Skitour in Kleinwalsertal

03 Feb. 2022 · Winter Activities
Vanessa Freytag

Ski touring: tips for safe behaviour in nature

Ski tours have a very special charm. Setting the first track of the day, skiing down dusty powder slopes and that incredible feeling of freedom. In addition to the outdoorsy feeling, there are also some risks associated with the sport. If we are out and about we also enter the habitat and retreat of wild animals. Careful tour planning therefore includes not only studying the avalanche and weather reports, but also learning about wildlife protection zones for a thoughtful and peaceful interaction with nature.

Skitour in the Kleinwalsertal | © Marmot | Photographer: Anton Brey

Choosing the right tour

Unforgettable winter experiences off-piste already start with the tour search. Aspects such as your own and your companion's skills must be taken into account, as well as the expected weather and snow conditions. It is therefore a good idea to remain flexible and to look at a few alternatives. Part of the initial planning is also getting information about protection zones and sanctuaries for wildlife and habitats. You can find information about approved ascent and descent corridors in printed maps and on tour portals such as Outdooractive or Alpenvereinaktiv. It's always a good idea to take advantage of designated ski tours that respect protection zones. With a well-planned tour we are not only safer, but also more sustainableand contribute to the preservation of Kleinwalsertals' nature.

 Avalanche safety training in the Kleinwalsertal | © Marmot | Photographer: Frank Kretschmann

Check avalanche situation and weather

You are well equipped and motivated and the next tour runs through approved corridors. Off we go into the untouched winter landscape, right? Before we head to our next adventure, we need to know the weather conditions and the avalanche situation. Assessing alpine hazards correctly requires a lot of experience. Knowledge about snow quality, visibility and temperature plays a vital role in open terrain. Why not learn from the pros and go on tour with an experienced guide?

Safety check on a guided skitour in Kleinwalsertal | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Martin Erd

Always have emergency equipment with you

When we are off-piste, even if it is only a few meters in the backcountry, a minimum of emergency equipment is essential. In your ski touring backpack belong not only a set of clothes and food, but also an avalanche transceiver system, a probe, a shovel and a first aid kit. Last but not least, you need to know how to use these tools properly in an emergency. An avalanche course in advance is highly recommended.

Wild foraging in winter | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Andre Tappe

Plan a time buffer

It can get uncomfortable if the tour takes longer than planned. A generous buffer should be considered depending on the ability of the weakest group member or possible surprises. At dusk you should arrive back at our accommodation safe and sound. Not only for our own safety, but also to respect resting times for wild animals. Especially in winter they need any reserve to hibernate. Disturbances caused by glaring headlamps and noise unnecessarily cost wild animals a lot of energy, which they need to survive.

Ranger in Kleinwalsertal | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Basti Heckl

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