Heading away from freshly groomed runs is perhaps one of the best decisions you can make when heading to the mountains and to the best backcountry areas, but knowing where to go to score the good stuff can prove tricky.
Of course heading out into the backcountry shouldn’t be done light heartedly and research, preparation, and in many cases a good local guide, are not only going to keep you and your crew safe, but give you the best chances of getting knee-deep in fresh untracked powder.
The Zillertal valley sits a stones throw from Innsbruck and is home to both Mayrhofen and the Hinterux glacier.
While you might be happy to join the hoards riding Wanglspitz, the steep face that faces the Penken park, you’ll find untold pockets of pow hidden just a short hike away from some of the valley’s quieter zones.
A good guide will be able to help you find untracked fields up to several days after it’s dumped.
Northern Japan receives an ungodly amount of snow and offers some truly unique backcountry riding. People come here primarily for the deep, deep tree runs.
The snow resorts of Kashimayari and Jiigatake sit on Hakuba’s southern edge are great areas to explore, but head to Cortina for easy access into more remote forested mountainsides. The lower elevation here also helps protect the snow pack.
Some of the worlds best backcountry shredders call Jackson Hole home including Travis Rice, Bryan Iguchi, Rob Kingwill and Breezy Johnson.
Some of the areas most famous faces, like Powder 8 in Cody Bowl, are very easy to access, but as always this is done at your own risk and a local guide is going to be your safest bet for getting the most from this area.
Jackson Hole is also snowmobile friendly, so you can head out with a full tank of fuel and explore the wilderness of Wyoming.
Perhaps the most famous resort in New Zealand, Remarkables offers much more than long groomers and a world class park. You’ll find access to an area known as the Doolans just a short hike from where the Sugarbowl lift deposits you.
Around the edges you’ll find some easily accessible offerings ideal for first timers, but head out a little further and you’ll be rewarded with expansive bowls, wide open fields and some steeper descents too.
Cham is a classic spot for well-rounded powder riding. From tight, steep couloirs, big bowls and hidden tree lines, the famed French town sitting in the shadow of Mont Blanc is certainly worthy of attention.
However, while some might argue that the lines accessed from Aiguille du Midi lift don't count as true backcountry, the Vallée Blanche gives you an almost 20km descent and if you’re lucky enough to get first lift after a heavy dump, it’s one of the best runs you’ll ever know.
The allure of the backcountry promises open terrain without the crowds, but if it’s your first time off-piste, make sure you bear these key tips in mind…
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