Safety & Preparation

Safety is mountain guides

When ski touring in a high alpine environment you need to be aware of the risks that are present. Whilst our mountain guides strive to mitigate such risks in conjunction with you, they can never be fully eliminated.

We only employ fully certified IFMGA mountain guides. A mountain guide’s job is to manage risk in a high alpine environment, and to gather and process information. To become a fully certified international mountain guide with IFMGA is a very demanding endeavour. The examination follows an approximately five year long education. The guide badge is a mark representing the highest possible quality and safety.

As a participant, it is vital to understand your own role in the safety of the group. This includes being sufficiently well prepared, both physically and mentally, being correctly equipped and to act in a sensible and safe way. This is particularly important during Pure Out of Bounds where we ski from hut to hut, further away from civilization. We’re all depending on each other, participants and guides, and we might not be able to leave someone who is tired in the hut, fix or change kit etc.

During day tours, the guide can pick and choose terrain according to the ability of the participants. On the Out of Bounds tours, the guide is beholden to the terrain to a greater degree in order to get the group safely to the next hut. Safety is always the primary concern, and as a participant you should always be aware that a tour plan can change due to aspects of weather, avalanche risk and other elements.

You can see which IFMGA mountain guides are guiding each trip under the event listing.

Safety is preparations

Ski touring is a physically demanding activity, sometimes over long days. As participants, we must ensure we’re in peak condition, both for walking up and for skiing down. This places high demands both on your ability and your preparation. We recommend that you prepare diligently in terms of fitness and skiing ability, and that you’re comfortable and well acquainted with your equipment.

Blisters on your feet can be a big problem that can spoil your trip. Pay close attention to the fit of your boots, and tape up your feet either before, or as soon as you feel rubbing. If you’re renting boots one option can be to try to use your own fitted insoles, or even the inner boot of your normal downhill boots. We sell a “Pure Blister Bag” containing all you need to prevent and treat blisters, which can be ordered in conjunction with your booking.

Safety is equipment

Ski touring is demanding for both skier and gear. Your equipment should be light, multi-functional and durable. When ascending, we need to be able to take long, efficient strides, and be well ventilated. During the descent, we want stable skiing, wind protection and warmth.

To dress for ski touring can be difficult. One way to think about it is that in terms of temperature, you’ll feel like a cross-country skier on ascent, and like a piste skier on descent.

It’s good to carry an insulated jacket or additional fleece to throw on during breaks. A wind and water-proof shell jacket and pants are preferable, following the layering principle such that you can regulate your temperature.

A hat and gloves or mittens which are wind and water-resistant are vital. Protect your eyes with goggles or sunglasses, and remember to carry sun cream.

Your skis need to be equipped with randonné-bindings that allow you to walk with a free heel. In Canada and Japan, it’s common to ski on wider skis, ideally 100mm or more underfoot. Your climbing skins should be contour-cut specifically for your skis and should cover at least the full width of the ski at its narrowest whilst exposing the steel edge.

Crampons and axes should be of an “alpine” design. In terms of axes, this means that they’re intended for snow, rather than ice climbing, and have a straight shaft (45-65cm) with a shovel head, not hammer. Crampons should have horizontal front teeth.

We cooperate with the best brands and we can offer great deals on purchases or rentals. Log in to Tools & Deals on the website to take advantage of our offers.

You can see a listing of obligatory equipment for each trip under the event listing.