Safety Equipment (available to borrow free of charge from ISM)
- Avalanche transceiver and spare batteries (Trackers, Barryvox and Ortovox are good makes and the digital models are much easier to use)
- Snow shovel - such as the Black Diamond Deploy 3
- Avalanche probe - such as the Black Diamond Quickdraw Tour
Tip: It is best to try before you buy any safety equipment
Ski Equipment (not supplied by ISM but available for hire at the venue)
- Skis with ski touring bindings – Fritschi and Dynafit bindings are recommended
- Ski touring boots (see section on boots below)
- Ski poles - fixed length are better than the telescopic as they are stronger
- Ski crampons (also called harscheisen or couteau) are an essential touring accessory
- Skins - if these are cut to fit the ski then that is an advantage. (It is important to have only the ski edges showing at the ski waist when the skins are fitted).
- Ski helmet
Technical Equipment (available to borrow free of charge from ISM)
- Ice axe lightweight 45cms - Petzl Ride
- Crampons (lightweight) - Petzl Irvis Hybrid
- Harness (lightweight) - Arc'teryx R320a
- 3 screw gate karabiners - Petzl Attache
- 1 long sling 120cms
- Ice screw (only required if your trip is on glaciated terrain) - Petz Lazer Speed Light
- 2 prussiks on a snap karabiner (only required if your trip is on glaciated terrain)
Ski touring boots
Choosing the correct ski touring boot is very important. Your boots should be a snug fit but comfortable and definitely not too small as this will make your feet cold. Wear a medium thickness sock, too thin and you will get cold feet, but too thick and you will overly soften the connection between your foot and the ski boot making controlling your skis ski less precise.
It is very nice to get the inner boots custom fitted by thermally moulding them to your feet. This ensures that you have a perfect fit and there is no movement between the foot and boot. It is really important that you have no heel lift when you lean forward (a couple of millimetres movement is acceptable)
There are generally two types of ski boots on the market - a lightweight ski boot for ski touring which are designed for comfort on the uphill but still maintain good downhill performance and the heavier ski boot which is biased towards downhill performance.
Think about the style of skiing that interests you most. If you enjoy skiing off piste but using uplift you can take the heavier boot. If you prefer to travel in the mountains on foot, then try the lightweight boot.
For many, getting away from the crowded ski resorts to experience the remote mountain wilderness, is important and if this sounds like you then a lighter ski touring boot is best. Skiing from lifts does limit your success of fresh tracks as off-piste skiing is so popular these days.
If you are ski touring for the first time or do not have your own, then renting ski touring boots may be the best solution. Contact Hefti Sports for information on their hire boots and prices.
If you do wisht o buy boots, have a look at the following ranges:
Scarpa ski touring boots
With so many good ski manufacturers and the constantly changing ski designs it can be difficult to choose the right skis.
As a general rule, your ski should be roughly the same height as you are. A general purpose “all rounder” ski should have a waist (width of ski under foot) of between 85mm (if you are under 50kg) to 100mm (if you are over 90kg). I find a waist size of 90mm just about right and I am 66kg (plus 10kg for a rucksack).
Choosing the right ski is a little easier if you're a committed ski tourer, but if you're ski touring for the first time then hiring skis may be the best option - Please contact Hefti Sports for information.
It is better to rent skis if you are not sure what to buy so that our guides can give you input on the best ski for you. But in the meantime, and if you want to buy skis, then have a look at the following manufacturers -
Atomic touring skis
Movement touring skis
Dynastar touring skis
The market leaders for ski touring bindings are Diamir and Dynafit and each has a great range of ski touring bindings. On all ISM ski touring courses it is important to have a ski touring binding
Diamir Fritschi bindings
Inflatable Airbag Rucksack Systems
These are becoming standard equipment as although they may not prevent you from getting caught in an avalanche, they increase your chances of not being buried. However, they are not often used for ski touring as they add extra weight to the rucksack (about 3kg).
Mammut/Snow Pulse and Arc'teryx Voltair 30