Everything You Need to Know About Off-Piste Cross Country Skiing

It is a well-known fact that lovers of winter sports are genuine thrill seekers and that, once they have mastered a discipline, they tend to move to the next one. The basis for many winter sports is skiing, and it is one of the most exciting sports you can try and which has many different forms. One of the most invigorating types of skiing is cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skiing is characterized by skiers using their movement, without ski lifts or anything else, to propel themselves across the terrain that doesn’t necessarily need to be groomed for skiing. The best thing about cross-country skiing is the ability to ski on various terrains so that some people even use it as a means of transportation.

The discipline combines all other forms of skiing, from alpine skiing to ski jumps, which means you will need to use the skills from each of these to be good at cross-country skiing.

Of course, there are those who don’t dare to try it and doubt their skills on the skiing tracks, which makes them resort to it from the comforts of their homes betting on cross-country skiing on many online casinos and sportsbooks that offer it or merely watching the others take a risk.

All others who consider themselves daredevils and won’t be satisfied with the ordinary cross-country skiing often engage in the off-piste variety of it. The off-piste type of cross-country skiing is also known as backcountry skiing and is considered to be quite hazardous since it involves skiing outside the ski resort’s boundaries. The skiers will slide across unmarked and unpatrolled areas where the depth of snow is unknown and where the access is possible only via helicopters and snowcats.

Due to its potentially dangerous nature, backcountry skiing requires a lot of preparation and things to consider. This article will give you all the necessary info before you opt for off-piste cross-country skiing, so read on!

Equipment

The essential piece of equipment for backcountry skiing are, naturally, the skis. The off-piste skis are usually longer than Nordic ones, and the most significant difference is seen in the edges of skis which are made out of steel for backcountry skiing. The gliding surface is similar to the classic “No Wax” skis with integrated climbing skin which helps with steep ascents.

The next in line is the backcountry boots. These are sturdy, comfortable, and warm boots with an indentation at the toe of the boot which is designed to connect the boot to the binding, similar to those of telemark boots. Of course, the long lasting material is imperative since the weather and terrain conditions can become quite harsh at the blink of an eye.  

Also, the skiers need to have stable and reliable poles. The backcountry skiing poles are a bit shorter than the traditional ones, which might influence the dynamics of the movement by making you a bit more agile. The baskets at the bottom are larger than usual to help you not to fall through the deep snow.

Safety  

Safety is a major concern when it comes to backcountry skiing, as avalanches, overall exhaustion, and rock falls can be quite common. Avalanches are particularly dangerous as they claim at least one person per winter season in the US alone, so the backcountry skiers are advised to use avalanche transceivers, shovels and probes. In recent times, additional gear such as airbags has been installed in ski jackets and helmets, aimed at protecting the vital body parts in case of sudden falls. The skiers are implored to attend different training courses that can prepare them for various scenarios on and off the beaten track.