UKC

/ another beginner's touring advice thread...

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hpil - on 14 Nov 2017
I'm going out to north Sweden in Feb for some climbing with my mate who lives out there. To get anywhere other than roadside crags, skis are required. Its only (ahem) 29 years since i stood on a pair of skis (2 hols or 1 week each in european resorts). I've got as far as working out from the cairngorm mountain ski lesson thing that i was probably about ski level 3 or possibly 4 then (am i right in thinking ski levels vary from place to place - by this site http://www.insideoutskiing.com/level.html i'd have been level 5...), and also spoken to very helpful folk at Craigdon Perth who can hire me touring boots and skis.
I'm thinking it might be wise to get some practice in and perhaps learn what i'm supposed to be doing - a lesson / slope time to re-learn the downhill control stuff? some time out touring so i have at least some idea of what to do, and boot fit? Any tips, ideas or recommendations on eg refresher / update lessons? where is best to go for such lessons / slope time (I'm based outside edinburgh)? lessons, practice or 'supervised on the job' learning? If i'm gettign some downhill lessons / time in, should i do this with the touring kit i'd ultimately be hiring, or with proper / std downhill kit? etc etc etc
Oh, and as 'cost effective' as possible, please!
jonnie3430 - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to hpil:

I'd recommend a couple of sessions on the dry slope in Edinburgh, I didn't find the switch to touring skis and boots hard, so would suggest their downhill kit.

You hiring skis and boots for the trip? If you are thinking about buying, I'd recommend second hand stuff as the price new is ridiculous.
girlymonkey - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to hpil:

Are you sure it's touring as opposed to cross country skis that you will need? When I have been in Sweden it has been cross country instead. Obviously if you are going climbing then you will be in a less flat area so it might be touring, but could be worth checking as they have very different equipment and technique.
hpil - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

It's touring, to get in to the mountains for some climbing, and then climbing in the touring boots
jpicksley - on 20 Dec 2017
In reply to hpil:
In the past 4 years I've started skiing and then touring having come from a snowboarding and mountaineering background. Initially I concentrated on downhill and found I improved pretty fast (the snowboarding experience definitely helped). When I started to get into touring the advice I got was to get as much downhill practice as possible as skinning is easy to pick up and not as technical as downhill (I also have a good base of general mountain skills and experience, so this part of the equation wasn't a worry for me). I think this was very good advice. I initially concentrated on pistes and am now trying to get mileage in off piste. I'm finding the switch from on to off piste quite difficult. From my own experience when I went from downhill skis to skiing downhill in touring skis I had to go through another learning curve as well as the skis felt quite different (longer and wider) - I suspect a better skier would find this transition easier.

In a nutshell my advice would be to get as much downhill in as possible (initially on and then off piste and initially on downhill skis and then touring skis). I found touring skis difficult to adjust too but then I'm relatively new to skiing. I suspect good skiers will transition much more easily to touring skis then I did. Now I only ski in my tourers even if I'm on piste, just so I can keep practicing on them. I think it's really all about mileage (although I'm starting to think a lesson or two might help, particularly with respect to off piste).

Good luck and enjoy!
Post edited at 13:06
alasdair19 on 20 Dec 2017
In reply to hpil:

Skiing off piste with a full climbing sack will be pretty challenging. Get up to hillend and see how much you remember for off piste lessons I can recommend off piste performance if Scotland Gets enough snow before your trip.

Take care with crampon and boot compatibility. I've heard more than one alarming story.
blurty - on 20 Dec 2017
In reply to alasdair19:

Another vote for http://www.offpiste.org.uk/
Jim 1003 - on 22 Dec 2017
In reply to hpil:

You might be better with snowshoes given the short amount of time you have to improve, ideally you need least full week in the snow first, but even then you are going to struggle.
If the snows deep you are really going to have some serious issues...the steeper the ground the harder it will be....big rucksacks and little practice means huge wipeouts!

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