"The ski-mountaneering is the fruit of the marriage of two major sports: Mountaineering and Skiing" Arnold Lunn
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The origins of the ski-mountaneering comes from the Alps during the early decades of the twentieth century, at which time while mountaneering was a well established and widespread summer activity, in the winter and spring, with the presence of snow and ice, the mountain set dificulties that significantly reduced human activity in those areas.
Nowadays it is practiced worldwide and there are many competitions and athletic feats.
The ski-mountaneering is a form of skiing, but also clasified as mountaineering activity, it's actually one of the most rewarding and accessible discipline of mountaneering.
With the feelings of skiing on the downhills, but also wiht the enjoyment of doing it in areas that are not treated or marked, either packed with skiers which is frecuent in alpine ski resorts.
Simultaneously with the enjoyment and sensations that mountaneering brings , we ascend and move big distances in one day of skiing, in fact we could compare the difference as that which occurs when walking and bicycling.
Usually the goal is to climb a peak or take a tour or excursion, ascending with the help of the skins and the pivoting bindings that release heel for natural walking motion (aditionally the ski-mountaneering boots provide more flexion) and then allows you to enjoy a natural ski-slope of less frequented and "virgin" areas.
Like many of the activities and mountain sports, the practice involves some potential risk, however most of these risks are mitigated with the proper use of a suitable and specific gear, as well as technical and practical knowledge of the activity.
While physical training is a determining factor, as in many other sports, it will set the limits and intensity of our skiing days, but with a suitable physical form, the skiing days can be almost endless.
Even if is a activity closely related to skiing, it shares just some of the specific gear:
Very similar to downhill skiing, but lighter and with smaller dimensions. (Although not recommended, downhill skis can also be used)
Pivoting ski-mountaneering bindings:
It allows to relieve the heel of the boot to walk with the natural movement, and for the descents the heel can be block .
Very similar to those of downhill skiing, but with rubber soles (to walk on the rocks), and much more flexible and lighter.
Allows us to climb steep slopes creating a grip on the soles of the skis with snow. Although the name comes from the material used in the past, now all climbing skins are synthetic materials.
Placed in the ski binding, for ascending and move on the hard snow.
Crampons and ice axes:
Necesary for proper climbing, for ascend and move on very steep slopes or iced areas.
Very important that they are durable and rigid, due to the impacts and burdens that they receive but at the same time they should be lightweight, often a conventional telescopic walking poles supplies the the needs of the beginners on the downhills.
A Security element that allows us to be located by others and to find a mate, in the case of beeing caught in an avalanche. Rescue time is the key factor for survive an avalanche, which is minimized with the use of Arva.
Shovel and Probes:
They are key elements that after a team member is located by an arva, to recute him faster and efficiently.
Soft or flexible gear:
Waterproof and breathable, recomended to combine 2 pairs, a highly breathable one and the other one waterproof, using the breathable to ascend and the waterproof ones to descend
Breathable and windproof pants, like the ones with Windstopper or softshell membrane:
Suitable for climbing and hiking where thermoregulation is important and the contact with the snow is rare
Waterproof and windproof pants:
Suitable for the downhills, where contact with the snow is frecuent and the relative wind speed produce an important loss of heat.
First layer T-shirt highly breathable:
Ascending the production of heat can be quite intense, needing a good evacuation of the corresponding heat and sweat.
Second layer windproof fleece, very tranpirable and warm:
As the first layer a second layer is sometimes needed on
the climbs, where it should be very breathable for the same reasons.
Also highly recommended one fleece with a windproof membrane, since usually the element that produces the greatest heat loss is the wind.
Third coat waterproof, breathable and windproof jacket:
Must be compatible with the characteristics of other layers, such as breathability and windproof, but also to be impermeable, as is the layer that is typically used on downhill slopes, where priority is waterproof to protect from contact with the snow (less frequent as they learn to go downhill more safe) and where protection against the wind produced by the speed is very important to reduce heat loss.
Sunglasses and Goggle:
It is generally recommended to carry both, since the meteorology in height is usually unstable, both should have good ventilation and anti-fog systems.
Preferably those with better breathability than those which provide better protection against the cold, since that increases the production of heat is very intense.
Cap and / or hat with visor:
Both to protect from the intense solar radiation on heights, but also the cold also present on the heights
To protect from the intense solar radiation of the heights, strongly recommended that it will be water resistant (waterproof) as sweat tends to banish it from the skin.
Indispensable to protect lips from the cold’s burns, but also from the intense solar radiation of the heights, so it is preferable to have a built-in sunscreen (15-50%)
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