Verena Helminger is not only at home in the mountains, but also there almost every day. Sunshine or snowfall - the most important thing for her is being out in nature. In summer you can see the all-rounder in hiking, running or climbing shoes, in winter skis are usually strapped under her feet. Of course, ski tours are also part of it, and she has some important tips ready for newcomers.
Do not exaggerate
Hardly a day goes by when the native of Salzburg doesn't do outdoor sports herself. The mountains of her homeland are still her favorite destination today. After all, she was able to gain mountain experience in Vietnam or New Zealand, but Verena has never liked it as much as in the Austrian Alps.
"Why should I drive far when I have the most beautiful mountain panoramas right on my doorstep?"
Her tip for newcomers among tourers when it comes to choosing their first routes: Especially at the beginning, smaller mountains in the vicinity are enough to get used to the skis and the snow. So: Start with small tours and only gradually advance into more difficult areas.
If possible, tours along ski slopes are also suitable for beginners. Especially in bad weather, orientation off the slopes can become a problem. Conspicuous landmarks are covered by snow in winter, and there are also so-called "white outs" where fog and snow completely blur. This is particularly dangerous for inexperienced tourers.
No matter how extensive the preparations are, now and then the weather throws a spanner in the works. If the visibility gets too bad, even the experienced ski tourer often turns around at the beginning of a climb. Fighting the bad weather and still going on is often too dangerous.
"With white outs, even experienced mountaineers have to turn around and try to find their way back down to the valley."
Never go alone
Only when you learn to navigate off-slope and to correctly interpret the weather and snow conditions should you dare to go on longer tours in nature. But society is also important. When hiking in summer, the mountaineer likes to be on her own, and on ski tours she always has at least a second person with her. This not only provides entertainment on the tours, which often last several hours, but also more safety.
Start well equipped
In contrast to hikes in summer, when sometimes only water is in her backpack, Verena is always fully packed when ski touring. In addition to at least one extra muesli bar and enough drinks, you should always have the necessary safety equipment with you. An avalanche shovel, an avalanche transceiver and a first aid kit should not be missing from any touring equipment.
On the mountain you should always have extra clothing with you for unexpected changes in the weather. But as long as the weather holds and the sun is shining, good sunglasses are a must.
"Especially when the weather is nice, good sunglasses are an indispensable companion on my tours."
The style is not neglected either - as a sports influencer with over 24,000 followers only on Instagram, Verena is perfectly equipped with glasses from J-Athletics. In addition to an extremely extensive range of colors to match any outfit, the various models also provide perfect protection from the sun and better contrasts in the snow.
Fitness advice for mountaineers
General fitness is also important for mountain sports - whether in winter or in summer. With exercises at home you can still help your sporting progress. A classic all-round exercise for the whole body is the plank - in Verena's training it is almost never missing.
Don't miss out on your stretching exercises! Just like strength training, they provide the necessary stability and energy on the tours. You have to set aside enough time for both during training.
The hip flexors and knees are places you should always keep active as a mountaineer. There are numerous exercises on the internet for this. However, it is important to do the exercises correctly. Every now and then you can turn to a professional who will correct any mistakes made during training.
Now it is your turn
The mountains are the ideal destination for nature lovers. But regardless of whether you are a hobby hiker or an extreme athlete: every tour requires appropriate preparation and planning. So nothing stands in the way of your next mountain adventure.