If a nip in the air has got you excited about hitting the slopes, there’s the chance to add a little more adventure to your usual ski holiday experience by learning how to go ski touring.
The artificial slopes at Tallington Lakes are a great place to learn and improve your ski technique and now they’re set to stage ski touring taster sessions for the first time with top instructor Blair Aitken sharing his skills.
If exploring the mountains is something you’ve considered, or would like to try, this session should give you the inside track on how to don your skins for the uphill walks and take your ski experiences to an exciting new level as you ski downhill on beautiful untouched snow!
You’ll get the chance to try the equipment and really understand what ski touring involves. The session is practical, with some theory, and will cover ski touring techniques, including the use of skins and touring bindings, an introduction to navigation and avalanche awareness, familiarisation with avalanche safety equipment and planning your first steps into the sport if you decide it’s for you.
Blair Aitken is an internationally qualified ski instructor and race coach, ski-mountaineer and former alpine national champion who has been backcountry skiing in Scotland since the mid-nineties so if anyone’s going to give you an insight into this sport – he’s the man!
Sessions available: 9am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm on the day; and cost £50 (maximum 10 places per session).
Please call 01778 381154 to book your place.
What’s it like to go ski touring?
Ski touring is an exciting way to add a new sense of adventure to your ski trips and go exploring away from the busy resorts. Former Peterborough and Cambridge radio news editor Alison Dawes has been ski touring for about 20 years, after growing bored of the regular runs.
ESP asked Alison what different challenges it brings.
“It’s much more interesting for me than skiing on the piste because you encounter a range of snow conditions and terrains. One moment you can be high on a mountain top and then you will be skiing through a rock field or a forest and then back out into an open area. You need to rapidly adjust your skiing to account for the things you encounter so you might be using a powder technique in one section but then snow-ploughing on a narrow track ten minutes later!”
How did you learn to do it?
“I did a couple of courses in France – one which is basically how to ski in a lot of different types of snow and another more advanced version of the same thing which also included practicing techniques for walking uphill on your skis. Touring skis have a special kind of binding which means you can lift your heel when walking uphill and then lock it down once you start to ski down again. Then I did a number of trips practicing over a couple of years before embarking on the Haute Route.”
Would you recommend tuition?
“Absolutely! It’s important to learn good technique, how to be safe and how to use the equipment properly. If you don’t learn how to do it properly you will also get tired really quickly and risk falling.”
Why do you enjoy it so much?
“It’s great to get away from all the crowds in the resorts and to go exploring! You get away from it all really quickly once you leave the lifts behind and can find yourself in some stunningly beautiful places with hardly anyone else around. It feels really special to be in parts of the mountains few other people visit. There are great views (if the weather is good obviously!) and the payback for all the walking is some fabulous downhills in wonderful untracked powder. You really need a guide who knows where the good routes are and where to find the best snow.”