Off-piste skiing is dangerous?
Skiing off piste is the part of a freeride skiing (or backcountry skiing). Freeriding is permitted in most countries where skiing is popular. Due to the exceptional danger, many American ski resorts have banned it, and before you ride off you need to ask about a permit to avoid being penalized. Off-piste skiing is normally permitted everywhere if the skier hasn’t bought a ski pass and used the lift to reach a certain area. Off the piste skiing is allowed in certain areas, whilst it’s banned in others. Skiing in closed-off areas is illegal, and there’s a possibility of ending up in jail. In Europe and Canada, skiing off-piste and back onto the slope is usually permitted. Any off-piste skiers who get lost are responsible for any expenses involved in search and rescue.
Once they get a taste of the power and magic of true off-piste skiing, most skiers and snowboarders very easily fall in love and get hooked. Many enthusiasts compare the freedom of movement in freeride off-piste to the sensation of flying. For such people, freeriding is no longer simply a sport, but a way of life. Those who don’t like to leave the slopes and enjoy the thrill of riding over freshly fallen snow are few and far between (if there is anyone). Sadly, with all of its beauty, off-piste has many hidden dangers, making it one of the more dangerous sports. Because of this you’ll need to approach it with caution, with the best possible preparation and considerable knowledge. Skiing off-piste is intended only for the more experienced who have gone through rigorous training, and who own and use special equipment, and never ride alone. Such experienced skiers also compete at special freeride contests, where you only win if you’ve made the most elegant descent from the most dangerous parts of the mountains, strewn with cliffs and steep slopes.
Freeriders, including off-piste skiers as a whole make up about 70% of all fatalities in avalanches (i.e. 40% of avalanche fatalities are backcountry alpine skiers, and 30% are off-piste skiers, or those in the vicinity of pre-arranged ski slopes).
If you want to be able to ski everywhere, it is recommended to buy adequate skis. Off-piste skis are a compromise between side-cut for skiing on the piste, and fat skis that will keep you up in a deep snow. This type of skis is called Terrain skis and they are easier to handle off piste, than freeride skis.
Physical preparation for the off the piste
You should be made aware that high quality exercises for strength and conditioning can be done entirely at home, but frankly, in the gym you’ll be surrounded by others, and the motivation is therefore much greater. For this reason, we would recommend everyone to go the gym three times a week, throughout the year. The problem is that often, indeed in most cases, people who begin exercising can quickly give up, because they’re too exposed to the strain of exercising, they don’t achieve any progress, or even worse, they experience unanticipated effects. The reason is often that these same individuals are self-trained gym members who go about their exercises in mostly the wrong way. They therefore fail to achieve the expected results, and soon give up. Usually they’ll copy other people’s exercises – jumping from one machine to the next, not knowing how to set the weights properly (or how long to rest between sessions). They’ll ride a bicycle for half an hour, and then spend long hours working out with the weights at the gym. No, no and no! In this way you’ll never develop the muscles, or bring yourself into the condition that you’ll need if you’re serious about off-piste skiing properly and having more fun in the snow.
In the Truth about Skiing and Snowboarding you can find everything about off-piste skiing and how to prepare for it. You can avoid all unnecessary accidents by reading this book, and you can learn how to deal with injuries and how to prepare yourself physically for the off-piste skiing and avalanches.
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