Questions people are asking

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Avalanche above closed piste Santons (Radio Val d Isere)
People are asking about the current conditions.  This picture from Jean Christophe Souillac shows how easily an avalanche can be triggered next to piste.  There was no-one in this avalanche, but if they had been it would have been bad as all the snow piles up in the bottom of the bowl.
We just got these questions from a journalist and thought you would like to see our answers

What may have been the triggers of the avalanche in the Savoie region this week?

Dry slab avalanches are triggered by extra weight.
See video

Off Piste Snow Report : 9th - 13th January 2016

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Lots of Slabs releasing - small can be dangerous if it buries you into a hole.. Photo by Jean-Christophe Souillac.


Unsettled weather conditions will continue, with high winds and snowfall. Off-piste areas remaining very unstable. 

Saturday 9th: A SW weather system is in place, bringing strong winds gusting up to 60 km/hr. Cloudy with probable flat-light conditions.

Two avalanche accidents in Val d'Isere in one day

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The site of one avalanche accident on The Kern (close to the Face). Picture source Radio Val d Isere

Two accidents in one day

After 60 cm of snow had fallen in Val d'Isère over two days, the danger rating was 4 on a scale of 5.  Radio Val have reported that possibly the lure of the powder was greater than the ability to make a reasoned assessment of the danger.
See video

Assessment of risk after a new snowfall

Picture of triggered avalanche in danger rating level 3
One of the most important things to remember about avalanche forecasts and warnings is that: 'unstable or dangerous' means you MIGHT trigger an avalanche on a steep slope. You probably won't, but you could. If you do, it could be big enough to kill you or someone in your group. So even if the chances are that you won't trigger a big avalanche... but you could (which is basically what considerable/high danger ratings mean), you need to take steps in order to make sure that you definitely will not trigger one.

Overview of Ride Hard ! Ride Safe The Essentials

It depends on you

...but you can still have a great time AND be safe off-piste.

See how on our brief overview and new on-line talk below:

You can watch the first 20 minutes of The Essentials talk in the video clip below for FREE.  If you then want to watch the whole Essentials Talk see RIDE HARD ! RIDE SAFE - THE ESSENTIALS  (Part 1 is free and parts 2, 3 and 4 cost £20 to rent for 6 months) click here



These slides show you points that form a checklist against the human factor! Have fun out there.

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

Digging smart - time can be saved!!


With widespread use of digital beepers and increased attendance at beeper training courses, search times for self contained rescues have decreased significantly. So recreational skiers are doing better at rescue techniques in advance of the rescue services arriving on the scene.  But the digging phase remains the most time-consuming part of an avalanche rescue. Being quicker at digging offers potential for reducing overall rescue times and increasing survival.

See video

HAT Avalanche Transceiver training

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Henry briefing a group in Wimbledon Common

HAT is now running beeper training events in UK 

We would argue that it is a bit impolite to ski off-piste with friends, carry all the safety equipment, but have no training in how to use it.

In-Resort Programmes Winter Season 2015/16

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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 1000 talks and courses in the last 25 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

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.

Risk Management - Munter 3x3 Risk Reduction

For the attached PDF summary (from the home page) click on the "read full article" tab below

For those of you gearing up for off piste sking this season in the Southern Hemisphere, those of you who have finished the winter season and reflecting on ways to continue to have fun and be safe off-piste and touring..

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