Skiing holidays are a perfect blend of exercise and relaxation. You spend your days out on the mountain challenging yourself on the slopes and then return to your cosy catered chalet for a soak in a hot tub and a long, relaxing dinner. But for those looking to push themselves harder on the exercise side, the growing trend for Alpine Touring may be just what you’re looking for. |
What is Alpine Touring
Alpine Touring (or randonnée as it’s sometimes known) is a combination of cross-country and downhill skiing which has been around for decades. One of the reasons it has now suddenly increased in popularity is because the recent progress in developing the equipment means it can now offer a satisfyingly authentic experience in both uphill and downhill skiing. The skis used for Alpine Touring are the same as those used for downhill, the only difference is the slightly more flexible boot and bindings which the skier can alter to release the heel for uphill skiing and then attach for downhill. The skis also come with detachable fibre-coated strips for the bottom of the ski which give the skier traction on the uphill climb and can then be removed for the descent.
Another reason that Alpine Touring has begun to really take off in recent years has been the increased availability of the equipment in ski rental stores so that skiers who are visiting resorts for only a short time and staying in hotels or catered chalets, can try the skis out and decide whether they like them before committing.
Get in Shape On and Off Piste
You might wonder why anyone would want to ski uphill when there are perfectly good lifts available to do that hard work for you, but for many people who are now adopting the new Alpine Touring trend, the hard work is the point. While skiing is exhilarating, fun, and definitely a good workout for the leg muscles, the current trend for outdoor fitness has seen many skiers looking for a harder workout from their time on the slopes. Alpine Touring offers the perfect solution. The tough demands of the walk up the slope are rewarded with the adrenalin rush on the way down.
But there is more to the Alpine Touring trend than just exercise. It offers skiers a chance to explore the beautiful mountain terrain beyond the well-groomed pistes of the resort. The ability to access new off-piste areas, climbing the slopes under your own steam and then gliding, effortlessly down through fresh, untouched powder snow has meant that Alpine Touring has become popular with more adventurous skiers.
Is it Hard to Learn?
The great thing about Alpine Touring is that you don’t need to learn a new way of skiing. It isn’t a new discipline like Telemark skiing which requires you to learn new techniques. Once you take off the fibre-coated strips or ‘skins’ and clip in your heels you can use Alpine Touring skis the same way you would use your old downhill ones. The only difference will be that at the end of the day when you return to your catered chalet, you will feel you truly deserve that second helping at dinner.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best catered chalet accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
Related Articles -