Randonee skiing, also known as Alpine Touring, is a form of skiing in which people ascend the mountain under their power through the use of specialized bindings and skins. Skins are held onto the bottom of the skis with a sticky substance. They were originally made of animal skin, such as sealskin, but are now made with artificial materials that have fibers to hold the skis from sliding back down as the skier glides forward up the hill. Once the skier reaches the desired altitude, the skins are removed and the bare skis are used to descend.
The boots have two settings: 'walking' and 'skiing'. The same choice applies to your bindings. When you're going downhill, the bindings are set to 'ski'. And when going uphill, they're set to 'walk'.
When you reach the top and remove the skins, it's a good idea to set the back bindings to 'ski' so the stoppers are on. That way you'll be able to keep up on the way down. Obvious perhaps, but when you're worn out and it's your first time, anything can happen.
The heel lift function means you lose a little grip when doing slalom (turning in a zigzag pattern). It seems that if you use the highest heel lift you'll go too fast. The mountain slopes generally start at around 25 degrees. If you go straight up an incline, you'll see the gradient signposted. If it's your first time, it may be worth testing out a gentler slope, to begin with.
Compared to cross-country skis, touring skis are sturdier and easier to manoeuvre in steep terrain. They are comfortable and the ski skins provide good grip for the climb. On the way down, it's very similar to skiing in regular downhill equipment, i.e. in skis and boots.
The contrasts between the fjords and mountains are breath-taking.
From Molde, where we live, it takes about 1,5-2 hrs to drive to Jordalsgrenda. We started at 08.30 on Sunday morning, and it was worth it! The weather was dry and chilly but the clear sky was promising. We saw the sunrise over the mountains on our way up. In November, there is not much snow in the mountains yet, but it was enough to enjoy the day on skis. We were walking up to Åbittind approximately 2-2,5 hrs, eating our sandwich on a "best view restaurant" and skiing down in a powder 20-30minutes.
We spent a beautiful day outdoors; I am so grateful to my partner, to nature, and my own body for being able to afford such luxury.