Off piste / Freeride
Off-piste skiing is practiced by definition outside the marked and supervised pistes of a ski resort, on ungroomed areas, accessible by gravity, that is to say generally by a ski crossing from the arrival of a ski lift or a strategic point of the piste.
The equipment of ARVA, shovel, probe is essential, it is imperative to check their well functioning and ... to learn to use it.
Wearing a helmet and a back protection is advisable, as well as an ABS bag to go on the most steeped slopes.
First, the consultation of the meteorological and nivological bulletins makes it possible to evaluate the stability of the snowpack.
Finally a serious knowledge of the places and a minimum of experience of the mountain are necessary.
The essential rules of off-piste skiing are essentially common sense:
- Be always in total control of your speed, whatever the conditions.
- Evolve on grounds in adequacy with your technical level, your physical condition, your state of tiring and experience.
-Rest vigilant, listening to the environment, take breaks, know how to adapt.
Some basic technical tips for a good skiing in powder snow:
-Keep your skis more flat, shoulders in the fall line and stay light.
-Centrate the weight of the body in the middle of the ski to avoid loss of control of the skis (and the cramps of the thighs ...)
-Keep the body weight more on both feet.
-Use more vertical work in the deep or heavy snow (sensation of rebound: pressure/ relaxation hepled with stick ...)
-Breath in and especially breath out to avoid shortness of breath.
A mountain professional guides you step by step through his experience and teaches you to assess the risks:
- the natural accidents of the ground (steep places or cliffs, hidden rocks, gullies, trees ...)
-the variability of the snowpack (instability, various qualities of powdery snow, crust, ice ...)
-be far away from any help in case of necessity (give an alert, be repered ...)
-be lost if reduced visibility (fog, snowfall ...).
First of all you start gradually on the edges of the pistes and a few inches of powder snow before heading to real ski descents further off the pistes to keep it a pleasure!
L'ANENA, the national association for the study of snow and avalanches