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Ski mountaineering

Ski mountaineering is a sport that does not require prepared or signposted pistes. The aim is to climb to the top of a mountain or follow routes without the aid of any mechanical devices. It is related to hiking, which is very popular in Catalonia, and this makes it a natural adaptation of summer outings.

In Catalonia you can ski during many months of the year. The first outings usually take place in November, before the resorts open, and the season lasts until May. With resorts already closed you can still enjoy good conditions in the main part of the Pyrenees.

Ski mountaineering is a risk sport that requires specialised equipment good physical condition and a lot of technical ability. Going up involves seal skins that are attached to the bottom of the skis preventing skiers from slipping or falling back. The fasteners have two positions: one that is used to climb, leaving the heel free to move, and the other which is used to come down the mountain, when it is set to be able to slide as if skiing.

It is important to learn about the risk of avalanches and study weather forecasts prior to setting out. It is advisable not to go ski mountaineering alone and you should always take an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe.

Competing in this sport started in Catalonia during the second decade of the 20th century. The first trip is generally accepted to have taken place in 1927 in La Molina, between Puig d’Alp and Puigllançada. Since then, many skiers have continued to climb up and down mountains as a way of getting fit and getting ready for the racing season. Ski mountaineering competitions are also an excuse to enjoy nature and discover the infinite routes that the Catalan Pyrenees have to offer.