Backcountry Skiing - Extreme Skiing Guide
Backcountry Skiing is any skiing done on ungroomed snow in the mountains. Extreme Skiing is climbing up a wilderness mountain with Ski or snowboard on your back then speed Skiing down. Heli Skiing is getting to the mountain top in a helicopter.
Backcountry Skiing requires different Ski equipment and Ski wear than resort or alpine Skiing. There are different Ski, bindings, poles and boots.
Fat Ski are basically for Skiing in backcountry powder. Width and shape varies. Sidecut is the relationship between the middle (waist), top (shovel) and bottom (tail) of the Ski. Medium sidecut Ski with a softer flex are easier to Ski on and therefore tend to be more popular purchases.Stiffer Ski with an aggressive sidecut can be hard to Ski on but needed for severe adverse terrain. Your weight matters too. Heavier Skiers need a stiffer Ski for the flex it provides. The Ski manufacturer Atomic makes a good mid-fat Ski for intermediate to advanced backcountry Skiers. Rossignol makes some soft flex Ski that are easy to turn on for light Skiers who are starting out. Also consider telemof ark Ski made by Black Diamond, K2, Karhu, Fischer and Volkl. Go to telemarkSki.com for a description of other manufacturers.
Boot stiffness affects the way you Ski but for backcountry Skiing it also affects comfort in a more significant way. If you are starting out, a mid flex boot is recommended. It is important to take your time fitting telemark boots. Try on different models with a snug pair of Ski socks. And get advice from a knowledgeable boot fitter at your local Ski shop or sports store. The major telemark boot makers are Crispi, Scarpa and Garmont. Go to backcountry.com. for a discussion of other boot makers.
There are two types of telemark bindings: "tension spring" and "compression spring". Tension spring bindings are the older style that have been around for years. They work best on lighter Ski with a small boot. Compression spring bindings come in a flexible cable style where the toe is attached to enclosed cartridges and the heel with a flexible wire or cable. There is also a rigid wire style of compression spring where the toe and heel are attached with a rigid wire. The major binding makers are Black Diamond, G3 Bindings, Karhu Bindings, Rottfella Bindings and Voile.
Go to mountainmiser.com to learn about other telemark binding makers.
Backcountry Ski Poles
Ski poles for backcountry Skiing come in a range of models that are adjustable and made out carbon fiber or other composite material for strength and lightness. Look for a pole that doesn't have a record of lower pole breakage. Manufacturers include Black Diamond, LEKI, Rossignol and Komperdell. Go to rei.com/category/4501580/ for a look at other Ski pole manufacturers for backcountry Skiing