GET YOUR KIT LIST DIALLED
Even by alpine standards, the Dolomites sit as one of Europe’s most impressive landscapes. Jagged, saw-edged ridges give way to rocky pinnacles, while deep gorges offset steep rock faces. Like many world-class mountain sports destinations, the mountains here provide an intense proving ground for countless outdoor enthusiasts.
For Dolomites native and Koroyd ambassador, Andreas Tonelli, winter at home is when things both slow down and pick up. An area bounded by contrasts, where Mediterranean views converge with alpine peaks, it’s a place deeply rooted in tradition and cosmopolitan curiosity. Throughout the season here, the mountains and their conditions dictate daily activities. It seems life in this UNESCO World Heritage Site hangs in the balance between striving for adventure and respecting nature’s authority.
Through the extended summer months, Andreas is away travelling for work, guiding mountain biking, enduro biking, hiking and ski touring trips to spots such as Chile, Uganda, Morocco, Japan, Madeira and Norway – the list goes on! But after eight months on the road, the allure of his province, its variety and harmony of opposites, call.
Switching bikes for his splitboard, winter is spent making the most of The Alps famous terrain and extensive snowfalls. On the nearby Sella Massif range alone, there are more than 100 skiable couloirs. No wonder he calls The Dolomites “a true paradise”.
With this season’s lift closures and advised social distancing measures, it’s likely that many more people will push themselves into unknown territory to recreate under their own steam. However, exploring the backcountry here (and everywhere), is no joke. Without adequate planning, bad decisions can lead to fatal ones. So having the skills and knowledge to analyse the conditions and the terrain is essential.
Above and beyond the correct gear, equipping yourself with the mental tools to ensure the safety of yourself and others is the most important thing to do before getting out there. Andreas advises anyone going backcountry touring to take an avalanche course, study the local snowpack, get familiar with your gear and your route, consider possible hazards and create bailout plans, and to find a partner who has done the same. You are responsible for each other’s safety in the backcountry, so take all possible precautions. And as always, act responsibly.
The next step is to ensure you have the correct gear. Riding in the backcountry demands a lot of self-reliance and responsibility for others, so it’s vital to have gear that you can trust. Essentials such as skins, water and an additional layer come as standard, but getting your day pack dialled can take years. We asked Andreas to share what’s on his ski touring kit list.
Andreas Tonelli - KOROYD AMBASSADOR
Avalanche Safety Gear
Beacon, Shovel, Probe. These three items are your lifeline if something goes wrong and you should never travel in the backcountry without them. It is essential to practice with them in controlled environments and carry them at all times.
Double-check the battery life of your transceiver before you leave home and do a beacon check with your crew to make sure everyone’s is working before starting the tour.
Splitboard equipped with touring bindings and climbing skins: my favourite Board is the Nitro Doppelgänger size 164, featuring the Koroyd core.
The increased damping reduces vibrations and its lighter weight allows me to hike faster and further! Splitboard specific boots from Nitro and collapsible poles for climbing that are easily stored on the way down are also vital.
I use a specialised backpack with an airbag to deploy it in the event of a slide. I always combine it with the Koroyd Propack back protector, which protects my spine from any impacts.
Everyone is different, but for a day tour, I like to carry: power bars, a thermos of tea, dried fruits, shovel and probe, a small first aid kit, emergency bivy sack, cell phone, power bank, gear repair kit, extra layers, extra gloves, map, sunscreen, splitboard crampons, and cap.
I carry a head torch because the days in the mountains are always too short for me! For more challenging tours, I add boot crampons and an ice axe, as well as a harness, rope, ice screws and any other necessary alpine gear.
I never start a descent without wearing my Smith Vantage helmet. Remember: Always safety first in the backcountry.
Find out more about this helmet here: Smith Vantage.
Despite the cold weather, things can get pretty sweaty pretty quick on the skin track, so it’s best to dress with ventilation in mind. That means technical, moisture-wicking base layers (I prefer merino) and a pair of thin gloves for the ascent. I always wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, even when it is cloudy.
A lightweight and breathable waterproof shell is essential for the backcountry. I also often wear an extra mid-layer, goggles and a second, thicker pair of gloves.
FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL