Skiing or snowboarding out of bounds has many appealing benefits to it. The quiet feeling of being away from everything, fresh snow, and adventure of it all makes for a fun time out there. But on the other hand, there are many risks that people don’t consider that, if addressed, significantly increase the chances of survival when something goes wrong. Because there is a lot that can go wrong when you are out in the wilderness on your own.
But things can go wrong anywhere, and it’s how you respond to the situations that can mean the difference between a good day and a really terrible one. Here are a few questions that will help your planning process before it’s too late to come up with a plan B.
Have We Been This Way Before?
A lot of problems arise when people go into uncharted terrain. The appeal of fresh lines can turn off rational thinking, such as “How long will it take to get out?” or “Is there a safe exit from here?”
While it may seem pretty straightforward, it’s always a good idea to know the way out. Even if you haven’t been that way before it will get you into the mindset of playing it conservative
Does Someone Know Our Plan?
It’s always nice to know that someone cares. If the unthinkable does happen and you get stranded, having someone call for help might be your saving grace. So if you do plan on heading somewhere out of range simply make sure you tell someone your plan. Just a rough outline can help narrow down a search for search and rescue parties. Give people an ETA so that they can send for help if it gets too late.
How Long Can We Last Out Here?
Do you have spare food and water? Are your clothes warm enough to withstand the night? Will the person you are with drive you to delirium if you are stuck together for an extended period of time? All these questions relate to the big idea of deciding how long you could last if something happened. An injury can slow your day down significantly, and a 20-minute ride out can become hours.
Daylight is also a big consideration along these lines as well. Sure a quick lap out of bounds takes a half hour…on a good day. How long would it be in a worst case scenario? Of course, you never want things to go wrong, but planning backwards from the longest case scenario will do a lot if the inevitable delay eventually does cause you some headache.
Are We Fit Enough To Do This?
Even if you have a plan set in place it is important to set realistic expectations based on the group’s fitness level. You don’t want to bonk out of energy out in the elements. Even if you’ve done something before, when was the last time you did it and were circumstances different? I’ve seen many cases of people getting stuck out of bounds because they were overconfident in the early season. Even a couple days a week at the gym a month before things get going can ensure a speedier exit when pow time comes.