Destinations – Travel Know-How – What to bring – Resources – Your request – Ski mountaineering news
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Book idea: Mount St.Elias (in german)
Our Ski Destinations
- Argentina: ski touring in all altitudes – from sea level like in Norway to summits over 5.000 m. From Tierra del Fuego to Mendoza, you’ll find lonesome mountains, and in between the most famous ski stations in South America.
- Peru: ski expeditions up to 6.000 m, but only in combination with sometimes several day long approaches and glacial terrain. In Peru, the ski mountaineer in you is asked, not the chilly back country skier.
- Yukon: characteristic to the Yukon are the giant distances. The approach is generally long and needs a motorized helper. Several-days tours with plane-support can be considered AAA league in Yukon’s mountains.
- Kamchatka, Siberia: ski touring in Kamchatka and Sibiria means suffering. Long ways, unreliable weather, challenging volcanoes. An excellent spectacle of mother Nature, with no place for luxury, but for adventure.
- Lebanon: Perfect place for a short trip from Europe – snow-proof and lonely
- South Korea: an interesting place for daily ski touring, mostly in forested terrain. Very good infrastructure, paired with very short approaches.
- Japan: a paradise destination for back country skiers! Keyword here: Hokkaido powder.
- Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan: tough environment with big potential – for back country skiers and ski mountaineers. You’ll need a lot of discovery spirit, and then you’re in a place just for you.
- Himachal Pradesh / India: enormous scenery in front of the Himalaya with countless tour options. Climbing higher is always a possibility!
- Georgia: an established ski touring region from March to May, not far away from Europe, but nevertheless a challenge above 4.000 m altitude.
- Morocco: a classic for fans of corn snow. Daily tours are possible with no approach, great for everybody who wants to go on tour without a big backpack. Combined with a city trip to Marrakesh, Fez and Cassablanca, a perfect introduction into North Africa.
- New Zealand: the South Island is an El Dorado for back country skier. The terrain is even more suited for the serious ski mountaineer with day tours or long hut trips.
- Europe: Albania: Albanian Alps are great for day trips as the mountains are remote and less visited.
- Europe: Alps, Pyrenees & Norway: the Alps are the classic ski touring destination with all types of skiing: freeride, back country or traversing a big range on a Haute Route. The hut infrastructure is formidable and except in Switzerland & Norway low budget. The distances are relatively short which makes it easy to switch from region to region in case of bad weather or difficult snow conditions.
- Europe: Bulgaria: surprisingly high peaks with a wild back country. Access to these mountains is relatively straight forward. The hut infrastructure is good and very cheap. Best time is in February to March.
- All tools and spare parts: USA West, Japan & Canada West in the ski centers; New Zealand best in Queenstown, otherwise in the ski stations; Alps, Norway & Pyrenees: everywhere;
- Basics (Skins, Ski, Poles): Russia, Argentina (ski stations), but expensive; Bulgaria: ski centers; South Korea (limited)
- Difficult to get or not available: Mongolia, Morocco, Kamchatka, Peru, Libanon, Kyrgizstan, Georgia, Albania
- North America: permits for all National Parks necessary. Rules are often complex and differ among parks, dependent of the season and length of tour.
- Asia: Kyrgizstan, Mongolia, Lebanon – you need permits in border regions (speak: Pamir, Altai); Georgia, Japan and South Korea no problems at all; Russia: depends of the region.
- South America: in Argentina National Parks are free (except Aconcagua), but you can’t use private land! Peru: small fee for entering National Parks, but no problem at all to get
- Europe: no permits for National Parks required. Terrain is free and even private land can be crossed. Please respect retreat zones for wildlife during winter!
- Other countries: Morocco, Albania, New Zealand – no permits necessary, but ask before crossing / entering private land (NZL)!
- In general: there is nowhere in the world an emergency infrastructure like in the Alps!
- All rescues are paid by the rescued, sometimes in cash only. Please think about the possibility of a mountain rescue insurance!
- Good emergency infrastructure exist in Canada, USA, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Bulgaria. There are emergency crews also in Russia, Argentina, Peru, Lebanon, Georgia, but it takes sometimes days to arrive because of missing transport means and equipment.
- Don’t rely on rescue teams in Kyrgizstan, Mongolia and Morocco. You have to know how to help yourself!
- Topographic maps: please visit our “Trekking” section for details
- Maps for skitouring: the Alps are blessed with tons of very good maps for ski tours! A few maps exist for British Columbia, Kanada
- Other ski touring related material: there exist ski touring book guides for Alaska, British Columbia & Alberta, US West coast and the Rocky Mountains, New Zealand and Argentina. The best choice of literature you can find is for the Alps, Norway and the Pyrenees.
What to bring
- Ski: complete ski touring equipment with a second pair of skins, ski crampons, helmet
- Security: sun and glacier glasses, emergency set (bivvy, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, avalanche airbag (for more about air transport of ski), satellite phone, first-aid
- Camping: equipment for a mobile base camp or a planned bivvy – storm-resistant tent, very good isolating mat, 4-seasons sleeping bag, stove and a light. For winter huts in Europe bring a hut linen and a light.
- Clothing: your ski-touring apparel, plus very warm underwear, several pair of gloves, storm mask, puffy jacket and pats and a complete hardshell set (pants, jacket and gloves)
- May be necessary: glacier equipment (including rope), ice tools and crampons and protection in ice/rock
- Important: propane gas and other goods considered “dangerous” in planes are purchased at the destination! More info: Air transport of avalanche airbags
Resources Web | Literature | Law
- Web-Seiten: NZL Alpine Club, Back country Skiing USA
- Discussion boards: Back Country Skiing Canada,
- Social: Facebook NZL, #skitouring on Twitter
- Montreal Agreement, EU regulations regarding passenger rights
- Sport equipment transport rules
- Travel insurance (in work)