Off-Piste Safety Course

The ‘Off-Piste Safety Course’ is an extension of our existing Off-Piste, Backcountry, Backcountry Access and Ski Touring Courses. For skiers that want to expand their knowledge and skill in the safety aspects when skiing off-piste under professional supervision. Essential elements of off-piste safety are covered on the existing Snoworks Off-Piste Courses but for those that want more in-depth knowledge of the safety aspects of skiing off-piste then this course delivers.

‘An understanding of snow conditions, avalanche traps, route finding, decision making and emergency procedures is essential for anyone thinking of skiing off-piste even when skiing within a group led by a qualified professional’. It simply isn’t enough to blindly put your faith in someone else. This course is a must for anyone contemplating skiing off-piste.
Phil Smith, Director Snoworks Ski Courses

After attending the course skiers will have a much greater awareness and understanding of off-piste safety. The course does not qualify skiers to ski off-piste either by themselves or with friends, relations or colleagues but to improve the ability to self-manage whilst skiing under professional supervision. An absolute essential if skiing off-piste in a group.

The content and delivery is designed around the prevailing conditions and the ability level of the skiers on the course along with individual and group needs, and may be subject to changes, additions and modifications. Below is an indication of the areas that will enable much safer self-management in off-piste areas whilst under professional supervision. On completion of the course a better understanding of many of these areas involved in off-piste safety along with much improved self-management when skiing off-piste within a supervised group would be the desired outcome.

The course is for half days Monday to Friday.

It’s possible to extend to full days with the other half day focusing joining an Off-Piste Performance Course creating an all day Off-Piste Course split between safety skills and performance.

Course Content
(subject to changes, additions and modifications)

Off-Piste Equipment
The use of specialist off-piste equipment.
° Skis, boots, poles
° Transceivers, shovels, probes, airbags

Companion Rescue
Rescuing a companion/companions in the event of being buried by snow.
° Companion rescue procedure. Single search, multi search
° Alerting authorities and vacating the mountain

Self Arrest & Avalanche
Self arresting a slide when skiing on steeper terrain after a loss of control and self management in the event of being carried or buried by snow.
° Self arrest variations including the use of skis, boots, poles
° Self management in the event of being carried or being buried by snow
° Use of airbags in the event of being carried by snow

Route Finding
Moving around off-piste areas safely on skis
° Awareness of hazards, slope steepness, slope aspects, islands of safety
° Reading piste maps, accessing local knowledge

Skiing Protocol
Managing oneself when skiing off-piste within a group
° Group and individual spacing, maintaining spacing, selecting lines, safe stopping areas
° Controlling and adjusting speed of travel

Snow Craft
Understanding the effect of snow, weather and terrain on the snowpack and how to dig snow pits and improve understanding of bonding or lack of bonding in the snowpack
° Weather and terrain
° Snow pits and snow profiling

Understanding and recognising the effects of weather on safe travel in off-piste areas

Technical Skills
How to safely manage oneself when skiing off-piste under a variety of conditions
° Controlling speed and direction and coping with variations in snow texture, slope steepness, snow depth and variations in aspects and widths of slope
° Skidding, side slipping, navigating hazards
° Kick turns, jump turns, manoeuvring in awkward situations

The human factor of skiing off-piste. Click for more

Risk Assessment
Understanding risk assessment

Go directly to Off-Piste Safety Course Dates

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