Go off-piste and it’s essential to carry avalanche rescue equipment. An avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe and snow shovel are obligatory items of equipment when you go off the marked pistes. Avalanches can occur only metres away from open ski pistes with sometimes fatal consequences that could have been avoided should avalanche equipment had been carried.
Like any equipment it is next to useless if you don’t know how to use it effectively. Even modern avalanche transceivers need training and regular practise if you are to be efficient in its use. Remember you may have no more than 15 minutes to reach the victim. This in a situation of high stress. You owe it to yourself and those you go with not to mention your friends and relatives.
My introductory avalanche search and rescue training course starts indoors for a brief introduction. We will then move outdoors for practical experience and practise.
An essential first step before heading out is to carry out a transceiver check. This check ensures that your transceiver can both “Send” (or transmit) and “Search” (or receive). It can also detect any problems with your transceiver or those of other group members.
Outdoors, you will learn how to carry out a transceiver check, an essential first step. This is to ensure your equipment and those you’re going with is present and functioning correctly. Next we will do a “walk through, talk through” of searching for a single victim. This will lead on to learning how to use the avalanche probe effectively. Once the victim has been located with the probe, we move on to digging out the victim. Digging technique and strategy will help you to reach the victim in the shortest possible time and make effective use of your shovel and those around you.
Who this course for
This avalanche safety training course is aimed at those with little or no experience in using an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel. You may typically ski or snowboard in a ski resort but like to venture off-piste from time to time. You may typically go out in the mountains with friends or as part of an organised group.