Back Country Skiing

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Back Country Skiing

Postby Matt Peck » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:07 am

Allright, so who can tell me what about back country skiing?
I've skiied since I could walk, so I've got a fair background in both cross country and Downhill, but Im looking to start getting into the back country and plan to use skiis as both a vehicle to get out there as well as to play around on the steeps. In a couple of years I'd like to get started with a bit of ski mountaineering, but for now Im just interested in getting into the back country.
What should I be looking for in skis, boots and bindings, and what sort of information should I be after for technique and safety (Im thinking avy stuff here)?
Thanks for the help, Cheers,
You can't take the sky from me.
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Matt Peck
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Re: Back Country Skiing

Postby Shawn B » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:41 am

We are planning on heading to Gaspe over new years this year to ski if you want to join. I can show you my limited knowledge. If you are starting to accumulate a kit, start with the avy gear. Beacon, probe and shovel as a minimum. If you have alpine skis, you can start with "alpine trekkers". I have a set to sell if interested. I used them first year while accumulating other things. All else you need is skins. You will quickly want to upgrade to AT gear but they'll get you started and confirm that you enjoy it. If you are going all out and buying whole kit, go Dynafit for binding without a doubt. Skis something in the 90ish mm range is good all around. Wall to wall skins are way to go too. I will probably be selling my current skis/Fritschi freeride plus' and skins at the end of this season if I find what I want for my next setup (going Dynafit). I almost despise lift serviced skiing now... although I still do it some (early season here, high avy danger days out west, etc.). But give me the serenity and type of people you will meet touring any day...not to mention the snow.
Safety third!!!
Shawn B
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Re: Back Country Skiing

Postby PaulB » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:48 pm

Shawn B wrote:If you have alpine skis, you can start with "alpine trekkers"....You will quickly want to upgrade to AT gear but they'll get you started and confirm that you enjoy it.
Many people refer to trekkers as "alpine tour wrekkers" due to their tendency to break when you are as far away from the parking lot as possible. I've had this happen twice when taking new tourers out on day trips.. very inconvenient! They work, but use with caution. Fritschi Freerides will work with (most) alpine boots and can be found relatively cheap these days as the "slackcountry" crowd migrates to Marker Dukes and other more burly "touring" bindings and the more lightweight minded folks convert to Dynafits. is a great place to read up on all the different AT bindings.

Otherwise, what Shawn said. Get some avy gear, take a recreational avy course and get out there! If you're comfortable skiing off-piste in variable snow conditions at resorts, you shouldn't have a problem adapting your technique to the backcountry.

This is a great time of year to look for used skis and bindings on the MEC Gear Swap. I'd recommend buying new boots to make sure you get ones that fit. Poor fitting ski boots are a minor inconvenience when lift skiing, but can cause major discomfort and blisters when touring.
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