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Best Ski Touring Accessories 2019 – 2020

From ice axes and crampons, to portable boot dryers – we've got you covered for ski touring accessories

Whilst they’re not nearly as important as some of the more technical equipment like skis, bindings, boots and avalanche equipment, the majority of these accessories really will help to fine tune your setup and make your time spent out in the backcountry that bit more comfortable.

If you ever find yourself stuck finding a present for your ski touring significant other, take a gander through some of these – they’ll be sure to please. Afterall, they’ve been selected by fellow ski tourers.

Garmin Fenix 6X

Price: Starting from £599

Website: garmin.com

Looking beyond the eye-watering price tag of the Garmin Fenix 6X, this watch really is a multi-sport champion, that’ll serve you well not just during your ski touring missions, but also when you’re home training and living your day-to-day life.

Heart rate, blood oxygen readings, GPS, mapping, music and contactless payments – this watch does the lot, particularly for those of you who like to spend large amounts of time well away from civilisation. The Garmin Fenix 6X is a fantastic companion for the ski tourers out there.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Garmin Fenix 6X here

Smith Ruckus

Price: £170

Website: smithoptics.com

Whilst this single lens tech is very ‘en vogue’ in the outdoor and, to an extent, the fashion world, the Smith Ruckus are actually an extremely breathable pair of sunglasses designed for high-output sports such as ski touring. We really tried our hardest to make these bad-boys fog up, to no avail. 

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Smith Ruckus here

Julbo Aerospace

Price: £200

Website: julbo.com

The Julbo Aerospace might just look like a bog standard pair of goggles, but they’ve got a nifty trick up their sleeve – the lens is able to be extended away from the frame in order to improve ventilation and therefore remove the chance of fogging. 

Not only does the Aerospace come with this nifty tech built in, they also come with Julbo’s impressive Reactiv lens technology – which adapts the amount of light filtered based on the light conditions.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Julbo Aerospace here

Julbo Shield

Price: £100

Website: julbo.com

If you plan to go out ski touring in the high alpine, then you’re going to need a pair of strong sunglasses in order to protect your eyes from the extremely strong levels of solar radiation they could be exposed to. 

French based Julbo are one of the best companies at creating sunglasses designed for the mountains, and their Shield sunglasses are a great example of this. The Shield carries a modern design equipped with a Reactiv lens that, you guessed it, reacts to changing light conditions.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Julbo Shield here

DPS Phantom

Price: £90

Website: dpsskis.com

Picture the scene. It’s late on in a big spring mission. You’re trying to skate through a flat section of sun-transformed snow that more resembles some kind of stodgy porridge, whilst all of your mates cruise past with their freshly waxed planks. Yep, you’ve forgotten to wax your skis. Again.

Unfortunately, we’ve been in that exact position many times. Thankfully, the good people over at DPS have looked to solve this issue with their waxless ski and snowboard base treatment; a treatment that’ll provide a high level of glide with a one-time application.

“A treatment that’ll provide a high level of glide with a one-time application”

We’re going to try and stay clear from a lot of the confusing science here but essentially the treatment, that doesn’t include wax, penetrates deep into the base material to give you permanent glide. This is the opposite of traditional wax, which sits on the surface of the base.

Phantom will not only help you out during the descents and on the flats, it’ll also come into its own after you’ve ripped your skins (by preventing any skin glue from getting stuck onto your bases).

So, what’s the catch? Well, there’s two of them if we’re being perfectly honest. 1) The product costs £110, and 2) You’ve got to be able to find yourself a solid sunlight for the treatment to properly cure into your bases – a tough task for those based in the UK, but not too much of an issue for people based elsewhere in the world. 

Petzl Sum’Tec

Price: £150

Website: petzl.com

Whilst we could’ve simply included the lightest weight axe and proclaimed its lack of weight as the be-all and end all of ice axe technology, we sometimes feel this argument is a bit of a red herring when it comes to ski touring ice axe performance

Although a ski touring ice axe is rarely used (we always travel in the mountains with one in our avalanche compartment), it’s always helpful to be carrying a versatile axe that’s going to be able to hold its own when called upon. 

There’s simply nothing worse than getting to a point where you need to use a proper ice axe only to find yourself stuck with a straight shafted, straight headed, lightweight axe that would be better used as a toothpick than something which could provide you with some much needed security in steep and icy terrain.  

“There’s simply nothing worse than getting to a point where you need to use a proper ice axe only to find yourself stuck with… a toothpick”

The Petzl Sum’Tec comes equipped with a few handy features that make it an extremely versatile axe, including Petzl’s own “Trigrest” that is able to slide up and down – giving you wrist support when swinging (or move out of the way when plunging in deep snow).

The Sum’Tec also has a modular design, which means that you can change the axe head, adze, hammer and pick weights to suit the type of terrain that you plan on ascending. For example, strip all but the axe head off for a minimalist touring axe or add in an ice specific pick, with pick weight, and an adze if your ascent includes an ice climb. 

You’ll be able to not only take this tool ski touring, but also on easy ice climbs and alpine mountaineering missions. This is a tool that does it all.

Petzl Irvis Hybrid Crampons

Price: £124
Weight: 570g

Website: petzl.com

It’s extremely easy to be outgunned by crampons, particularly as ski tourers are always looking to carry the lightest, most packable crampons on the market in an effort to save weight on a bit of kit that’s rarely brought out day-to-day. However, crampons do seem to be one of those bits of kit that when you need them, you really do need them. With that in mind, a solid pair is always preferable to a shoddy option.

We’ve selected the Petzl Irvis Hybrid Crampons for our Mpora Backcountry ski guide as 1) They’re extremely packable, and are able to fold down into themselves, and 2) They feature a hybrid design, with a rock-solid steel front piece that’ll be able to get a purchase on even the most solid water ice out there – whilst also adding points in the durability department. Spoiler alert: steel is much more resistant to bending compared to aluminium.

Petzl Meteor

Price: £75

Website: petzl.com

We understand that it might not be everyone’s style, but if you’re looking at going on fast and light missions where weight savings combined with safety is essential (isn’t it always) then you need look no further than the updated Petzl Meteor.

Traditionally a climbing helmet, the biggest update for the 2019 – 2020 Meteor is its ski mountaineering certification (the Meteor’s a climbing helmet designed to go skiing in). While not as rigorous as an alpine certification, you’ll still be getting adequate protection on big ski touring days. And, what’s more, at a measly 250g, it weighs half as much as most downhill helmets.

Even non-helmet users should consider chucking this lid in their pack on those days when they’d usually be skiing technical terrain without a helmet – say, south facing couloirs where there’s a high chance of being peppered by falling rocks. Given its weight and breathability, there really is no excuse not to bring this helmet out with you.

Superfeet Carbon

Price: £40

Website: superfeet.com

Go to any boot fitter worth their salt and they’ll tell you that you need to get custom insoles. They do this because the insoles provided by the brands usually consist of a very thin layer of flat foam that provides next to no support as your foot moves within the boot, whether you’re touring or downhill skiing.

Footbeds such as the Superfeet Carbon are there to replace the stock insole by providing real support for your foot, and significantly reducing the movement of the foot as you roll from edge-to-edge.

The Superfeet Carbon is a great option for ski tourers looking to get a supportive footbed in their typically low profile ski boots. Its low profile shape, with bevelled toe edges, means it slides easily into touring boots.

Another plus is the fact that this insole is light. Constructed from carbon fibre and a lightweight foam, you’ll be able to keep the weight of your ski touring boots down.

If you suffer from cold feet whilst touring, there’s the Superfeet Carbon Winter – with foil underfoot, to sort out cold spots.

Drysure

Price: £30

Website: drysure.com

It may seem like a novelty, but getting your boots dry can be a pain. Those of us lucky enough to stay in fully catered chalets, with dedicated boot dryers in them need read no further. Go and enjoy your food cooked by Beatrice and Percival, and let the real skiers have their fun.

If, like many, your accommodation in mountain towns consists of the cheapest Airbnb going or, better yet, your mate’s kitchen floor then these little boot dryers could become very useful bits of kit on your next ski trip.

These boot dryers are free from any cords, and don’t need a power source (no more time spent desperately searching for a plug / using up your precious power adaptor when you need it to charge your phone).

“Go and enjoy your food cooked by Beatrice and Percival, and let the real skiers have their fun”

These dryers work in a similar way to those little packets of silica beads usually found in the pockets of your new waterproof shell / pants. Silica naturally absorbs water and odour, meaning that it’ll pull in all the moisture and stench from your boot liners.

Just whack these dryers into your ski boots overnight and bam, you’ll have a pair of dry and fresh ski boots to pop your feet into in the morning. There’s no better feeling prior to a day on the hill.

Heads up. You’ve got to reactivate these every ten uses. This can be done by leaving them out on the balcony in the sun while you’re out skiing, popping them on a warm radiator or throwing the bean bags (without the outer shell) in an oven at 100˚C for one to two hours – best doing this before you get the pizzas in there though.

Come summer, you’ve also got yourself a pair of dryers that’ll be able to keep your hiking, mountain biking, climbing or mountaineering boots dry without the need of a power source. Winner.

Salomon QST 30 Backpack

Price: £130

Website: salomon.com

We’ve got to hand it to Salomon, this is one well thought out pack. We’re big fans of the original S/Lab QST 35 pack said to have been cooked up by Chamonix steep skiing legends Alex Pittin and Tony Lamiche to fit their exact wants and needs.

The QST 30 has been refined slightly from the original to give the pack a more stable carry. Coming in at a true 30 litre size, this pack is suited towards those who pack as little as possible over multi-day hut tours. Alternatively, it’s great for those of us looking to travel through glacial terrain with a harness, ice axe, and crampons.

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The Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide

The Best Avalanche Safety Products 2019 – 2020

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