Basically, backcountry skiing is a type of skiing that is done outside of the ski resort boundaries. The area is unmarked and the skier is on their own. This is different from alpine skiing, which is typically done on groomed trails.
Boots are the most important piece of equipment
Choosing the right ski boots will make life a lot easier. This is especially true if you’re a beginner. With the right boot, you can avoid blisters and keep your feet happy.
There are four main categories of ski boots. They range from light, easy-to-use 3-pin models to heavyweight alpine boots. Choose the right fit based on your skiing style and the type of terrain you plan to ski.
The most important aspect of any ski boot is fitting. If you purchase a boot that doesn’t fit properly, you’ll end up with pain and frustration. A trained boot fitter will know what size to get you and can take measurements ahead of time.
There are also other aspects to consider. For example, choosing a boot with a rockered sole will help you roll better on the snow and stomp without losing your balance. This feature has been popular with alpine touring boots. It can be useful if you’re hiking with a boot pack, but it’s not always appropriate for downhill skiing.
Traditionally, stiffness has been correlated to the number of buckles on the boot. However, recent innovations have produced a boot with a softer, more forgiving flex.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to pick a boot that’s lightweight and comfortable. An intermediate skier should choose a boot that grips well in the snow, while a pro might prefer a stiffer boot.
A three-piece boot might be a better choice for a skier with a high instep. You’ll also need to factor in the size of your shin and your foot width. There are several sizes to choose from, and you should take the time to select the right one.
Lastly, there are several ways to measure a boot’s flex. You can choose between a flex index, a flex measurement, or a flex test. The flex measurement may be less precise than the flex index, but it’s still a good way to get an idea of how the boot feels. If you don’t have access to a bootfitter, you can use reviews to find out the “stuff” that matters.
A beacon, shovel, and probe
Whether you’re new to backcountry skiing or a seasoned pro, a beacon, shovel, and probe are essential for your safety. A probe will save you time digging through an avalanche, and a beacon can help you find others buried in the snow. Having a good understanding of what these devices are and how to use them is important for backcountry skiers.
An avalanche transceiver, also known as a beacon, will transmit an electronic signal to other buried skiers, letting them know where they are and how to get out. It is the fastest way to locate someone buried in an avalanche, and it is the first item you should carry in your avalanche rescue kit.
A beacon is a small device that is worn around the waist or over the base layer. These devices usually have a range of between 50 and 70 meters, but can reach up to 25 meters in the worst-case scenario. You can buy one for yourself or for a friend.
A probe is a lightweight folding pole that is between nine and ten feet long. It is usually made of aluminum or carbon, and comes in a variety of lengths. The best avalanche probe for you will depend on the type of snow you’re going to be skiing in, as well as the space available in your pack. Buying a longer probe will give you peace of mind, while a shorter probe is less cumbersome to pack.
A shovel is a necessary tool for backcountry travel, especially if you’re digging an emergency shelter. Having a bomber shovel with an aluminum blade is key, because it will provide more power when you’re pounding out holes in the snow. Some blades have serrated edges or a pointed shape, and they will move more snow.
A beacon is the most expensive piece of avalanche safety gear, and the most important. A good beacon should be purchased within three years of the purchase date, and check for any recalls or firmware updates. It should also be worn over the base layer of clothing, and it should have a waist strap that can be released in the event of an avalanche.
Splitboards are a backcountry ski
Whether you’re a snowboarder who wants to explore the backcountry, or a skier who’s looking for a new way to ride the mountains, splitboarding is a great alternative to skiing. Unlike a traditional ski, you can climb uphill on a splitboard and use the other half as a snowboard on the downhill section.
You can also use your splitboard as a touring ski. You’ll want to wear touring boots. You may also need a backpack with additional gear. This could include water, food, and first aid kit.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to bring avalanche safety equipment. A shovel, probe, and beacon are important. You can find these online or in a sporting goods store. You should always carry a snowshoe as well.
When shopping for a splitboard, you should consider the shape, width, and flex of the board. Typically, a narrower board provides better stability in icy conditions. Alternatively, a wider board is more comfortable on the uphill.
The sizing guidelines for wide boards are usually 11 or 12 inches for men, and 9 inches for women. In general, manufacturers publish these guidelines to help people decide which size to get.
If you’re looking for a lightweight touring ski, you’ll be disappointed. Super light touring skis are not designed to be used in powder. For those who like to ride in powder, a medium or stiff flex will suit your needs.
If you’re more a freestyle or aggressive rider, you might want to look at a directional cambered board. These are designed to hold an edge more efficiently on the way up and keep a larger surface area with snow on the downhill.
Jeremy Jones started riding snowboards in 1983, and was one of the first to pioneer adventurous backcountry touring. He’s since set up his own snowboard company. He chews his board wax for breakfast.
Before you make the plunge into backcountry travel, you’ll need to know your destination. Whether you’re planning to ride an icy mountain, hike a glacier, or just spend a few hours in the backcountry, you’ll need to take the time to plan your route.
Avalanches are a concern
Whether you’re backcountry skiing or snowmobiling, avalanches are a serious concern. It’s important to understand avalanche causes and how to avoid them. The main risk of avalanches is trauma, asphyxia, and death. The number one way to reduce your risk of getting caught in an avalanche is to stay out of avalanche terrain.
If you’re unsure what avalanche terrain is, you can check the avalanche forecast. There are many forecast centers in the United States and Canada that can provide you with a daily update. In addition, there are local reports from skiers and other locals about avalanche conditions.
Some of the signs of avalanches are obvious, like shooting cracks and piles of chunky snow. These are all indications that a recent avalanche has occurred. You can also check for avalanche red flags.
Avalanche red flags are visual signs of elevated avalanche danger. They are a natural way for nature to tell you that the snowpack is unstable. They’re also audible warnings. If you hear a loud crash or see a pile of chunky snow, it’s a good idea to stop and check for avalanche conditions.
If you’re not sure about the avalanche conditions, ask someone experienced in the backcountry. They will be able to point you in the right direction.
Avalanche conditions change throughout the day. You should check the forecast as well as the weather to get a better idea of the avalanche conditions. If there are rain or snowstorms, they’ll increase the risk of avalanches. The higher the average temperature, the more likely you are to have an avalanche.
The most common avalanche type is a slab avalanche. Slab avalanches are formed when the weakest layer of the snowpack fails. They usually occur on slopes 30 degrees or steeper. If you find a slab avalanche, it’s a good idea to avoid it.
Another type of avalanche is a wet loose avalanche. This type of avalanche occurs more often in the spring. These avalanches start from the top and travel downhill, gathering more snow as they go. The main strategy is to ski north-facing slopes or those that are less sunny.