When you reach a high ski level, going off-trails can be quite tempting. Immaculate snow as far as the eye can see, the exhilarating sensation of freedom… Your kids may feel the same way, especially if you like sharing your off-the-trail stories with them. You’re torn between understanding their wish for adventure and your need to protect them from danger. As seasoned skiers know, respect of safety rules and an appropriate gear are the necessary ingredients for an enjoyable getaway. While keeping in mind that going off the beaten tracks implies a certain level of risk. Here are our 5 tips to help you make your decision.
Assess your children’s physical skills
- Their ski level
Skiing off-piste requires the Golden Star level. You must be very comfortable on red and black slopes. Make sure you evaluate your children’s ski level accurately. Take into account that your kids will ski on various types of snow. The terrain can change a lot and your little one must be able to adjust his speed accordingly. If you have doubts, it’s better to postpone.
- Your child’s energy level
Also, backcountry skiing requires great physical condition. If your child looks tired, reschedule.
- Carrying their backpack
Make sure that your children can carry a backpack with a change of clothes, as well as something to drink and eat.
Understand the risks of off-piste skiing
It is essential to let your kids understand the risks involved. The idea is not to paralyze them with fear, but to make sure they understand that the mountains can be hazardous when you venture outside of marked slopes. The snow coat can be unstable and fall off (triggering an avalanche). Rocks can be concealed and lead to high altitude falls.
If you’re planning to go out there without a guide, make sure there are two adults in the group, one of which (if not you) should be accustomed to skiing off-trail. In case of an accident, a seasoned skier will be able to react quickly and your child will not have to struggle by himself.
Be able to listen to an expert or more experienced people around
Your little one must be able to listen and follow recommendations given by your group’s expert. You, or another skier used to off-trail skiing, can help the children by showing them a path or a skiing technique. If he listens to these directions, your kid will be able to enjoy your little backcountry trip.
Have the appropriate gear
- An avalanche transceiver
It seems essential. Your kids must be equipped with a radio transceiver that will help find them faster in case they get trapped under snow. Before your go, make sure the device is turned on and review its functioning with your children.
- A snow shovel and a probe
These two items are generally included in the transceiver package.
- An avalanche airbag backpack
It is not mandatory, but it can make a difference.
- A GPS tracker
With Weenect Kids, your children will just have to push the warning button of the tracker in case a problem occurs. And you’ll be able to locate them easily with the GPS beacon.
An initiation to off-trail skiing with a guide
Certain ski schools offer backcountry skiing initiation classes. Your children can therefore discover what it’s like to ski outside the ski area. They will also learn the safety rules to follow in high mountain areas. It’ll give you more peace of mind: you’ll have a better idea of their ski level and your kids will have better knowledge of the safety rules.
What is your experience of backcountry skiing with children? Tell us about it in the comments!