Titre original : Alpine touring
I will never forget the incredible epiphany when I discovered alpine touring last winter. My feelings about the sport have ignited a veritable passion that continues to burn as winter approaches.
Like many others, I have fallen for alpine touring, also known as uphill skiing (or skinning), a rapidly developing sport in Quebec. This enjoyable activity involves donning skis and boots that look similar to traditional equipment, but with synthetic skins fitted underneath, to climb to the summit. It is sheer bliss to take in the snowcovered trees and forest landscapes, experience the profound silence and, once you have reached the top, to remove the climbing skins, lock your heels, and fly down the slopes!
Federal MP and athlete Lyne Bessette is such a fan that she has travelled to Western Canada and Italy to practise the sport. “I enjoy the intense exercise of climbing the hill to better savour the descent. When the sunlight streams through the woods, it is absolutely spectacular. I prefer to head out around 3:00 p.m. when the sun is starting to set—the light is exquisite.” Bessette is so fond of alpine touring that she owns three different sets of gear: an ultra-light set for competitions, one for training runs, and a heavier, more stable set for going out with friends.
Samuel St-Germain, owner of the Daniel Lachance ski shop, is another enthusiast. “Even when the slopes are very crowded, just tens of metres away in the forest, it is quiet and serene. I especially like evening runs when I close the shop and head up the hill. I find myself immersed in my own world. It’s not quite spiritual, but close to it.”
In short, I can assure you that trying alpine touring is like tasting organic food: you will not believe the benefits. And the joy you will experience.
Samuel St-Germain’s take on the equipment
“The lightweight products used for climbs are less stable than traditional skis for descents. Those who travel tend to buy wider, heavier skis for stability and safety. However, given the sport’s growing popularity, major brands have recently developed lightweight hybrid skis that are both stable and safe. You can expect to spend between $2000 and $3000. Boots should be the priority in your budget, so cold and blisters don’t stop you.”
Yvan Martineau climbing the mountain at Bromont with his wife and a friend.
The skis, bindings, and boots leave the heel free to move, making it easy to climb.
Lyne Bessette uphill skiing in Colorado.
Once at the summit, lock in your heels and simply ski down the hill.
Lyne Bessette and her husband Tim Johnson.