Learning to Ski Tour

How to start and what to practice !


If you can ski off the piste and enjoy walking in the mountains then you can learn to ski tour. It is as simple as that. And if you can ski tour then you can escape the crowds and the lifts queues and move through the mountains in winter in a whole new way. You can reach great descents that are not accessible from the lifts. You can ski from refuge to refuge through the mountains in the the same way as you do in summer.

Mastering, or at least managing the techniques of ski touring does require a bit of practice, like everything worth doing. The key steps are the following:

Practice skiing on the sides of the pistes

Just_off_pisteIf you are a piste skier then you need to start skiing off the side of the pistes whenever you can. Stop expecting perfectly groomed slopes and start enjoying the variability and challenges of ungroomed snow. It might be gorgeous and powdery, hard and icy (jump back on the slope!), a bit slushy, or sort of crusty – with a hard top and softer underneath. It is variable and learning to deal with all those different types of snow is half the fun.

Book an off-piste skiing lesson

Luz ardiden 10 feb steve rich 3Once you have started skiing a little off the side of the pistes by yourself you should consider booking a lesson/s with a ski instructor with the specific aim of improving and practicing your off-piste technique. They will give you good tips, and using the lifts gives you plenty of practice.

Practice your kick turns in resort

Practice your kick turns when you are doing downhill skiing. Many people have learned to do kick-turns in ski lessons. These days less so than in the past, which is a pity because it is an extremely useful way to extract yourself from a tight spot. It is a necessity for climbing up Practice-kick-turnwith skins when ski touring – although the technique is slightly different when facing up the hill than when coming down. See a video here. And another with more instruction here.

Book your Introductory Ski Tour

You are now ready to book an Introduction to Ski Touring trip!

What you do on an introductory ski touring course

Over the Christmas / New Year period and again late January and February Richard and Lionel have taken a number of new clients out for their first ski touring experiences. We have had plenty of snow – so the conditions have been superb for learning how it all works and enjoying the magic of the snow covered landscapes.

During the week you’ll do a session of avalanche training – how to use your avalanche transceiver to search for someone, and then your probe and shovel to extract them. You will also learn to use your skins, practice kick turns, deal with different snow conditions and spend a night out in a mountain refuge, if you’d like, so you have a better idea of what the full ski touring experience is all about.

Feb 18 ski tour1Feb 18 ski tour 3 Feb 18 ski tour 5Feb 18 ski tour 2

Sometimes it just snows and snows! Its great fun to be out in the trees and the powder….

skitourdecg skitourdece skitourdecd  ski_tour_5_jan_18sktour5jan18b

And sometimes it sunny and fabulous!


So if you have ambitions to move beyond piste skiing and off-piste skiing around a resort, here in the Central Pyrenees is the perfect place to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment with experienced (and very nice!) guides. We have the Grand Tourmalet, Luz Ariden and Gavarnie-Gèdre lift systems to gain height and use to start, and then an enormous variety of mountain terrain to head out into.

Contact us to ask about availability…. sian@pyrenees-mountains.com

See you soon!