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The Specialists in Swiss Ski
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  avalanche safety course
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avalung
world snowoard guide

mountain safety courses in Switzerland
Wind affected ridgeline, Lenzerheide 2010


Avalanche Safety Tips

The first steps to being safe on the mountain should start before you go up the mountain …

  • Ensuring you have correct equipment in relation to your ability and above all boots that fit properly and skis or a snowboard that have been recently serviced! Waxed and with sharp edges. 
  • Carry a back pack including an extra layer of warm clothing, water, chocolate bar and first aid kit and if you venture off the pistes a shovel and probe.
  • Orient yourself properly. If you don’t know the resort make sure you have a piste plan and you study the local information board to check which pistes are open or not and the local avalanche danger if you are leaving the pistes. 
  • Invest in a set of walky talkies and ensure you have a mobile phone with you. In the event of cloud, a white out, heavy snowfall or losing your group they can be very useful. One point to remember is that if you are riding off piste turn your mobile phone OFF as it can throw the signal of your avalanche search and rescue beeper !  
  • When on the pistes always give way to those downhill from you. You must be able to turn or stop in time to avoid a collision. Don’t worry what is happening above and behind you, they will be watching you !
  • Wear a helmet! More serious injuries and fatalities are happening every year due to the lack of helmets being used. They keep your head warm too. 
  • Wear knee and wrist guards especially if you are learning to snowboard.
  • Avoid going up the mountain alone. If so always take a mobile phone with you and inform people of where you are planning to go and let them know when you return. 
  • Do NOT set foot on the mountain without FULL WINTER SPORTS INSURANCE! It can be highly costly if you are injured and not fully insured. 
  • In large resorts it is worth getting a piste guide (that are relatively inexpensive) to show you around the park the first day or two or in bad weather. Snowmotions provides piste guides for all resorts that we operate in. 
  • If you are going to join those that venture off the pistes for powder action TAKE AN AVALANCHE SAFETY COURSE FIRST.

 

Snowmotions takes no responsibility for any accidents, injury or death that may occur on the mountain. If you venture off the marked pistes you do so at your own risk.

We are happy to arrange a mountain guide or qualified guide who is trained to ensure your safety. All clients who undertake Freeride Tours and Heliskiing or Heliboarding trips are required to sign a disclaimer.

 

NB:Snowmotions currently offers an Avalanche Safety course.

Freeride Tips

  • Check your transceiver before every run.
  • Carry a backpack with an avalanche shovel, avalanche probe and a first aid kit    
  • Constantly notice weather changes, such as upcoming winds, fog or temperature changes.
  • Before you go riding, check the avalanche bulletin.  Listen to advice from safety and rescue services and always apply “The Reduction Method.”
  • Never ride alone! Always try to look out for each other and be ready to react.
  • In case of doubt never drop in! Don`t trust tracks, they are no guarantee for security… so don`t follow them.
  • Avoid the steep parts in the backcountry and drop in one at a time.


Touring Tips

  • Gather information on weather, snow and avalanche conditions, trip preparation.
  • Inform others about your plan, or intended route.
  • Set transceiver (rescue beacon) always to TRANSMIT (check functioning), carry an avalanche shovel, and an avalanche probe.
  • Constant reassessment of: weather, snow, terrain, human factors, time schedule.
  • Circumvent recent accumulations of wind-driven snow.
  • Consider the variations in temperature depending on the time of day/the impact of radiation (path to the cabin).
  • Ski down extremely steep slopes one at a time.

 

Additional Precautionary Measures

  • Avoid the steepest sections of a slope and of gullies.
  • Keep a distance from one to the other (when climbing at least 10m).
  • Ski down one at a time, define a descent corridor, ski gently, avoid falls.
  • In case of fog or bad visibility in steep, unknown terrain: turn back!

 

If in doubt  DON`T DO IT!

Return another day or next season …











Danger Levels:

free ride
Free riding in Lenzerheide

back country
Bluebird powder days in Switzerland


powder
Powder Heaven

skiing
Back country lines


danger
Danger is the last thing on most riders minds!

riding
Rule #57 - never ride alone

skier
...and never follow tracks

safety course
Always use experienced guides when exploring

free riding
Always Ride Safely, Lenzerheide 2010


1 low:  Triggering is generally possible only with high additional loads (e.g. groups without intervals) and on very steep, extreme slopes.  Only a few small natural avalanches (sluffs) possible.  Generally safe conditions.

 

2 moderate:  Triggering possible in particular with high additional loads, particularly on the steep slopes indicated in the bulletin.  Large natural avalanches not likely.  Favourable conditions, for the most part.  Routes should be selected with care, in particular on steep slopes, and at the altitude indicated in the bulletin.

 

3 considerable:  Triggering possible even with low additional loads (e.g. single person), particularly on the steep slopes indicated in the bulletin.  In some conditions, medium and occasionally large natural avalanches may occur.  Partly unfavourable conditions.  Experience in avalanche hazard assessment required. Avoid steep slopes at the altitude indicated in the bulletin if possible.

 

4 high:  Triggering probable even with low additional loads on many steep slopes.  In some conditions, many medium and several large natural avalanches are likely.  Unfavourable conditions.  Great experience in avalanche hazard assessment required.  Limitation to moderately steep terrain; take care of run out zones.

 

5 very high:  Numerous large natural avalanches are likely, even in moderately steep terrain.  Very unfavourable conditions.  Renunciation recommended.

 

German – English translations of terms used in The Avalanche scale

Gering – low

Mässig – moderate

Erheblich – considerable

Gross – high

Sehr gross – very high


avalanche danger
take note of all warnings

snowpack

 

Degree of danger

Avalanche release probability and local distribution of dangerous slopes.  Consequences for persons in uncontrolled areas.  Recommendations.

 

1 low

Generally safe conditions

 

2 moderate

Favourable conditions, for the most part.  Routes should be selected with care, in particular on steep slopes of the aspect and altitude indicated in the bulletin.

 

3 considerable

Partly unfavourable conditions.  Experience in avalanche hazard assessment required.  Avoid steep slopes of the aspect and altitude indicated in the bulletin if possible.

 

4 high

Unfavourable conditions.  Great experience in avalanche hazard assessment required.  Limitation to moderately steep terrain; take care of run out zones.

 

5 very high

Very unfavourable conditions. Renunciation recommended.

Go Home! Live to ride another day or next season!