Our Avalanche Safety, Security, Awareness & Training Courses are runned by Chamonix Mountain Guide (www.chamonix-mountain-guide.com) a Chamonix guides bureau based in Chamonix valley, in partnership with ISTA (International Snow Training Academy). We offer 2 levels of avalanche courses, 1 day Discovery and 2 days Stage.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
As mountain guides, as skiers, as mountaineerers, we are constantly faced with the dangers that snow brings, and are regularly affected by news from near or far of accidents caused by avalanches.
That is why it is essential to know certain basics to prevent the skiing dream from turning into a nightmare.
We offer a safety awareness programme which focuses on getting around in the mountains during the winter season (either by skiing or on snow shoes), as well as an introduction to avalanche rescue:
- Giving up/abandoning a project or knowing how to turn back
- Choosing the correct safety material
- Knowing how to use it
- And above all, how to behave so that you’re never in the position to have to use it!!!
- How best to handle a safety rescue
Over the course of one or two days on the ground, we will bring you all of our knowledge. Among other things, we advise you to regularly keep up to date through a range of possibilities:
- Meet the professionals (ski patrollers, mountain guides, ski monitors etc…)
- Read/watch the weather reports and snowfall announcements
- Reviews and specialist books
- Watch videos on the internet...
This information applies to everyone, from the ‘Extreme Powder Skier’ to the ‘Ski Resort Skier that want to try the off piste next two the ski slopes’.
Happy skiing and hiking to all.
Check the avalanche risk
If you plan to ski or snowboard off-piste it is essential that you understand the Avalanche Risk Level for each local area and plan your skiing accordingly. The following Table summarises the five levels of Avalanche Risk.
|Risk Level||Snowpack Stability||Avalanche probability|
|1. Low risk||Generally well bonded and stable.||Triggering is possible by groups of skiers on a few very steep extreme slopes. Small natural avalanches (sluffs) are possible|
|2. Moderate||Less well bonded on some steep slopes, otherwise generally well bonded.||Triggering is possible by groups of skiers, particularly on steep slopes. Large natural avalanches may occur but are not likely.|
|3. Considerable||Moderately to weakly bonded on many steep slopes||Triggering is possible, even by individual skiers. The bulletin may indicate many slopes which are particularly affected. Medium and occasionally large natural avalanches may occur.|
|4. High||Weakly bonded in most places.||Triggering is likely, even with single skiers, on many steep slopes. Frequent medium or large-sized avalanches are likely.|
|5. Very high (Extreme)||Weakly bonded and largely unstable.||Numerous large natural avalanches are likely, even on moderately steep terrain.|
It is a common mistake to assume that there is only danger in climbing mountains during winter, however, this is far from the truth as many of the highest peaks maintain there extreme cold weather, and avalanche and crevasse danger throughout the whole year, even in summer.
Climbing in winter, however, takes on a more serious note as the conditions become even more unpredictable.
With fewer hours of sunlight, temperatures can fall dramatically, the approach is normally on skis and there are added dangers like an avalanche, ice fall, and unseen crevasses.
The weather forecast should be checked in advance to discern the conditions of the routes themselves.
Popular routes usually have some degree of protection such as wires and chains to outline the route, in some cases, there are bolts which you can attach your carabiner to in order to ensure your safety. However, if you are walking off track, known as scrambling, all appropriate safety equipment must be on hand to ensure your safety.
Read more avalanche safety tips.