If you’re boldly exploring the backcountry this winter, avalanche awareness and the correct safety equipment are lifesavers in the event of an emergency in unmarked and unpatrolled territory. Stay safer off-piste this snow season, with these five backcountry skiing and snowboarding essentials:
Your transceiver, probe and shovel are the most important rescue tools that can save lives in the event of an avalanche.
Transceivers emit a signal which can be tracked by other transceivers in search mode; probes are long and thin poles which can be pushed into the snow to assess the location of a casualty.
Time is of the essence when rescuing an avalanched casualty, so invest in a durable metal shovel with a long handle which will make digging faster and more efficient.
Your avalanche airbag is the second most important item on the safety checklist.
When inflated during an avalanche, the casualty’s volume is increased; this helps keep them as high as possible in the snow structure through the decent and halting phase of the avalanche, thus increasing their chance of being rescued and surviving.
The Ortovox FreeRider includes a Modular Airbag Safety System and plenty of storage (to keep the rest of your safety equipment).
Enhancing your communications helps maximise your safety, so always carry a multi-channel radio to keep in touch with your team.
The BC Link Radio has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which lasts up to four days in extreme cold conditions; it also features an easily-accessible Smart Mic which clips onto your shoulder strap, while the waterproof radio itself is safely stored in your pack.
Your transceiver leads to the probe, your probe leads to the shovel, your shovel leads to your friend. These three items are the most vital part of any backcountry skiers’ equipment; you should never step into the backcountry without them. With so many options on the market, finding the right avalanche safety set up can be difficult. To help clear the confusion and aid you in the decision, we have assembled a guide to walk you through everything you will need to know when purchasing avalanche safety equipment that could save your life.
The idea of escaping into the wilderness, away from the crowds to enjoy untouched powder is becoming increasingly popular. People are branching out further and further off piste to find the hidden, untouched treasures of the mountains, but where do you start when beginning you first backcountry adventure?
With a slow start to the winter season and following recent weeks of heavy snowfall, snowpacks across Europe can be unstable and prone to lethal avalanches. Whilst you should never head into the backcountry without full backcountry equipment and a qualified local professional, we’re of the belief that avalanche safety starts with understanding snowpacks and preventing avalanches before they occur.