The diary of a touring newbie

Follow Fall-Line’s Mary Creighton as she enters the scary world of touring, pin tech bindings and all…

What’s this? A Fall-Line staffer who isn’t constantly skinning up to hidden couloirs in the pursuit of meaty lines and glorious photos? That’s me. Actually, before I started working for Fall-Line the idea of propelling myself uphill for anything, not even a glistening field of untracked powder, was my idea of anti-skiing. Why would you waste precious time going up, working up a chilling sweat, when you could be lapping a high-speed quad with heated seats? I didn’t mention any of this in my application letter, mind…

My baptism of fire came on my first work trip, testing skis in Kühtai in March 2012. “Mary, I think you should try touring,” declared Fall-Line publisher Dickie. “Err, yes, I’d absolutely love to!” I replied, keen to impress. Twenty minutes later I found myself squeezing into touring boots in the Scott tent, getting ready to explore the wilds of Kühtai with our backcountry editor, Martin Chester, and a group who would turn out to be some of the fittest people in the ski industry. And I loved it – the choppy, ungroomed snow, the silence. But the skinning itself… not so much.

Ski tourer

Fotolia.com

Three years on, I’ve only toured a grand total of three times. Always for powder, always with clunky freeride skis and borrowed boots  on and never for longer than 30 minutes. But that’s all about to change. I’ve decided to become a proper tourer. The kind who skins up the side of pistes just for the ‘fun’ of it, who wears light-as-a-feather touring boots and spends their evenings researching new routes. The exact kind of stuff 23-year-old me would avoid at all costs. So I’ve ordered dainty touring skis (and yes, I’ve even gone as far as getting pin tech bindings), some boots which have more flex than my wellies and I’m ready to make uphill my thing. 

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