There will come a time in the career of an experienced skier when all of the world's major skiing challenges have been conquered. It is these skiers who are looking for the fresh challenges that off piste skiing offers. However, this activity can be dangerous without proper preparation and experience. There are a number of steps that must be taken to stay safe while off piste and to ensure the experience is as enjoyable and exciting as possible.
Many avid off piste skiers say that the experience is unlike any other and that it can be compared to flying. The routes are invariably steeper and quicker than official runs and pose some significant risks. It is essential that only the most experienced and proficient skiers attempt this activity. A season of off piste skiing should be prepared for in the gym. The activity puts great strain on the legs and core-body strength of the individual; it will be safer and more enjoyable if the person's body is ready for the challenge.
The increased risk to skiers should be recognised if people are to stay safe and enjoy the experience. It is always a good idea to meet with like-minded people who also have the ability and fitness to succeed at off piste skiing. These people may be part of clubs or associations and will often be able to offer advice and support. It is also essential that people ski in groups due to the increased likelihood of avalanches and accidents.
This form of skiing requires some specialist equipment and extra provisions, both vital in event of an accident. There are some excellent skis on the market that are designed specifically for off piste activity. Terrain skis are a satisfactory compromise between regular skis and those designed for deep-snow activities. They are wider than normal but still allow for great speed and agility. It is also important that people who are skiing away from monitored slopes have a transceiver. This will be used to call for help in the case of an emergency. It may also be used to communicate a precise location via a sophisticated GPS system. People should pack some extra clothing, water and foods, which will all be vital if an accident or avalanche occurs. Off piste activities are extremely exciting and provide experiences not possible on the main slopes, however, the risks of avalanches and bad accidents are far greater. The best ways to enjoy off piste skiing are by being fit, skilled and prepared for all eventualities.