Ik rijd nu al jaren in de poeder, ben veel met verschillende vrienden onderweg geweest en heb ook al heel wat safety trainingen gegeven. In al die jaren heb ik een lijstje kunnen maken waar mijn ideale off-piste maatje aan voldoet.
Read the avalanche report every day. Follow the snowpack for the entire season, and take the time to take courses and get educated on partner rescue, analyzing snow stability, and terrain management.
Get your kit dialed with everything you need, but nothing more. Carrying extra shit around slows you down.
Research where you are going. Look at maps, Google Earth, Gaia, Caltopo, guidebooks, and mountain project. Have a game plan going into the day on where you are going, how you are going to put a safe skin track in, and what your intended descent route is. Know what the general slope angles and aspects are. Have a plan B. If you’re not being guided you should at least ‘sort of’ know where you are going, even if someone else in your group has already been there before.
Be fit (not in a competitive or elitist way). Being fit allows you to contribute more to the team and have more fun. The reality is, the more fit you are, the more laps you can do, the less tired you get, and the more fun you can have. It’s also helpful if anything goes wrong and you need to pull from those energy reserves to deal with a difficult situation.
We live in a culture that moves fast, including our minds. So often I find people out backcountry skiing are thinking and talking about almost everything but backcountry skiing. That’s not all bad. Many of us go out into the mountains to help clear our minds, and shake that stuff off. But I find that often people are so preoccupied thinking about other things and talking about other things that they miss OBVIOUS SIGNS. Do yourself a favor, open your eyes and listen with your feet. You’ll start picking up on important stuff: subtle changes in the weather, a change in the snow beneath your skis, and old signs of avalanches that are barely perceptible.