Well equipped for backcountry skiing

Hannah Neuhauser

If it has snowed overnight and freeride areas are still unridden: it's time to hit the powder! But apart from the incredible feeling of diving through deep snow, backcountry skiing also means paying attention to your surroundings and your own safety. In this blog you will find out everything you need to know about backcountry skiing and which equipment you should not do without.

Even before the first turn in deep snow

Before you go off-piste with your skis or snowboard, you should be aware that considerable dangers can lurk here. Even experienced skiers and snowboarders often underestimate how quickly avalanches can be released. This danger does not only exist when ski touring, far cut off from paved slopes. Don't underestimate the masses of snow right next to or under the ski lift. The problem with these slopes is that they are often classified as not realoff-piste and give a false sense of security .

Backcountry skiing safety guide

In order to still be able to enjoy backcountry skiing, there are a few safety aspects that you should consider. So when it comes to freeriding, you should know these 3 things:

  • The right equipment for deep snow skiing

Anyone who ventures into deep snow should first upgrade their equipment accordingly. When going out into the powder, you should definitely take an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel with you. In order to be able to use them in an emergency, you must first familiarize yourself with the equipment. It is also particularly useful to take an extra avalanche course and have an expert introduce you to the equipment. You should also take a first-aid kit with you on every descent. For those who also go off-piste alone, an avalanche backpack is a good companion. This can inflate and ensure that you float up in a potential avalanche.

  • Knowledge and experience in deep snow

When it comes to snowboarding and backcountry skiing, knowing your stuff is essential. You should be familiar with both the area and different snow conditions. It is best never to drive alone into a new area. You should also find out which weather conditions lead to an increased risk of avalanches. Numerous factors play a role here. Important influencing factors are the wind, the direction in which the slope runs and also the weather of the last days. The slope is also an important point to pay attention to. From about 25° the risk of an avalanche increases. It can also be helpful to call the nearest ski area directly and ask about the current avalanche conditions. The experts on site regularly analyze the snow and can thus accurately assess the dangers.

  • The right technique for backcountry skiing

What makes skiing in deep snow so special is the unique feeling of skiing, but it is precisely this that makes skiing so demanding. Switching from a hard slope to a soft surface is an extreme change. There are also more bumps in deep snow than on a piste. Furthermore, these are also completely covered by snow and therefore cannot be seen. In order to compensate for this, the entire body, all muscles and also your sense of balance are used. Extreme body tension is therefore necessary. The position is also important. As with skiing on the slopes, you should always bend your knees a bit when backcountry skiing. When driving through deep snow, it is also advisable to lean back a little more and bring the skis closer together. This gives you more buoyancy and makes it easier for you to glide through the snow. It is also advisable to learn the right skiing technique professionally. Special courses will help you to find your way in this environment.

If you now want to start freeriding, you can book some courses here:

Credits: Florian Dorn 
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