THE MOUNTAIN BLOG

Basic guide to get started in mountain skiing

Basic guide to get started in mountain skiing

El esquí de montaña, también conocido como esquí de travesía o skimo, es una disciplina deportiva que, en los últimos años, en nuestro país, está teniendo un considerable aumento en el número de participantes.

El esquí de montaña consiste en realizar un recorrido en la montaña combinando el ascenso sobre unos esquís a una cima, collado o donde uno quiera llegar y descender esquiando.

¡El terreno de juego que se abre para el esquiador de montaña es inabarcable! ¡No tiene nada que ver bajar por una pista balizada en una estación de esquí alpino que dejar tu huella en la ladera de una montaña, tras acometer un excitante descenso!

¿Y como podemos coronar una montaña con esquís? Well, thanks to the material we use that helps us to move forward sliding the skis on the snow because we use boots that allow us some mobility of our ankles. Also we wear some "seal skins" (now they are synthetic) that prevent the ski from sliding backwards in addition to some bindings that allow us to lift the heel and therefore walk and slide.

And how can we ski down a mountain? Because we can lock our boots by turning them into stiff boots like alpine ski boots, we can also block the fixation thus preventing the heel movement that we have had during the ascent. Likewise, una vez quitadas las superficies que nos adhieren a la nieve, las pieles de foca, la superficie de nuestros esquís deslizará ladera abajo. ¡Eso si! ¡si no sabemos esquiar en nieve virgen, en nieve no pisada por máquinas pisanieves, el descenso será toda una odisea!

Recomendaciones
Por todo ello, recomendamos a todo el que se inicie en el esquí de montaña que contrate un curso formativo específico para que su conocimiento y progresión en esta disciplina sea lo más eficaz y satisfactoria posible y además adquiera las nociones fundamentales de seguridad en montaña.
Los cursos formativos serán la base para construir un conocimiento lo más completo posible de la montaña. La participación en otros cursos más avanzados, la contratación de salidas guiadas con guíasde montaña profesionales que además de guiarte te enseñen, será el mejor de los caminos que podrás tomar.Las salidas guiadas con guías de montaña profesionales que además de guiarte te enseñen, será el mejor de los caminos que podrás tomar para iniciarte

En los últimos años, algunas estaciones de esquí alpino están desarrollando rutas balizadas, lo que se conoce como “rutas o circuito skimo”, en la propia estación y en zonas limítrofes a las mismas permitiendo pasar una jornada en montaña, con un riesgo mas controlado.

Algunos lugares donde practicar el esquí de montaña
Como ya hemos comentado con anterioridad, para practicar esquí de montaña necesitamos nieve y montaña.
En lo que se refiere a montañas no nos podemos quejar ya que la península ibérica está salpicada por un número importante de cadenas montañosas que a continuación nombraremos.

Respecto a la nieve, sí que en los últimos años está tardando en caer, pero al final cerca de nuestros hogares si no la hay, un poco más lejos seguro que la encontraremos. further, a diferencia del esquí alpino que la temporada se acaba prácticamente en Semana Santa o una o dos semanas más tarde, el esquiador de montaña podrá alargar la misa hasta bien entrado el mes de mayo e incluso junio.

 

Necessary material
¿Y que necesita una persona que quiera practicar el esquí de montaña? Well, first of all, I really want to live a wonderful experience in addition to snow and mountains!! further, as we have already explained at the beginning of this article, the specific material is needed consisting of boots, mountain skis with bindings that allow walking and skiing, sealskins and poles (To start with, we can use the piste ski poles)…

Also, You will be required to carry the essential safety kit against avalanches consisting of 3 essential items in this sport: DVA (Avalanche Victim Detector) known as "Arva", a shovel and a probe. Unfortunately, Every year there are accidents with fatalities caused by the triggering of avalanches and both carry this material and know how to use it, can save your life and that of your fellow adventurers.

To end, in addition to breathable mountain clothing that allows us to do intense physical exercise and that also shelters us and protects us from the wind, snow and rain, We may need crampons and ice ax if the slopes on which we are going to progress are hard since the sealskins would slip on these surfaces..

Required physical and technical skills
Ski mountaineering is a very complete sport that combines the technical ability and physical ability of climbing a mountain with the technique of descending it while skiing.. Therefore, It is required according to the objectives that one sets, a good physical level, being used to doing aerobic physical activity, know the ascent technique to progress safely both on low slopes and on a steeper slope. further, we need some mountain knowledge covering meteorological topics, of the stability of the snow mantle, of knowing how to choose the safest route, know how to progress with crampons and ice ax and to finish it is very important to know the avalanche victim search protocols and the use of the elements that make up the safety kit (think, shovel and probe).

Then, we name some of the most favorable areas to practice this sport. We will leave many places to name since it would require a specific article for it.

Catalan pyrenees
He Sanctuary of Núria and La Cerdaña due to their proximity to Barcelona and its metropolitan area, they are ideal for a getaway. As usual, Its mountains present a smooth relief with relatively easy ascents to numerous peaks that are reached with the skis on the feet.

The valley of Aran and the Sant Mauricio and Aigües Tortes National Park configure an immense space with a multitude of options. At the beginning of winter, the abundant nivation of the Arán valley allows itineraries to be carried out when other Pyrenean valleys still do not have snow. The national park has a good network of refuges that makes possible itineraries of several days sleeping in them. These refuge-to-refuge journeys usually start from the end of February, being the best time March and April.

He Boí valley Like its neighbor Aran Valley, it borders the national park and is also a good place to make bordering peaks to this protected area and when the shelters are open, make interesting itineraries from refuge to refuge.

Aragonese Pyrenees
The Benasque valley with the Aneto massif, Maladetas, Posets, Retriever etc. presents multitude of routes to be able to carry out throughout the season. On the northern slope of the Aneto-Maladetas the snow lasts until well into spring, being able to perform great ascents until the month of May e incluso junio.

He Guistaín valley (Chistau) with the Bachimala, Eristes, Punta Suelza among others is a quiet place, away from ski resorts with wild terrain and less frequented than other neighboring valleys.

He Ordesa valley presents a complex and challenging terrain for ski mountaineering. Late spring, Some of its peaks are accessible and although the approaches are long, the reward of the landscape that surrounds us will compensate for the effort made..

He Tena valley and the mountains of Panticosa Spa they are one of the most frequented places in the Pyrenees. The Tena Valley has a multitude of peaks accessible during the day for all tastes and levels. The mountains of Panticosa present a greater challenge for skiers with greater slopes, greater degree of difficulty and where the experience in the mountains is necessary to enjoy this beautiful environment.
We cannot forget the mountains of other valleys like the Aspe, he Bisaurín o la Table of the Three Kings that borders France and Navarre.

Cantabrian Mountains
The Picos de Europa present a complex relief and on many occasions, adverse weather. We recommend going into these mountains with very good weather conditions and in spring. We will enjoy wild mountains, a unique relief, special and unique landscape very different from what we are used to.

The Palencia and León mountains like the Pico Tres Provincias, Coriscao, Mampodre, Peña Ten, Curavacas, Peña Ubiña, etc. they are ideal for ski mountaineering. Starting from mountain villages, In an environment that is generally not frequented, we will unleash our explorer facet.

Central Sistem, Sierra de Guadarrama and Sierra de Gredos
Between Madrid and Segovia the Central Sistem with heights up to 2.400 meters. The Sierra de Guadarrama, very close to Madrid, It is the playing field for Madrilenians and Segovians. If you are lucky enough to be active after a recent snowfall it is worth going down the north of Peñalara or the north of Heads of Iron.

The Sierra de Gredos presents an abrupt relief and are mountains more challenging than those of Guadarrama. In winter it is a paradise for mountaineering and in spring it opens its doors to beautiful mountain ski routes both in the Circo de Gredos and in the Sierra de Béjar.

Sierra Nevada.
Sierra Nevada has the highest elevations in the Iberian Peninsula, which allows it to host snow from the beginning of the season and that it lasts until well into spring. The most comfortable access is through the alpine ski resort of Sierra Nevada, although it carries with it the natural overcrowding of any ski resort. Other possible accesses are through the Jerez del Marquesado the by the Alpujarras on the southern slope of the mountain range.

Once away from the ski resort, Sierra Nevada is presented to us as a large playing field with multiple options for every taste.

Hugo Cózar Romeu

Sports Technician in High Mountain

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TABLE OF DIFFICULTIES

HIKING AND TREKKING: NF / TT

PHYSICAL LEVEL

Unevenness + accumulated

Physical condition

*

until 700 m

Normal: sporadic sports practice

**

until 1200 m

Good: practicing sports regularly

***

until 1500 m

Very good: practicing sports regularly

TYPE OF LAND

*

Forest tracks or trails in good condition

**

Trails in good condition. Presence of rocks and roots that requires attention during the tread

***

Obstructed trails, quarries and out of the way

MOUNTAIN SKIING: NF / NE

PHYSICAL LEVEL

Unevenness + accumulated

Physical condition

*

until 700 m

Normal: sporadic sports practice

**

until 1200 m

Good: practicing sports regularly

***

until 1500 m

Very good: practicing sports regularly

SKI LEVEL

Blachere Scale and Traynard Scale relationship

Ski level

*

EM / S1-S2

Inexperienced or inexperienced in mountaineering skiing that although they go down in parallel on the piste have difficulties in the off-piste descents

**

EB / S2-S3

Already started with mastery of the parallel on slopes up to 35 º

***

EB-EMB LOW / S4

With experience who ski on any non-extreme slope (up to 35º-40º) using different descent techniques

****

EMB / S4-S5

With experience who ski on any slope (up to 45º) mastering the queue jump

Blachére scale according to the technical level of the skier

IN

Average skier who can handle moderate and wide slopes of up to 25º

EB

Good skier, able to face slopes of 30º-35º and difficult snows

EMB

Very good skier, up to slopes of 40-45º, with exposed steps and snows of all kinds

EE

Excellent skier: able to face slopes of up to 50º, with obligatory passages somewhat exposed and with snows of all kinds

EX

Extreme skier, able to face slopes of more than 50º, with highly exposed obligatory passages and snow of all kinds




Traynard scale

S1

Low slopes with ease for turning. Very suitable areas for off-piste initiation

S2

Low slopes or moderate slopes (up to 25º) but with room for turning and without obstacles.

S3

Moderate slope (up to 35º). No difficulty in all types of snow. Downhills that can be considered accessible to good or very good skiers

S4

Slope maintained higher up to 45º in terrain with little exposure and between 35º-40º in exposed terrain, narrow and bound.

S5

Very strong slopes, inclination greater than 45º-50º, very obligatory terrain and with exposure. Forbidden to fall!

S6

Maintained incline greater than 50º on exposed terrain or more than 55º on little exposed terrain.

S7

More of 60 º, very exposed

1423910-2005

CLIMBING: NC / NT

VIAS FERRATAS: NC / NT

COMMITMENT LEVEL

Commitment level

Description

*

Short itinerary, not far away, easy descent.

**

Longer itinerary with certain objective hazards, easy descent.

***

Wide itinerary in need of a good experience in the mountains. Long approach and tricky descent.

****

Long itinerary on a great wall; delicate course and exposed to objective dangers on the ascent and on the approach. Difficult withdrawal, track not equipped, difficult descent. The rope must have an excellent level of competence.

  • The escala Hüsler divide in 6 the levels difficulty in a range from easy to extremely difficult.

TECHNICAL LEVEL

Difficulty graduation

Description

K1

Easy

K2

Little difficult

K3

Something difficult

K4

Hard

K5

Very difficult

K6

Extremely difficult

* Additionally, the French scale could be added:

The French scale, inspired by the graduation mode of the classic alpine routes, dispose of 6 different levels of difficulty of F a ED on a scale of easy a extremely difficult. The main difference with the escala Hüsler is that intermediate levels are also accepted here indicated with the symbol (+) superior o (-) inferior, like in the climbing.

Easy

Little difficult

Quite difficult

Hard

Very difficult

Extremely difficult

F

PD

AD

D

TD

ED

*Clarifying that the extremely difficult level does not mean that it is so difficult as to put the human capacity to the limit, but it defines the most difficult itineraries that exist.

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MOUNTAIN CLIMBING: NF/ NT

PHYSICAL LEVEL

Unevenness + accumulated

Physical condition

*

until 700 m

Normal: sporadic sports practice

**

until 1200 m

Good: practicing sports regularly

***

until 1500 m

Very good: practicing sports regularly

TECHNICAL LEVEL

Difficulty graduation

Description

F: Easy

Slopes (of rock, snow and / or ice) with moderate slopes, always lower than 45%, that are promoted progressing (in snow sometimes with ice ax). Easy climbs up to grade II. Some sections of glacier with crevasses. Experienced mountaineers can ascend without rope.

PD: Little difficult

Slopes (of rock, snow and / or ice) with steep slopes always higher than 45%, although they walk up. Narrow, aerial ridges and ridges. Climbing of some difficulty, up to III degree. Cracked glaciers. The use of the rope may be necessary on more than one occasion.

AD: Something difficult

Long earrings (of rock, snow and / or ice) with steep slopes always higher than 50%, although they can walk up. Narrow, aerial ridges and ridges. Climbs of moderate difficulty even on vertical terrain, grades III and IV. Very cracked and complicated glaciers. Mandatory use of rope. Only for experienced mountaineers.

D: Hard

Maintained climbing, so much in rock (frequent IVº), ice or snow

MD: Very difficult. (TD in France)

Difficult technical ascents and climbs on any type of terrain, being able to reach up to the Vº degree of classic climbing. Considerable length. Limit graduation slopes. Very high exposure. Required a lot of technique. In remote places.

ED: Extremely difficult

Extreme difficulty with huge exposure, long-lasting, in remote places

canyoning

CANYONS: ND

DIFFICULTY LEVEL

Denomination

Description

*

Familiar

Drops of a small length, and comfortable approaches. Possible some small rappel. Existence of playful elements to allow the little ones to enjoy themselves in the company of adults. Eventually existence of some optional adult progression elements.

**

Initiation

Runs of moderate length, and comfortable approaches. No more than three small rappels. Existence of playful elements that will allow us to discover the activity in a pleasant way. Generally without forced jumps. Eventually existence of some more challenging optional progression items.

***

Sports

Moderate length descents and moderate approaches, eventually some return or approach with good unevenness. Presence of rappels in greater numbers, or someone taller, in general without going beyond 20 m. Progression elements like jumps, slides, living waters, most challenging, but with controlled risk.

****

Technical

Drops between moderate and long length, possibly long approaches or with sections of steep slope. Presence of rappels, some with distance greater than 30 meters. Progression elements like jumps, slides, living waters that require knowing the correct execution of the technique.