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Expert tips for randonèe dummies

EXPERT TIPS: Are you planning your first randonée trip? Read tips from mountain guide Sigurd Felde.

The sunny side of the ski touring season is approaching and many randonée lovers are rejoicing. Here are some tips from the norwegian mountain guide Sigurd Felde for those of you planning your first randonée trip who are perhaps a bit unsure about uphill skiing.

My best tip of all for a successful first randonée skiing trip is to start cautiously. Don’t go for the highest peak on your first trip. Choose terrain that suits your skill level and get to know the equipment, technique, and snow conditions there. This is advice from Sigurd Felde, a Bergans ambassador who works as a mountain guide.

Another thing I recommend to everyone, regardless of their skill level and activity, is to spend some time studying a map and the terrain before your trip. This makes it easier to plan a safe and achievable trip. Of course, this is even more important if you're going out in unknown terrain and especially during the winter, explains Sigurd.

A very useful tool for this is a steepness map. You can find this for example in the Varsom Regobs app. This makes it easy to identify avalanche terrain, as areas with slopes over 30 degrees are clearly marked in different colors.

In your bag, on your body and in your stomach

Many people think it’s important to pack as light as possible when you’re a novice, but as a randonée beginner, you can let the minimalist in you relax a bit. It’s better to bring slightly too much than slightly too little. Safety and comfort always come first, says Sigurd.

What he always carries in his bag for winter ski touring:

• An extra pair of gloves
• A spade
• A bivouac bag
• A transmitter/receiver (avalanche transceiver)
• An extra hat
• An extra wool sweater
• A down jacket
• Some first aid equipment – at a minimum sports tape and painkillers

Dressing right is the most important thing when skiing in the winter. You can choose clothing based on your own preference, but always dress according to the multilayering principle. It will then be easy to adjust heat and ventilation according to your activity level.

What Sigurd Felde wears for winter ski touring:

Innermost layer:  Always wool. One layer on his legs and feet. Thickness determined by temperature.

Midlayer: No midlayer on his legs. On his upper body he wears a thicker midlayer or an extra layer of wool. The advantage of having two layers of wool on the upper body is that it gives a greater possibility of variation.

Outermost:  Shell jacket and trousers in damp weather and rain. Softshell jacket and trousers in dry weather. Sigurd also always has a down jacket easily accessible which he wears during breaks.

Head, hands, neck: Hat on his head. Preferably wool, as it provides insulation even when you sweat. Thickness determined by temperature. Gloves on his hands, mittens if it’s very cold. Wool buff round his neck. Excellent as extra insulation for your head and face in cold wind.

A new activity means new movement patterns which will challenge your physique in new ways. So be prepared to get tired more quickly than usual, make sure you have enough energy when you go out on a trip and take food with you. Bring a packed lunch with your favorite foods and fill your pockets with quick snacks for your trip. Felde's favorite packed lunch is a pesto and cheese sandwich, with walnuts as a snack. Remember to bring enough water, preferably also warm water in a small flask, Sigurd Felde concludes.

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