Last week, we tried a new sport - ski touring! It requires different equipment (of course) so we've been spending lots of time at our new favourite ski store / gas station (a one stop shop) renting touring boots and skis, trying different widths and lengths in an attempt to figure it all out. Touring is like winter hiking, but even better because you get to make your own fresh ski tracks on the way down. Skis and bindings are lighter in weight than their downhill cousins which takes some getting used to and the whole idea of layering your clothing is essential to being comfortable - not too warm, but not too cold.
At the bottom, you put the skins on your skis which makes them stick to the snow for the ascent. You also put your boots on "walk" which gives them lots of flex and they are surprisingly comfortable. The bindings allow your heel to be clipped in for skiing down or free for skinning up, there is even a "high heel" option for steep climbs!
It's truly amazing. The pace is perfect - there is time to notice things like how the feeling of the snow changes between north and south facing slopes. You can really see the shapes of the terrain and trees and take in the colour of the sky. Our guide even noticed a few Steinbock way above us on a rock face, or so he claimed, I didn't have my glasses on! Some of our fellow skiers like to listen to music on the way up, but I like to hear the crunching of the snow under my skis, enjoy the peace of the quiet and pay attention to the cadence of my breath (or lack of it sometimes).
For me, touring is not just about skiing, but about the whole experience of spending time on the snow, "climbing" the mountain, being in the presence of impossibly beautiful views. It makes me feel connected to the landscape, like I'm really a part of our surroundings in a way that more traditional downhill skiing lacks.
Another incredible way of exploring the mountains....
|heading up behind Rougemont|
almost at the summit of Rodomont Derriere
|lunch in the sun at 1900m, Rodomont Derriere|