Each year between 90 -110 people die in the Alps because of avalanches, and in 90% of cases the avalanche was triggered by the victim or by somebody else nearby. So, it is wise not to underestimate the risk and how your actions are a big part of the risk assessment.
You can never eliminate all risk but the more knowledge and information you can gather the better you can manage the risk.
We recommend that you undertake an avalanche training course with a mountain professional, keep up to date with developments and regularly practice the skills you have learnt in a safe environment. Below are a few reminders, it is not designed as a complete list just a reminder of the basic points from your training.
Plan your route well, know the terrain you will be heading into, not just the slopes you plan to ascend and ski down but also the slopes above you (even ones you can’t see). Most avalanches happen on 30 - 45 degree slopes but be aware they do occur outside these gradients.
Make sure you get a forecast for the areaknow the terrain you will be heading into, not just the slopes you plan to ascend and ski down but also the slopes above you (even ones you can’t see). Most avalanches happen on 30 - 45 degree slopes but be aware they do occur outside these gradients.
Carry the right avalanche safety equipmentYou don’t need to have skied backcountry to know how dangerous it can get. Avalanche safety equipment include- avalanche transceiver, a shovel, and a probe.
Look for the signs of avalanche riskand if your terrain selection is the safest option for the conditions.
Please note there is nothing wrong with turning back or changing your goals if you are unsure, we all have to do it sometimes. It is better to be wrong and be sat in the bar early, than wrong and someone getting buried.Also, just because someone else has/is running a line doesn’t mean it safe, make sure you make your own decisions.
Work as a team to run linesin a safe way with spotter and using islands of safety.
The chances of survival drop’s massively after 15 minutes so know how to make an effective rescue, and how to contact the emergency services, they will want to know some details such as your name and phone number, location, details of the incident and the weather.
112 is the general emergency number in France
PGHM Briançon 04 92 21 58 58
CRS/PGHM Briançon +33 (0)4 92 22 22 22
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ON ANY OF THE ABOVE WE RECOMMEND FURTHER TRAINING OR THE USE OF A MOUNTAIN GUIDE
With a whole load of gadgets and APP’s out there it is important to know what they are designed for and their limitations. This app with its mini guides is design as an online guidebook to help you understand what the area has to offer, give you route ideas and help in planning your tour. Although there is interactive mapping for the parking, for the ski tour routes it is not a navigational app.
You need to make sure you have the suitable navigational skills to be safe in the mountains and carry equipment such as map/compass, GPS and know how to use them, especially if the weather changes and visibility is low. Below are some reminders.
Think about islands of safetyPutting first tracks in, if you arrive at your tour and you are putting the first track in make sure you are happy with where you are going, try and pick the best lines up, think about islands of safety and unless out for training don’t do the hero track (straight up) others will want to follow your tracks.
Following tracks, a lot of times you will be following others track’s, which can make life easier BUT remember there can be a lot of tours in one area and you need to make sure you are still going where you think you are. Also, don’t assume the person who put the tracks in knows what they are doing, you need to be responsible for the terrain you cross.