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Tackling The Backcountry

off piste

For when the piste is so passé

You've mastered the marked runs at your favourite ski resort and your name is spoken with reverence at every lodge and après ski, so what's a S'No Queen to do, but make herself the undisputed Monarch of her favourite mountain, by braving the backcountry beyond the markers.

 

Off-Piste, Not to be taken lightly

It goes without saying that leaving the relative safety and well-groomed slopes of the resort to venture into the freshly powdered wilderness is not without risk and should only be attempted by the most skilled S'No Queens.

 

S'No Queens should be each other's entourage

Where you're going, the snow will be almost untouched and the experience second to none. However, that's because there'll be fewer people around and that includes help you may need to rely on. With that being the case, it makes sense to share the off-piste experience with a few friends. If one of you gets into trouble, the others can help, if one of you looks especially fabulous, the others can take photo's.

 

Avail yourself of the avalanche risk

Always check the snow conditions before heading off the groomed slopes. In particular, pay special attention to the avalanche risk. There'll be five levels of risk; low, moderate, considerable, high and very high. Sticking to low or moderate is probably the safest option.

 

Equip yourself for the unexpected

Should you have the misfortune to find yourself in a position where either you or one of your companions aren't able to carry on, ensure you have the means to signal for help and sufficient supplies to keep you going while you wait for it to arrive. A transceiver or a beacon will help you be found, a shovel can help you dig yourself out of a drift, extra layers on standby are always advisable and some food and water will keep you fueled while you wait for the cavalry.

 

Research your route

You know your double black diamond so well you could ski it in your sleep, but not so with the backcountry. That means you'll need a little pre-planning. Check in with local guides to get an idea of what terrain to expect and which parts to avoid. You can make even a plaster cast look spectacular, but we'd rather you didn't!

 

Feel the whistle of the wind

The key to skiing fresh powder is to pick up some speed, go slow and you'll sink into it. With this being the case, make sure you have your eyes fixed well ahead, stick to your route and make sure your posture remains perfect. Short sharp turns are out of the question, elegant sweeping turns are the best way to navigate powder without digging in, so plan well in advance.

 

Enjoy the spectacle

It's no wonder S'No Queens are drawn to the backcountry; off-piste offers the most spectacular views, the most divine snow and is very much an exclusive experience. While you're out, enjoying the pinnacle of the skiing experience, don't forget to drink in the sheer majesty of your surroundings and congratulate yourself along with your fellow S'No Queens for having acquired the skills necessary to face this challenging, yet rewarding terrain.

 

Share your stories

We'd be delighted to hear your tales of wonder from beyond the piste. Where did you go? What did you do? Regale us with your adventures Dear S'No Queens!

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