Ski Touring – 16 Things to Know

Post by blogger | March 1, 2017      

We’ve been encountering quite a few newcomers to our sport, both online and in person. More the better we say! Here is a list for you all:

Vipec has ZERO tech gap. Instead, turn a screw at the rear until binding heel contacts boot.

Tech bindings have pins that match steel boot fittings at toe and heel.

0. Ski touring is all about walking uphill. If you do not enjoy walking uphill, you will not enjoy ski touring.

1. Tech bindings are the way, frame bindings are klunky junk. “Tech” bindings are ski bindings with the “Dynafit” configuration that sticks two tiny pins into special boot fittings at toe and heel.

2. Dynafit is pronounced two ways: “Deeee-na-fit” & “Diiiii-na-fit.” If you’re dealing with well seasoned individuals or experienced ski shop folks, either pronunciation is okay.

3. You don’t need adjustable ski poles. But if you want, by all means feel free as they can be handy.

4. Any avalanche beacon currently available works fine if you practice with it. If you don’t practice several times a season, any avalanche beacon currently available is at best a statement of how self centered you are.

5. Airbag avalanche balloon packs are worth sporting if you ski in avalanche terrain. Buy a pack that allows you to practice a few inflations a year. Electronic packs may be the way of the future, but the lightest weight are currently European models configured with carbon fiber gas cylinders.

6. While going uphill, you’ll need much less clothing than you generally use while resort skiing. Layering is key, and consider pants that are trimmer than an Airbus — there is only one of you in there, not you and three special friends.

7. Especially while learning, beware of large groups. Best to ski with just a couple of other people who you’re comfortable with as mentors.

8. Next to bindings, special boots are what makes ski touring work. If you get lighter ones they’ll feel different than your alpine boots. Embrace the feeling, get out and practice.

9. Carry a good shovel specifically made for avalanche rescue, learn how to stow it inside your backpack instead of with the handle sticking up like a telephone pole.

10. Gear shopping can be overwhelming and expensive. Get to know your local consignment shop and don’t be afraid of Ebay.

11. Getting familiar with your gear by uphilling at resorts is alright. Could even be a way to make friends.

12. Goggles are often best left in a case, in your backpack, until needed for the downhill. But always bring them.

13. Helmets are okay, use a net or other carrying device on you backpack, don’t let it just dangle and fill with snow. Wear your hardhat while skiing down — there is nothing weirder than seeing a person skiing downhill with a helmet swinging from their backpack. Consider wearing your helmet all the time, up and down.

14. Know first aid. Take a course if necessary.

15. Likewise, know what an avalanche is and how it happens — take an avalanche safety course.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


62 Responses to “Ski Touring – 16 Things to Know”

  1. Camilo March 1st, 2016 9:47 am

    16? You don’t need to lift your skis when skinning. They’re not snowshoes and you’re wasting energy.

  2. Jong Doe March 1st, 2016 9:48 am

    Take your time, it is not a race. Slow down and think about what you are doing. Have a snack and a sip of water before dropping into a line. Too many times partners are in such a hurry that they don’t take in the environment around them. They get tunnel vision and focus on just getting to the bottom of the line and get all stressed out. That’s when you forget to put one of your skins in your pack, or leave your boots in walk mode, or forget to put on your helmet. Likewise, changeover at the top of the skin is not a race, be efficient, but don’t rush. That’s when your ski accidentally takes a trip down the run before you.

  3. See March 1st, 2016 9:52 am

    Is #1 based on anything other than tech binding weight advantage (promotional considerations don’t count)?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 9:55 am

    Stride advantage as well, plus the fact that release safety and retention advantages of frame bindings are often imaginary, based on years of bench tests. To be fair, likewise for tech bindings in terms of release and retention, but point being the frame bindings are often no better, and lighter and easier to stride, so winner, tech bindings. All my opinion of course, comments appreciated. Lou

  5. See March 1st, 2016 10:23 am

    I admit I don’t tour with frame bindings, but I do have a couple of pairs mounted on resort boards. I think their release/retention characteristics are better than my tech bindings, but I defer to Lou’s vastly greater experience.

    With frame bindings, the convenience and safety advantages of easy step-in and not having to clear ice from under toe arms and sockets are significant. For newcomers, the tech binding learning curve is not trivial. I’m not sure I would emphasize the importance of using tech bindings for fit beginners who just want to do some mellow bc skiing.

  6. See March 1st, 2016 10:26 am

    Or, for that matter, for experienced skiers looking for alpine like downhill performance in terrain/conditions that are definitely not mellow.

  7. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 10:34 am

    See, if the frame binding really does demonstrate friction control and return to center that approximates an alpine binding, and skis without pre-release at chart settings, then fine. As for beginners, the reason I advocate tech bindings is all do often I see beginners stuck on frame bindings simply because the step-in is easier, and sweating their way up a hill trailing a group of friends all with lightweight gear. In my view, I’d rather my beginner friend fiddled with their bindings a bit and felt the joy of uphilling on tech, rather than feeling pain just so they can look down and see a toe piece that’s faux alpine. Lou

  8. See March 1st, 2016 10:50 am

    I haven’t noticed significantly less joy/more pain among friends using frame bindings. True, most eventually switch to tech bindings, but I know people who tour for years with frame bindings with no apparent ill effects. I think I’m with JD when he says “it’s not a race.” If your ski partners are torturing you, maybe you need new ski partners.

  9. See March 1st, 2016 11:06 am

    Don’t get me wrong. I think tech bindings are the way to go for most touring purposes. But I’m seeing more people at the resort using tech bindings and I suspect at least a few of them rarely, if ever, put on a pair of skins. In my opinion, there is a place for frame bindings, and I think the hype surrounding the current crop of tech bindings is a bit excessive.

  10. Brian March 1st, 2016 11:38 am

    Marker Kingpin combines the best of tech bindings and traditional alpine bindings and they have great power transfer. They are also easy to use, which is good for the greenhorn.

  11. Rudi March 1st, 2016 11:43 am

    If you are skiing in a resort you should be skiing on an alpine binding, the good ones (from look) come with loads of elasticity and multiple release angles perfect for skiing fast in moguls or hardpack or backwards or whatever. Dynafit in the resort is for people with lots of cash to spend on spare parts. Frame bindings really have no role or advantage beyond being easy to step into….maybe. They are a marketing ploy to sell a fantasy to people at a lower price point. All you need are these bindings and you can be a bc skier TOMORROW! Beginners just like experts need purpose built equipment tailored to their objective whether that be alpine in the resort or tech in the bc.

    oh and #17: One pair of light gloves, one pair of mittens

  12. Rob S March 1st, 2016 12:10 pm

    My wife and I chose frame bindings because of the ‘ease of use/familiarity factor.’

    You could of course argue that if we aren’t comfortable with the equipment, we ought not venture into the backcountry.

    That said, since we’re going to go out regardless of what you think, I like the piece of mind that I KNOW both she and I are correctly in our bindings as we tour/ski.

    Just my 2.

  13. See March 1st, 2016 12:11 pm

    Yeah, Rudi, I’ve pretty much retired my frame bindings (or will have once I mount some Verticals on the boards I’ve been skiing with frames). But “alpine for resort, tech for touring” pretty much requires at least two pairs of skis, bindings and boots. That may not be an option for some people/situations.

    And frame bindings aren’t a total fantasy. They do work for touring. They’re just heavy.

  14. Greg March 1st, 2016 12:54 pm

    #0: Ski touring is all about walking uphill. If you do not enjoy walking uphill, you will not enjoy ski touring.

  15. Mike morris March 1st, 2016 1:17 pm

    Most important is to have fun, even if your bindings are heavy, your skis are black, your poles adjust and you aren’t outfitted head to toe in deeeeenafit. Please be safe!

  16. Zorba March 1st, 2016 1:19 pm

    Frame bindings are good enough for people who really don’t want to buy and maintain two sets of skis and boots. The toe pivot point is quite far forward which I find awkward, otherwise the pros outweigh the cons for many.

    I like this list. Sensible no-bs advice.

  17. Bruno Schull March 1st, 2016 1:31 pm

    Hi. I’ve mentioned frame bindings more than once on this site, so I may as well do so again. I started touring with frame bindings, switched to pin bindings, and went back to frame bindings. My reasons? Peace of mind. I like the fact that I don’t have to think about clearing snow, wondering and worrying about being in or not, or about being locked or unlocked, and so on. I like the elasticity in the toe and the forward pressure from the heel. I like the easy switching between downhill, flat, and different climbing modes. I like the invisible functionality of the brakes. I like the neutral ramp angle. I don’t notice the small difference in the stride characteristics (some new frame bindings have pivot points farther forward than old frame bindings). Everybody says that the only advantage of frame bindings is that they are easier to get into, but I would say, for me, the only drawback is the weight. Sure, they are heavier, but not as much as you might think, especially compared to the heaver pin bindings, like the Beast or the Kingpin. With a light ski and a modern boot the whole set up is light enough. And I just don’t ever have to think about it. I like gear that disappears, and I”m willing to carry that weight uphill, so that I don’t have to think about my bindings. I live in Europe. At most resorts, I see many frame bindings, and very few pin bindings. In Chamonix, pin bindings are much more popular. But still, I
    am surprised by how many new skis with new frame bindings are being used. Obviously, I’m not the only one who see some advantages to frame bindings. Lou–I greatly respect your experience. Have you bench tested new frame bindings? Are their claims about elasticity and/or retention exaggerated? My new Diamir frame bindings appear to function just like alpine bindings. Is this a misconception on my part? If I take them to a shop to get them checked, what would I look for? Some of the shops here in Switzerland have these machines that work the bindings through their paces and print out a report about release values…. How can I learn what my bindings are doing (or not doing) in terms of elasticity and retention? Thanks.

  18. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 2:00 pm

    Bruno, points taken. Main thing with the frame bindings is that the elasticity and return-to-center depends very much on the AFD, the boot sole, and how the binding is adjusted. I’ve bench tested many frame binding and boot combinations that were less than inspiring in that regard, but some work fine. Lou

  19. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 2:01 pm

    Greg, I like #0

  20. Andrew March 1st, 2016 2:05 pm

    Lots of parallels between ski equipment and cycling, particularly with respect to weight:

    1) A $10,000 sub 6kg aerodynamic road bike is really nice to ride, but if it’s ridden by an 80 hour a week lawyer who eats business lunches 3x a week, he will still get his arse kicked by fit cyclists on 12kg steel road bikes built the 1970s.

    2) Really light stuff breaks and is a pain in the arse to maintain in good working order. Light brakes in particular don’t work in the rain and downhill, thus costing you the few seconds you gained uphill. So buy something which is heavy enough to work.

    3) Light stuff makes less difference than you think. Analytical cycling shows clearly that saving a few kg in bike weight will save at most a few minutes on a long route, which is far less than you would imagine. Regular training would also save most people those few minutes in a month or two, while leaving the wallet much heavier.

    4) The right number of bikes is always N+1

    5) As Keith Bontrager said, “In the triangle of cheap, lightweight and durable pick two”

  21. Andrew March 1st, 2016 2:25 pm

    @Bruno, the digital printouts from Swiss shops will show you the actual torque values (in Newton metres) at which your bindings release sideways and forwards. The shop should compare this with the DIN table of release values which for a DIN value of X means sideways torque of Y and forwards torque of Z. This shows the binding releases at the correct torque setting on the bench at least. If it does not release at the expected values then the binding is either defective, or more likely the setup is deficient in some way.

    Even so, some shops with digital test gear still manage to f**** it up. My cousin bought his skis and boots from a central Zurich store, which set them up with almost zero forward pressure then tightened the tension adjustment screws to achieve the desired DIN 6 torque values. If I hadn’t checked them, he would have ejected during his first mogul run.

    IMHO anyone who skis regularly should learn enough to set up simple, mission critical mechanical things like bindings to avoid relying on the saturday working student to take care of their knees.

  22. James B March 1st, 2016 2:55 pm

    16. Read religiously, even in the summer, and pay attention.

    17. Learn to be an equipment geek.

    Recent example – I didn’t ski last season (2014-15) due to poor conditions in Utah. Stopped reading regularly. I revved it up this season (2015-16) when Utah got some snow. Was spending an evening catching up on unread Wildsnow articles after a long day in the backcountry, and I spied the article regarding Dynafit’s “voluntary service upgrade” for Radical FT 1.0 bindings, which I use on my Dynafit Stoke 191 skis. I called Salewa the next day to start the process. They asked that I send them photos of my bindings to determine if mine were eligible. I took photos, and while uploading them I saw one of my heel pieces had a difficult-to-see but large crack in it. Was probably just a matter of time before that heel left me stranded in the BC.

    Without Wildsnow, I never would have known about the “service upgrade” and probably never would have noticed the crack until the heel failed. So thanks to all the equipment geeks at Wildsnow for saving me from a very bad day.

    And…..if you’ve got a pair of Radical 1.0’s, get out a magnifying glass, a bright light, and check them. Carefully.

  23. Rachel Bellamy March 1st, 2016 3:51 pm

    I appreciate this list. Thanks for taking it back to the basics.

  24. Lisa Dawson March 1st, 2016 4:44 pm

    Carpet test getting in and out of your bindings before you’re on the slopes. A little practice really helps.

  25. See March 1st, 2016 5:32 pm

    Pockets. Put compass, map, navigation device, sunblock, lip balm, food, light shell, hat, glasses wipe, camera, water, etc. in pockets and don’t stop. Leave those tech weenies behind as they rummage around in their packs.

  26. See March 1st, 2016 5:34 pm

    Put critical items in their own pocket so they don’t get lost.

  27. Terry March 1st, 2016 6:46 pm

    Re. “Dynafit in the resort is for people with lots of cash to spend on spare parts.”

    I don’t agree at all, having skied Dynafits (Speed Superlights, Speed Radicals, and Comforts) in the resort over the last 8 years. I spend 1/2 my time in the backcountry, and the other half at Kirkwood. I have yet to buy any spare parts, other than a single plastic “volcano”, which cracked touring.

    I don’t advocate using tech bindings in the resort like I do, but for someone who doesn’t want a separate resort setup, Dynafits work fine!

  28. See March 1st, 2016 6:58 pm

    As long as you ski within the limits of your equipment. In my opinion, if you’re skiing hard and fast in serious terrain, alpine gear works better and holds up better.

  29. Bill kobak March 1st, 2016 10:02 pm

    Excellent comments but here’s my problem: I have my gear and know who to use it but I live far away from where I can hike/skin to maintain my fitness. As a result I get schooled every time I tour and end up slowing the group down. I can hold my own on the ski down but the uphill kicks my butt. I know that it’s not a race but I’d like to keep up with the group. My mountain friends are always understanding and wait, but does anyone have recommendations on how to train for touring when living in the flatlands?

  30. Seb March 1st, 2016 11:31 pm

    16. Use sun protection and don’t foget your hands.

    17. You might bring a second pair of gloves. One for up and one for down.

  31. Bruno March 1st, 2016 11:34 pm

    11.b. Just make sure to ask the info desk/guest services or ski patrol to see if it’s permitted at that particular resort and if there are designated up routes.

  32. Matt Kinney March 1st, 2016 11:46 pm

    Add more rules one eventually figures this out. It called the Powder Rule.

    #49 Live in the 49th state. 🙂

  33. Lou Dawson 2 March 2nd, 2016 5:12 am

    Bill, no exact solution for that, it’s simply about keeping an excellent cardio base, which you’ll need to get via something like cycling or swimming, and doing some weight work. I should talk, I don’t do enough of either during the off season and always pay a price. Lou

  34. Arnie March 2nd, 2016 7:17 am

    It is problem no doubt. There’s a couple of threads about training, usually Octvemberish as we all get sweaty palms waiting for the snow. Just type “training” in the site search. If memory serves there’s a video somewhere of his blogness “clipping in” and training in secret.
    Ultimately the best programme is the one you can actually stick to. A mixture of the stuff you like doing with enough of what you need to do.
    Without redoing the whole thread I follow a couple of Rob Shaul’s Mountain Athelete programmes ( highly rate them. Someone put up alink to “Manual of ski mountaineering racing” which I got ( which has mini-revolutionised my approach to rest. Essentially 2 or 3 days work with 1 day rest to break it up.
    Stick at it!

  35. Lou Dawson 2 March 2nd, 2016 7:32 am

    Folks, I need to do a better job of making our categories obvious. In any case, we do have a fitness category with lots of posts.


  36. Arnie March 2nd, 2016 7:34 am

    While I’m in a typing mood I dynafit at resort. It’s a quiver of one thing. For me any practice on any snow should be on the gear you intend to use for your most difficult skiing. I don’t get enough days on snow to differentiate, your mileage may lucky, lucky..people. I generally avoid the park although my kids try and entice me in and snowcross on touring gear is the biz!

  37. Lou Dawson 2 March 2nd, 2016 7:35 am

    When I used to guide, I found the biggest problem with my clients wasn’t their fitness, it was that they were usually carrying around 10 or 20 pounds of extra weight. They’d train for the trip, get reasonable cardio, but end up eating more because of stimulated appetite, and arrive with the baggage. The guys who could simply lose ten pounds before getting here for a trip did so much better. Tough to do, but it can be done. Good for overall health as well.

  38. Arnie March 2nd, 2016 7:48 am

    Ah I have a mini theory on this.
    All French guides are stick thin and go like trains. However bacon is essentially unavaible/ rubbish in France(lardons I ask you?) , they generally smoke like chimneys and weissbier/biere blanche is also difficult to come by.
    I love bacon, don’t smoke and would take weissbier on a drip if offered hence…yes need to lose 10lbs!

  39. Lou Dawson 2 March 2nd, 2016 8:53 am

    Hey James, BTW, you made our day. Wonderful we helped you avoid a gear failure in the middle of nowhere! Lou

  40. Wookie March 2nd, 2016 8:55 am

    Training! You have to be fit: go running. There is really no truly comparable substitute. Make sure to run early and often, and put at least one long day in a week. Long is a relative term, but a 15 or 20 km slow jog is what will really up the fitness. Additionally – weight is a huge factor. The less you weigh – the better. If you happen to be American, and I don’t mean this to be ugly, consider that your “normal” is ten to fifteen kilos above a “fit normal”. This is a really difficult weight to reach in the US with all the convenience food but if you can get down, you’ll notice huge improvements. Unfortunately – I’ve never been able to do it with activity alone. One must reduce food intake. (In case you are wondering, I lost more than 40 pounds when I moved to Europe – so I know what I’m talking about.)
    Also – chuck almost everything out of your pack and avoid gadgets like the plague. Things add up.

  41. Armie March 2nd, 2016 9:37 am

    @Wookie totally agree it’s a combination of diet and suitable exercise.
    “You can’t outrun a s__t diet!”
    There’s a famous story of a mountain guide, possibly made up.

    Guide enquires of rather overweight client,
    “…and what training have you been doing for the climb?”
    Client: “I’ve mostly been riding my horse.”
    Guide: ” It’s you that’s climbing not your f_____g horse!”

  42. Trent March 2nd, 2016 10:55 am

    Bob, stairmaster or just stairs if you live/work near a tall building. And a long run/swim/xcountry ski/bike every week. Ditto to Rob Shaul’s site.

  43. Mark L March 2nd, 2016 10:55 am

    Seb – “17. You might bring a second pair of gloves. One for up and one for down.”
    Here in the Pacific NW where we often end up skiing in “mixed” precipitation (or just rain) you should have at minimum 2 pairs of thin liners, shells, and at least one fleece insulating layer. I layer my hands like it do the rest of me.

  44. Darren Jakal March 2nd, 2016 11:02 am

    Behave appropriately given the conditions and you can get more with less. Don’t expect protective equipment (helmets and airbags) to make you safe. Backcountry skiing is not safe. It’s about understanding conditions, evaluating risk and making decisions. It’s knowing when to NOT to ski a slope and it’s not all about consuming. Not everyone needs a quiver.

  45. Mark L March 2nd, 2016 11:09 am

    Bill – a combination of endurance, interval, and weight training. Run intervals and “tempo runs” . Doing interval exercises like sets of stepping up on a sturdy box (with weights when you work up to it) interspersed with high intensity short runs. 1 or 2 minute sprints interspersed with push-ups, that sort of thing. Basic cross-training. It does not require fancy gyms or equipment. A basic set of hand weights is useful. There are great fitness programs for video game consoles as well. There is a book called Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness” I think that has great, low-investment exercises for different kinds of outdoor sports.

  46. Jim Milstein March 2nd, 2016 1:24 pm

    I agree with all those who recommend skiing with a light body and a light pack. Less weight carried on the feet also has made a big difference for me, most dramatically when I renounced the telemark religion and went over to the devil worshipping AT cult.

    Gear fiddling: as little as possible. Know your gear and get efficient combinations of gear.

  47. Tyler March 2nd, 2016 3:45 pm

    Arnie – You’re absolutely right and (Lou) I feel this needs to be edited into the article. In the PNW, few resorts allow for uphill travel in bounds. Some won’t even let you duck the rope to go up. It’s essential for individual safety and general perception of backcountry travelers that we follow the rules of the resorts.

  48. Tyler March 2nd, 2016 3:50 pm

    I bought a backcountry set up when I worked at a ski shop and had ready access to traditional alpine rentals. Now that I’m not working at the shop, my only set up is my light skis and tech bindings. While my wife is school, I can’t afford to buy or even rent skis for my resort days, so I rock the backcountry set up in area.

    While I agree it’s less than ideal (pre-released last season and wiped out hard, fortunately just on a blue cruiser and no real harm done), it’s my only option for now. Just saying, don’t judge until you have the facts, and appreciate the fact that “that guy” at the resort is out there skiing, and that’s awesome!

  49. Dave March 2nd, 2016 6:27 pm

    Anyone know of a vendor that makes a mesh net to attach to a pack to carry the helmet uphill? Thought about making one.. That’s as far as I got

  50. Dave March 2nd, 2016 6:31 pm

    What brands, and models of ski gloves are people using for uphill skinning? Ie light weight, wind/water resistance etc

  51. Jim Milstein March 2nd, 2016 7:34 pm

    Why carry a helmet separately, Dave? Use your head. The CAMP Speed helmet (or the Black Diamond Vapor helmet) beloved of skimo racers is so well-ventilated that it’s cooler uphill, if worn without a cap or beanie beneath, than a mesh bill-cap, and it provides shade from the sun. Also, it’s really light, and it’s rated for rock climbing. Less gear fiddling when you always wear your helmet, not to mention some increment in protection.

    Regarding gloves: there are so many brands and models and so much personal variation, you should just get something you think will work. It probably will, if you’re not a fussbudget.

  52. GeorgeT March 2nd, 2016 7:41 pm

    Dave – Mesh helmet net by Dakine on is $15. Modified to fit a BD pack.

  53. GeorgeT March 3rd, 2016 6:06 am
  54. Nodz March 3rd, 2016 10:27 am

    If there are any beginners out there who are interested in getting their own gear, I will say this:

    Skip over point 1. Really, frame bindings are just fine to get started (and continue) on. You will have just as much fun as you would with any other binding, I promise you. Ive done many long trips on frame bindings and kept up just fine.
    In general, I would suggest to pay no attention to the gear nerds (no offense gear nerds – I love you, but you can be a little intimidating to beginners).
    Other than that, good list!

  55. Tyler March 3rd, 2016 10:41 am

    Nodz – I would say if a beginner is looking to get a backcountry specific set up, why not go with a tech set up? The costs aren’t significantly more, and there are plenty of (well discussed) benefits.

    That being said, if you are getting one set up to do all your skiing, I agree, frame bindings are much more appropriate. Especially if, like most beginners, you’re going to be doing 80-90% in area.

  56. Nodz March 3rd, 2016 10:53 am

    Tyler – fair enough, I just dont think its necessary to dismiss perfectly good gear as “junk” when ultimately your heart, lungs and mind will dwarf the contribution from your skis, boots and bindings when out on the snow. Nothing against tech bindings, nothing against frame bindings – hell, wear a pink tutu and leather bindings from the ’30s if you want – if youre game and dont complain, Ill totally ski with you…

  57. Ed R March 3rd, 2016 12:14 pm

    Dave, I used many, many different types of lightweight gloves for the up. All wear out much too quickly as they get a much bigger workout than what you use on the down. Too many stitches! A few years ago I cut a finger bad and had to get lightweight mittens for the up. I borrowed heavy mitts. Will never go back for the up! Mittens go off and on so easily when needed. I like the OR PL400, light enough to do zippers, boot buckles and fastec buckles. When i switch, they go under the chest flap of my bibs and are warm and dry (ier) when i switch back. Wet gloves are a pain to get on, not so with mitts. Fingers stay warmer without as much sweating. I picked up a pair of North Face mitten shells that I carry for extra warmth and wet shed over the ORs (BTW, North Face has a warped idea of sizing, their XL is the size of most Ms). Last year I started checking out snowboard shops for spring sales and have added two pair of shelled but very lightweight mittens, those are better for frigid conditions, I’ve been carrying both the ORs and a shelled pair cause they are incredibly light and my warm gloves stay dry in my pack on a lotta days.
    If you don’t like the mitten idea, lotsa folks get away with $10 work gloves, the knit kind with rubber palms and fingers. Make sure to buy ’em larger sized as “rubber squeezing fingers” = cold fingers!

  58. Dano March 3rd, 2016 11:48 pm

    Nodz gets my Nod!

  59. Susie A March 4th, 2016 1:26 pm

    I wish someone had recommended to get tech bindings straight away when I bought my first set up. Would have saved a lot of blisters (something to do with the pivot point and lifting the extra weight) as well as money in the long run.

    I’m with you guys on the body weight thing. I reckon it costs £100 to save 100g in most outdoor gear, so better to lose a few pounds/kilos than focus on trying to get your kit super lightweight.

  60. XXX_er March 4th, 2016 3:21 pm

    yeah Susie A but IME going full tech for the average newbie to start is pretty damn expensive when they don’t know how much they will tour so slowly sliding into BC skiing makes more sense

    At this point any money i might have possibly saved going tech from the start just gets lost on the procurement of multiple tech setups .

  61. See March 4th, 2016 9:04 pm

    Looks like the cost of tech bindings is significantly more than frame on the used market. I didn’t even try to identify bindings that probably need to be upgraded due to various early version problems.

  62. Skitøj May 12th, 2016 3:05 am

    Great List for a rookie. Many of them are very useful to remember.

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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