Earn every run

© Tremblant

Alpine touring is in full growth mode in the Laurentians. More and more fans of the sport are choosing to climb “on skins” rather than use the chairlifts. Some people think they’re crazy; the climbers, however, believe they’re fortunate to keep warm and avoid the lift lines. There’s no question but that after the effort needed to get to the top, every run is well deserved.

Several terms, pretty well synonymous, are used for this winter activity: backcountry skiing, off-piste skiing, ski mountaineering (or skimo), split board and more. The traditional sealskins have now been replaced by synthetic skins that stick to the snow when climbing.

For the run downhill, whether in alpine skiing, telemark or snowboard equipment, you replace the bindings, tighten your boots and dress more warmly. The technical equipment varies with the desired use, the type of terrain and a preference between a less physically demanding climb versus a more challenging downhill run.

A popular festival

© Tremblant

One good opportunity to get started in alpine touring is by participating in the Festival Rando Alpine Tremblant presented by Smartwool, which will be held for the sixth time February 7 to 9, 2020.

The program offers several kinds of guided outings. Besides getting good advice, you can meet new people who like the outdoors. You can rent equipment onsite, notably at the Centre Aventure which provides the service all season.

Real fans of the sport satisfy their search for adventure with tougher forest touring outings or expeditions on winter fat bikes. One of the magic moments of the Festival Rando Alpine Tremblant is the night tour and fondue supper on the North Side.

Please note, too, that festival registration includes an annual alpine touring pass for Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, a contribution essential for trail maintenance and patrol service.

A new challenge

Skiers are trying alpine touring to see the mountain differently, stretch out the season and provide themselves with a new challenge, says Samuel Saint-Germain, manager at Daniel Lachance Ski Service.

This entrepreneur has watched the market change. “I’ve been selling sealskins for 15 years, but in the past five years sales have really exploded,” he remarks, mentioning in the next breath that sales of touring skis and split boards have increased whereas the demand for telemark skis and snowshoes is falling.

While it’s true that ski touring equipment remains more expensive than alpine ski equipment, the products are becoming increasingly affordable, particularly since the major ski brands have come on board.

A world to discover

Once they’re well equipped, the tourers have to plan their outing carefully. Obviously, it’s wiser to start on the resorts, such as Tremblant or Mont Blanc, where the trails are maintained and a hot soup is never far away. A few people whose names were chosen in a random draw will have their annual access to Mount Alta in Val-David, a former ski hill converted into a ski touring paradise with an altitude of 178 metres.

Before heading out on an adventure in some distant location where there would be the risk of avalanches, you are advised to take training in alpine technique, such as that available from par La Liberté Nord-Sud at the Montagne d’Argent.

Some clubs, such as the Chèvres de Montagne and the Vieilles Po, organize touring outings just for women, often including some hot wine or a campfire. There are a number of options available. The important thing is to be well supported, to stay dry and to have fun on the mountain!



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Geneviève Huchette


Geneviève Huchette51 Posts

Geneviève Huchette a grandi à Montréal et a complété un baccalauréat en agronomie à McGill. Après ses études et quelques voyages, elle a atterri à Mont-Tremblant en 2008, d'abord pour un emploi sur une ferme biologique. Alors qu'elle continue de jardiner pour le plaisir, Geneviève travaille actuellement dans les domaines du yoga, de la vente au détail et de la rédaction. Dans ses temps libres, elle adore les sports en montagne, les jeux de société et jouer de la musique. Geneviève Huchette grew up in Montreal and completed a bachelor degree in Environmental and Agricultural Sciences at McGill University. After years of studying and travelling, she landed in Mont Tremblant in 2008, first to work on an organic farm. Although she still enjoys gardening for fun, Genevieve presently works in various domains: yoga, retail and writing. In her leisure time, she likes mountain sports, board games and playing music.


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