If you’re looking try off-piste skiing, you’re going to need to get hold off some equipment that you might not have used before, or even be familiar with.
There are a lot of new equipment pieces out there that you’ll probably hear about. You don’t need all of it right now.
We’re not saying that you won’t ever need them, but here we’re going to show you the key equipment for off-piste skiing to help get you started.
For now, we’re just going to give you essential equipment for off-piste skiing, and then, if you love the sport (which you most certainly will), you can start to add to your equipment list.
The number one risk out there on off-piste tracks is an avalanche. Leave your transceiver on transmit all day, and check the power level of everybody else’s in the group before heading out. This little device will make it easier to find you should you get caught up in an unexpected avalanche.
It takes some practice, because – in the worst case – a party member should get trapped under snow, you have to switch over to “receive” mode and have up to 15 minutes to find them. Take the time to practice with avalanche transceivers if you’re unfamiliar how they work.
The Ortovox Zoom+ is one of the best avalanche transceivers due to its multi-functionality and lightweight, compact nature; it’s not going to weight you down or take up too much storage space.
Featuring 3 antennas, the Zoom+ has a range of up to 40 miles and automated switchover which automatically sends out a signal in case of a second avalanche.
With a range of 50 metres, and impressive 200 hour battery life (in transmit mode) the BCA Tracker 2 is a great transceiver that offers high performance from a small unit.
The digital display shows you the direction of local signals, should you be near a lost skier in need of assistance.
One of the key pieces of equipment for off-piste skiing is a trusty shovel. It will allow you to quickly escape from an avalanche or rescue someone else should they get trapped.
Your shovel should be small enough to carry without hampering your ability, and quickly fold out to give you a handy tool when you need it most.
Made from aluminium, this Yellowstone shovel, is a strong, lightweight shovel that won’t weigh down or break easily when you’re using (or if you fall on it).
The shovel folds down into a neat, compact size, so can easily be carried in a backpack and won’t take up too much room. For less than £15, this is an inexpensive piece of ski equipment that could be one of the most helpful.
A more ‘industrial’ option, the Black Diamond is an adjustable, multi-purpose shovel that features an wide aluminium scoop.
This makes the shovel more durable and allows for more snow to be shovelled in a shorter amount of time.
When packing equipment for off-piste skiing, avalanche probes are often the piece of gear that are overlooked, but they’re an essential piece of equipment that could dramatically help reduce someone’s rescue time.
The BB Sport Avalanche Probe is probably the most cost effective one we’ve seen. When you combine the cost and weight – only 270 grams, you’ve got no excuse to not have one with you when you start off-piste skiing.
This is so light that it’s almost criminal not to pack it. It’s a foldable pole that helps you locate people under the snow. Because it’s so light and so convenient to carry, you absolutely must include this on your list.
Food and Water
Expect the best, prepare for the worst.
That’s the best motto for off-piste skiing. Plan to have a great day, but prepare yourself with extra food and water should you end up trapped. It could mean the difference between getting out easily should you run into trouble and finding yourself in, potentially, a life and death situation.
Nature sports such as skiing, snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing and many others that use nature and the outdoors as part of the sport can be unpredictable and can sometimes serve up some tricky situations, make sure that you’re prepared for the worse case scenario.
Off-piste skiing is a great sport, by being properly equipped you can make sure you enjoy it even more and stay safe when out on the un-marked snow.