In addition to support from Berghaus, our Mountain Tracks guides are proud to be supported by Grivel, Ski Trab and Scarpa. These are all dependable brands - here we'll outline which of their models we're using this winter. We use the gear on a daily basis and their mileage is high: gear choice is therefore an important decision.
At Mountain Tracks we are frequently asked which skis we recommend. There are now hundreds of models to choose from, and selecting a pair isn’t an easy task. On the positive side, ski technology has improved continuously and the all the major manufacturers are making some great skis. Below are two models we recommend from Trab.
For Off-Piste and Day Touring
The Trab Volare is a brand new freeride-touring ski. Trab have long been the masters of creating lightweight performance kit and here they use their expertise to create a touring ski with a wide footprint (99mm underfoot). The ski is stiff, has a traditional camber and sports a distinctive swallowtail. The skis can be bought with custom skins that clip into a small hole in the tip of the ski... very nifty!
A sweet spot exists in the touring/freeride category, somewhere between low weight for the uphill and width and stability for the down. Your choice of ski is largely down to whether you personal bias is on uphill or downhill performance. Regarding ski width, anything more than the easy to remember number of ‘100’ is a drag on the big up hills, so it looks like Trab may have the measurements just right. These skis are light, approx 1500g depending on length (Dynastar Pro-Riders are 2200g for comparison). We plan to use the Volare for everything except longer ski tours where we will use the Tour Rando (see below).
For Hut to Hut and Ski Mountaineering
The Trab Tour Rando and the Tour Rando XL are the ultimate touring ski for the distance addict. These skis are made specifically for long tours and ski-mountaineering; they are light (around 1300g depending on length), but tough and designed to ski anything. You won’t get the flotation of the Volare, but that’s purely down to surface area. The ski is medium stiff, so stable for all but the lightest skiers. Heavier skiers may wish to try the XL, which has a bigger footprint.
This is an honest touring ski that will be in its element on our longer tours. The performance is exceptional on spring snow and average on powder, so freeriders please consider the Volare.
The Scarpa Maestrale RS is the new standard in high-performance touring boots. These days people want it all: excellent downhill ski-boot performance combined with light and flexible uphill ability. This boot tries hard to address this eternal compromise. Scarpa know that today’s freeriders are skiing faster and harder than ever before, so they’ve produced a boot with increased downhill performance. The RS (RS stands for the German word Renn Sport ‘racing sport’) is derived from Scarpa’s Maestrale alpine touring boot. The original Maestrale was hugely popular both for its bright orange looks and all-round performance. The RS is 20% stiffer and only 40g heavier than the current boot, making the RS the lightest 120 flex boot in the world. This boot narrows the gap between skiboots and touring boots and is the ultimate tool for the freeride tourer.
My choice is the Grivel Air Tech Racing. As with most sports kit, we are always trading off between performance and weight. Ice axes are no different, however I feel Grivel have done exceptionally well here. The Air Tech Racing is the lightest possible tool but still has a genuine, forged steel head; this means that strength and durability isn’t compromised. We all know that hitting aluminium or alloy picks into hard ice leads to great disappointment, steel is essential in any surface except soft snow. This axe is the lightest, forged steel ice axe in the world, so is effective both as a touring axe and a mountaineering axe.
This choice hasn’t changed for years. The Grivel G12 is the world’s most popular 12-point crampon. Grivel have refined the design over the years and the latest manifestation is hard to fault. They are designed as a mountaineering crampon, but are very at home on cascade ice, or on rock! The only possible disadvantage is that they are too heavy for ski touring, but that’s not what they are made for (aluminium or alloy is better)…
One of the most innovative features of this crampon is the unique style of the anti-ball plate. Grivel has designed an ingenious outward facing dimple in the plastic that sheds snow like no other anti ball plate out there.
This is a crampon that has been around for quite some time and over the years Grivel have built on an already solid performer, if a single pair of do-it-all crampons is what you're after, then the G12 won't let you down.
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.