There are some essential pieces of kit that are required for any off piste skiing including ski touring. Its not only important to carry this kit but you must know how to use it and also practice using it.

The three basics are as follows:

Avalanche Transceiver: These are electronic devices which all transmit and receive at signals at the same frequency 457Khz. The Transceiver ramians turned on transmitting all the time you are out skiing. In the event of an avalanche those people who have not been burried switch the device to receive and the device directs you to the signal of anyone that has been burried. There are many different devices but its important to note that the older purely analog transeivers are obsolete. There is some good reading on transceivers on this link

Avalanche Probe: This is a folding pole that resembles a tent pole, which is used to locate burried victims. Once you have located the area that the victim is burried with the transceiver, you use the probe to find the victims exact location and depth. The alloy probes are the strongest, for most users lengths of 240cm and 260cm are ideal. 

Snow Shovel: Once you have located the victim you use the shovel to dig them out. Shovels come in many shapes, weights and sizes. Avoid plastic ones as they are not strong enough for the job.

The next items are rapidly becoming essential safety items.

Inflatable Air bag rescue systems: Such as Snowpulse and ABS have become increasingly popular as they get better and lighter. They are based around a back pack and use compressed gas to inflate a large air bag. If deployed in time the air bag helps you float to the surface of the avalanche preventing you from being burried. They have become very popular amongst off piste skiers and as the packs get lighter they are a more common sight on ski tours. We predict it won't be long before these are  classed as an essential piece of kit.

We have lots more to say about Ski Safety kit and will add to this article soon. If you need to know more in the mean time please get in touch.

Backcountry UK Tel: 01943 816011   email:  


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