NSC members participate in all of the above activities but most interest has been in back country touring. Here's a brief introduction to the equipment used. There is a lot more information on equipment and suggested clothing and gear lists in the members section under 'Trip Preparation' and 'Gear'.


Are designed for use with normal bushwalking boots. Snowshoeing takes much less time to learn than skiing and snowshoes can sometimes outperform skis in confined areas and very soft snow. They are however slower and more tiring in most Australian conditions. Once you've been a skier, you may get frustrated not being able to slide down hills!


The most suitable skis for backcountry touring are metal edged touring skis with a pattern on the base for grip. Traditionally these skis were narrow (50-60mm) and almost straight sided. Recently wider skis (85-90mm ) with considerable side cut have become more popular – the sidecut makes 'carving' turns easier although the wider skis may run a little more slowly in tracks. Track racing skis are lighter, longer and narrower than touring skis and have a smooth base. They are used either for skating or with wax applied to the base for grip. Telemark skis are similar to downhill skis but with a freeheel binding. They may have smooth or pattern soles. Alpine touring skis are downhill skis fitted with a binding that allows the boot to be either locked to the ski for downhill running or free to lift the heel when climbing. Skins have to be attached to these skis to climb uphill.


The three common touring bindings are: Cable - sturdy, good downhill control, heavier, limited heel lift so harder to stride out. 3 Pin – good downhill control when used with stiff soled boots, easy stride when used with lighter boots. NNN-BC – Light, easy stride, can be used with light boots, less downhill control, may be difficult for beginners carrying heavy packs.


Are a personal choice, typically a compromise between light and flexible - usually more comfortable, easier to walk in and less tiring on a long trip - or heavier and stiffer - improved downhill control and hopefully drier. The most important feature is comfort which unfortunately can be hard to judge in a shop.


Need to be sturdy and preferably with a ‘Nordic’ grip. This enables you to use the poles more efficiently (unlike downhill poles) when moving along. Pole length should be just under your armpit for general touring use. Adjustable poles can also be useful – downhill turns are easier with shorter poles. Poles used for skating are longer and awkward for general touring. For back country touring, it is best to have a full size basket which is bigger than the usual baskets used for resort skiing and for cross country track skiing.

Gear Shops

Crosscountry ski equipment is available from the companies below and there is a lot of useful information on their websites. Some also hire out equipment.

Alp Sports West Ryde
Wilderness Sports Jindabyne, Perisher
Mont Adventure Equipment Fishwick, Canberra
Rythm Snow Sports Cooma
Bogong Equipment Melbourne
Snow Trek &Travel Wodonga

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