Adventure Skiing & Off Piste Safety

Adventure Skiing | Backcountry Skiing

Adventure skiing is skiing un-pisted ‘natural’ snow, generally outside designated ski areas. Whether you’re skiing just off-piste, close to all the amenities, lifts, restaurants or hiking up distant peaks far away from the madding crowd, safety has to be the number one priority. From transceivers, shovels, probes and ABS Airbag Packs, to the correct clothing and ski wear, it is important to ensure that you have right type of equipment for the type of adventure skiing you are undertaking.

Who can do it?

It is essential that you have a good level of skiing ability before you head off into unchartered territory. A fully qualified guide and some snowy mountains are all it needs to turn your skiing into an adventure.

Fitness

Skiing is very physical sport, so a good way to enhance your enjoyment is to ensure that you’re physically fit. Due to Adventure skiing’s physical nature, demanding a lot more from your body, clothing and ski gear, a good level of fitness is essential – remember there could be no lifts where you are going – so you need to ensure that you’re fit enough to hike up those mountains unaided. Take some time out to get fit before your holiday = this will ensure that you reap all of the rewards and make all your hard work worth it!

How do you do it?

Once you’re ready to go out and give it a go, it’s imperative to find a local qualified guide once you arrive in resort to help you leave the confines of the pistes behind. Their knowledge of local skis areas allows them to show off some of the areas best kept secrets based on your groups skiing ability, but will also ensure that you kept away from any potential dangerous areas, and ensure that you don’t get lost.

Safety

As with all aspects of the sport, Safety has to be your number one priority at all times.

Once you’ve made the decision to try some Adventure skiing, it’s time to invest in some safety equipment. Before we get into the clothing, skis and boots that you buy, it’s important to ensure that you have all the correct safety equipment. You should have an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe in a pack with you at all times, and you need to make sure you know how to use them. You may also want to invest in an ABS Pack, an avalanche airbag system that fits into a rucksack. Our in store experts will be able to guide you through the different types of safety equipment, how they work, and also demonstrate the ABS System.

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Guides

A good guide will know the safest parts of the mountain to ski on, but it is imperative that you ensure that you have a full understanding of your surroundings, any visual danger signs that you should look out for. There are a number of Avalanche Awareness programmes that are available to review online, however a number of resorts are also running presentations throughout the season. It is also worth having a look at the Ski Club of Great Britain website for further information.

Clothing

A good layering system is essential when embark on adventure skiing. There are specific clothing lines that have been created specifically for this more physically demanding sport. Multiple layering allows you to cool off easily when you’re working hard, and layer up for protection from wind-chill and also on those long dreamed of descents.

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Different Types of Adventure Skiing

Backcountry / Freeriding

Adventure Skiing | Backcountry_freeride

If you want to try something new, the backcountry can offer a whole host of new experiences and challenges. This style of skiing is accessible by a competent skier who is looking to try something new, through to the purist willing to hike to the most remote parts of the mountain. Not all backcountry / freeriding terrain is steep, when you’re with likeminded people with a fully qualified guide, it possible to access all different types of terrain with hiking away from the normal lift system kept to a minimum.

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Ski Touring

Adventure Skiing | Ski TouringThis is a great way to explore the mountains, involves covering some long distances whilst enjoying some stunning scenery, and skiing terrain that just isn’t covered by the lift system. All you need is an experienced guide, skis and boots that are built around movement, allowing you to hike uphill with ease, as well as enjoy the ski back down. Ski Touring allows you the freedom to enjoy a day in the mountains or even experience a multi-day adventure.

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Telemark – free your heels.

Adventure Skiing | TelemarkTelemark is traditional form of skiing, introduced to the public in 1868, it differs from Alpine skiing as the heel of the boot is not secured to the ski. Telemark skiing is all about getting into the mountains and enjoying the true “ALL MOUNTAIN” experience – using the latest equipment the modern free-heel skier is able to enjoy the mountains both on piste and also enjoy the backcountry away from the crowds.

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