Backcountry Skiing: Have A Solid Pre-Plan
For the experienced skier, backcountry skiing can provide some of the most fun and satisfying adventures of a lifetime; however, skiing “off the beaten path” is also inherently dangerous. Perhaps the best way to make your outings as safe as possible is to have a solid pre-plan that everyone in the group is aware of and that provides a course of action just in case any mishaps occur along the way. Here is a brief list of some of the things that should be taken into account as you plan your next expedition.
- Most importantly you need to designate a “responsible person” or “RP.” Your RP is someone who is NOT going on the trip with the group but who is aware of where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you are expected to return. They should have not only your phone numbers but also any emergency numbers they need. If anything goes wrong, or your group doesn’t return by a preset time, this person is responsible for getting help.
- Also, before your outing you need to check the weather, check any available avalanche bulletins, and talk with locals like the ski patrol about your trip.
- Everyone in the group should have first aid training and avalanche safety training.
- Your group should consider hiring a guide, especially if you are new to the area or unfamiliar with the backcountry.
- Finally, you should seriously consider purchasing a GPS locating device like the SeaMe monitor from BeaconWatch. This little monitor inconspicuously attaches to your clothing and allows others to easily locate you if you’re lost or injured. It’s great to have both for the sake of convenience and especially for the sake of safety.
Backcountry skiing can truly provide an experience on the slopes that is unlike any other. Just remember to be properly prepared for the unexpected — having a great pre-plan and the affordable SeaMe monitor will help you to stay safe during all your fun adventures in the backcountry.