Let’s set the scene. You’ve been skiing or boarding numerous times, and you think you’re ready for the next challenge. Going off-piste seems like the best option, but you’ve no idea what it entails. Sound familiar? Ski Trek is here to help.

It’s probably best to ask yourself a few questions before you make a decision, so we’ve thought ahead and got all the basics covered for you.

Am I ready?

If you feel full of confidence about getting to grips with any black ski route - now could be the perfect time to start your next adventure. Off piste is the ultimate challenge for skiers and boarders who take their time on the slopes seriously.

You may have spent several weeks on the mountain in the last 12 months, mastering every run you take. If that’s the case, you may well have already ventured off-piste several times - but if you’re still unsure about heading into the unknown, why not start off on the un-pisted sides of your favourite runs?

This requires less effort than a full trip off piste and so is a good safe way to ease yourself into your new hobby - especially if you’re not sure about your fitness and skill levels.

Where do I start?

If you’re trying off piste skiing for the first time, it’s best not to be too adventurous. The truth is, skiing on soft snow is difficult to get used to, so overdoing it early on will wreak havoc with your legs. In general, off piste slopes are moderate, posing little danger of avalanches and you can easily hike them. Usually, it’s best to speak to local experts about the best places to try out, so while you’re on the slopes.

Another great way of finding more information is to get chatting on a skiing or a specialised off piste forum.

Safety precautions

If you’re planning a trip off piste, it’s likely you already know your stuff about this type of terrain. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure your off piste adventure runs as smoothly as possible. Firstly, why not sign up to take part in an avalanche safety course? This will help you learn more about traversing this tricky terrain, while also learn more about how to monitor weather patterns and select the most appropriate routes.

What should I pack?

It's no surprise to learn that you'll need quite a lot of gear before heading off piste. First and foremost, a sturdy backpack - that will comfortably store your belongings - along with a shovel and fully charged avalanche beacon, are necessities. Then, as you become more experienced, you will need an ice axe, rope, harness and crampons.

Ensure you have spare ski parts or a snowboard with you too, enabling you to make adjustments on the spot. Medical supplies are another must, so stock up on plasters, bandages, sun cream and lip balm before you go.

Obviously, on this type of trip you are required to wear the right clothing at all times - and comfort really is key. Ensure you buy a good quality jacket and trousers, along with base layers that allow you to keep cool on both the ascent and descent. Long johns are another essential part of your outfit, while anything cotton should be avoided.