Here are the Mountain Tracks ‘top 5 bits of kit’ for this winter’s off-piste and ski touring season. If you’re planning on making a purchase of some new kit, clothing or ski hardware then look no further than these recommendations!
1. Berghaus Frendo Pant: this a ski-specific pant designed in collaboration with Mountain Tracks and Berghaus athletes to offer the best design, weather protection and comfort for skiing and ski touring. Berghaus offer both a men’s and women’s version. Gore-Tex and Schoeller materials these are hardwearing trousers with an ergonomic design for comfort when skiing and touring, offering the best in waterproofing and breathability.
Features include: zipped hand pocket, thigh pocket for handy storage, zipped thigh vents, inner snow gaiter and an interactive ‘zip-to-jacket’ feature that works in combo with the Frendo Jacket.
2. Ulvetanna Hybrid Jacket: Mountain Tracks tested these new jackets at the end of last winter on our ski touring trips. Featuring body mapped 850 fill insulation (combining Hydrodown™ goose down and the synthetic Hydroloft® Elite Pro insulation) this jacket will keep you warm and dry in the toughest conditions. The Pertex Microlight outer material keeps you dry and is highly wind resistant.
The jacket features a hood, two zipped hand-warming pockets, and the jacket stuffs down into its own stuff sack for easy storage in your rucksack.This jacket will be used by our guides and instructors this winter and kept as an extra spare layer stashed in their packs. Both a men’s and women’s version of this jacket are available for winter 2014-15.
3. Scarpa Freedom SL Ski Touring Boot: If you want one boot that does it all, then this get pretty close to the mark! These Scarpa boots come in both a men’s and women’sversion and are at the top of the “freeride touring boot” market in terms of design. The Freedom SL is one of the lightest boots in its class, so is excellent for the uphill and offers a great range of motion for climbing. The boot retains its rigidity and stiffness via the materials used, whilst the Intuition liner offers warmth and comfort. The boots are pin binding compatible with an interchangeable sole unit (useful if you wish to use them with downhill ski bindings).
4. Black Crows Atris and Atris Birdie Skis: Black Crows popped up in the Chamonix valley a number of years ago. Today their skis are well known across the Alps and, with the help of some prominent skiers from the freeride and ski touring community, they have developed a super range of skis with catchy graphics.
The Atris and women’s Atris Birdie ski are as close to the perfect one ski ‘quiver’ as you could hope for. A comfortable 108mm underfoot gives a wide ski for good float in powder snow as well as pulling big. The ski nonetheless remains manoeuvrable, playful and easy to initiate turns at slow speeds too; meaning it’s at home on the piste and in all the varied terrain you’ll find off-piste. It’s not the lightest ski, but it’s still a good choice for ski touring. Black Crows also produce a women’s version - the Atris Birdie - for those women who like a strong but easy to handle ski.
5. Plum Yak Ski Touring Binding: Plum are one of the many manufacturers to jump on the pin binding bandwagon in recent years. Their Yak binding offers a strong wide mounting ski touring binding that is still reasonably lightweight. It’s ideal for skiers who want the ease of a pin binding for touring but still like to make some fast big turns on wide skis. They have a ski break that will fit skis under and over 100mm wide, plus an easy to fit ski crampon. The toe has a forward and lateral release value of 5.5 – 12, offering good security.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.