Off Piste Snowboard
If you like to venture past the piste markers to escape the crowds and in search of the best conditions then check out UCPA off piste snowboard courses. UCPA has a huge range of courses for all abilities, from advanced level courses for those relatively new to off piste to expert level high moutain and splitboarding courses. The more advanced levels are led by qualified mountain guides that will push your limits with some of the best descents in the area. Check out our separate splitboarding page for more information.
Always included in our holidays
Full off piste snowboard equipment
Instruction or guiding
Friendly & social atmosphere
Off piste snowboarding simply means boarding outside of the pisted area. This can range from boarding alongside the edge of the piste for a short while, or going far away into complicated terrain. The level of risk when off piste is amplified by new dangers that are controlled for you when in resorts.
Snowboarding off piste is always dangerous to those who do not know what to look out for. And even those who do, risks can only be mitigated, not removed completely.
As well as refreshing avalanche safety and offering helpful tips for improving your technique, the UCPA guide's local knowledge comes with the advantage of knowing where to find the best conditions and descents. So as well as being safer while in the mountains you will also get to experience the very best the area has to offer.
For these courses you will be supplied with full equipment consisting of boots and snowboard. If you want to wear a helmet some UCPA centres do have some available for an additional hire fee or you can arrange to hire your own from a private hire shop.
Safety equipment is also often required; transceiver, probe and shovel. These are included in the courses where they are required.
Transceivers provide a signal which can be detected through snow, as well as having a search function to facilitate rescuing others. Probes are used to probe for victims through the snow, before using the shovel to dig them out. These skills are taught on our off piste courses - check the course descriptions for more information.
A higher level of fitness is required for the off piste courses in comparison to other courses on offer. The varying terrain and changes in snow quality can be quite tiring, you may be required to hike uphill to reach the lines and the days can be much longer if you are doing a lot of descent. Therefore we suggest you should be a generally active person to partake on one of these courses.
You need to be able to adapt to varying terrain when snowboarding off piste, which is less common on piste. As you build up your experience you can often determine what technique you need for a certain terrain and anticipate any changes.
An element which some first timers forget is snowboarding with a rucksack. This can end up quite big and heavy as you will have spare layers, food and water for the whole day as well as your safety equipment so it can affect your balance and agility. Most riders get used to this over time but it is something to remember for when you first start.
All the off piste courses we offer are more 'guided' and less 'instructed' than regular snowboarding courses. Therefore if you have not done much off piste boarding, you may prefer to attend regular snowboard instruction and noted that the advanced and expert levels are very likely to spend considerable time on the side country (adjacent to the pistes) working on skills and techniques.
Please read the description for each course carefully to ensure you pick the correct course for your level. The standard is high and if you are not at the required level you will be taken down a level. This is to everyone's advantage for both safety and enjoyment.
It is possible to do off piste courses with us throughout the whole season. Typically they start from late December and run until late April. The snow varies in quality and style, as does the weather.
Early to mid season can be quite moody, with short days and lots of of snowfall. This can mean more powder days however, since the snow is typically frequent, soft and fluffy. From mid season (generally February and March), the snowpack tends to build and hold well, it can be very cold. From then on the days get longer and the weather begins to stabilise, meaning better weather and warmer days. The snow can often be icy in the morning but then turn to ‘spring snow’, which is ‘second best to powder’ as many snowboarders claim, thanks to it being stable and grippy it allows us to do steeper and more exposed lines.
These resorts vary in their attributes, but they all have their own incredible lines and beautiful scenery that our guides and instructors will be able to take you down.
View all dates & prices for Off Piste Snowboard
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