Backcountry cross-country skis have a wide design
After a season or two on the alpine piste, some people want to discover the backcountry - or the BC as it is called. Out in the backcountry, you can experience the beauty of the untouched landscape on a whole new level. From beautiful tree runs, the untouched pillow lines and pristine pow, this is the kind of skiing, where you really get to see the beauty of nature.
Backcountry cross-country skis are built with a wider design, which makes them suitable for this kind of skiing. This makes the backcountry skis optimal both in soft snow and on hard/icy surfaces.
The wider backcountry ski design will ensure that your body weight is distributed over a larger surface area, which reduces the chance of you falling down through the soft snow. However, it can be hard to get a decent footing with backcountry cross-country skis, since they are made with steel edges to ensure an improved grip on hard surfaces. Some backcountry skis come with special fabric also called skin, instead of skiing wax. The skin is designed as self-adhesive fabric strips, which prevents you from slipping backward.
Backcountry Skis - Lift-accessed or human-powered?
In general, backcountry cross-country skiing can be divided into these two main categories:
This type of backcountry skiing takes place in locations where the mountain is accessible by lifts. This is often referred to as the “side-country” and “slack-country”. Skiing outside the piste is undoubtedly more dangerous than regular piste skiing, and this is also the case even if you are close to a resort.
Characterised by the human-powered ascent and the limited patrolling of the skiing facilities, true backcountry skiing is for the true explorer. Even though you are out on your own or with a small group of people, true backcountry skiing does not have to be extreme. On the other hand, we always recommend you to bring an avalanche transceiver when going backcountry skiing.
Check out this section for avalanche gear.