Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
👁 durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Avalanche safety: Where to begin?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Since I've started skiing, I've wanted to properly ski off-piste, but I've never been able to be bothered to put in the effort to learn avy safety in order to actually ski off-piste, but after a recent trip to Andermatt, and long bouts of staring desperately at the freeride terrain, I've decided to really put in the effort and learn as much safety info as you can over the summer, so I can begin to safely freeride this coming winter, but I really don't know where to begin with it. I would very, very much appreciate any help where to start. (Apologies if I'm just another ultimately doomed village idiot stupidly attempting to ski off-piste.)
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Here are some aspects to read up and think about:

Safety equipment you need: the basic pack you need is transceiver, probe and shovel. You will want to read up on the what is better (metal rather plastic shovel for example) and how this equipment is used. You will also want to practice using these both at home and in the field. I don't have one but you may want to look at flotation/airbag devices.

Understanding the factors that influence the likelihood of avalanches occurring - the Snowpack, Terrain and Weather. Read up and understand the aspects and influence of each. And how that would effect what you ski and when.

Read up and understand weather forecasting and reading the "rose" - https://utahavalanchecenter.org/forecast/tutorial is an American one but the Europe one is similar https://www.ellis-brigham.com/news-and-blogs/how-to-read-an-avalanche-report

Think about who you will be skiing with and make sure that they are equally equipped and knowledgeable.

People are naturally a bit reticent to give out loads of info on their favourite lines for various reasons but if you dig around, ask nicely you can garner some good information. It does help if you go to the same ski area a few times as you can build up a bit of a knowledge base.
ski holidays
 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?
Decide what type of skiing off piste you want to do.... lift assisted or touring? Read the books, take a course, hire a guide and pump him/her for insights, scour the internet, make sure you have all the equipment, ski with more experienced people if you can, take careful note of the on line avalanche forecasts on the days you ski. In the end, you have to put in the work...
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Jakey, Shame I left Lucca or I'd say pop over and I'll show you the basics of Transceivers! There are plenty of 1 day intro courses out there but do read up first. https://henrysavalanchetalk.com/ is another good site for the basics but there's no substitute for the practical element. Shovel, Probe and Transceiver are the essential bits of kit but I suggest you go and try out with hire kit first and find something you're comfortable with.
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Jakey,

In addition to what others have said about avi equipment, taking avi courses and reading books / daily avalanche reports - I'd recommend spending time with a guide so you can learn from him/her. The guides can also help with technique and have a knack of finding the best powder to ski. Off piste etiquette such as correct spacing, route choice (ascending and descending) and where is best to stop are IMHO best learnt this way.
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
This is the Bible and a good place to start
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Staying-Alive-Avalanche-Terrain-Tremper/dp/1680511386?tag=amz07b-21
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hi,

Couple of things for you to think about, first off its worth think about avalanche safety in two parts, I call them the tool box and the first aid kit.

The tool box is all the stuff you do to avoid being caught in a avalanche such as.
understanding the forecast - avalanche and weather.
understanding what the weather does to the snow pack.
avalanche terrain
group dynamics
route finding
safe riding techniques etc the list goes on.

The first aid kit is the stuff you need if someone gets caught in an avalanche
Transceiver work.
probing.
Digging.
and first aid.
how to get help etc.

I think its important to recognise this, as quite a lot of people think avalanche safety is just about practicing with a transceiver and digging, now don't get me wrong it's a very important skill as we all can make mistakes. But the goal is to not end up with someone in an avalanche to start with.

For learning in summer its going to be reading, someone has already mentioned Bruce's book its very good, but also look online there are lots of free online courses that will help with your understanding. There is also this paid course - https://www.mtnsense.com/p/backcountry-skiing-avalanche-course I haven't done it so can't really offer feedback but Marc does know his stuff.
At the end of the day reading and online won't beat real world practice, so look at booking a course, add it to the start of a weeks skiing. look at getting out with more experienced people, but check they are experienced not just some guy in the pub telling you they are an expert. Ask lots of questions helps you learn don't just follow.
latest report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@ecrinscollective, great post
snow conditions
 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.
Thanks very very much for all the responses, I think I'll read up as best I can on avy safety over the summer and learn the theory part off by heart, then I'll book a safety course in the winter, and get in some serious practice. I think my local resorts off-piste club offer avy courses.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Good luck - this site is ok for summer reading - https://kbyg.org
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I found this to be a good introduction

http://mountainacademy.atomic.com/en
latest report
 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.
Basic but useful and free

https://avalanche.net.nz/education/online-avalanche-course/

Definitely get some training and know what you don’t know.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
thanks for a helpful thread, I've found a lot of useful info here!
snow report



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy