Our ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses aim to make you an all-round mountain master, and off piste is included in this. This is why there is off-piste work included in our instructor courses. (Off piste or backcountry/slackcountry if you’re in North America!)

The two key things to learn about off piste:

Technique – it’s different from on the piste
Safety – it’s very different from on the piste

When advanced skiers and boarders want to take their riding up a level, it’s often their off-piste technique and safety knowledge that has the most room for improvement. Alternatively, even confident off piste skiers or boarders have room for reminders.

For these reasons, over the years, we’ve put together multiple guides that will help you ride and ski better off piste. Putting them all in one place, this is our ‘off-piste directory’. We’re certain there will be advice, reminders and top tips for everyone here…

First things first…

How to ski and snowboard in the backcountry safely

  • An introduction and guide if you’re thinking about going beyond the piste poles. And do you know the difference between ‘backcountry’ and ‘slackcountry’?

Some off-piste snowboarding advice…

How to snowboard off piste

  • Four tips on technique
  • Five points on safety, to take into account when planning

How to snowboard in powder

  • Five tips on how to snowboard in powder snow

Some off-piste skiing advice…

How to ski off piste

  • Five points on safety, to take into account when planning

How to ski in powder

  • Five tips on how to ski in powder snow

And now, how to tackle trees!

How to ski or snowboard in trees

  • Advice on technique for skiing/riding between trees and tree well safety

The steeeeeep stuff

How to snowboard steep terrain and slopes

  • Five key tips that are also quite relevant to skiers too

Some further advice for your off-piste adventure

There is so much more information out there about venturing into the back country. More is more when it comes to learning about the world beyond the piste, so get clued up!

1) You could attend a mountain safety training session or course. We rate:

Henry's Avalanche Talks

Avalanche Awareness and Avalance Rescue courses (professional levels also)

Courses and talks recommended by the Ski Club of Great Britain

2) Make sure your gear is in great condition, you don’t want it failing you, far from civilisation.

3) Plan, plan, plan. Double-check everything and let someone know where you’re going/when you’ll be back.

4) Leave no trace. Respect the environment – don’t leave litter (even food scraps), don’t break branches etc.

5) Don’t be afraid to ask if there’s something you’re not 100% sure on. No such thing as a silly question.

And finally, some other resources we like

REI's Beginner’s Guide to Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding
An amazing guide, jargon free, with lots of photos, links and gear recommendations.

Baker mountain guides' The Ultimate Guide To Backcountry Skiing
A really thorough guide... dare we say, it may actually be the *ultimate* guide?!

Whitelines' Best avalanche safety gear for 2020 – 2021
Transceivers, probes, shovels and accessories for staying safe in the backcountry.

Evo's How to get started backcountry skiing or snowboarding
An excellent, very clear guide. Scroll down for loads of other, really specific, related guides.

Some links you might like

Our ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses

Information on instructor qualifications

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