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  All 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 and receiver.

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.


 


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