Did you remember protection?
Let's be honest - if you have gotten your hands on a pair of freeride skies, you are definitely up for some monkey business. And shenanigans in the snow is always fun but not when you end up in a hospital bed while all your mates are dropping lines in the powder.
A way to minimise the risk of the above scenario is, boring as it sounds, to wear protection. Some of the main features of a good safety kit are the helmet, the back protector and an avalanche kit. Those should be able to keep you away from trouble on a decent level.
Yes, we know, 'it doesn't look that cool' wearing one, or at least that is one of the common arguments against helmets, but the practical benefits of one are significant (take, for instance, keeping your skull in one piece).
When you choose a helmet, there are a few main things to consider. The first one is the built of the helmet. Normally you can choose between a hard outer shell on top of shock-absorbing inner or an in-mould where the two are fused together. The latter can give you less weight and a thinner design.
Another thing is all the details attached to your helmet - chinstrap, goggle security, breathability systems and even built-in audio features. Generally, a cool news on chinstraps is the magnetic locks that save you some hustle. The goggle security varies from bungees, clips, or straps, to being seamless, or detachable to fit better with your goggles. There is also a possibility of getting the best of both worlds into one like this Salomon Driver Visor, which has attached goggles to it:
The back protector
We can talk at length about the different types and variations of back protectors, but the basic types are soft shell armour (the one you wear as an extra shirt) and the hard shell back pieces (the one you wear as an extra spine).
Important to focus on here is the breathability, weight, fit, and of course, how much protection you are looking for. Soft shells are naturally lighter and more fitting for the slopes, whereas hard shell protectors are fitted for harder rides and are penetration resistant when it comes to twigs, stones, and your annoying mate's ski pole.
You can easily balance between weight and protection with back protectors like Komperdell Cross Lite Eco where you get the hard shell protection with a few grammes stripped off your back.
The avalanche kit
Now we are getting into the weeds, or more likely into the deep snow. Something worth having is a transceiver, a shovel and a probe. In case you, or any of your friends, get caught in an avalanche, you have limited time to act. This is where the transceiver and beacon, comes in handy when once under the snow and need to send an SOS signal. Respectively, you might turn out to be the hero of the day discovering and shoveling out one of the guys.
There's a various selection of kits on the market that include those three essentials. You can find one also on our website here. Bottom line, you can always re-purpose the beacon when the season is over to locate your mates when out pub-crawling.