Ski touring is perhaps the ultimate way to travel through the mountains in winter. On the ascents skins are fitted to the bottom of skis to allow us to glide uphill without sinking down into the snow as we would on foot. We can move more quickly than we would on foot and of course on the downhills we can enjoy fresh tracks through the back country with the pleasure of having earnt our turns!
What is Ski Touring?
Ski touring allows you to travel through the mountains in winter with skis on your feet. It may include summits where it is necessary to climb with crampons and an axe, with skis stashed or carried on your back. Skis tend to be very similar to those used by downhill skiers with the emphasis being on off-piste models. Boots are specific to ski touring and are plastic boots in the same way that a downhill boot is but with a Vibram sole unit and a walk mode that allows flex at the ankle. Bindings for ski touring allow you to fix the heel for descents and free the heel for ascents.
Scottish Offpiste Skiing
Scotland offers some superb offpiste skiing and ski touring. The first snows of the season tend to arrive in September but not in sufficient quantities for skiing until November/December. December and January are generally pretty windy but can bring some great powder as we get some larger dumps of snow. February and March are usually the most reliable months for snow cover and when the sun comes out we can have some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world.
Scotland tends to experience a great deal of temperature variation, going through cycles of thaw and freeze which alternately de-stabilze and re-stabilze the snow pack from an avalanche point of view and change the nature of the skiing from day to day.
There are good resorts in Glencoe, Nevis Range on Aonach Mor and in the Cairngorms, each offering uplift and the potential for offpiste action. For inspiration take a look at the new guidebook "Scottish Offpiste Skiing and Snowboarding" by Kenny Biggin.
Our Ski Courses are for people who can ski in resort and want to learn the skills to ski safely in the back country and enjoy ski tours in the winter mountains.
To view our ski courses listed by date visit the diary page and scroll down to the snow and ice section of the diary.
Scottish Ski Touring Week: A week of ski touring in the mountains of Scotland, learning the skills to be self sufficient and skiing great routes and ticking off summits.
Avalanche Avoidance Course: A two day course looking at what causes and how to avoid avalanches based in Scotland or Snowdonia.