Have you seen those pictures or videos of advanced skiers skiing over a fresh powder of snow? Most people love the idea of skiing off-piste but what you need to know if you are a beginner is that such places can be dangerous. It may be fun but comes with a level of risks, and that is why it is always advisable to hire a guide when skiing off-piste. Off-piste places have avalanches waiting to run down the slope any time. Resorts like Club Med have control over some areas but once you pass these areas, it is up to you to manage the risks you face. So, how do you do it if you are an adventurous skier? What do you do in case of an avalanche? If you are staying in a ski resort Japan that offers you the chance to enjoy the fun in powder skiing, well and good. However, if you have to do this on your own, how do you manage it and what do you do in case of an avalanche? We have discussed several recommendations when skiing off-piste you can use to improve safety.
Why do Avalanches Happen?
Before you leave for an adventurous skiing day, it is crucial to be well-informed about avalanches, how they happen and what to expect if you are considering skiing off-piste. Avalanches are different but as a skier, you will come across one known as slab avalanche. This avalanche falls with chunks of snow when the lower layer of the snow is too weak to carry the weight of the upper layers that have accumulated with time. Other conditions that may weaken the snow layers are a drastic change in temperature, strong winds, and rain. You are most likely to come across this type of avalanche in a Japan ski resort. It is essential to analyze the level of risk you face depending on different types of avalanches and the country.
How Do You Prepare or Choose your Safety?
In most cases, an avalanche is triggered by a skier. This means that a mistake can result in an avalanche and thus the need to prepare or be careful when skiing off-piste. Another thing you can learn from this is that it is not possible to predict an avalanche. One thing the resort should let you know is the chance of avalanches you face depending on the system’s forecast. You need to know that staying low will reduce the chances of an avalanche. It is advisable to avoid places that have experienced avalanches before since they are the most prone to another occurrence. Additionally, avoid skiing on spots like cliffs or gullies since these would bring more severity should an avalanche occur.
If you have to ski on avalanche terrain, make sure you have advanced skills. Be cautious and know the right places to stop. You should avoid making a stop at an exposed place that will obviously, put you at the risk of being swept away by an avalanche if it occurs. Look for a safe place below a rock and take a break to ensure the snow can pass above you. Ski one person at a time, but keep a safe distance where you can save your friend should something happen. Additionally, as you enjoy skiing, also try to look for routes you can use to escape in case of this escapade. One thing you need to do whether you are skiing alone or as a group is to plan your escape route even before you start. Let everyone know where they should find safety and the best route to take depending on the direction of the avalanche.
Communication is Vital
Before you set out on the mountains, it is critical to discuss with the group first. Make sure everyone in the group has the necessary skills and is confident about skiing in these dangerous spots. Remember, the conditions are unpredictable and that means everyone in the group must have enough courage to survive. Come up with a plan and ensure every member of the group knows the plan. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to plan the escape routes before starting the adventure. Ensure everyone is able to maneuver through the terrains and if not so, a guide will come in handy. There are many places like Club Med that offer opportunities for off-piste skiing. Discuss with the group about where you want to go and make sure your group comprises people you can trust. This is vital to ensure you get help when stuck or when something worse happens.
Equipment and Training
When skiing off-piste, there are three tools you must never leave behind. Never go out skiing without a shovel, a probe, and a transceiver. Put the two, except the transceiver, in your backpack. These three will come in handy when your friend is buried by an avalanche. Having these tools increases your chances of surviving by 90%. It is also crucial to get trained on how to survive an avalanche. It may be hard to get places for training, but there are numerous resources on the internet. Don’t get excited by the white powder such that you dive in before you think. Remember, as we said earlier, most avalanches are caused by human errors. Don’t let emotions impair your judgment, and if you have a concern, don’t be afraid to raise your concern. Letting people know about a potential danger could save a life.
These are recommendations to help improve safety in case of an avalanche. If you have to go in groups, make sure you don’t exceed five people in a group. A large group increases the risk of an avalanche, and sticking together as a team can be difficult. It is also hard to stick to the rules when you are in a large group. One crucial thing you must know is that skiing alone on avalanche terrain is very dangerous. Regardless of the level of skills and quality of tools you carry, non can save you if you are buried in an avalanche all alone.