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Snowsports touring

Several winters over the last decade have produced unprecedented snow cover in the Scottish mountains, resulting in a boom in the number of people out enjoying the mountains on ski/board well away from the boundaries of the ski areas. The challenge and rewards of ski mountaineering are immense for those willing to invest in the kit and physical effort required to explore some of the most dramatic and remote parts of the UK.

In this section you can find details about how to get started, the essential skills and safety information, and tips on where best to go for great days out. For those with a competitive streak, there's also information on ski mountaineering racing (Skimo Scotland).

Getting started

Snow sports touring has been described as the most complete and satisfying way to travel in the mountains. There can certainly be few winter mountaineers who haven't looked on enviously as they've post-holed their way up a slope and been passed by skiers skinning their way 'effortlessly' uphill. Here's the lowdown on getting started.

Where to go

Not every mountain is suitable for snow sports touring, but expert Ian Sherrington waxes lyrical about the Cairngorms, with their broad shoulders, miles of plateaux and sweeping corries.

Safety and skills

Snow sports touring is potentially a high risk sport and you should make sure you are ready to take on the challenges of navigation - harder when you can't judge speed - and assessing weather and avalanche hazards. Read more in this section about the necessary skills for a safe and enjoyable expedition.

Snowsport touring and managed ski resorts - a code for backcountry skiers and boarders

Ski mountaineering on Braeriach. Photo by Heather Morning