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. Avalanche rescue equipment including radio transceiver, probe and shovel should be carried, and the ability to use them quickly and efficiently is required. There is lots more information about avalanches on our Avalanche Awareness site.
Ski touring requires cardiovascular fitness, mental toughness, and a firm understanding of mountain craft. Ski Touring can take place in terrain ranging from perfectly flat to extremely steep. In either case, unlike alpine skiing, the skier's heels must be free to allow a natural walking motion while ascending and traversing. Ski touring has parallels with hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering.
For advocates who possess the skills to safely enter the backcountry in the winter, the rewards of touring can be exceptional. Ski tourers can access mountain ranges and experience solitude, even in areas that would typically be quite crowded in the summer. The skiing can at time be simply amazing!
Competent ski tourers get to experience the self reliance that few others ever get to experience in the modern world. It is therefore an excellent type of winter adventurous journey (expedition) for International Award candidates.
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