Are you a skiing enthusiast bored of standard resort runs? Off-piste skiing may just be the solution to this problem. An off-piste ski trip with Pure Powder will offer you a whole new adventure in some of the most picturesque natural landscapes around the world. Furthermore, this form of skiing also promises countless runs on fresh powdered snow, a way to avoid the overcrowded ski lines synonymous with ski resorts, and a trip you are sure to recommend to family and friends when you get home.
At Pure Powder, we take skiing seriously; our company’s goal is to offer our clients an experience they have never had before. With this motivation in mind, we have to put together extraordinary skiing packages not offered by our competitors. With our long time in this industry, we have built up excellent partnerships which have enabled us to provide you with truly thrilling skiing adventures. From helicopter skiing tours to off-piste skiing and even luxurious resort ski trips, we do it all. If you are interested to learn more, head over to the Pure Powder website and let us help you book your off-piste trip today!
In this article we will focus on one of our favourite forms of skiing at Pure Powder, namely off-piste skiing. Here we will provide beginners or novices who wish to take on this exciting form of skiing with tips, suggestions, and mistakes to avoid – getting you clued up on how to best prepare for your next exciting skiing adventure.
Explaining Off-Piste Skiing
Before we begin planning our off-piste trip, it may help to first understand what exactly off-piste skiing is, the benefits of this form of skiing, and how it differs from other popular forms of skiing.
Like you may have already been able to tell from the introduction, the most important differentiator is that off-piste skiing does not occur within a ski resort. Many skiers will know that the French word “piste” in skiing terminology refers to a marked-out run. These are also sometimes referred to as groomed or graded trails. These trails are commonly artificially smoothed out so that they can be accurately graded to match skiers’ levels. The grades vary from green for beginners, to black for experts.
Off-piste, on the other hand, refers to ski runs or trails that are not marked, graded, or groomed. These routes are generally found in the wilderness or, in skier terminology, the “backcountry”. Due to their remote nature, the routes are generally filled with powder snow, as they have not been groomed or flattened. Because they are isolated, there are also no waiting lines, and people who go backcountry skiing can enjoy regular runs with the only waiting period being the time it takes to get to the start of the route.
Although for many this may sound like the ideal skiing conditions, and you may wonder why not everyone is taking to the backcountry for their next skiing holiday, it is important to highlight that there are unique risks associated with off-piste skiing. These are generally related to the isolated nature of the backcountry, but access to medical care in case of an emergency is often the primary concern. These off-piste routes are also more susceptible to avalanches or other environmental obstacles. Finally, due to the fact that these runs are not graded or groomed, you can not be sure what sort of run you may have, and some routes may be harder to tackle than expected, with no time to properly prepare for them.
However, many of these risks can be mitigated when using a trusted off-piste tour guide – just one of the many services we offer at Pure Powder. This allows you to enjoy all the benefits listed here with risks limited and handled by professionals.
Suggested Skills And Training For Maximum Enjoyment
Now that we have been better orientated with off-piste skiing, we can begin to address the tips, training, and common mistakes you may want to avoid when participating in this sort of skiing activity. It is important to note here that the information shared is meant for beginners and only covers the basics.
If you would like a more in-depth analysis or are looking to take your backcountry skiing to the next level, we encourage you to visit our website and get in contact with one of our helpful operators. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have, but also point you to some of our training programs and even help you book your next trip.
For beginners, we generally recommend that, before you participate in off-piste skiing, you begin to develop the following skills. And as always, if you would like help developing these skills, we offer comprehensive beginner courses as well:
Powder Skiing Techniques: As mentioned in the definition section above, off-piste skiing is subject to lots of powdered snow which is very different to the compressed snow routes found at ski resorts. Many skiers enjoy powdered snow more, but it does require some getting used to. You will need to learn how to adjust and maintain your balance on this new sort of snow.
Terrain And Snow Condition Assessment: Although your Pure Powder tour guide will generally be responsible for being aware of safe routes and safe terrain, it is always a good idea to be clued up on these factors yourself. Understanding and being able to recognise environmental hazards, especially when so far away from medical assistance, will keep you and your tour group safe.
Physical Fitness: Skiing in general, no matter the type, has always required participants to have some level of fitness. But unlike heli-skiing or resort skiing, you will not have an automated way to reach the start of the skiing trail. Furthermore, you will also be carrying your own ski gear. This makes this sort of skiing the most physically demanding. So, in order to enjoy your trip, it is essential to do some endurance training so that you can manage the physical demand.
Avalanche Safety Training: Even when provided with a skilled and experienced tour guide, like those organised by Pure Powder, an avalanche is still dangerous. In the event of an avalanche, everyone is at risk. Understanding not only how to spot the signs of an impending avalanche but also what to do when one has occurred can save your life and those in the tour group as well. That is why we encourage all of our clients to take part in this sort of training.
Tips For Skiing Beginners
At this point, you are not only more aware of what off-piste skiing actually is, but should also have a few strong starting points for your training and skill development. But even when you have worked on those skills through a Pure Powder training program, and used our services to book your next backcountry trip, there are still a few things you can learn.
Getting tips from both your tour guide and other experienced backcountry skiers can help you maximise the enjoyment you will get out of this trip. In this section, we want to highlight some of our favourite tips, to help keep you safe, healthy, and ready for more.
Understand your limits: This can mean many things, but the two primary areas we think are important is understanding your skill level and your endurance levels. Many times, these tours can happen over multiple days, and pushing yourself too hard early on or performing dangerous routes you are not ready for can end your trip early.
Invest in the right gear: Any sort of ski activity you do requires you to have ski gear, but when it comes to resort skiing, it is common practice to just rent gear. However, in order to enjoy your trip as much as possible you need to be comfortable with your gear and understand it well. That is why, with this sort of skiing, it is best to have your own gear that you have used before. Also, due to the elements you are going to face, it is critical that you make sure that you are purchasing trusted and well-made brands. If you don’t have your own gear, however, there’s no need to worry – when touring with Pure Powder, we will organise the right skis for you.
Stay hydrated And fueled: Due to the fact that, during a Pure Powder trip, you will be spending most of your days out in the wilderness, you may sometimes forget to eat and drink, even when the tour guide calls for a break. Making sure to eat and drink is important, especially when participating in physically demanding activities, as it will not only help keep your energy levels up but will also keep you responsive and ready to go for more after the breaks.
Respect your surroundings: One of the greatest benefits of this sport is that you will be skiing in some incredible natural settings and will be surrounded by stunning nature. However, as a company that believes in green initiatives, we always encourage all of our clients and staff to respect their natural surroundings. This includes everything from not littering, to also not disturbing the natural ecosystems.
Common Mistakes To Avoid
We believe that this article has already provided you with lots to think about in regard to off-piste skiing. In this final section, we think it important to also review a few common mistakes that beginners to this sort of skiing may make. By mentioning them here, we hope that you can avoid them during your first off-piste trip.
Of course, the first mistake we see many beginners make, and one that is most obvious, is the overestimation of abilities. We understand that you may be excited to take part and want to prove yourself to the people around you, but we always encourage those new to this form of skiing to take it slow and adapt their skills from other forms of skiing to this unique backcountry experience.
Another error that some may make is not skiing with partners or as part of a guided tour. We believe that the best way to be introduced to wilderness skiing is to do so with professionals who can provide you with the correct instruction and help you adjust to these unique environments.
Finally, many believe that simply using the gear they would have used at a ski resort will suffice. However, again, this is underestimating the wilderness environment you are going to be in. Above, in our tips section, we highlighted the importance of investing in the proper gear, and not doing so is a common mistake that can easily get you injured or make your trip less enjoyable.
Pure Powder: Your Ski Experts
At Pure Powder, we are proud to help facilitate ski trips of all sorts, all around the world. We want to encourage more people to try different forms of skiing, from heli-skiing to off-piste skiing. This will give them new experiences and maybe even new passions too.
So, if you are interested in trying something new, and want to give off-piste skiing a go, then we highly encourage you to visit our website and get in contact with us today!