What to bring
Pack - Lightweight ski touring specific with a capacity of 30 liters (1900 cubic inches) is recommended. Ski attachments are useful. Please do not bring a pack larger than 40 liters.
Ski Strap - A simple strap to hold your skis together when carried on your pack – stretch polyurethane from Black Diamond or Voile - opt for long.
Food - Breakfasts and dinners are eaten at our lodging. We will provide food and snacks for the day’s touring. If you have a particular energy supplement / food you like - please bring it along. We will have opportunity to shop at the market before departure.
Water bottle or Thermos - A pint Thermos or HydroFlask is a pleasure to have as well as a collapsable Platypus style water bottle version (the “hydration systems” are nice, but heavy. On cold days, one liter of fluid is enough for the trail, but when the weather is hot you may want a second liter. Consuming plenty of non-alcoholic liquids in the huts is key to staying hydrated at the beginning and end of the day. We’ll encourage you to drink up whenever possible - even though you might not be "thirsty” at the moment. Electrolyte tablets are a good accompaniment, and “SportLegs” supplements to aid in leg fatigue are quite effective. Aspirin and Ibuprofen can aid in the discomfort of altitude issues. We will not be so high that HAPE or HACE is an issue, but we will be keeping you informed and ask questions about your general well being to ensure you are safe. For more information you can view www.high-altitude-medicine.com/AMS-medical.html.
Pocket knife/repair items - Swiss Army or “leatherman” style multitool. A small roll of duct tape, medical tape.
Blister kit - Moleskin, or athletic tape. Spenco Second Skin or Compeed kits (available at the pharmacy we will visit enroute).
Sun Glasses - 100% UV protection. Glare shields on the temples are a nice addition, but not critical.
Ski Goggles - Lenses for poor weather have better light transmission.
Sunscreen - SPF of 60 in a small tube. Caution should be used in applying sunblock over the forehead and eyes as perspiration can leach product into the eyes and cause considerable irritation. A bandana or stretch terrycloth athletic headband is a great help for this.
Toiletries - small, pre-moistened wipes, individual tissue paper packets for easy packing (available at market enroute). Toothbrush, toothpaste, in small container, Rx meds, and aspirin or ibuprofen. Eyedrops for relief from sun and wind.
Camera / Smartphone - if you choose to bring a true camera, a neck strap or pocketable size is ideal. Carrying your camera inside you pack discourages you from taking pictures as you’d like, and also holds up the group waiting through the process of getting it out. Ensure you have contacted your phone provider to allow use in Switzerland and Austria. Wifi is very limited in the backcountry and hut systems across the Alps.
Passport, money, and prescription drugs - Please take a photo of your passport with your phone so you have an image with you, as well as a paper photocopy. Ensure you have contacted your bank and credit card companies to release the block on your cards for Austria and Switzerland for the duration of your trip. ATM’s are an excellent way to get money at the best exchange rates. Airport change kiosks are notoriously overpriced. Avoid ATM machines at airports and rail stations that are not a bank (i.e. American Express and Thomas Cook machines typically charge higher rates that USB, Credit Swiss, Raffeisen Bank, etc). Exchanging US currency is a challenge in most non-urban centers, and, again, you will pay a fee and not be offered as favorable a rate as the international ATM networks. having credit card with a chip is ideal. MasterCard and Visa are much more widely accepted than American Express. A copy of your medical Rx is important in case of a medical emergency or refill.
Maps - We carry the necessary maps, and if you have not received them from us prior to your trip, we will have extra copies so you can mark and follow our itinerary each day.
Ski boots - If you are bringing your own or considering buying before or during your trip, we are more than pleased to offer insight as models and technology advance each year. Dynafit, Scarpa and La Sportiva are excellent brands. In adddition, these companies have models designed specifically for women.
Boot liners - Many boot manufacturers offer some sort of "thermo-fit" liner with boots as "standard equipment". This is great as it helps improve fit and warmth, while reducing weight. For those that don't, you might want to consider buying a custom liner. These liners are heated and then molded to your foot and boot for a perfect fit. Bringing Custom footbeds and orthotics greatly improves the fit of our rental boots for your comfort and skiing performance. Custom foot beds, or just higher quality off the rack replacements, are a huge help while touring in backcountry ski boots. Superfeet “green” have been great for us, as well as Masterfit. Both are available online.
Socks - A few pairs of each of high quality wool, ski boot specific medium socks and silk or super thin synthetic liner socks. They can be washed in plain water at the huts, wrung out, and laid out at night for drying.
Pants - Light, stretch synthetic mountaineering pants with a DWR ingredient. Both Patagonia's “Backcountry Guide Pant” and Mammut “Courmayeur” are familiar and liked. Schoffel, Salewa, and Montura are also excellent brands more readily available in Europe. These pants can slip over boots - you don’t need gaiters. They are not too heavy when it's warm out, are wind resistant, and durable in the knees and seat for good wear.
Snow/wind pants - Light or mid -weight Gore-tex or other water resistant, but breathable, layer that fit generously over your ski boots. Full side zips and a rear seat flap are helpful design features.
Long underwear bottoms - Light synthetic or wool. In addition, wool, snug fitting boxers made by Icebreaker and Smartwool are fantastic for comfort, warmth, wicking and the antimicrobial ability to “stay fresher, longer” are a revelation!
Snow/wind jacket - Hard or soft-shell
Long underwear tops - Light synthetic or wool
Light fleece shirt - Something about the weight of Icebreaker 260.
Light weight second layer - Wool sweater or very light down / synthetic sweaters.
Light weight T-shirt - Light and comfortable shirt to change once we get to the huts.
Thin gloves - “WindStopper” gloves or wool with leather / synthetic palms.
Warmer gloves - Nylon insulated ski gloves. “Dachstein” style boiled wool mittens with a light nylon shell. Mountaineering specific insulated gloves.
Headband - Wool or synthetic for sweat retention and wind protection on the ears.
Warm hat or balaclava, neck gaiter (wool, synthetic), and bandana (cotton or microfiber)
Sun hat - A light weight nylon baseball cap.
Around-town clothes and shoes - Dining is casual.
HARDWARE and OTHER NECESSARY ITEMS
We will provide you with the following, but please feel welcome to bring your own and let us know which items you will be providing:
Avalanche transceiver - If you are considering buying a new beacon, there are a number of good options. The latest, most advance beacons have 3 antennas. A few good models include the the Barryvox Element or Pulse, the Ortovox S1+, or 3+, the Pieps DSP Pro or Sport, or the Arva Neo.
Ski skins - Skins should be shaped to fit shaped skis, narrow in the middle and wider at the tips and tails.
Ski poles - A two section pole can be useful for touring, allowing you to shorten them for downhill skiing and lengthen them for long sections of poling or skating.
Harness, ice axe, and crampons will be provided as needed for our intended route.
FREQUENLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Alpine touring, AT, and Randonee - what's the difference?
We use Alpine Touring, its shortened name AT, ski touring, and Randonee skiing all interchangeably as there is no true distinction between these terms. Randonee or in french with two "N"s, Randonnée, is merely the french term used for ski touring that has more or less been accepted as the most universal term. Randonee or AT skiing is not tele-skiing (telemark). While tele-skiing, your heel remains free for the ascent and descent, where as when you're Randonee skiing, your heel is free for the ascent, but the heel is locked down for the descent, and traditional alpine turns are made.