Taking to the Backcountry: Off-Piste Skiing and Snowboarding

(2018-02-15 15:16:27)

For huge numbers of keen skiers and snowboarders the world over, there’s simply no feeling like the adrenaline rush of tackling backcountry terrain in the mountains. The moments leading up to a big off-piste run are to be savoured: the peppermint-fresh air, the calm silence, the open expanse of light, untouched powder before you. You drink it all in before clipping into your skis or strapping into your board. Then, as you drop in, the elation takes over. 

Technology drives demand

As the start of each new winter ski season draws near, ski and snowboard manufacturers work hard to promote their wares. Regular developments in shape and design keep many people hooked on the newest equipment, with free-riders particularly interested in maintaining flotation in fresh snow.

One great example of this in relatively recent years has been Battaleon’s triple-base technology, with ridges beneath the board to decrease drag and improve control. New tech opens up possibilities for more skiers, making it easier to venture into the deep powder.

Safety in the powder

It’s not just ski and snowboard technology that holds the attention of backcountry enthusiasts each winter, though. Venturing away from the patrolled pistes is fraught with potential danger, and transceivers, probes and shovels are vital to help you stay safe in the mountains. With adventurous skiers and boarders exploring off-piste terrain, it’s so important to make sure you’re kitted out properly for the slopes you’re tackling.

Before skiing off-piste, the most important thing to address is avalanche awareness and training. The technology and tuition available to off-piste skiers and boarders these days is superb, and anything that makes the backcountry that little bit safer for all is worthy of close attention.

Spectacular scenery and challenging lines in the Alpine backcountry. 

Image courtesy of Marc Guellerin

Ski resort infrastructure

With so many skiers and boarders heading away from the groomed runs these days ski resorts have had to sit up and take notice. Patrolling the off-piste the way they do the pistes is not an option, but it’s in everyone’s best interests to stay safe on the hill.

Ski schools in resorts across the Alps run off-piste courses for intermediate and advanced skiers. This, coupled with the guide services widely available, is proof of the level of demand there is for powder skiing and how seriously the pursuit is taken from a safety perspective. The Bureau des Guides in the French resort of Méribel is a prime example of how ski resorts supervise and monitor off-piste and backcountry activity as best they can.

For ski resorts across the Alps and beyond, as long as the infrastructure remains in place to transport people to the mountains there will always be adventurous souls keen to make the most of the spectacular terrain open to them.

If you’d like to know more about the backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the resorts of your choice, call our knowledgeable experts today on 02030 800 202 or get in touch via our helpful chat facility.