The Kit Hit
If you're a piste skier and have all the gear it's maybe a good idea NOT to try ski touring. Going for the first time could cost you dearly.
This spring we have introduced some of our best piste pro friends to ski touring. They took some persuading to venture up the hill without a cafe and sun terrace at the top. Also, they really weren't sure why we always walked up mountains instead of taking lifts?
But after two or three ski tours in near perfect snow this May they are sold on ski touring. Having borrowed or hired their kit, they now want their own but what to buy?
In France, there are end of season deals to be had especially on ski boots but it's a question of luck as to whether you find the right size and the right fit. One friend found her perfect Dynafit touring boots for €250, but her husband has trawled every ski and sports shop within a 100k radius and found nothing and ordering online is not really the solution when it comes to finding the best-fitting boots, essential for skiing let alone touring.
They both have piste and powder skis already fitted for downhill boots so what now? Ideally, new lightweight touring skis around 100mm waist with Tecton or Dynafit or even the Shift bindings (but the latter only have one heel lift position). They've already passed on buying second hand kit that's been offered having noticed the disadvantages of the old Dynafit bindings - and realising why we call them 'Dyna-fiddle'.
There is the benefit of having all the 'extras' by buying a mate's gear - the skins and crampons included. Otherwise when you're considering brand new skis, bindings, skins and crampons , then the bill's going to be around €1000. And that's without the boots, extendable ski poles, transeiver, probes and shovel (mandatory for any ski tourer).
Ditto for snowboarding and split board gear, except you're saving on the boots expenditure.
You wonder why, though, are there not more ski/snowboard touring packages in the stores especially around April and May? It's like the car with extra features included as standard, you'd think there'd be ski touring kit with all the extras included? Yes you can get bindings and skis but not the whole shebang. Google it and only eBay comes up for ski touring packages that include skins and crampons. And there are some really good deals to be had on eBay but retailers aren't you missing out?
Oh and, of course, you have to dress the part for ski touring. This means lighter layers, functional backpack with hydration pack (an avy bag if there's any risk), fingerless gloves that change into mitts (Decathlon) and the essential pants-on-your-head bandanna - or rather bandan-gnar!