/ Starting Ski Touring.

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ford23 - on 25 Sep 2012
Hi,

I live in the Pyrenees and I've done some winter and summer climbing in the area, as well as some downhill skiing. I'm really keen to try some touring this winter, and am currently looking for some advice. Can anyone recommend any relevant literature, or perhaps some routes in the Pyrenees?

I own some old skis but I wouldn't want to buy the whole touring set until I was serious about it, since they seem to be hugely expensive. Could anyone recommend or offer second hand alpine touring adaptors, that would allow me to use normal skis and bindings in a touring mode? I'd also be interested in a pair of second hand skins.

Thanks.
CampathMike - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford: Unless you're planning on the simplest and shortest of tours you'll want to be using touring or free ride boots rather than conventional downhill boots. Otherwise you're likely to get very painful blisters and be put off by the whole experience. Unfortunately touring boots won't work in downhill bindings (the soles won't release). How about hiring the equipment instead?
ford23 - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to CampathMike: yea ive looked into that and its a possibilty, the problem is its very expensive and havent got much money to spare atm, and the weather is so variable i really need a way to be able to have them avaible for the 5 weeks im here to take advantage of the opertunities
Doug on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford: where are you ? (the Pyrenees are quite large) several guide books to most areas (but in French & Spanish) and French 1:25 000 maps show some ski routes

Alpine trackers work but are a poor solution Considered telemark skis? then you can use the same gear for piste & touring
ford23 - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Doug: i live near st girons which is inbetween a lot of good areas , Luchon, St lary, Mont valier. yea some of the maps ive got have them marked but no more infomation about the routes. telemark sound good ( ive seen some ppl with them), are they expensive genrally? from what ive read youd need boots for it aswell as skis and bindings. do they work well for off pistes desents aswell?
Erstwhile on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford:
> the problem is its very expensive and havent got much money to spare atm,

Not much spare money = buy snowshoes or find a job
Shearwater - on 25 Sep 2012
The way to avoid the expense is to not buy at this time of year ;-) You can often get test and demo skis with touring bindings attached relatively cheaply from places like Sport Conrad.

It is well worth your while saving up for a good pair of boots and having them professionally fitted. A day spent skinning in poorly fitted touring boots is going to mangle your feet.

I'd also highly recommend getting a decent avalanche beacon too. Don't skimp here unless you want to discourage other folk from skiing with you!
ford23 - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Shearwater: Would it be possible to accumulate a full ski touring set gradually, by buying the bindings first, then the boots and then the skis? Would my current downhill boots fit the touring binding (only for use in the short term), and would the bindings attach to my downhill skis?
aligibb - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford:
depending on what touring bindings you buy yes your downhill boots will fit - you need Diamir Fritschi freerides, Marker Dukes or similar not Dynafit ones. however it'll probably end up mor expensive doing it that was rather than getting hold of a 2nd hand set up thats ready to go.
I used my downhill boots for quite a while and they were fine, but then i am used to spending lots of time in them and my feet being sore. Its important whatever boots you use that you do actually do them up esp when travelling uphill and that they fit really well else you'll end up with blisters.
To attach different bindings to your skis you'd need to take the regular ones off and redrill the skis so its not a good idea really.
Skis wise, if you will be around France for a while go to Emmaus which is a kind of 2nd hand shop crossed with a charity shop that sells everything, and has loads of skis/skins etc. You can get some pretty decent stuff there and won't cost a fortune, and if you will be there for 5 weeks and are keen to get out skinning it'll definately be worth it. you could always sell it all again after but I don't think you will!
http://www.emmaus-france.org
You also need to have basic avalanche kit of transciever, shovel and probe, and its always good to have some duck tape, cable ties/ shoelaces etc when you're touring to fix bits of binding etc or attach skins that have lost their stick.

Enjoy!
steveej - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford: check out sport conrad!
Morgan Woods - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford: Don't bother with adapters. You can do short day type tours quite easily in normal downhill boots, just loosen them up. Try and get hold of a second hand pair of marker barons or fritschis and bolt these on to your existing skis and just use your normal boots.
kevin stephens - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford:
A ski touring set up is expensive but extremely good value in terms of expenditure vs buzz, rather than wasting money on compromised gear I recommend hiring proper touring gear to see if it hits ths spot for you, if it does you will be much more at ease in making the necessaey scrifices to buy the kit.
Shearwater - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to sethmford:
> (In reply to Shearwater) Would it be possible to accumulate a full ski touring set gradually?

I don't see why not.

Fitting touring bindings to your existing skis is possible, but not easy. It depends very much on the holes that are already in there. If you know your BSL, the make and type of your current alpine bindings and have access to a printer, go here: http://www.techinfo.bindingfreedom.com/Binding_Templates.html and print out some mounting templates. If you have to shift the touring bindings more than a cm or two forwards or backwards to get good clearance around the drill holes, it won't be worth trying.

I'd keep an eye out for some second hand skis and bindings combined... have a look at ebay item 370643165178 or 300783438623 for an example. Sport Conrad only has a few such offers left now (and they're a bit on the small and light side); you really need to start looking late season to get the best ones (and they had a lot this year).

Buying second hand or sale boots over the internet is probably not a gamble worth taking unless you already know you fit a particular size and model well.

Be cautious about buying any old touring binding because it is cheap. Some are notoriously awful! The Fritschi (usually Freeride) and Marker (Duke, Baron, Tour) touring bindings will both take boots with normal alpine soles. Also be aware that alpine boots can limit you a little; the grippy soles on touring boots make a massive different in places where you can't ski and can't use boot crampons.
Shearwater - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to sethmford)
> I recommend hiring proper touring gear to see if it hits ths spot for you, if it does you will be much more at ease in making the necessaey scrifices to buy the kit.

Yeah, this! If there's somewhere worth skiing, there's almost certainly a place that will hire you some adequate kit not far away.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ford23 - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Shearwater: ive tried a friends touring set for a day and loved it, how much do you think youd be looking at for a second hand set of bindings? do you need mountings aswell(ive unscrewed my alpine bindings and there are the bindings and a plastic section underneath)?

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