Policies cover off-piste skiing and snowboarding , however
there are certain guidelines :
You should ensure that you check with the local piste authorities
before you venture off-piste that you are entering designated
off-piste areas , on no account should you be going off-piste
in prohibited areas .
Always ski or snowboard in off piste areas with one other
person , never by yourself . Always ski or board off-piste
within your own ability .
Try and ensure you have relevant Safety products with you
such as shovels , probes , transeivers , first aid kits etc
.These can be purchased at www.snowsafe.co.uk
Off-piste skiing and riding is on the increase, and understandably
so: getting away from the crowds among high mountain scenery
and making first tracks in fresh powder snow are magical experiences.
It can never be completely safe - you go off-piste completely
at your own risk but your chances of survival are greatly
increased if you are properly guided and equipped.
There is a good range of avalanche safety equipment on the
market these days. If you do decide to go off-piste (or 'out
of bounds' as they say in the States), you should be equipped
with, and have been trained how to use, an avalanche transceiver
(often referred to as a 'peeps', because one of the major
brands is the Austrian Pieps). This is a combined transmitter
While skiing or riding, everyone in a group has their peeps
set on 'transmit'; if there is an avalanche, those not buried
by it turn their peeps to 'receive' - they can then receive
the signals sent out by their buried companions and by gradually
reducing the sensitivity of the receiver track them down under
the snow. But you need to be very well trained in transceiver
use to do this quickly and effectively. New digital transceivers
are on sale which are meant to be easier and quicker to use
than old-style ones.
Recco reflectors are a simple cheap precaution as well, though
they are not, by any means, a substitute for a proper avalanche
transceiver. Most major resorts are now equipped with Recco
detectors which emit a directional signal. When the signal
hits a Recco reflector, even under 10m of snow, the frequency
is doubled and sent back to the receiver in the detector.
Recco reflectors can be stuck on to your boots or sewn into
your clothing. But Recco detectors (as opposed to reflectors)
are specialized and expensive pieces of equipment carried
by the rescue services - so the search doesn't start until
the rescue personnel arrive on the scene.
Other essential equipment includes avalanche probes and a
collapsible shovel - to locate buried people and dig them
out. It is also sensible to take a whistle, flares, a length
of rope and a survival bag as well. All of this can be carried
in a small day pack or rucksack - many of these come with
a some sort of water storage pack as well. Extra clothing
(gloves, hat, goggles) and high-energy food should also be
kept in your rucksack.
Most specialist ski shops sell most of the above individually
or as part of an off-piste pack.