If you are eager to set off on an unforgettable off-piste skiing trip, then you have come to the right place. Pure Powder is one of the best ski specialists based in the UK, but we organise off-piste ski adventures all around the world. In this quick read, we will cover some essential information regarding off-piste skiing as well as fill you in on how the Pure Powder team can help you plan and prepare for some truly thrilling skiing adventures.
Keep reading for off-piste skiing safety tips, avalanche education, the best off-piste skiing destinations, and more! We are here to help you organise the adventure of a lifetime and our dedicated team is prepared to back you every step of the way.
What Is Off-Piste Skiing?
‘Off-piste’ is a term derived from French that most avid skiers are familiar with. It refers to skiing that takes place away from groomed trails. Unlike standard resort skiing which involves groomed trails and clearly marked skiing areas, off-piste skiing involves skiing in the backcountry, taking on fresh powder and unmarked trails. The ultimate lure of off-piste skiing is the opportunity to explore boundless natural terrain and the chance to carve fresh lines in untouched snow.
Any skiing terrain located outside of resort-allocated groomed trails counts as off-piste. This includes terrain directly outside of designated ski runs as well as deep backcountry terrain. Some ski resorts offer marked ungroomed ski runs, however, these usually aren’t considered to be off-piste.
Off-Piste Skiing: The Pure Powder Way
If bottomless powder snow is something you’re looking for, Pure Powder has got your back. Our team of ski experts is able to source and book your trip with resorts and lodges all over the world – setting you up for some unforgettable off-piste experiences, where you are not limited to conventional groomed runs.
During our 40 years in the industry, we have scouted and sourced the ultimate powder skiing and heli skiing trips across the globe. As one of the biggest heli ski specialists in the UK, we do our best to match our clients with the perfect heli skiing and off-piste adventures to suit their needs.
We can also guarantee that booking your trip through us will never be more expensive than booking directly through an operator. In some instances, booking through Pure Powder can even prove to be more affordable.
How To Prepare For Your Off-Piste Ski Trip
Before your ski trip can begin, it’s highly recommended to take the time to strengthen your body. This can be done by doing leg, arm, ab, and back exercises. Cardio is also very important. Cardio can help minimise potential injuries and increase your energy levels. Cardio that is perfect for off-piste skiing preparation includes cycling, running, and climbing stairs for about 20-45 minutes. All of these exercises help get your heart rate up, which can be extremely beneficial for your ski trip.
Furthermore, if you can, try to develop some skills with ski lessons before your trip. This will help you build the necessary skills and confidence to make your trip a success.
The things you pack for a ski strip can make the world of a difference. It is extremely important that you pack warm and comfortable clothing. We all want to look good on the slopes, but comfort and safety should always be the top priority.
When it comes to the equipment you should pack, there are a few essentials to consider:
- Freeride skis
- Compatible boots for your skis
- Ski poles
- Ski goggles
- A helmet (make sure it fits you perfectly)
- Appropriate safety gear (see below)
- Radio or telephone
Essential Safety Tips For Off-Piste Skiing
If you are ready to set off on your very first off-piste skiing trip, Pure Powder is here to help you throughout the process. Before, during, and after your adventure, you can rest assured that we will offer continuous support to ensure your skiing experience is a memorable one.
We will do our level best to pair you up with the perfect ski trip to match your skill level. However, it can’t hurt to get clued up beforehand, which is why we have laid out a few off-piste skiing safety tips in preparation for your trip.
Gear Up: Good gear is of utmost importance when tackling ungroomed terrain and knowing how to use said gear is just as crucial. The right equipment can keep you safe and give you the best shot at a successful ski trip. A few off-piste essentials include an avalanche beacon, a probe, and a snow shovel.
Dress For The Weather: When heading out, make sure to dress appropriately. Additional clothing layers will keep you comfortable on the slopes and ensure that you’re able to make the most of the experience without any chilly hindrance. It is usually recommended to layer up with a moisture-wicking base layer, a comfortable mid-layer, and a waterproof top layer.
Know The Risks: Booking your trip through Pure Powder means getting an experienced guide to help you tackle the natural terrain. However, anybody heading out onto the slopes should be aware of the risks and understand how best to handle them. Avalanche safety is a big factor to consider, which is why safety gear and equipment like avalanche beacons, probes and snow shovels are essential. Rest assured that your professional guide will give you a full rundown on avalanche safety when off-piste skiing.
Pair Up: If you are tackling off-piste terrain for the first time, pair up with an experienced skiing partner or group along with your trained mountain guide. You can also join an introduction programme for powder skiing first-timers when you book a trip through Pure Powder. We have partnered up with fantastic lodges and resorts to offer you unique trips specifically designed to teach you the fundamentals of skiing in deep snow.
Keep Your Speed: Anybody opting for off-piste skiing is in it for the thrills, and there’s nothing more exhilarating than speeding down the slopes. Keeping up a good speed is crucial for cruising through the fresh powder – move too slow and your skis can start to drag or sink.
Falling And Getting Back Up: Falling into deep snow can be a frightening occurrence the first time but if this happens to you, there’s no need to panic. Rather than trying to push yourself up with your hands, simply cross your poles into an “X” shape, holding the intersection with one hand and pushing yourself upright with ease.
Best Off-Piste Ski Destinations
When you book your heli skiing or off-piste trip through Pure Powder, you can look forward to an incredible adventure tailored to your preferences. There are dozens of off-piste skiing destinations available worldwide, and Pure Powder is here to help you find the ideal skiing location to match your expectations. We have travelled far and wide, sourcing the ultimate collection of powder skiing experiences.
Here is a quick breakdown of six exciting off-piste skiing destinations for you to choose from when you book your trip with Pure Powder:
This lovely location in France has one of the most famous off-piste skiing spots in the world; the Vallée Blanche. This ski adventure starts with a 3,842 m ride on the Aiguille du Midi cable car, followed by a 24 km trail across the Colle del Gigante, as well as the Mar de Glace glaciers. This trip will set you on a course through waist-deep powder and sensational panoramic views of Mont Blanc, Italy and Switzerland.
This ski location in Switzerland has the most lift-serviced verticals in the world, making it a prime spot for powder hounds. Mont-Fort only has one heavily covered area with moguls, this means that the rest of the way is yours to carve through. The classic route is what brings most off-piste skiing lovers here, but other routes like the Stairway to Heaven in Col des Gentianes, the Breblet Couloirs and the Rock Garden boast their own appeal.
St Anton is a ski resort found in Tyrol, Austria. This location is also another fun one for off-piste skiing lovers, with some of the deepest lines. If you are still a beginner that is no problem, there are guides and instructors available to help prepare you for the terrain. One ski spot, The Beautiful Grave offers impressively steep blade runs as well as bowls – but if you are looking for a more relaxed option the Rossfall is the one for you.
This skiing location in France has trickier descents and arguably the best quality powder in the Alps. If you want well-established off-piste skiing routes you cannot go wrong with the Spatule and Banane that are found on either side of the Bellevarde area. These routes have bumps, trees, cliffs and stumps. On the other side of this town, you can take the Fornet cable car, then the service life to the left, and then for the best part, make your way to set your skis on Le Grand Vallon.
This off-piste skiing spot has 36 km of hazard protection, but this has been left ungroomed. This includes the space from Rothorn to Tuftern. Both spots have gullies with pockets of deep snow. This ski location lands high on the list, allowing skiers to easily spend hours carving through this terrain. If you are looking for non-stop lift-served powder, this is the place to be.
This relaxing destination is found on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Courmayeur has a breathtaking landscape with high-rise mountain peaks and valleys filled with snow. The Punta Helbronner station can be found 3462 m high, on top of a peak. Here you will have a view of France, Italy, and Switzerland. From here the Vallée Blanche cable car can take you to the Aiguille du Midi or you can make your way to the Toula Glacier.