Skiing out of bounds is skiing anywhere outside a ski resort’s boundaries. It typically involves accessing terrain near the ski resort by ducking under a marked or unmarked access point and is not always the same as backcountry skiing.
I’m Christine, and skiing has been a longtime passion. I get out in the snow as often as possible during the winter and have experience skiing all over the world. I know what skiing out of bounds is through first-hand experience.
This post will explain what skiing out of bounds is. I’ll tell you some of the risks involved in skiing outside of resort boundaries and provide you with some important safety information. If you are a beginner or intermediate skier, this information is crucial.
Let’s get started.
- Skiing out of bounds is skiing directly outside a ski resort’s boundaries by using an access point or ducking under a boundary rope.
- Out of bounds skiing can be dangerous because the resort doesn’t maintain these areas, and avalanches and other safety issues can appear.
- Skiing out of bounds and backcountry skiing are not typically considered the same, even though they seem similar. Skiing out of bounds relates to skiing directly outside of ski resort boundaries, and backcountry skiing happens anywhere there is no resort.
What is Skiing Out of Bounds?
In short, skiing out of bounds is skiing directly outside of the boundaries established by ski resorts. Virtually every ski resort has a defined area available for skiing, and many mark their boundaries with ropes or other markers.
Most resorts own or operate a certain amount of land to ski on, which is either established by land or property rights. But some out of bounds areas can exist within the larger designated ski resort area – it just depends on the location.
Skiing out of bounds can be dangerous because the resort doesn’t maintain or manage any of the slopes outside its boundaries. This means you are more likely to encounter avalanches and other life-threatening issues if you go out of bounds.
At some resorts, skiing out of bounds is highly against the rules and even against the law. If you get caught skiing out of bounds, you are likely to lose your lift ticket or season pass, and you might even face criminal charges if you do it.
What Does Out of Bounds Mean?
Out of bounds simply relates to going outside of the boundaries. That’s why out of bounds skiing relates to skiing out of the boundaries established at the ski resort. Again, these can be outside of the larger ski area or within smaller sections of it.
Some resorts will have access gates that allow you to ski out of bounds through the resort. These are called backcountry access points, and you will usually see a sign warning you of the dangers of heading past the gate.
But backcountry skiing and out of bounds skiing are different, even though they are somewhat the same.
Backcountry skiing can occur anywhere, and it’s always outside of ski resort boundaries. But it’s typically not directly outside the established boundary unless accessed by the entry points I just described.
Out of bounds skiing involves being closer to the resort and not deep in the backcountry, so that’s the main difference between the two. Most backcountry skiing situations involve hiking or skinning to access terrain rather than reaching it from the ski resort.
Out of Bounds Skiing Risks
The main risk involved with skiing out of bounds is that you won’t be skiing on terrain that has been established as generally safe for the public. Ski resorts work hard to ensure that their in-bounds runs are not at risk of avalanches and other dangers.
You also lose the luxury of having Ski Patrol come to your rescue if you get injured when you ski out of bounds. This is a huge benefit of skiing in-bounds because professional help is available if and when you need it.
Skiing is a dangerous activity, no matter if you ski in-bounds or out of bounds. But you never want to actively increase the risk, even if fresh powder makes a run look very appealing.
If you ski out of bounds, you need to understand that your life is very much at risk, and you might also risk getting in potential legal trouble. And if you choose to do it anyways, you should have avalanche beacons and other safety gear on your person.
Out of bounds skiing may sound like a lot of fun, but it’s hazardous and comes with several dangers. Not only that, you can easily get stranded or lose your lift ticket or season pass if you ski out of bounds.
Planned backcountry skiing is a much better idea than ducking under a rope at the ski resort and venturing out of bounds. The backcountry is still dangerous, but you’ll be better prepared for dangers and have more experience.
Have you ever skied out of bounds? Was it on purpose or an accident? Let me know in the comments below.