Off-Piste Safety

Learn mountain safety skiing off piste

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.  Double up with an Off-Piste course on the other half of the day for the perfect combination!

After attending the course skiers will have a greater awareness and understanding of off-piste safety whilst skiing under the guidance of qualified mountain guides and instructors. 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.

Different groups available for ‘Frontside’ off piste skiers through to expert/elite skiers.


Minimum requirements for this course:
Good intermediate skiers who can ski all blacks on piste AND off piste between pistes or at the side of pisted runs

Skiers with a good level of fitness to ski off piste for up to 3 hours per day for the week

Ability to get up unaided in the event of a fall


Essential Information

Time of Year
Days Per Week
5 half days, Monday to Friday
Hours Per Day
3 hours
Skiers per group
Average 6, maximum 8 depending on conditions, itinerary, group level
Purchase in resort - full resort area pass required
Ski Equipment
All mountain skis, approx 99mm underfoot - book with Snoworks
Video Analysis
OFF PISTE Safety Equipment
Transceiver, shovel, probe, backpack provided by Snoworks
Strongly advised

The content and delivery will be 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 some of the areas that are needed to help with safer self management in off-piste areas whilst under professional supervision. On completion of the course a better understanding of many of these areas along with improved self management would be the desired outcome.

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

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

Route Finding
Moving around off-piste areas safely on skis
° Awareness of hazards, slope steepness, slope aspects, islands of safety
° Map and compass work with coordinates, local knowledge and area names

Skiing Protocol
Managing oneself when skiing off-piste within a group
° Group and individual spacing and maintaining spacing
° 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

Skiing On Glaciated Terrain
Understanding self management when skiing under the supervision of mountain guides on glaciated terrain
° Travelling safely, spacing, stopping, self management
° Recognising hazards
° Crevasse rescue

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

Use of ropes
Use of ropes in emergency situations or accessing areas that are too steep or too hazardous to ski

° Understanding safe self management when boarding and disembarking helicopters
° Understanding signalling

Risk Assessment
Understanding risk assessment