SKI TOURING IN VAL-D'ISERE
What is ski touring?
Ski touring in Val-d’Isere or beyond is when you climb on skis with 'skins' for several hours, and climb anywhere between 350 and 1000 vertical metres, and sometimes more.
Why will you love ski touring with Alpine Experience?
Because, if you love to ski un-tracked virgin snow, eventually ski touring becomes the only option. Once the easily accessible and Free Rando options have become tracked, walking further afield is necessary.
Ski touring is definitely for the fit and active. It’s for those who enjoy the exertion of taking on an itinerary, and have the level of fitness necessary. Ski Touring is for those who enjoy the reward of arriving at the destined col or summit, and the solitude, and views that come with it. It is for those who enjoy to test themselves both mentally and physically. And after your hard work there is the reward of skiing down, knowing you’ve earned your turns.
Ski touring is an extension of Alpine Experience's regular free-rando programme. Most people come to Val d’Isere to ski as many runs off-piste as possible. But, after we’ve exhausted our free-rando options ski touring is a must. Our clientele understands this. It’s like flicking a switch from ‘ski’ mode to ‘walk’ mode, and everyone embraces the situation. And there are always those who prefer to ski touring and would be happy to walk everyday!
Warning: Ski touring in Val-d'Isere is definitely for those who are physically capable, and have the desire. Some people find it frustrating that the time spent skiing downhill corresponds to between 5 to 10 % of the time ’skinning’ up. Don’t worry, we won’t force you into any tour that you don’t want to do, or are not capable of.
What is FREE-RANDO?
In Val d’Isere we have the luxury of some of the most outstanding lift-fed itineraries in the world. But once the easily accessed lift-fed skiing becomes tracked, having the ability to walk, or ‘skin’, becomes a necessity, and this is when we turn to what Alpine Experience call ‘Free-Rando’.
Sometimes all that is needed to avoid tracked-out slopes and find virgin snow is a ten-minute ‘skin’. ‘Free-Rando’ allows us to take advantage of the benefits of these short walks. But, it also allows us to do day-trips off-piste and everything in between. Whether it’s a ten-minute walk, a 30-minute walk, an hour’s ‘skin,’ or an all-day adventure, the adaptability of ‘Free-Rando’ allows us to find you the highest quality of snow that the mountain has to offer.
Some examples of Free-Rando outings
Free-Rando in Val d'Isere
Will I need special equipment?
Each member of the Alpine Experience team searches for fresh untracked virgin snow each and every day. We simply don’t ski in other peoples tracks. This means that at times there is some walking involved, which leads to the question of, ‘Will I need touring equipment?’
The simple answer is yes! Every client has touring bindings, and ‘skins’ in their backpack. Being equipped allows us to plan ahead without restrictions. And perhaps just as importantly, it gives us the option of being spontaneous. Being able to plan ahead or change our minds at the last minute allows us to find you the best snow in Val d'Isere/Tignes, and stay away from the crowds. Being adaptable, and being able to ‘skin’ when necessary is what we call Free-Rondo, and is something our Alpine Experience off-piste guides and ski instructors specialise in.
All necessary equipment can be rented or purchased at Jean Sports.
Truly Experience Our Alpine Experience Environment
Ski Touring or Free-Rando is the best way to truly experience our wonderful alpine environment. It allows you to get out into the backcountry. Out to where you can experience the solitude of being alone in the mountains. Back to where there isn’t a track anywhere to be seen. A ‘clean’, trackless mountain is a wonderful and privileged sight, and needs to be experienced!
While ‘skinning’ up you can take in your surroundings and fully appreciate the beauty of the landscape. You can test yourself both physically and mentally. And when you arrive at the summit you have the views to marvel at, and then the reward of a well deserved ski down.
While doing multi-day ski touring, it’s early to bed and early to rise. Experience stunning sunsets at the end of a wonderful day, and then take in a glorious sunrise to begin the next.
With multi-day touring the weather and snow conditions aren’t always predictable. When the sun is shining and the snow is good, it’s a fantastic and joyous combination. But, when the weather turns or the snow is difficult it becomes a team effort to travel safely in the mountains, and arrive at your next destination. Sometimes it's those really difficult days are the most rewarding, and the ones that stick in your memory for years to come.
Whether you are ski touring or skiing in an off-piste group, it is a team effort. Everyone needs to be prepared to help each other, and be aware if someone is struggling. When you ski off-piste seven days a week, there are times when it can be really difficult. There can be equipment failures, injuries, or flat-light or fog to deal with. Having people working as team is crucial to everyone’s safety and enjoyment.
World-wide and local back-country courses
Jean Marc Pic is the mainstay of Alpine Experience’s world wide ski touring and adventure programmes.
UIAGM certified as well as being a qualified ski instructor.
Below is an example of a ski touring raid in South Georgia