Ski touring Himalayas
Read an article about ski touring Himalayas. Published in Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal, and written by Brennan Lagasse. It’s best to read this article on a computer or tablet device. Ski touring Himalayas.
Ski touring is a form of backcountry skiing where both uphill and downhill travel are possible without needing to remove skis. Typically touring is done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day.
Ski touring cuts across either Nordic and Alpine forms and embraces such sub-disciplines as Telemark and randonnée. A defining characteristic is the skier’s heel being free to allow a natural gliding motion while traversing and ascending terrain which may range from perfectly flat to extremely steep.
Ski touring has been adopted by skiers seeking new snow, by alpinists, and by those wishing to avoid the high costs of traditional alpine skiing at resorts. Touring requires independent navigation skills and may involve route finding through potential avalanche terrain.
Ski touring has parallels with hiking and wilderness backpacking. Ski mountaineering is a form of ski touring which variously combines the sports of Telemark, Alpine, and backcountry skiing with that of mountaineering.
Ski touring requires the ability to ski off-piste, good navigation skills, and good awareness of the risks of the mountain environment in winter. In particular it requires the knowledge to assess and test snow conditions to minimise the risk of avalanche.
Descending is exactly like alpine skiing: sliding down the hill on skis. When the ski tourer is ready to go uphill, climbing aids are used to prevent slipping backward.
As the slope angles increase, the climbing ski-tourer will make switchbacks, using kick turns to change direction, typically resulting in a line that climbs at a moderate angle of 20-30 degrees. Skin tracks can be seen as zig-zags heading up a snowy mountain. Ski-tourers try to maintain the up-tracks in avalanche-safe zones as they head up the mountain, staying out from under dangerous cornices or slide paths. Setting a proper and safe skin track requires a great deal of skill and avalanche knowledge as the tourer spends most of their time climbing. Traveling quickly up potential avalanche terrain is important for safety as well. Thus physical fitness is a crucial element of safe mountain travel.
Ski touring the Himalayas. Contact Luke to discuss further.
See some of ski trips for 2018 here: