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How to ski off-piste

Off-piste’ is a term you probably recognise. But what does it even mean? And how do you ski off-piste in a safe and controlled way? Skiing off-piste is a favourite pastime of many experienced skiers, simply because this is often the best way to explore the mountains and see some incredible views in a truly authentic setting. But there’s a knack to this. Here at Chill Factore, we explore the most effective way to ski off-piste.

What is ‘off-piste’ anyway?

To go ‘off-piste’ means to detour from the specifically prepared ski runs onto a mountain range. But the phrase has also spilt over into colloquial language and is used to imply that a person is going off track, or is deviating from the usual processes and procedures. For example, someone usually spends their Friday night in a local pub, drinking the same beer they have chosen to drink every other Friday night. But maybe this Friday, they decide to go ‘off-piste’ and visit a club instead, drinking cocktails and dancing.

It can also refer to an abrupt change in conversation that spirals into a complete change of topic. Anything that suggests a deviation from the norm is considered to be ‘off-piste’.

Of course, skiing off-piste is something that should only ever be attempted by experienced skiers. Tracks are put in place for your safety and wellbeing. Tracks help to ensure that the terrain remains consistent and the downward gradient is never excessively steep.

Skiing off-piste means that you can never be sure of the terrain. There may be sudden drops or obstacles in the way. However, this is often the most effective way to experience some incredible scenery. And off-piste skiers tend to enjoy the challenge of unpredictable terrain.

Learn how to ski on real snow

The first step to learning how to ski off-piste is to master skiing on real snow. Many skiers in the UK tend to practice their skills on a dry slope before embarking on a winter holiday in the mountains. This can unfortunately only prepare you part of the way because a dry ski slope doesn’t mirror the natural terrain and challenges that come with real snow.

Chill Factore is home to the longest real snow slope in the UK. Our snow is carefully maintained every day, to ensure the best possible learning environment that mirrors an authentic mountainside as much as possible. There are various features available with Terrain Challenges, which can help you explore new gradients, try jumps and master various skiing techniques.

Our mogul sessions are designed to help you tackle the mountainside with confidence. These hills and bumps will allow you to develop your core strength, improve your balance and posture when challenged and give you an insight into what it might be like when you ski off-piste.

Best off-piste skis

Tipped as being the best off-piste skis for 2019 and beyond, the Fischer Ranger 98 Ti offer extreme power, manoeuvrability and speed for experienced skiers. These professional quality skis are designed to cope with absolutely any mountain terrain you are likely to face - bumps, drops and sharp turns included.

The skis are constructed using a beech and poplar wood core, which delivers a combination of stiffness and energy that really excels on difficult terrain. The carbon fibre in the tip reduces friction on hard snow and the titanium inserts boost stability underfoot. Fischer Ranger 98 Ti skis also have an Aeroshape design – a convex arc from edge to edge – that allows for super-fast turn transitions.

If you want to shop for the best off-piste skis, you can do so with Freeskier.

Training for off-piste skiing with Chill Factore

If you’re looking to tackle off-piste terrain, grab yourself a Lift Pass and do a few practice runs at Chill Factore. You can book a one or two-hour slot whenever you like. Although, we suggest regular sessions to get you up to speed. Or get in touch with the team for more information about our Freestyle sessions and Moguls.

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