Backcountry skiers and snowboarders spend most of the day traveling uphill, seeking the reward of a powder-filled descent. The terrain they’re drawn to is also prime for avalanches—open slopes steeper than 30 degrees. This means they have to choose uphill routes that eliminate or minimize exposure to avalanche terrain, and practice very good travel habits on the descent. Identifying slopes to avoid is key for a safe day out.
Many skiers and snowboarders access the backcountry by going beyond ski resort boundaries. It’s important to recognize that even if you see lots of tracks, you’re still going into an uncontrolled environment where avalanches are a very real risk. No avalanche control takes place out of bounds and areas beyond the rope line should be treated like any other backcountry zone.
Resources for skiers and snowboarders
Avalanche Canada Training for skiers and snowboarders
Most AST Providers offer Avalanche Canada Training courses for skiers and snowboarders. Find a list of providers here.
Webinar: Choosing terrain for skiers
Terrain choice is always the answer to having a safe, fun day out in the backcountry. Join Avalanche Canada forecaster Grant Helgeson as he leads you through a variety of images and exercises to help hone this skill.
Webinar: Riding out of bounds: what you need to know
Are you lured by the untracked powder behind the line? Ducking the rope is the same as heading into the backcountry: you need the proper gear, the forecast, and training. Don't fall into a complacency trap because you can see the ski resort. Join pro-rider Chris Rubens, ACMG guide Greg Hill and Whistler Blackcomb patroller Amy Ertel as they share their knowledge that can help keep you safe.
Out of bounds: How do you prepare to leave the ski area?
In this short video, AvCan asks pro skiers and ambassadors what it takes for them to cross the boundary and leave the ski area.
Ski touring safety, by Mammut
Franz Widmer, the head of the Mammut Alpine School, provides an overview of what you should know before going ski touring.