Friday, 9 January 2015


Whilst the snow conditions in most of Europe are not currently conducive to off-piste activities we recently witnessed an incident which reminded us of the reality of an avalanche. Making our way to Courchevel on the Chanrossa Chairlift we saw an avalanche triggered by an off-piste skier. Luckily in this case the skier managed to escape by skiing away but the speed and size of the slide resulted in gasps from those on the chairlift who were helpless to do anything.

Whilst all ended happily in this case it did make me think that even if you don't ski off-piste it would be good to know what precautions you can take to protect your safety and that of those around you. This week we attended an Avalanche Training session led by Parallel Lines Ski School which was packed full of useful tips including:

  • the essential equipment you should have with you and how to use it
  • what to look out for before venturing off piste, how to spot potential danger areas
  • how to check that your equipment is working
  • how to organise your selves if the worst should happen 

During the session we got a real taste of not only what to do but the reality of how difficult it can be trying to locate a victim in difficult snow conditions. The main take out being we all need to practise so if the worst should happen the we have the confidence and ability to act quickly. We highly recommend taking professional advice such as the sessions which Parallel Lines run and making use of the transceiver and search practice areas the Lift Company have established.

Appreciating how close to the snow you need to be to pinpoint the location of the victim

Learning how to use the transceiver

Success - victim (backpack) located