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 ski touring 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. After all, they’ve been selected by fellow ski tourers.
Garmin Fenix 6X
Price: Starting from £599
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.