Why 2017/18 is the season to ski tour with Mountain Tracks

Written by Emily Morgan
9th February 2018
season, winter, tour, 2018, mountain, Skiing

As the old adage goes “there’s no time like the present” and that couldn’t be truer when talking about touring this season. We explain why this is the season is the season to learn to tour.

  1. The incredible snowfall

It just hasn’t stopped snowing in the Alps this year. Routes that are not usually open until much later in the season have opened due to the incredible early season snow cover. A strong retour d’est has yielded incredible cover, meaning the touring season can start that little bit earlier.

Whilst it can be tough going breaking tracks in deep snow the descent is always worth it. Fairweather spring touring under blue skies is but there’s something about skiing powder that makes the uphill slog that little more bearable.

  1. With great powder comes great responsibility

The flipside of layer upon layer of snow is that the risk of avalanche can be seriously heightened. The immense levels of snow earlier this season caused transport chaos forced resorts to close. Exploring the backcountry should always be done in the company of a trained guide, and in high risk conditions like the ones experienced this season that couldn’t be more important.

Navigating through the mountains safely and efficiently is an essential skill that anyone venturing beyond the resort confines should practice. The best way to learn these skills is from a fully qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide, who accompany every Mountain Tracks trip.

Mountain Tracks run Touring Skills courses throughout the season.

  1. Kit is better than ever

As well as advances in avalanche safety technology, skis, boots and bindings have come on leaps and bounds. Pin bindings are now coming with DIN ratings to increase safety, but they’re not for everyone – luckily frame bindings offer a fantastic alternative.

Find out more about pin and system bindings here.

  1. Busy routes require guides

It would be naive to think that here at Mountain Tracks we are the only people to spot that this season lends itself incredibly well to touring. As such routes may be busier than ever, so booking in advance is vital. Guides will book huts they know to be spacious in good time to ensure that you don’t end up curled up at the foot of the bunks.

A guide will be able to take you on new routes away from the crowds to make sure that you experienced the best conditions without having to share the fresh snow with everyone else! A great example of this is the number of variations on the classic Haute Route, which we examine in our blog: Which Haute Route is for you?

  1. New trips
If you really want to escape all the avid tourers in the Alps, then you can’t do any better than heading to an entirely new mountain range all together! Mountain Tracks runs several trips to exotic ranges that are well off the beaten track, new trips this year include our trips to Mount Etna and our new Muztagh Ata Expedition.
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