For some of us ladies, the normal slopes simply do not cut it anymore and heading into the more rough and rigid terrain such as the back country can do us wonders in terms of feeding our adrenaline. Therefore, for this reason, S’No Queen has brought you a small guide on what to pack if you want to stay safe in the back country on your next ski get away.
What to Wear
Wearing the right equipment on an off piste ski trip is a huge part of staying safe and maintaining a comfortable temperature.
On the slopes, you will need a base layer, a fleece and an overhaul ski coat to be able to have the most efficient set up. Although there is always the option of a single large coat, it does not give you the benefits of a base layer and fleece set up. With the base layer and fleece set up you can always remove a layer if you are too hot and in turn cool down slightly to a comfortable temperature. However, in a coat, you will only have the option of staying very warm with the huge coat on or feeling cold with it off, which lacks the comfortable middle ground in comparison to the fleece set up.
S’No Queen has a huge amount of Ladies Designer Ski Wear in our Base Layer range meaning that if you are looking for good quality base layers, we should have something perfect for you. All of our base layers have a poly-cotton blend with an elastic reinforcement and moisture wicking technology to maintain a comfortable temperature, fit perfectly and ensure comfort throughout your experience.
You will also need a good quality skiing bag which has a built in ABS system to the head area of the bag pack. The ABS system is a piece of technology that comes built in to your bag and holds an airbag to be able to aid you in avalanche situations. When there is an avalanche, the snow pushes larger objects to the surface and small objects to the bottom with extreme force. When you deploy an airbag during an avalanche your size will increase in turn, you have a very high chance of not being buried in the snow. In fact, 97% of people who deploy the air bags land on the surface or close to the surface during an avalanche and in turn survive. Therefore, it is well worth investing in a high quality ski bag with an ABS if you are considering heading off the piste.
Your safety gear is very important, as you never know when you will need it, especially in an environment such as the backcountry. Things such as your helmet, knee and arm pads can prevent you hurting and injuring yourself in the rigid terrain where a fall or avalanche could happen at any moment. Although the chances that you will sustain an injury are significantly low, it is always worth trying to prevent an injury where possible. (Average 1-5 people on average injure themselves per million depending on country.)
Another huge item you should be packing is a First Aid Kit to be able to aid you if you have an accident in the backcountry. When people head to the backcountry, they commonly forget a first aid kit simply as they do not see the danger. Something about the thick snow there seems to make people think they will not need a first aid kit for scrapes and bumps. However, small falls on the snow can still cause snow burn and small grazes so a first aid kit can come in handy in the backcountry.
The backcountry can sometimes seem like it has almost no vocal points to be able to learn the route you took. Endless snow capped mountains for miles mean without a map you can very easily get lost, so it is important to bring a map to be able to help you navigate and learn the route you took. It also allows you to be able to find short cuts back to your ski village if there is signs the weather is going to turn and helps you evade danger out on the mountains. A map and a compass can be picked up for next to nothing in most ski villages, which means that there is no reason not to take one along with you.
An electronic navigator is a device, which works like a satnav but in the backcountry, unlike the normal walking devices or your mobile phone. This mapping device has signal and works in a majority of very remote places in the world. A device such as an electronic navigator is well worth an investment if you do not have the time or space for a map in your ski pack.
Emergency equipment for the backcountry is very important, especially when it comes to the more rigid rocky areas and the avalanche areas. The probe, transceiver and shovel are very important in an avalanche situation as they allow you to be able to dig your way out of an avalanche towards the surface whilst alerting the rescue and appropriate people where you are so you can be collected. All of these three items fit together perfectly and using two without the third could mean that you have to wait significantly longer to be rescued which could be severe to your health.
Another key aspect of safety gear to bring on your backcountry experience is an emergency blanket, lighter and head torch. This is more for if the weather turns bad and you have to make your way back to the ski village; as a variety of skiing locations in the world are susceptible to blizzards and visibility can be extremely low. If you cannot make it back using your headlight, then it is time to find shelter and this is where your emergency blanket and lighter will come in use. However, within the Alpine resorts of Europe, this can be wiped from the list as the sheer amount of ski resorts means you are never too far from a ski village to have to find shelter and you can simply return to another village and wait out any storms.
Miscellaneous items are things that you may or may not need but it is reasonably understandable to carry.
Lip Balm and Sun Cream are always great on a ski retreat, the cold air rushing past your lips can begin to really dry them out and in turn cause them to feel cut and chapped. Then there is the sun cream for the simple reason that even in the colder conditions sunburn is still a problem; the mountains are higher up and the UV rays from the sun reflect off the snow and in turn, you have a denser amount of UV rays coming to your skin.
Another piece of kit you should be bringing it a small repair kit to be able it fix or mend any issues you may have with your skies or any other equipment. This means that you won’t have to pack up and trek if you run into a problem such as a lose binding, you can temporarily fix it out in the back country enabling you to head back to your ski village a lot easier for repairs.
If you have any other pieces of off piste ski equipment, you think people could benefit from out in the back country, let us know below or on twitter @thesnoqueen