Staying safe in avalanche terrain.

Staying safe in avalanche terrain

courtesy of  Danny Uhlmann


 "...we want to draw attention to the fact that although experience is necessary to develop certain competences....having been exposed to the relevant risks and “got a way with it" is itself no good evidence to having acquired these competences. More generally, we want to caution against the inference that in most mountain sports, experience is by itself a reliable indicator of competence." 
Philip A. Ebert and Theoni Photopoulou, "Bayes’ beacon: avalanche prediction, competence, and evidence for competence"

After my first winter season in the Alps (2012-2013) I was both dazzled by the terrain and amazed by the access to it. There were many lessons I learned and many days spent in massive terrain here with clients and on personal trips. I guided all sorts of off-piste and ski touring days and taught a few AIARE 1 avalanche courses. As a new guide to this area it was hard to resist using the approach to stability forecasting and risk management I am used to from North America and apply it here. But the approach in Europe is much different; both among guides and among recreational skiers. The following are my observations about what I have learned, what I feel is missing here is Europe, and what I think we can all do to stay safe in the winter snowpack while riding.

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