Off-piste skills: the essentials

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 05/01/2017
Get ready for your trip with Mountain Guide Joe Vallone.

Want to learn the most essential off-piste skills? Or perhaps you just need a quick refresh before your trip? Don't miss BMC TV's handy little series of three-minute videos starring IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Vallone, as he demonstrates a number of crucial backcountry skills.

Topics covered include: how to pack for off-piste adventures, transitioning from skinning to bootpacking, Baton Ramasse side-step on very steep slopes, putting skis on when it's steep, rigging for abseiling, building a Deadman Anchor and making a Z-pulley system.

WATCH: What to pack for off-piste on BMC TV

Joe shows us the indispensable items he packs whenever he goes off-piste. Avalanche rescue kit is in there, of course: a shovel, probe and transceiver. But what else do you need? These few items could make your time in the mountains much more comfortable and save your life. Joe's items, plus any technical gear you need for your specific trip, should put you in a good position to start your adventure. 

WATCH: How to transition from skinning to bootpacking on BMC TV

When off-piste, there are times when the terrain becomes so steep that you need to transition from skinning to bootpacking. Here are some tips to help improve speed and efficiency. By keeping your skis out and stowing your poles in the shoulder strap of your backpack you can use your skis for assistance in the three methods demonstrated.

WATCH: Baton Ramasse – side stepping on steep slopes on BMC TV

When you're confronted by hard, narrow and/or rocky terrain and you don't have immediate access to your ice axe, Baton Ramasse is a useful French technique using ski poles to stabilise yourself.

WATCH: How to put skis on when it's steep on BMC TV

Putting your skis on and taking them off on steep terrain may sound fairly simple in theory, but when you've got tired legs, and a no-fall zone beneath you, the proper technique really comes in handy. External factors such as the weather and snowpack conditions can make these tasks more challenging, too.

WATCH: Rigging for an abseil on BMC TV

In this episode, Joe takes us through a good abseiling technique, which can help minimise the risks. Make sure you test the system is locking before unclipping from the anchor.

WATCH: Building a T-Slot or Deadman Anchor on BMC TV

Rescue techniques are really important when travelling in terrain with imminent danger such as crevasses and cliffs. A good T-slot anchor will provide a secure point to take the weight of people involved in a rescue situation.

WATCH: How to make a Z-drag or Z-pulley system on BMC TV

An important technique to learn so you can efficiently help rescue a victim from above. Using standard crevasse rescue equipment, Joe explains step-by-step how to initiate this part of the set-up to perform a successful rescue. Make sure you are familiar with building a T-slot anchor prior to attempting these techniques (see previous video).

More about Mountain Guide and star of these videos, Joe Vallone on his website: provallone.com.


Go BIG this winter

This season, 12-months BMC Alpine and Ski Insurance is only £136*. Time to book another adventure.

Years of experience

We've been insuring adventurers like you for over 30 years. That's why all of our policies come with:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance helpline
  • £10 million emergency medical cover
  • £100,000 search, rescue and recovery cover
  • £10,000 personal accident cover
  • £5,000 cancellation cover
  • £2,500 baggage cover
  • No age loading until you're 70

WATCH: BMC Insurance: built for the #mountains on BMC TV

Want to know more? READ: 5 reasons why you need BMC Travel Insurance

*Policy details: insurance is from £136.34 for annual multi-trip European Alpine & Ski cover up to age 69. Offer ends 1 April 2017. 


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 4179 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

The avalanche forecaster: "I wouldn't recommend being avalanched to anyone"
0
The avalanche forecaster: "I wouldn't recommend being avalanched to anyone"

In the first of six articles on the people who make the British winter, avalanche forecaster Kathy Grindrod describes what her job entails - and how a close shave in the past helped to sharpen her knowledge.
Read more »

The Ten Commandments of winter walking
3
The Ten Commandments of winter walking

A scripture-inspired guide to surviving and thriving in the British hills as a walker this winter. Go forth and play.
Read more »

Go ski touring with Mountaineering Ireland
0
Go ski touring with Mountaineering Ireland

Mountaineering Ireland is inviting BMC members to their ski mountaineering meet this March.
Read more »

Post a Comment
Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

The avalanche forecaster: "I wouldn't recommend being avalanched to anyone"
0

In the first of six articles on the people who make the British winter, avalanche forecaster Kathy Grindrod describes what her job entails - and how a close shave in the past helped to sharpen her knowledge.
Read more »

The Ten Commandments of winter walking
3

A scripture-inspired guide to surviving and thriving in the British hills as a walker this winter. Go forth and play.
Read more »

Go ski touring with Mountaineering Ireland
0

Mountaineering Ireland is inviting BMC members to their ski mountaineering meet this March.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 80,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £15.72.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »