Skiing / snowboarding off-piste has become more and more popular but people often don't understand the avalanche risks, not only to themselves but to those around them too. If you are just starting to get into skiing or snowboarding off-piste we would highly recommend you enroll in an avalanche awareness course. There are lots of different courses available ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
One of the biggest things i took away from an avalanche course was how to identify an avalanche slope; "If you want to ski it, it's an avalanche slope!"
What are we talking about when we say "off-piste"?
A "piste" is a trail or marked run, usually groomed. "Off-piste" would therefore be anything outside of these marked runs. But there is a difference between the 10 ft wide strip of soft snow between the piste and the treeline, and being dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter. If it is more than that 10 ft wide bit of snow you probably need Avalanche Equipment; Transceiver, Shovel, Probe, A backpack to keep them in or avalanche airbag backpack (optional but highly recommended) and one or more friends who have the kit too and know how to use it.