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5 Reasons Why You Should Try Ski Touring This Winter

Escape the Crowded Resorts and Get Off the Grid

By: Cat Ekkelboom-White + Save to a List

I have always protested that ski touring wasn't for me. After all, why waste all that energy climbing up a mountain when there's a perfectly good ski lift that can get you to the top much faster and with much less effort. 

But as a promise to my husband this winter, I'm giving ski touring a try, and it's definitely starting to grow on me. Do I find it exhausting some days and wonder why I'm doing it when I could be cruising the slopes? Absolutely. But I'm starting to love getting away from the crowds and really feel like I'm getting out into nature.

So here are 5 reasons why I'm sticking with it and why you should try touring this winter:

1. It's Great For Fitness

Even with the most lightweight gear, touring usually involves climbing up a mountain, which means you're going to get your heart beating faster and you're going to start sweating. And even when it's not that steep, if you've got fresh snow, you're going to be working harder to cut the trail. But nothing beats that feeling of standing at the top knowing you climbed that mountain and you've earned those turns on the way back down. If you're looking for a workout, this beats going to the gym any day of the week in my opinion!

2. You Get Away From The Crowds

Unless you decide to tour up a ski slope (which a lot of people in Austria do for training), there are usually a number of hiking trails or dedicated ski touring routes even within a mountain resort that take you away from the busy ski slopes. No more standing in lift lines or dodging beginners who took a wrong turn.

3. It's One Of The Few Ways To Reach Untracked Areas In The Backcountry

Whilst heli-skiing or cat-skiing might be one way of getting to those untracked areas in the backcountry, touring allows you to go anywhere, whenever you want, without paying a large sum of money to someone with a big machine. Just grab your skins and skis and get out there. The effort you make will be well rewarded with fresh tracks on the way back down.

4. It's Perfect For Bad Weather Days

It's great for those days when the conditions might not be that great for skiing but you still want to get outside and enjoy nature. Tours that go through the forest are the best for this.

5. You Are Not Restricted By The Ski Resort Opening Times

I'm based in Innsbruck Austria, and we were lucky enough to have a massive dump of snow in November. Any one who loves skiing knows that is too good to miss. The ski resorts weren't opening until mid-December but for the ski tourers and split-boarders that wasn't a problem. We could ski up and ski back down getting fresh tracks on our local ski slopes, weeks before they opened to the public. 


Before heading out into any backcountry terrain, you should take an avalanche training course. It’s vital that you know how to read the current snow conditions and the avalanche danger risks. Every member of your group must have a shovel, avalanche transceiver and a probe, and know how to use them should an avalanche occur.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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