Though it’s been one of our favourite ways to explore for decades, Alpine touring, or AT, has gained immense popularity over the past two years. A combination of skiing and hiking, Alpine Touring skiers use Touring boots, kind of like a modified more comfortable downhill boot, and wide skis in combination with a binding that allows freedom of movement for the way up and locks down for the blissful powder turns. Climbing skins strapped to the base of the ski take the guess work out of waxing and allow you to climb up the mountain easily.
Because Lake O’Hara Lodge offers untouched terrain that’s exclusive to this corner of the Rockies, our certified international mountain guides take our guests to discover off the beaten ski trails, fresh snow, and spectacular views.
Another reason for the recent surge in popularity is because of the recent improvements in gear, which is essential for your outdoor adventure. Download our Winter Backcountry Packing List to come prepared for winter. Lake O’Hara Lodge owner Bruce Millar is sharing a few suggestions to select gear that is safe and comfortable:
- Ski boots are the most important part of the gear to get right. If your boots don’t fit correctly, you will suffer with blisters, shin bang, and/or cold feet. Find a boot brand that works best for your foot. Dynafit/Scott works for narrow feet while Black Diamond fits wider feet. Scarpa works well for a variety of arches BD tends to not fit high arched folks so well. Try them on and take your time.
- Choose the right skis. Alpine Touring is about flexibility, so having skis that both turn and tour well is extremely important. Bear in mind the relationship between width and weight; the wider the skis, the heavier they are. Renting is the best way to check out a variety of skis before laying down the big bucks.
- Don’t load yourself down with too much gear. Have a pack that is large enough to carry the essentials: a probe, shovel, water, food, a small first aid kit, sunglasses, a warm jacket and an extra pair of mitts. A thermos for a hot drink is a great treat!
- Take a course or hire a guide. Many underestimate the challenges of the backcountry; route-finding and reading the snowpack. Being a good skier isn’t enough. An avalanche doesn’t differentiate!
Interested in seeing what Alpine Touring is all about at Lake O’Hara Lodge? Contact us, our season opens in just a few weeks!
Travel the back country with confidence knowing you packed properly.