I love hiking in the winter, especially through the snow. I would like to hike in normal shoes and be able to quickly change into some type of ski when going downhill. I know there are cross country skis, but with those its a different thing. I would like to have something small, light which I can wear on normal shoes.

So far I have found the following types of short skis, which might fit the bill:

enter image description here

Then there are the "bigfoot" type skis, but afaik those require real ski boots, which makes the whole thing bothersome again.

Is there a solution to my problem? Are ski skates as pictured above what I should focus on or is there something better? I would also like to be able to slide down in deep snow, outside hiking paths. Would this work?

  • 1
    colemans.com/skis-swiss-army (e.g.)
    – Tomas By
    Jan 10, 2021 at 19:15
  • yeah like hiking shoes. Didn't ancient people just use regular shoes with their skis? Jan 10, 2021 at 19:23
  • @TomasBy these seem to be about 20kg, not exactly light. Jan 10, 2021 at 19:32
  • so what are these called or should I look for lighter swiss army skis? They go on regular hiking shoes right? Jan 10, 2021 at 20:36
  • @TomasBy yeah, I could just bite the bullet and hike with regular skis on my back and ski boots of course. I might do that this week. Jan 10, 2021 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


There are "short skis" that can be used with regular hiking boots. I researched those as an alternative for approaching ice climbs. However, there is some major issues with these

  • They are not really suited for soft winter snow as they are simply too small and will sink in deep. They are more suited for compact (early) summer snow
  • Hiking boots are very soft compared to ski boots. It will be hard to control the skis
  • Bindings that go on hiking boots will not release in case of a fall

These short skis will always be a major compromise. If you focus on hiking, stick with snow shoes. If you focus on the descent, take touring skis and get a proper downhill experience.

  • There is no close-up view but the binding looks like it comes straight from the 60s. I am quite sure most skiers of today will have issues skiing these things properly on-piste, let alone off-piste.
    – Manziel
    Jan 11, 2021 at 10:10
  • But aren't touring skis too narrow, to be able to float on deep snow? Carrying touring shoes might be a compromise worth looking into, as they are a lot lighter compared to ski boots. Jan 11, 2021 at 11:25
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    Touring skis is a wide range. The typical allround touring ski is something like 83-88 millimeters under the binding and these will float quite OK on deep snow. You should not forget that those skis are a lot longer than snow shoes. But there are also more powder-oriented skis which will be like 100-105 millimeters wide but a bit heavier.
    – Manziel
    Jan 11, 2021 at 11:58
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    I think touring skis float better than snowshoes. I don't think I've seen snow in which snowshoes would float but touring skis (or a split board) wouldn't (unless you're talking about those massive snowshoes about a meter long, but even then I'd think skis would be easier to manage)
    – njzk2
    Jan 11, 2021 at 22:12
  • @njzk2 a wide (freeride) ski has times the surface area of a snowshoe. Also they don't scope snow up on the non-existing foot lift.
    – Vorac
    Jan 15, 2021 at 0:16

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