

Last but not least, you will need tour ski boots to complete your ski touring set. Race boots are like every other part of your equipment – light. They provide you with extraordinary mobility and comfort and weigh at max. 850g. Unfortunately, they lack insulation – but who cares if it is all about speed.

Equipment for every ski tour type

No matter which type you are, there are still two items left each ski tourer needs: ski skins and crampons.

Ski skins

Ski skins are the fur-like sheets you clip onto the skis so that you do not slip but hike onto the mountain. They give you the necessary grip to take steps even on steep terrain. There are many ski skins tailored for the exact width and shape of the skis and ones you have to cut, so they fit your individual ski. Ski skins can be made of two types of fabric: mohair or nylon. Mohair performs well on cold days, whereas nylon is cheaper and performs better in steep and icy terrain. If you have trouble deciding, there is also a combination of material available – which is basically standard nowadays.

Crampons

Crampons are your saviour when the snowy surface has frozen to ice and grip because bad. Before it gets dangerous, you should put them on. Every company that produces ski bindings mostly produces additional crampons – custom made for their bindings. It is essential to ask shop assistants because not every crampon is compatible with every binding.

Beautiful scenery ski touring up in the Ötztal Alps, Niederthai

Summary

Now we have come a long way in finding the perfect equipment for your first ski tour. You found out which ski tourer type you are and which tour skis, tour ski bindings, and tour ski boots fit best for you. When complementing these ski tour sets with crampons, ski skins, and the perfect ski outfit, then you are set for your first ski tour. Get ready for making the best memories off-piste in the wild, earning your perfect downhill with a beautiful hike. We are thrilled to know how your first ski tour is about to go.

If you want to know more about ski touring, stay tuned for more blog entries and our online ski course for beginners, which is about to launch soon.

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Resources:

Skitourenguide – Der richtige Ski für deine Skitour