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Ski Mountaineering

Ski mountaineering is a sport which is played by combining the skiing and mountaineering techniques. The aim of the ski mountaineer might be to reach the peak of a mountain by climbing it through a comparatively easy route and then ski down the mountain, preferably from the summit.

The important point about ski mountaineering which sets it different from ski touring is the willingness of the participants to travel over any part of the mountain, and not just those areas which are sheltered powder snow fields or other nice descending conditions. The ski mountaineering involves the significant rock areas, the ice or broken glacier sections, as well as most traverses and enchainements rather than just single peak ascents.

The ski mountaineers climb the otherwise inaccessible or unsafe slopes on foot using ski mountaineering techniques and sophisticated range of mountaineering equipments. The equipments used in ski mountaineering are crampons, ice axes and ropes. The skis are carried along by strapping them with the backpack. This enables access to extreme slopes, or more often allows transit through otherwise impassable terrain in order to continue beyond on skis, where normal ski touring equipment such as skins and crampons are used.

Another important fact about ski mountaineering to know is that as a sport, it is particularly popular in the Alps of Europe, where the residents usually carry out a hut-to-hut tour through the mountains, often moving through the difficult passes where ski mountaineering techniques are required. The day trips which are made from valley bases to make ascents and descents of peaks are also popular there. Apart from the European Alps, the sport of ski mountaineering is quite popular in other European mountain ranges like the Tatra, Pyrenees and in Norway and to a lesser extent in New Zealand and the Andes of South America. In North America, there are so many mountain ranges where ski mountaineering is done. The famous option for ski mountaineering in US includes the Sierra Nevada, Tetons, Wasatch, and Pacific Rim volcanoes like Mount Rainier, Lassen Peak and Mount Shasta. The volcanoes in Mexico such as Pico de Orizaba, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl are very much famous for ski mountaineering although when they are not erupting. There are numerous wild, remote mountains in Canada also which are appropriate to ski mountaineering.

If you are interested in expeditionary form of ski mountaineering, then you should head to places such as the Andes, Alaska, Himalayas and Greenland. These are the areas the access and weather conditions are difficult and thus an extended base camping is required.

You can witness the upcoming events in ski mountaineering in the coming year which is the World Championship of Ski mountaineering going to help in in Gran Valira (Pyrenees), Andorra starting from March 1, 2010 and it will be on till March 6, 2010.

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