My first ski touring experience

For several years I have been thinking that I want to start with ski touring. For three years to e exact. This weekend we finally realized our dreams – well it was not quite according to what we had dreamed but at least we got out there.

ski-touring1

Picture by Štěpán Jirka

So why ski touring? Couple of years back we realized that during the winter season we are quite inactive. Yes, we went skiing couple of times, but you really get bored with riding the same slopes after couple of days and its also quite expensive sport. Another thing is that it does not provide the freedom that I usually feel while hiking. I think anybody who as been to a ski resort knows that you are no exactly alone in the mountains while there. All in all I think it is nice, but my husband and I wanted to try out ski touring so that we could have more freedom, get away from the people and closer to the mountains also during the winter season.

In order to go from dreams to action, we rented the equipment from DAV and found an “easy” tour that we could try out. I was a little anxious before the tour because we have no avalanche training. I know that many of you know think safety first – what were you thinking. BUT to my defense, I did try to sing up for avalanche course for ski touring, but it turned out that some ski touring experience was a prerequisite. How you should get one before the other, I wondered? I guess the way we ended up doing it. You just do some ski touring without avalanche training. Not the ideal scenario, but I decided that after three years I just can’t use more years on finding somebody who already knows this sport and is willing to let me tag along.

Long story short we found a tour marked “easy” in one of the ski touring books, rented skies from DAV, followed the avalanche reports and were ready for a real adventure. We didn’t even know how to use touring bindings, but luckily you can learn a lot from watching YouTube 🙂 .

The tour went to Fockenstein (1564m). We had to do a 900m climb and were supposed to use two and half hours to the top, but in the end we used three and half hours. Nevertheless, the trip up was actually quite as expected. I guess I had mentally prepared myself that it will be supper heavy and the reality was not as heavy as I had thought. It is amazing how you can walk up using skins and not even slightly glide backwards! We also had super nice weather so the way up was really nice.

After a while I started worrying about the snow conditions. Since it was warm the snow was very wet and I was afraid that on the way down, when temperature was decreasing it would be very slippery and icy. Another thing that worried me was that there was not that much snow on the top and that my rented skis were too long for me. I tried not to think about that too much on the way up but on the way down all my fears became a reality.

skitourin2

Picture by Štěpán Jirka

First of all I must admit that I am not the best skier, even on slopes. So I did not have the best confidence in myself. The fact that my touring skis were longer and wider than my regular skis did not help. Therefore there was one place where I actually took of my skies and walked 😦 😦 . At that point I was thinking that my overall goals was to not get insured and when I was standing there I was not sure that I would not get insured when trying to ski down. So I did not. Off course this is a defeat that strikes me hard. Trying to do something that you have dreamed of for so long and then failing so hard, makes me so sad. I would almost say depressed. Because it is so easy to just generalize this defeat to every other dream I have regarding outdoors. I know that it is not how I should think, but I am not going to lie and tell you that I sit with just positive thoughts after this experience. Yes, I try to focus on the positive – I made it down without insuring myself or destroying the skis, It was easier than expected to go up and I am one more experience wiser. I also know that one can not expect to be good at something the first time you try, but I was expecting to be able to ski down the whole way even if very slowly. Therefore I still feel defeated and unmotivated.

I now need to decide what I will do next. Should I say OK ski touring is not for me or should I make a plan on how to get better?? I don’t know yet. I think I will try it once more before I decide. With shorter skis 🙂 .

Anyways, here are some pictures from the trip, as I said the way up was a really nice experience.

skitouring4

skitouring3

Picture by Štěpán Jirka
 

img_20170128_145905img_20170128_145843

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