Avalanche Safety

01/03/2012

With any outdoor sport, there’s always a risk of injury or even death. If you’re a more experienced skier and prefer backcountry skiing to on-piste skiing, it is highly recommended that you take an avalanche awareness and safety course.

There are many avalanche awareness and safety courses available, here in the UK and abroad. Knowledge, being prepared and cautious will keep you safe, and in the worst case scenario, with the tools to survive an avalanche.

Before going backcountry skiing, find out if the slope you plan to ski has been prone to avalanches in the past and if there have already been a lot of avalanches that winter already. Learn the avalanche types which are dependent on the terrain, the weather and steepness of the slope. On an avalanche safety course, you’ll learn how to measure slopes with tools and without, as well as learning to determine wind direction and how to evacuate avalanche hazards. Most importantly before you go out to ski, is to check the forecasts and listen to official warnings and to not to rely on hunches.

If you go out in a group, make sure each member of your group knows what to do in case of avalanche, knows – is familiar with survival and rescue techniques, and has arranged a spot for shelter in case avalanche does hit. If in doubt, avoid that slope.