Backcountry skiing can be seen as an amazing experience with a wide variety of benefits ranging from bespoke and amazing views, all the way to the unique experiences that backcountry skiing offers. However, a lot of people seem to look over the sheer danger that the extreme cold climate, desolate landscape and safety issues and simply pack up and head out. So why should you pack your Thermal Wear , ABS and safety equipment?
The backcountry can quickly see a huge change in its usual weather conditions and for this reason, it is important to be prepared for all elements. When in the backcountry the normal on-piste weather warnings do not apply and due to the range of elevation varying dramatically in the backcountry there is often near to no correspondence in weather when you get further out. Therefore wearing your S’No Queen Thermals out on the slopes and in the backcountry is necessary to be able to ensure your own safety from the cold.
We recommend heading for the onion method of layering up your thermals, this is done by simply applying your thermal wear as a base layer of clothing before adding a fleece on top of this. This is simply so if you get to hot you can always remove the fleece to be able to maintain the heat from the thermals. Then on top of this, we recommend you wear a skiing coat to be able to offer even more heat and the added benefits of a waterproof cover and pockets for storage.
If you take a skiing bag (ABS) with you on your ski getaway, then you can always remove layers and place them in your bag to be carried if you get to hot or add them back to your person when you cool down.
We recommend using the onion method and not simply applying one large layer to your body for the comfort factors that the onion method brings. If you were to wear one large layer then you may get to hot and when removing this one layer may be too cold, there is no middle ground to feel comfortable and prevent dehydration or freezing. The onion method allows you to remove thinner layers one by one to be able to reach the perfect level of comfort and prevent issues such as dehydration from heat or freezing from the cold.
This is especially important in the resorts of Japan and East Russia as the temperatures here can vary from 10 degrees to minus 30 in some regions.
The ABS bag is a bag back that is used for safety purposes when in the backcountry. ABS stands for Avalanche Bag System and in turn simply inflates to be able to protect you if there are signs of a land shift. Due to the high size and lightweight nature of the bag, it floats on the top of the snow so as the snow begins to shift you will be pulled to the surface and land on top. This enables you to prevent yourself becoming trapped.
ABS bags are compulsory in some back country areas in Japan and North America but not all areas so it’s important to pack one anyways just in case for your own safety. ABS bags also come in bright colours (usually neon orange) this enables you to be seen if you do have an accident or a fall and can mean that a search team or even your skiing partners can quickly find you at a glance and come to your aid.
Safety equipment in the backcountry is very important, not only do you need your ABS bag but you will also need your other safety equipment such as your transceiver, probe and shovel. Although the ABS works 97% of the time, there is the small 3% of times that it will bring you to the surface but you will need a little something to be able to get yourself out. This is usually due to the avalanche being directly above you or simply due to the avalanche being so huge your ABS could not bring you to the top before the snow settled.
Your shovel, probe and transceiver are simply for this 3% so that you can get out of your predicament and head for the firmer areas of snow around the avalanche area.
For more information on backcountry skiing and other ski news, take a look through our range of skiing articles.