Skip to content

Cookies 🍪

This site uses cookies that need consent.

Learn more

Zur Powderguide-Startseite Zur Powderguide-Startseite

Language selection

Search PowderGuide


SnowFlurry 6 2016/17 | Tips and tricks for more enjoyable ski touring

Little things often help a lot

by Lukas Ruetz 12/08/2016
Have you ever helplessly scraped ice out from under the spring bar on the toe piece of a Tech binding? Do other bindings make hairpin turns look much easier? No idea what the difference between brittle and non-brittle drift snow, which may be vital for survival, actually means? SnowFlurry helps.


Familiarize yourself with the basic vocabulary of snow and avalanche awareness. See EAWS glossary. Pointed turns: First find as flat a stance as possible, followed by a kick turn - give the second ski a strong push when turning!

Track rather flat, but with a regular gradient and with foresight - plan for large rocks along the way and avoid them, do not head straight for them. Always track according to the avalanche situation. If the avalanche and snow conditions allow you to ski the entire slope: Use the entire width of the slope and avoid time-consuming and energy-consuming hairpin bends. Understand that the radius and width of a ski in a parallel turn has little influence on the size of the bends. The radius only affects the length of the turn when carving, not when sliding.

Always take your inner boots out of the shell to dry them. Otherwise you will trap moisture between the inner boot and the shell. Also remove insoles.

If you prefer to be out and about in the morning, take an afternoon nap instead. Understand that danger levels alone are just as useful for tour planning without additional information as touring skis without skins. Be happy to take something off a female companion - but never a backpack, shovel, avalanche transceiver and probe! (Editor's note: applies regardless of the gender of the companion.)

Keep in mind that ski lengths and widths have advantages and disadvantages: Basically, the wider and longer, the more track-stable and suitable for high speeds, but the more sluggish. Wide skis offer no advantages in fizzing firn conditions or hard snow conditions and disadvantages on the ascent, as it is much easier to "tip sideways" on steep slopes than with narrow skis. Narrower, shorter skis are much more maneuverable and more pleasant to ski on highly technical, narrow descents or slaloms in rocky slopes or mountain pines. 80mm medium-width skis are still a blessing for tours in little snow, piste tours and in hard or particularly technical downhill conditions.

The weight of the equipment has less influence on the effort required on the ascent than the maneuverability of the equipment. Unfortunately, weight and maneuverability are very often closely linked due to the design. Extra-wide skis are less strenuous for long ascents because of their higher weight - more because of the significantly larger skin surface and the resulting braking effect. In addition, they no longer fit into every ascent track and you can displace a lot of snow again under your own steam.

Use merino underwear. Because they are so infinitely comfortable on the skin and don't start to stink. Be skeptical of new material on the market and only buy it after one or two seasons. Remember once and for all that the most interesting part of winter alpine and high alpine touring takes place between March and June, not between December and February.

Learn to observe nature depending on your interests.

presented by

Tech bindings

When leaving the skis (e.g. from the ski depot to the summit), return the toe piece to the ascent position. This prevents the snow under the spring bar from icing up in the meantime because it is pushed out. When getting on for the descent, first lock the toe piece as for the ascent mode, this ensures that the pins engage fully in the inserts (possible icing or dirt is pushed out of the inserts of the boot) and false releases are less likely. But don't forget to set the toe piece back to downhill mode!

Get a good technique for getting into tech bindings. Learn to strap on skis on hard, smooth steep slopes - without stoppers. To do this, you need to hold the ski with one hand, support yourself on the pole with the other hand, find a good stance with one foot and, while holding the ski, step into the pivots of the front part with the other foot, then engage at the back.


Avoid unpleasant standing times in the parking lot as much as possible: Arrive on time, always stick skins on your skis at home in the dry and warm just before the ski tour. Not at the -15°C cold parking lot! This way you don't freeze your butt off for an unnecessarily long time and don't risk skins coming off the ski base. Do not store boots in the car. Slipping into your boots becomes increasingly difficult in cold temperatures due to the constriction and stiffening of the plastic. In addition, many feet often cannot muster the necessary energy to warm up the material sufficiently over the entire tour and therefore cool down considerably themselves.

When re-skinning during the same tour, first take off the skis, then remove all the snow from the entire base or wipe dry if the snow is damp. Position the ski base against the sun at a 90° angle and only THEN put your boots in the ascent position, take off your jacket, eat, drink, etc. This allows the base to warm up and the skins to stick better. Especially with heavily used skins, the holding power decreases and this can cause problems if the skins are skinned up several times on the same day.

Never place the skis with the base facing the sun before setting off. It can heat up so much that it sticks after the first contact with snow and you get stuck.

Store the skins on your body when skiing in cold temperatures if you are skinning up several times on the same day!

Skin adhesives do not dry out! They absorb dust from the environment and as a result the adhesive surface becomes increasingly contaminated with foreign material and therefore loses its adhesive strength. Never leave the adhesive surface exposed for too long, only until the water from the tour has evaporated.

Other material

Preferably pack more warm clothing than too little.

Always wear gloves, even on the ascent. Anyone can slip and slide down a steep slope. And you almost always unconsciously brake with your hands. This is not particularly pleasant on artificial snow or on a snow cover! If necessary, buy a very thin pair.

The snow pusher personally finds it very convenient to swap the hip buckles of many winter backpacks for a quick-release fastener such as an AustriAlpin Cobra. However, you should not forget to oil your boots regularly to prevent the formation of ice.

Understand that different boots of the same size have different sole lengths and do not have to fit into the drilled binding of the other model.

If you own an airbag, take it with you off-piste. You won't be slower or hindered in any other way - that's a promise. Avalanches usually happen when you don't expect them.

Get advice from an expert retailer on the correct use of buckles, Velcro fasteners or similar on boots. There will be aha moments here. Guaranteed!


Always have a cable tie and a cord in your backpack. Real miracle helpers for makeshift rescue operations!

Push your weight towards the slope on steep slopes, knees towards the slope! With a technique perfected in this direction, you can tackle "smoother" slopes than any crampon user. In addition, smooth, hard steep slopes require strong pole use.

Always carry your backpack on your person, never leave it behind.

Walk ahead in slippery tracks and put your feet on the less slippery spots. Or on an icy ascent track in spring, take a staggered step or walk with one foot on the center bar of the track and the other one ski width off the track.

Learn to jump and change. Greet other winter sports enthusiasts on tours that are not too busy. We are on the mountain, not in the city. It's better to go slowly than quickly and stop often. Swap the gauze bandages in your first aid kit for Israeli bandages! Replace the cheap aluminum rescue blanket with a Blizzard rescue blanket.

Use climbing aids sparingly and at best only use the first one. After a familiarization phase, you will notice the improved, more efficient form of movement.

Poles: longer on the ascent (most efficient at just under cross-country pole length) - shorter on the descent depending on your preference. However, all short pole skiers need a long familiarization phase. Pole position on the ascent: Hold the pole close to your body. This allows you to push off well. If the poles are placed too far away from the body in the snow, you can only support your balance but not "push yourself further".

Note: Reflexive thinking (What am I doing well? What am I doing wrong? Where is there potential for improvement? How can I improve something?) & Keeping your eyes open & Learning from others can make a lot of things easier.

Some things take a relatively long time to get used to. As soon as you've practiced a few moves, techniques and standards (such as immediately switching the low-tech front jaw to the ascent position at the ski depot), they become automatic.

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)

Related articles


presented by