25 Tips for Backcountry Skiing
25 Tips for Backcountry Skiing
A supreme joy of skiing is getting away from the slopes and the ski school kids for some real powder in the backcountry. However, back country skiing can be quite dangerous. RunRex has prepared a few tips that should help you have a joyous experience.
1. Master the Groomed Slopes First
It is quite simple, if you are not good on groomers, you will never make it in the backcountry. You are setting yourself up for a disastrous wipeout.
2. Skinny Boots do not Work
Most skiers are tempted to go for skinny boots to look cool. However, the truth is that controlling your skis on back country terrain with such boots is impossible. It is like putting skinny tires on a Ferrari.
3. Look for Soft Skis
While you will look cool with stiff skis, they are not much use in powder. You will find it almost impossible to keep control of it in the steep inclines of the back country.
4. Use Skis with thick Waist Width
In the soft powder, you need skis that can float on it. Skinny skis will sink right through. Choose skis that are as thick as possible. The best are those with about 10 cm of thickness.
5. Take the Avalanche Reports Seriously
In the back country, skiers have died due to avalanches. Make it a habit to check the weather reports for the likelihood of avalanches. If it is too risky, avoid going out.
6. Get Coached by a Professional
Ski injuries are on the rise. The main reason is that some skiers just buy the right equipment and they think they are ready for the back country. Training could help reduce your chance of being injured.
7. Wear Safety Gear
There is plenty of safety gear for skiers available. It is meant to protect areas most prone to injury such as the wrists from dangerous falls. Wear as much of it as possible.
8. Never Ski Alone
If you are going to ski in the back country, do not just follow a group of strangers. Go with people that you know. Besides, ensure that you have agreed to keep an eye on each other, do not just assume it.
9. Hire a Guide
Whenever possible, hire a certified guide. It is especially so if all of you in the group are new to the terrain. Maps can only take you so far.
10. Carry a large Rucksack
Back country skiing should be done with the right equipment and supplies. For instance, you need to have an emergency kit. Handbag-sized bags just do not cut it.
11. Go for an Avalanche Training Course
The back country is quite prone to avalanches; you need to ensure that you are prepared for when it does occur. You will also get training on how to avoid causing one.
12. Always Carry the Right Emergency Gear
If you are going into the back country, you will need an avalanche beacon, a shovel, and a probe. In case you are caught up in an avalanche, the safety equipment serves as your lifeline.
13. Understand Group Dynamics
A group is meant to keep you out of trouble in the back country. However, group dynamics also means that you may end up falling into the trap of mob psychology. You find yourselves going further into trouble even when logic suggests otherwise.
14. Bring Food
You will burn many countries in the back country. Besides that, if you get lost, it means you will still have a way to sustain yourself.
15. Be Comfortable With Your Equipment
Before heading out to the back country, you should test your equipment in the groomers. Ensure that you feel okay with it. Any discomfort is only going to get worse out there.
16. Be Honest with Yourself
If you are an amateur, admit it and give yourself time to train. Skiing takes a lot of effort to master, but it can be quite rewarding.
17. Have a Checklist
To avoid falling for group dynamics, you should carry a small checklist that keeps you focused. That way, you can know when it is time to call it quits and head for safety.
18. Let an Expert Help Fit You with the Right Boots
At ski resorts, you will always find an expert who can help you get the right boots for the back country. Listen to his or her advice.
19. Ensure you are Fit
Back country involves a lot of trekking. It also involves a lot of climbing. If you do not have the physical stamina to do it, you will not have fun. Get in shape first.
20. Ensure there is an Experienced Skier in the Group
If you go to the back country, you will need someone to give you a few casual pointers every once in a while.
21. Dress in Layers
As you make your way through the terrain, you will get quite hot. You should be able to offload a few layers to help you avoid exhaustion and slap some back on when the wind starts blowing.
22. Carry Fire lighting equipment
If things do not go as planned, you will need a means to sustain yourself if you get lost. A fire also acts as a way to get attention to you if you lose your communication gear.
23. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
The back country has awesome scenery to offer skiers. Make sure you take it all in.
24. Be Relaxed
If you are tense and worried about failing, you probably will. Try and breathe deep and remember to keep calm.
25. Have Fun
The whole point of skiing is to have fun. Make sure you remember that it is all for fun and relaxation.