at home in the rocky mountains

ski local with the wirth family

ski touring with the wirths

The Teton Range is widely considered the birthplace for American Ski Mountaineering; with a wide variety of terrain options, it provides endless opportunities for human-powered skiing. The range hugs the Wyoming/Idaho border running North to South with peaks offering 6-7,000 feet of vertical relief. There’s also the Snake River Range to the South, the Gros Ventra Range to the East and our tour took place in the Togwotee Range to the North of Jackson. The Shoshone Native American tribe gave the area the name “Togwotee” which translates to “from here you can go anywhere". Our specific tour would take us to the top of an 11,000-foot peak with some amazing views of all the ranges in the area. We had perfect weather, great snow and sunset ski back to the truck.

how can we sensitize our children to responsible ski touring

5 tips of adam, ortovox athlete and father of two

1. Your ski community is a resource

Asking advice from others in your ski community can be hugely helpful. Find like-minded parents and plan days to get kids out together. Get tips and advice from parents of older kids who have been out touring for a few years. Kids will have more fun if other kids are involved and it is amazing how much they can learn from each other.

2. Make your kids a part of the planning process

Even at an early age get your kids involved with the planning of your ski tour. Take the time to talk with them about the route you guys are taking, how many miles and vertical feet you are planning for the day, is there a destination like a summit or a lake we are trying to aim for. Have them plan for the weather and talk with them about what clothing layers they want to bring.

Maybe give them a compass and a map during the tour to see if they can track where you are. Talk with them about the avalanche hazards for the day if it's applicable. All of these things help engage kids and make them feel like a part of the team.

3. Be patient and understanding

Kids are just learning, and they aren’t as strong as you so adjust expectations and tour plans accordingly. If you plan to take your kids on the same 6,000-foot tour you do with your buddies everyone is likely going to be disappointed.

Everything is cumulative and they will eventually get to the bigger tours but at first plan a route that sets the group up for success. Nobody likes being the slowest one so while out on the tour set a pace so everyone skis together and don’t be afraid to adjust the route if need be.

4. Don’t be patient or understanding

At first kids will belly ache about having to earn their turns (especially when most of their friends are riding a chairlift at the ski area). This is when you exercise your dictator parenting skills and you just say this is what we are doing.
Kids are all different, but I have found more times that once you get past that initial resistance they really enjoy being out with their parents. It is a delicate balance, and you don’t want kids to be miserable, but you will be surprised what your kids can accomplish. Be the parent who is asking, “what is possible” versus the parent who is always worrying about what will happen if their kids fail.

Learning to travel in the backcountry and rely on your own human movement builds huge confidence your kids will use in all aspects of their lives so don’t be afraid to push them to what they are capable of.

5. Plan your breaks and bring good snacks

Breaks for food and water every 45-60 minutes seem to work the best. Have your kids wear a watch and then they know exactly when we are going to stop. There are certain circumstances when you need to stop sooner but scheduling stops will keep things moving.

I would be lying if I said this is my strongest suit because my wife is the one who excels in the snack department. She seems to find a great variety of things they really enjoy, and a pro tip is to keep the best snack (gummy worms in our family) for when someone needs a pick me up.

our athlete's favourite styles