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First Aid Kit — again, the further afield you venture, the more you need to carry. Painkillers could make a big difference whilst waiting for the chopper… A moldable splint is a lightweight, versatile and excellent addition. Know what you are doing and be trained.

Staying Alive Avalanche Terrain

Repair kit — skins and light-weight ski touring set-ups are notorious for failing. Leatherman, wire, duct tape, cable ties, wax and scraper, essential spares etc. Getting serious or thinking of a spot of ski-mountaineering…? Crampons and small ice axe. Harness, rope, slings, belay device, karabiners. Crevasse rescue kit if heading onto glaciated terrain. Emergency shelter, lighter and candle. Snow saw. Etc etc — the list goes on depending on chosen routes.

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Most importantly, much of the equipment listed above is completely useless without proper training and experience. Make sure you know what you are doing, or ski with someone who does. Two books that will have more than enough to get you started:. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain.

Bruce Tremper. Regarded as the bible of avalanche education.

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In depth, but well written and readable even for me…. Free Skiing — How to adapt to the mountain. Jimmy Oden.

Off-piste safety instructions

The book I wish I had read ten years ago — decades of professional experience covering everything you need to know in the big mountain environment. Very well illustrated. BCA Tracker 2. Technology, design and engineering processes are advancing at the quickest rate in history, helping to improve and enhance products all over the globe. These advances are filtering through to the world of ski equipment resulting in safer, more….

Why is packing perfectly so hard? No matter what type of holiday you're headed off to, it always seems so hard to pack perfectly.

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Maybe you're someone who always brings way too much, or maybe you're someone who inevitably forgets an essential…. Oh, to master the technique of layering for a day of skiing. If you can ace it, you'll be warm, dry and happy all day long. It has taken many of us some time to get this down to a science. But if you layer for skiing properly, you'll feel totally…. Back to Blog. This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. Newspapers are debating whether off-piste skiing should be banned, whether anyone who sets off an avalanche should be prosecuted, and whether ski resorts are to blame for glamourising off-piste skiing, with adverts showing skiers in deep powder. One suggested skis might carry a warning like those on cigarette packets — "off-piste skiing kills". An article in another Swiss daily, Le Temps , ended with a bad-taste joke doing the rounds in the Alps about the ski patrols' practice of making slopes safe by bombing them to set off any potential avalanches: "The best bomb of all is still a Brit.

With all that in mind, Guy Willett is exactly the person you want to be skiing with.

  1. Anatomy of an Avalanche.
  2. Staying Alive Off Piste;
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I'd come to Chamonix for a weekend of backcountry skiing with Dream Guides, the company Guy runs with his partner Kenton Cool. While the silver badge worn by all mountain guides has a certain aura, Guy and Kenton are at another level — celebrities of the mountain world, with strings of first ascents, descents and new routes to their names. In September, Guy made what is believed to be the first complete ski descent of Manaslu in Nepal, at 8,m the eighth-highest mountain in the world.

Kenton was the first Briton to ski down an 8,m peak, but is best known as one of the world's top Everest mountaineers.

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  • He's climbed it seven times, more than any other European, and led Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the summit in May last year. For ski and climbing fanatics, going out with Kenton and Guy is not far off a Manchester United-nut going for a kick-around with Giggs and Rooney. To be honest, I was a little star-struck, but thankfully both are determinedly down to earth.

    Take Kenton's explanation of how he got into guiding: "Well I was working on a job painting a power station near Barry Island. There was nothing to do in the evening, so we went to a pub in Llantwit Major and got drunk. My mate bet me two bottles of Scotch that I wouldn't apply to be a mountain guide, so that was that The Himalayan expeditions come with glamour, but also massive overheads and slim profits, so Dream Guides also runs more mainstream trips for everyone from the very experienced to total novices.

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    You can go to them for help with your first foray off-piste, and stay with them through tougher trips in the Alps and on until you are ski-mountaineering in Nepal. Our weekend focused on the skills of skiing off-piste safely. On the Rognan glacier, close to the Grands Montets ski area, we donned harnesses and learned about the dangers of crevasses. In the back yard of our chalet, we practised using transceivers to find buried avalanche victims, ignoring the bubbling hot tub to run around in the snow with our beeping radio beacons.

    Teaching avalanche safety is notoriously difficult, and there are few straightforward rules. I'd been to several talks, and read books and watched films on the subject, but gained little more than a false sense of security. But as I stood next to Guy, pushing my pole into the snow to feel the changing texture as he explained what to look for, it started to make sense. He showed us how to recognise the change from light, powdery and relatively safe snow, to the dense, windpacked slabs that can cause whole mountainsides to fall.

    We learned to assess the risks, judging what would happen if the slope avalanched, how big the slide would be, and whether it would carry us over a cliff, or stop quickly and benignly.