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Advanced avalanche courses - Europe?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm looking for a fairly advanced avalanche course in europe for next season - I use the term "advanced" quite loosely in this context, but I'm not sure how else to describe it! I'm looking for something over multiple days rather than a single intro day etc. Only thing I can find is the AIARE level 2 course in Chamonix, which sounds like the kinda thing I'm after but just wondering if there were any other alternatives (700 euros for a 3 days course in a group of 12 with no travel, food, accomm or lift pass does seem a little steep, even by Cham standards Very Happy )
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
This : http://www.euro-avalanche.com/

Or This : http://avalanchegeeks.com/courses/

Or maybe the BASI off piste module ? (which is stand alone),
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Haggis_Trap, not sure the BASI module is stand alone? Pre-reqs say "Successful completion of the Level 2 Instructor Qualification"
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Dashed, The Ski Club of GB do a couple of courses, one is in Cham and they use the same mountain guides BASI use. You can do the course only (c. £450 for 5 days) or take the 7 nights accommodation packedge as well. Travel not included.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Stewart McDonald who is Chamonix based is very good. Usually works out around 100 Euro a day. He does basic and advanced courses. If there are a few of you maybe even arrange something private.

http://www.avalancheacademy.com/default.asp?
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Thanks folks Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Dashed, I did the http://www.euro-avalanche.com/ course four or so years ago.

It's classroom in the morning and out on the hill in the afternoon.

Participants are mostly from those involved in the outdoor industry, a fair chunk were those wishing to be considered to go on the UK IFMGA course, or people working for the likes of Glenmore Lodge and then five or so people like myself and you, from the sounds of things.

Compared to the "aspirant" guides I'd say the focus was not so much on us, though that did not stop Bruce Goodlad from throwing my 2.4m probes away saying they were feckin uslesss!!

Everything Mon-Thurs leads up to exam day on the Friday which is pretty intense.

Big question would I do it again, or what could be better?

Basically if I had the expense is no option, then one on one with a guide out in the field identifying a whole host of subject matter from route selection through to terrain traps, slab formation through to weak layers etc etc but again in any given week you'll never cram enough knowledge needed.

I just find reading books / internet / youtube not sufficient as opposed to practical experience learnt

But even though I did that course and attained a diploma did not stop me getting caught three years later in trees along with a very lucky escape.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Weathercam wrote:
But even though I did that course and attained a diploma did not stop me getting caught three years later in trees along with a very lucky escape.


I've not been caught but I know what you mean.

I've done a fair amount of study plus 2 week long training courses but I think the real challenge is to ensure your mind is in 'avalanche' mode all the time, especially when indulging in lift served off piste where the pace and change in ground is so much faster than touring.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I don't think that is too expensive really and any knowledge that helps you make sensible choices has to be worth its weight in gold. Level 2 course has pretty good course content and follows industry standard around the world, apart from the caveat attached to maritime wet snow packs, which do change some things a bit!

The shorter length course are aimed at educating those who may ski lift served in/outbounds areas.
The longer certified courses are generally focused more on choosing safest routes in probably avalanche terrain and where perhaps the access to the latest bulletins might not be available - and there are places where there is not 3/4g signal and therefore maybe having to start making your own forecast based on on the ground feedback.

For the single day and where weather and avalanche bulletins are available,Coaching has shifted somewhat over the past few years and we are now definitely coaching course content that is now avalanche area avoidance, rather than previously coaching additional skill sets that are in the main used when you are testing slope stability, which is very useful but does give far too much confidence to clients who then think they have gained enough skill to make their own choice on the stability of a slope based on a few days of digging pits and doing ECT.

Far better to learn the basics and understand 'why' the avvy bulletin and forecast is saying what it is saying - Heck they are doing all the hard work, all you have to do is 'actually' understand and heed it Smile

So thats the first part.
The second and 3rd parts are companion search and rescue/recovery - these are as important as heeding all the data available that says don't ski the slope aspect your buddy has just gone down and set of a soft slab that has whisked him away. Its now up to you, forget your mates, they are in a twilight zone of disbelief, just waiting for someone or something to kick in and remember their avvy beacon training - that is refreshed at the start of the holiday? and refreshed throughout the season.
You are the emergency service now, you are the rescue team and the ones who can make a difference with your buddies life.

So you have all followed the flux line and come to a stop and fine tune your search to a fine point.
Now the 3rd part Rescue or body recovery - Strategic Shovelling, get that methodical snow conveyor belt going, clearing as much snow as efficiently and quickly as you can.

Avalanche awareness and avoidance.
Transceiver search skills on skis/board and on foot.
Strategic Shovelling

Oh and did I mention mountain navigation? Smile A few years ago I did a series of heavily discounted navigation courses for Snowheads and we also organised a day covering basic crevasse rescue kit and techniques on the dry slope at PYB. Might be time to do something similar again...

Lots of really good reading about, anything by Bruce Temper.
Avalanche by Robert Bolegnesi, this contains the excellent NIVO Test, buy the book to find out what that is.
Snow by Robert Bolegnesi - an layman in-depth look at snow and crystal type and how they do or don't bond.

There is a very sobering film called 'A dozen more turns', its on Youtube in full.

So decide where it is you ski the most and choose a course that will give you the course content you need, so if your ski touring out of bounds then get as much learning as you can that enables you to plan a safe route in possible avalanche terrain and also choose slopes that give you the well earned turns but is on the safest aspect that ties in with your route and final destination.

@Weathercam, I am moving to Serre Chevalier for the whole of next winter season, Jan to end of April, no work, just rehab from my smashed knee, hiking, snow showing, some gentle skiing and touring. I would be happy swap your local area knowledge for some of my knowledge Smile
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Markhandford, have you filled in the necessary forms Toofy Grin
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
jbob wrote:
Stewart McDonald who is Chamonix based is very good. Usually works out around 100 Euro a day. He does basic and advanced courses. If there are a few of you maybe even arrange something private.

http://www.avalancheacademy.com/default.asp?


He is very very good- happy client
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Markhandford wrote:


There is a very sobering film called 'A dozen more turns', its on Youtube in full.



You're right, very sobering. Thanks for sharing.
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