The Truth About Skiing

Backcountry skiing is extremely dangerous, learn how to be prepared

Skiing in backcountryBackcountry skiing is extremely fun, and you can feel adrenalin rush immediately. This type of skiing is also extremely dangerous. So, do not go by yourself or unprepared adequately.

Skiing in a backcountry involves skiing in the mountains further away from the pre-arranged slopes. Such surfaces aren’t maintained or supervised by the emergency services. The terms freeriding, backcountry and off-piste all indicate the terrain on which you’re skiing, whilst words such as touring, alpine and extreme skiing all describe the type of skiing performed. The term backcountry skiing is mostly used in North America, whilst other terms are more often used in Europe. Often these terms get mixed up in various books, so don’t get confused because they’re mostly referred to in the same way.

First type of backcountry skiing is Overland Skiing. This type of backcountry skiing is very similar to cross-country skiing. Basic goal is to cover as much ground as you could.

The second type of backcountry skiing is Mountain Skiing. Backcountry mountain skiing implies climbing mountains and when you get to your destination at the top of the hill, the downhill skiing. Backcountry skiers climb by the legs and their stamina. They do not use ski lifts. If you want to go riding this fascinating sport, you must be physically very well-prepared and you must not let the lack of your fitness and strength betray you and get you into danger. With our skiing tips and tricks you can get adequately prepared for backcountry skiing.

 There are some basic backcountry skiing rules that could save you from accidents lurking at every step:

– Never ride in places where your hosts don’t ride, because they know the mountain much better than you do.

– For serious backcountry skiing, you must always set off fully prepared and armed with the right equipment and knowledge, and in the company of an experienced guide.

Apart from the previously mentioned safety instructions, which are applicable for all skiers, backcountry skiers should also observe the Hiker Responsibility Code, which states that they must be prepared as follows:

  1.  With adequate knowledge and gear. Before backcountry skiing, you must gain self-confidence and get to know the terrain, conditions, weather and your own equipment. Your skiing knowledge must also be at a level that’s sought after.
  2.  To inform others of your plans. To ensure yourself against all possible dangers, it’s important to inform others of a place that you’re aiming to reach, your route for ascending and descending, your expected return time, and other such information.
  3. To stay together. When you’re going off on a ride in a group, you’ll need to follow certain rules and group arrangements.
  4.  To turn back. The weather can change up on the mountains very quickly.

While backcountry skiers ski in extreme peace far away from crowds, skiing in an uncontrolled environment means that you exposed to extreme risk and you must learn how to manage emergency situations. In backcountry skiing, even an injured thumb or an ankle can be life threatening! You must be adequately equipped with avalanche gear and the first aid set. Surely, you must learn how to use it.

Necessary avalanche safety gear

Probe, shovel, beaconIf you decide to go on backcountry skiing, wear avalanche safety gear: an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. You surely do not want to go on a backcountry skiing by yourself. Go with your skiing partner everywhere because he will also know what to do in accidents and could help you.

The most important thing you should know about backcountry skiing is how to avoid an avalanche. Instructions are very well described in this backcountry skiing guide.

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