Skiing has diversified enormously over the last few years. Where once there was essentially downhill and cross-country skiing, now other disciplines like back-country skiing and ski touring have become far more popular. France is one of the best places in the world to try your hand at any of these winter sports, with the Jura, Vosges, Massif Central, Pyrenees and Alps all offering fine skiing opportunities. If you’d like to try something off the beaten track, then ski touring is worth looking at. This involves off-piste skiing, lots of ascents and very good navigational skills. You also need to be very aware of the risk posed by avalanches. For this type of skiing you’ll need a pair of touring skis. Ski touring poses specific challenges which skis designed for this purpose have to meet. Firstly, they need to be very light. Secondly, their grip on compacted snow has to be excellent. Crampons and climbing skins are sometimes used in conjunction with these specialist skis, especially when conditions are particularly challenging.
If you’re wondering how to select the right pair of skis, both the Zag website and concept store in Chamonix will be able to help. The internet site has a special section which you can fill in with your personal information and preferences to guide you towards the perfect set of skis. Otherwise, you could simply test your prospective purchase before you buy – a really useful service that’s available at the flagship store. Made and designed in Chamonix, a number of different ski profiles are on offer, using different materials from carbon Kevlar to fibreglass, depending on whether shock absorption, stability, strength or manoeuvrability are your priority. If you’re not based in France, Zag skis can be found in stores across Europe, from Spain to Russia and Italy to Poland.