You have checked the weather forecast and it is reporting 30 centimeters of fresh snow for tomorrow. The anticipation is high, you cannot wait to get out there and a do a run in the offpiste, nothing is better than skiing in untouched powder. The feeling of skiing in the deep snow, which is flying up in your face is hard to describe. However, there is also a greater risk of skiing in the off-piste. A risk you must not forget. When skiing in the off-piste, there will always, regardless of whether there has fallen new snow or not, risk for avalanches. Even if you are only away for a week, and thinking that you can just go outside the slopes and play just one or two runs, you MUST be aware. It can certainly look harmless, and you think it’s safe - But off piste is NEVER risk free!
RECCO Avalanche Rescue System Reflector for sticking to the ski boots or helmet
Avalanche safety gear for the off-piste
You are not only irresponsible to yourself, but also to those, you ski with. So why not, just get the avalanche safety gear, so that you can feel more confident, when you ski in the backcountry. If you want to run offpiste, use these things:
1. Winter backpack (doesn’t have to be ABS) - 2. Avalanche transceiver - 3. Shovel - 4. Probe
By having this avalanche equipment kit on you, the security is suddenly increased significantly. You need a winter ski bag to keep your shovel and probe in. Whereas the avalanche beacon has to be on your body in front of the chest or heart. (An avalanche transceiver comes with a case, so do not worry about where to put it in your jacket). None of the four things is less important than the other, so you cannot just settle for one of them!
An avalanche transceiver is what allows you to be found, and find others. The shovel is what you use to dig someone in an avalanche out, where the probe will be used to find / locate the person under the snow when you are close to him. The Avalanche safety equipment (not the beacon) needs to be in your winter bag pack, it weighs almost nothing, since avalanche shovel and probe today are made of lightweight materials like aluminum and polycarbonate, which can easily be folded, to be. The reason you need to use all four things is that, it is not fair to others if you have only an avalanche beacon and nothing else. With the avalanche beacon, you will only have the opportunity to locate another person 99%, you will not be able to dig him out. You must have all these four things with you at all time, in the off-piste, everything else is selfish.
Can you feel safe with avalanche safety kit gear?
Even if you have spent a lot of money on avalanche equipment, you are still not safe in the off-piste. We do not tell you this to scare you of, we say it, so you become aware that it takes more than avalanche equipment to be safe outside the piste. Your avalanche equipment only gives you a false sense of security, but if you learn to use your equipment for the off-piste, you will suddenly feel more comfortable. Therefore, you should test your equipment before you use it in practice.
Should I buy an ABS backpack? An ABS ski bag is not a must-have but a good-to-have. An ABS backpack is a winter backpack, which triggers a giant air pillow, as soon as you pull the handle on the ABS bag. It will help you to float on top of the snow, instead of being buried under it. When you ski or snowboard with an avalanche backpack with ABS, and you pull the handle before it goes wrong, then your chances of survival increases by 97%. If that makes you feel more comfortable, then we recommend to get an ABS backpack.
How to use your avalanche equipment
Skiwear4u could easily make a long guide like: "How to use your avalanche safety gear" or "How avalanche equipment is used" and so on. Instead of making long guides on how to use avalanche equipment, you get links to companies / individuals in the world who knows everything about the winter safety equipment and avalanches. Among the largest manufacturers in avalanche equipment Ortovox, BCA, Pieps or Haglöfs, produces guides on how to use avalanche equipment. These guides will help you, to get a much better relationship with your equipment. Watch as many avalanche videos and read all the avalanche guides you can. It will quickly give you much more knowledge to avalanche products and make you more confident in the off-piste. See avalanche videos and learn more here:
We give you some advice/ rules if you want to go skiing/snowboarding in the off-piste/backcountry:
Never go alone
Never go far from each other and make small stops along the way, though it can be a pain in the ass in untouched powder.
Never go outside of the piste without avalanche safety equipment - Although it looks harmless out there is a risk.
Never go off piste with people without avalanche equipment, it is irresponsible of you and those people you ski with, while you cannot find them in case of avalanche and vice versa.
Practice at home with your equipment. Make a small treasure hunt, where you have to find each other’s avalanche beacon or transceiver.
If it looks dangerous, then it is dangerous. Do not go! There will be other good days.
Make sure that everybody’s avalanche beacon is turned on, by finding each other before you go out to the offpiste. This can be done in one minute.
Do you know what to do In case of an accident with an avalanche? Who should you call for help, how will you get the person in the avalanche down, what kind of insurance do you have etc.
Skiwear4u.com provide avalanche safety equipment, which we hope you never really need. We offer the best in avalanche beacons, avalanche bags/avalanche backpacks, shovel and probe. Products from brands like Ortovox, Pieps, BCA and Haglöfs.