Ask someone about their skiing tips for a great backcountry trip, and you are likely to hear about locations and also special starting spots for some excellent powder. Lost in translation are the skiing tips that could quite possibly save your life. Some common sense tips rarely make it into even the more serious writings about safe skiing, and subsequently skiers learn the hard way how to protect themselves from some of the most common but overlooked dangers. Read on and learn about the right gear to keep you safe, comfortable, and also alive, no matter what the slopes and backcountry experience might entail.
Bring Along the Right Skis and Bindings
Purchase or rent skis made for the skiing experience you are planning for. Nordica Zero skis---they retail for $452 in 2009---are perfect for backcountry skiing for the aspiring trick skier, while K2 Apache Coomba skis (they sell for about $571) are reserved for the backcountry skier who might graduate to heli skiing in the foreseeable future. If you want to keep your options open, consider packing a pair of Volkl Gotama skis that cost right around $578. The latter are perfect for backcountry powder or the harder surface snow on resort slopes. Depending on the kinds of skis you favor, purchase bindings that are recommended for the brand and the type of skiing you are likely to engage in.
Choose Your Time Wisely
Educate yourself on the best time to go skiing while avoiding the heat of the sun. No collection of skiing tips would be complete without pointing out that the sun has a huge impact on the overall snowpack. Early in the morning is the best time to go skiing and experience powdery snow that has not yet succumbed to the heat of the sun. Additionally, going early in the day also protects your body from overheating. Moreover, the avalanche danger is lower in the mornings before the sun can cause some melting in the snowpack.
Dress for the Occasion
Do not give in to the temptation of dressing in jeans and a couple of sweaters, but instead have a skiing wardrobe available. A basic North Face men's Halo detachable ski suit retails for $251 in 2009 and provides protection against cold and wetness with material that is lightweight, breathable, and offers zippered vents for added comfort. Add a lightweight jersey, pants, and also a hood; you are now dressed in layers sufficient for warmth and comfort.
Remember Personal Safety
Bring along a small survival kit if you go skiing in the backcountry. Resort areas keep a good eye on skiers and getting lost or getting in trouble are rare, but once you step off the beaten path, you might find yourself lost or trapped in avalanche areas and may need to survive overnight until you can be located by search parties. A lightweight pack complete with an Adventure Medical heat sheet survival two-person blanket---it retails for $6---and also some kindling and a butane lighter or waterproof matches are essential backcountry skiing gear.
Protect Yourself From the Sun and Heat
Recognize that the snow acts like a reflector for the rays of the sun, and it is common for skiers to suffer from sunburn. Protect yourself with sun block and also bring along sufficient water to remain hydrated. Lip balm is another must to prevent cracked lips from a combination of cold and sun exposure.