Backcountry Ski Touring and Split Boarding
With so many ways to explore the mountains this winter the only question is, will a week be long enough?
What is ski touring?
Get off the beaten track with a local guide and discover a different way to see the mountains. Stop at one of the many refuges in the hills, often only accessible to backcountry skiers and run by mountaineers, trail runners and people that are passionate about the mountains. There might not be a menu but quite often you’ll get a hearty meal, a mug of something warming and if you’re lucky maybe a local brew made with one of the high altitude flowers like Genepi.
Essentially its a way to explore the mountains in winter, getting to places that are either less accessible by chairlifts or where there are no lifts at all. Also known as ski mountaineering, ski touring is a growing sport in Morzine, where the European Championships were held in 2007.
A lot of the Morzine locals will spend there winter mainly ski touring and splitboarding so you don’t need to go far in town to find all the gear and expertise you need.
Can I ski-tour in Morzine?
Yes, there are lots of places to explore and unless you take a chairlift its all free of charge!
Morzine’s top 3 backcountry ski areas:
- The Vallee de la Manche – this is a perfect place to explore with lots of pure backcountry and no ski lifts for miles. You can either ski tour up from the bottom or drop over the back from Avoriaz into a beautiful powder field taking you all the way to the bus stop back to town.
- Encrenaz – this beautiful area is situated around the back of Mont Chery. Catch the first lift over and then tour up a variety of different slopes to suit all abilities of ski touring.
- Porte du Soleil – There is some amazing touring just off the top of the lifts in Porte du Soleil. Taking a chairlift up the slopes and then heading away from the people, means you have all the fun with less effort, my kind of touring.
Morzine is a great place to explore the off piste and Some of the Morzine locals will head out in snow shoes and take their dogs for a walk, usually they have the mountain to themselves.
How do I start?
If you’re an intermediate skier or snowboarder and looking for some fresh powder, a different way to explore the mountains and a new challenge, head to the backcountry. Depending where you’re going you’ll need the right equipment and its always a highly recommended to get some tips from one of our partners like New Generation Ski and Snowboard school’s Backcountry Skills lessons, Alpine Ski School’s Off-Piste and Backcountry Guiding or one of the other schools in Morzine.
Beacons or transceivers, ski probes and shovels are just some of the items you’ll need to bring with you when ski-touring:
It can be a beautiful and serene way to explore the mountains and with a little preparation, a lesson in avalanche safety and a guide to take you to some of the best spots, you’ll soon find out why the sport is growing so quickly.
Disclaimer: while every effort is made to give you all the advice you need to get started we strongly suggest that anyone new to the area and backcountry skiing or snowboarding should take a qualified guide with them.