Big mountain skiing

Big mountain skiing

Ever wonder what a big mountain skiing is? We are here to answer the internet’s most asked questions about big mountain skiing.

What is considered big mountain skiing?

Big mountain skiing is anything and everything that you get from the top of the mountain to the bottom. So that could be encountering cliffs, open powder bowls, free skiing, just pretty much anything that is long fall-line skiing. Big mountain skiing can actually be done at a ski resort, but also in the backcountry and kind of all around the world.

What is the difference between all mountain skis and big mountain skis?

They’re actually one and the same. All mountain skis tackle any and all conditions. So all mountain skis are typically smaller. So there’s basically powder skis and all mountain skis. Powder skis are more specific to softer conditions and can tackle big mountain skiing. All mountain skis are typically smaller under the way, so that they’re easier to manage on hard conditions, but you can still ski big mountains with all types of skis. 


Are there small mountains?

There are small mountains. What you learn in smaller mountains that you can put into big mountain skiing, is a technical ability, and a lot of racers, a lot of people, they’re good at edging and grow up on harder conditions on small mountains, actually excel in big mountain skiing. 

How fast do big mountain skiers go?

If you’re skiing a big mountain, it’s very, very high consequence. And when it’s a high consequence line, you actually skied a lot slower. It really varies. If you’re in safe terrain and safe conditions, then you can open it up. You go pretty fast, 40, 50 miles an hour, or you can be skiing almost at a walking pace. 

Is big mountain skiing dangerous?

Well, it can be, but that’s why you try and minimize the risk with knowing the avalanche conditions, and learning how to be a good skier, but being in the mountains is always dangerous. Take an avalanche course. The biggest thing is this constant learning, whether you’re learning about the avalanche conditions or you’re just learning about the mountains in general, how the weather comes in and learning about crevasses and good rescue techniques, and even down to doing a simple WFR course, which is a wilderness first aid to responder, it’s a great thing to have, because if you’re in the big mountains, sometimes it’s really hard to get safety and a rescue to you and being able to help keep people stay alive, and then also just helping people in general that have been injured, is something that is really crucial. 

How good of a skier do I need to be, before I can big mountain ski?

You should be a fairly confident intermediate skier, which is something good to work up to just in general. Just take a slow, safe progression and do what’s comfortable, while also pushing your boundaries a little bit. 

Do I need a guide for big mountain skiing?

It’s not essential, but it would help a lot for sure in the beginning stages because those guides have been training for years and they have lots of experience, so they can help with not just in general, but also in the local terrain that you’re going out into. And if it’s not your local terrain, then it’s really good to have a guide because if you don’t know where you’re going and what you’re doing, these guides are trained to take you out into the terrain that is basically their backyard typically. 

Tips for staying comfortable in the mountains

Have an extra layer. Some people say, be bold, start cold. We believe you should start warm. And then you can always peel a layer off, as the day goes on. And then on top of that, you might want have a hot thermos. It’s just nice to have something to warm you up. 


How do you drop cliffs on skis?

One of the best ways to drop cliffs is to stay centered or forward on the skis. Your natural instincts make you wanna shy back away from the landing, because as you come over the cliff, as you see that distance, your body instinctively seems to get scared. And when people do that, they tend to go away from the landing or the drop, and that puts you back seat, which makes it really hard to ride away. So you wanna stay centered, forward and aggressive when you’re dropping a cliff on skis.  

What is your approach for avalanche safety?

You can never know enough, just because you take a course or two courses or three courses. The approach for avalanche safety is to be really humble and not get too arrogant in the mountains, because the mountains can be a really dangerous place if you don’t respect them, and we believe that you can always be learning. 

What kind of gear do I need for big mountain skiing?

You need skis, boots, bindings, full kit of outerwear. An avalanche beacon is essential, as is a probe and a shovel. So those are the bare essentials. Then on top of that, you’re gonna want some skins, so you can put them on the bottom of your skis and hike up the mound, to make it easier, or snowshoes, some way to get through. Or you can actually boot pack. Boot packing is considered just hiking in the mountains with no attachments, so no snowshoes, no skins, no nothing, just out hiking in the mountains. But we I think the most essential gear is of course your avalanche gear. 

Isn’t using a helicopter lazy?

Using a helicopter getting in the top of the mountains is, one, for pleasure, and of course, accessing stuff. But then on top of that, one of the cool things about a helicopter is, taking the lazy out. You know, you can use somebody  who’s in a wheelchair, and he can come out and experience big mountain skiing and powder skiing. And, so the helicopter’s a really cool way to share the mountains with people as well. 

What is big mountain freeriding?

Big mountain free riding is just dropping in from the top of a mountain. Freeriding says it all. You ride freely. There is no runs, nothing is cut and you interpret the mountain as you see it, whatever cliffs or features you wanna jump off or ski around, it’s all up to you. 

How do I get better at skiing fast?

The funny thing about skiing fast, is get good at skiing slow, slow is fast. And what that means is, as you get your technique better and better and better skiing in slow scenarios, even if it’s on a groomer for instance, and you’re on your local ski slope, the better that you can ski at slow speeds, the easier it is to add more speed in because your technique is really dialed.

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