Beware What Lurks Beneath!

Beware what lurks beneath


It's finally starting to look more wintry in the N French Alps, with recent dustings of light snow. Even so, the snow cover remains thin and it is pretty sketchy out there. However, for those of you really keen to venture off-piste: be extremely aware of potential hazards lying under the surface....

Here in Val d'Isere, thanks to snow we've received at high altitude, we've been luckier than many other ski areas. In the Pissaillas glacier area (over 3000 m), we've been experiencing some pretty good skiing, both on and off piste. But we are needing to be very careful of obstacles in these off-piste areas, keeping our speed down, and treating every irregular bump in the snow as a possible hazard. 
In Henry's recent article for the The Ski Club of Great Britain's Ski+board magazine, below, he reveals how to spot the dangers that lie hidden just a few metres from the piste: (click on title above to read full blog post - and see the orginal article attachment)

Off Piste Snow Report : 6th - 10th December 2014

Early season in Val. Photo Andreas Bjorklund


Digging smart - time can be saved!!

Digging fast quick version (for a more in-depth article click on PDF article by Atkins and Edgerly below)

With the widespread use of digital beepers and increased attendance at beeper training courses, search times for self contained rescues (i.e. not organised rescues) have decreased significantly. But the excavation phase (or 'digging phase') remains the most time-consuming part of an avalanche rescue. This phase also offers potential for reducing overall rescue times and increasing survivability.

For a a quick version on how to dig fast see above (courtesy of ORTOVOX).

For a more in-depth strategic approach download the article here 

off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk

Henrys 10 Top Tips to stay safe when you go off piste

Val dIsere 2nd December 2014 Photo Credit Alpine Experience


Ride Hard !! Ride Safe - The Essentials Summaries

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HAT Essentials Talk Summary

See video
See video

What is "going a little bit" off-piste. Is it safe?

Picture Credit: Chris Souillac

A little bit of off-piste

Skiers and boarders know there is a risk from avalanches if they go off piste.  For many this means they will only go off piste with a guide and will not venture into the backcountry without professional help. And if you have no training and do not have a lot of experience of going off-piste, this is a very wise precaution.  On the other hand many people go and do "a little bit of off-piste".  It is commonly thought that nipping off the side of the piste is just fine.

In-Resort Programmes & Prices. Winter Season 2014/15

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Henry Schniewind, founder of Henry's Avalanche Talk (HAT), and off-piste ski guide, is an internationally renowned snow & avalanche expert, who studied avalanche forecasting as part of a geology degree in the US and then moved to the French Alps.  He has given over 750 talks and courses in the last 20 years, including presenting at international snow science conferences.  He has published many papers and articles - often in the British press.
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
off piste avalanche Henry's Avalanche Talk
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