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IBSC operates a simple and subjective trip grading system. 

Snowsports in Scotland are weather and terrain dependant. A trip which is easy one day may be very challenging on another due to different weather and conditions underfoot.  

We advise that anyone uncertain of their experience and fitness for a day on the hill contacts the trip organiser. 

Our informal and flexible trip rating does not take account of the prevailing weather conditions and assumes that participants are competent skiers and mountaineers for the terrain. 

A trip may be moderate in technical difficulty but challenging due to the approach or distances involved.  Look at a map to ensure you have thought about the route. 

Trip rating What to expect Examples
Moderate The will be various options to ascend and descend the hill. Terrain will be less steep and the day slightly less arduous. Challenging lines may exist for the keen but are not mandatory and can be avoided.  Cairn Gorm from the Coire Cas car park. Fionn Bheinn Beinn na Lap at Loch Ossian.
Medium The day may be arduous with a longer approach and slightly more challenging ascents and descents. Sometimes the ground may be steeper and involve sections where some skiers may feel more comfortable on foot.  Tom a' Choinnich, A' Mharconaich, Ben Wyvis. 
Hard Longer and steeper days with more challenging terrain. You need to carefully look at the map and consider what terrain you may encounter.  Cairn Gorm 4 tops tour, Grey Corries, Creag Meagaidh traverse. 

You must be able to ski or board to come on Club trips, events and outings.  We say this for everyones' safety and to avoid the situation of someone arriving at the top of a slope without the ability to descend it in control. The Club does not provide ski instruction.  

IBSC trips are not guided or led by instructors. Each participant is responsible for their own safety and we all look after ourselves. That said, we pool skills and resources so that those new to back country action are able to come out with the support of those more experienced. Club trips are 'group efforts' and obviously we look out for each other. However, given how quickly you can get places on skis and how fast the weather can change being able to look after yourself if you get misplaced on the hill is very important.

IBSC is all about trips out in the hills by ski or board.  It's best to think of this Club as a mountaineering Club by ski/board and the skills set required is a combination of that which the hill walkers has and the skier also.  

We discourage groups larger than six people in any one party.  If there are many people aiming for the same objective, they can split into smaller groups and operate independently of each other.

Each trip usually has someone organising it. That person's contact details can be found on the relevant page of the website. They act as a coordinator for the event and you should contact them (not the secretary unless they are the one and same) for any information or advice you need. 

The Club secretary sends out information by email usually on the Thursday evening prior to the day out. Information is also available on the website but not usually on Facebook. Those intending to come should consider what equipment they will require and they can borrow a transceiver, shovel and probe from the Club if necessary. See EquipmentIf you don't have a transceiver, probe and shovel already, borrow a set from the Club (contact the trip organiser). 

Make your packed lunch and look at the weather and avalanche forecasts online the night before. It's important that everyone avails themselves of the relevant information before any day out on the hill.  Snow conditions, quantity and location change all the time in Scotland. 

A typical day involves meeting at Tesco Inshes in Inverness about 7am or 8am depending on the time of year and amount of day light. A quick conversation about lift sharing and off we go towards the snow. Often people who don't live in or close to Inverness make their own arrangements or are picked up on the way.

Top-tip - if you know that you will use your skins early in the day, why not put them on your skis the night before and make smug comments to those faffing in the storm trying to get theirs sorted.

Once at our destination we aim to get going fairly soon without rushing. If we haven't already decided, we may talk about who is going where as there may be different aspirations, tours or too many people to make one large group practicable. It's all very informal and fun. 

Then we head up the hill either walking or skinning or using the lifts when we are starting at a ski area. There is no guide leading the party but naturally some people tend to know an area better than others and make general decisions about route choice. 

We might be aiming for the top of a hill and follow lines of snow up until the higher snow fields are reached. Once on the top, we might have to follow a ridge for a bit going up and down wee bits with our skins still on our skis. Sometimes we ascend steeper snow slopes that require a traversing line and kick turns. 

Or, the weather might dictate that we descend from a point when everyone decides they have had enough of the wind. Either way, at some point we go down which is the reason we came up to start with. 

Skins off, boots tightened and stuff prepared for the descent. We decide roughly where to go and go!

Some might be taking an easier line, some a steeper or more technical one or the snow may just force us to ski the burns and heather...

Once down, depending where down is, we might decide it was so good that we go back up and do it all over again. Or if we are on a tour we continue with our route whilst always keeping an eye on the weather. 

Getting back to the cars is always welcome and although we will be tired, we will also have lots of stories and memories. Those memories can be relived in a close by cafe or pub or later on the Club blog. 

Then, before you know it, you are thinking about the next trip. 

We all need to keep our knowledge up to date and have the skills ready to use on the hill when required.  There is no substitute for real life experience and practice in the field and the following resources may be use to you.  

Barryvox Training

A highly recommended training resource for this with the Mammut Barryvox transceiver but also suitable for everyone else.