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Ski touring

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Anyone done it? The hut-to-hut kind, that is?

We fancy a few days touring next April after a conventional hotel-based holiday. We're a family of five (3 young adult boys) and we'd go with a familiar guide who has been nagging us to try it for a few years. He's obviously biased so I'm looking for some independent thoughts. This wouldn't be a package, as he largely operates independently based on personal recommendations, which makes it all a little more fluid and uncertain. Our guide has a long list of qualifications and memberships (and I trust him, having skied with him off-piste on several previous trips), but are there any things that I should check out about him?

If you've tried it, would you do it again? Does skiing with an overnight bag damage the experience? How do you handle the practicalities of the last day without a hotel to return to? Is insurance impossibly expensive? What am I not thinking of? What else do you want to tell me?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Jonny Jones, Hi - done plenty (mainly with the Eagles Ski Club) ... re Insurance, worth taking out Austrian Alpine Club (UK) membership as this gives comprehensive annual injury and rescue insurance, plus discounts on Alpine huts, all for the exorbitant Toofy Grin price of ~£50 for adults (children under 18 in a 2-parent family group are free)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Jonny Jones, the guide you've been with I presume he's qualified in that he's Uiagm or Ifmga.

What part of the world are you talking about.

If the guide knows you all really well and your skiing ability then put your trust in him and he will sort it all for you, logistics, accommodation etc etc you may well have to pay for his accommodation but huts / refuges are not expensive and they can be very comfortable with wine, beer and good food, so it's not hard core.

Skiing with a backpack is ok and again he'll advise you on what to take, as well as skis and touring equipment needs.

You will also be insured as you'll be with him and presume you'd have your normal insurance that you'd have when skiing off piste etc

For sure loads of other questions, but the key element you have a guide that knows you and he would not suggest it if he did not think you'd be up for it.

Enjoy

PS FWIW I'm still ski touring with the same guide I first skied with back in 1997 and he too nagged us to give it a go!
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I'd suggest you start with either a day tour, or a single hut night before doing a multiday tour, as that makes it easier to handle if anyone has problems (kit, fitness, motivation etc). Many people find it hard to sleep well in huts, and successive bad nights can take their toll.

Having an overnight bag does make some difference. You really do want to cut down what you take as much as possible, which is another reason for starting with a single night, so you have a better idea of what you really need.

Re insurance; I use BMC insurance as they understand what ski touring is. You want to make sure your insurance explicitly covers ski touring and/or mountaineering and/or travel on glaciers as well as off-piste skiing. It's a bit more that the cheapest ski insurance, but still a fairly low cost compared to the guide and kit rental.

I find it easiest to have a car to store kit in whilst touring, but in Switzerland you can manage fairly easily with left luggage lockers in most train stations. Or you could book the same hotel for the night before and after the tour, and they'll probably be OK with storing kit.

Huts vary in comfort. Given the choice, I'd suggest starting with Austrian huts as generally the most comfortable
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ear plugs. Everything else is optional.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
If the guide is IFGMA/UIAGM and you get on well with him, that will be fine. I'd let him do all the organising - flexibility allows you to go where looks good for weather and snow conditions. Some huts get booked up well in advance but a lot can be sorted a day or two in advance

Overnight bag - what will probably happen is that you will all turn up on day 1 and he will make you unpack. He will make you leave half the stuff in your bags and you will wonder how you will survive, but you will do fine and thank him for not letting you carry more stuff that you don't need

Last day - depends where you are. You may go home stinky. Wet wipes are your friend (and x2 on earplugs, unless you are in a comfy Austrian hut with your own room)
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Boff, where to start?

If you’ve a tame guide willing to do the organising - that’s a great start!

Have a read of some of our trip reports:
2018: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3230759
2016: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2887516
2015: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=118768
2014: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=110576
2013: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=99965
2012: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2027068
2011: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1774991

You won’t need as much kit as you think. Here’s a recent packing list:
http://warringtonbears.org.uk/snowheads/packlist.csv
Helps if you weigh everything.

Book an apartment for the full length of your stay - even though you’ll not use it most of the time. It’s useful to have somewhere to leave all your other stuff while away an, if the weather craps out, you have somewhere to retreat to.

Declare any dietary requirements to the hut at booking time and remind them on arrival.

Leave plenty of wriggle room in the itinerary in case anyone is ill or the weather won’t play ball.

Day hits from one hut is easy to plan but doesn’t give the satisfaction of a “moving on” tour.

Have a great time!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Jonny Jones, Have your wife and boys done some mountain hiking? If so they will be more au fait with the concept of ski touring.

Also have they done camping in the hills and that sort of thing? If so, the travelling light, staying in huts, etc. part of it would be less of an issue/shock.

I did a write up of an introduction to ski touring I did 20 years ago. Might give you a flavour of what it's all about for newbies. As it happens I haven't done any since and now my kids are getting older (13 & 11) I am thinking about touring with them at some point. I certainly didn't stop because I didn't enjoy it - far from it.

Lot's of other good advice on the thread.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Some really helpful advice there, guys. Thanks.

I think we have to go for it! The lads will be very happy with their old man Toofy Grin
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Jonny Jones wrote:
Anyone done it? The hut-to-hut kind, that is?
If you've tried it, would you do it again?

Yes great, Merino wool and compeed should be on your essentials list.

Jonny Jones wrote:
Does skiing with an overnight bag damage the experience? How do you handle the practicalities of the last day without a hotel to return to? Is insurance impossibly expensive? What am I not thinking of? What else do you want to tell me?


Join here for insurance and hut discounts
https://aacuk.org.uk/

Last day without a hotel = thermal baths to get yourself clean and change clothes.
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