A new series of Henry’s Avalanche Talk (HAT) events is coming on tour this Autumn. A particular focus for 2022 will be to show how off-piste skiing and ski touring can be surprisingly safe when ‘the essentials’ are applied. However, it can be surprisingly dangerous if that knowledge is not applied.
To get an idea of what we will cover and to get some practical accident reduction points you can apply, see this mini talk version of ‘The Essentials 2022′.
This video shows a simple set of points that can help you reduce the chance of an accident. It also shows you a complete set of accident reduction points that, if applied, can help you to stay as safe around avalanche terrain as you are when driving a car. The goal is to help you to make the most of your time in the mountains. Designed for all levels: it’s a starting point for beginners; a risk management guide for those more experienced; and a great training tool for professionals.
The framework approach serves as a memory aid. It helps you apply the key accident reduction points.
Everyone who ventures off piste needs to attend both Henry’s Essentials and In-depth talks. Great insight shared in a very down-to-earth way, with the message that skiing in the backcountry *can* be relatively safe *if* a set structure for decision making is applied every single time you go out. I
highly recommend HAT, even if you’re already an experienced off-piste skier or snowboarder. (everyone can always consolidate knowledge and learn new stuff.)
Ash Smith | Off piste and ski tourer | Founder and director of Sapaudia Brewing Co., Moutiers, Savoie, France
Henry Schniewind has worked in collaboration with The French Avalanche Association (ANENA) for years. His superb accident prevention work has prevented over 100 avalanche deaths over the last three decades according to recent estimates.
Dominique Létang, Director French Avalanche Association (ANENA)
There are three types of events this year.
The Essentials Talk
A must see talk, full of ‘essential’ information for all off-piste skiers, no matter how experienced you are.
It is crucial that you attend an Essentials talk before going to the In depth talk
For those who have seen an Essentials Talk at least once and have experience of off-piste skiing. These talks are an in-depth look at specific subjects: Henry will explore how and why avalanches are triggered and then go in-depth into how to make decisions and reduce risks.
This series of off piste awareness training programmes is brought to you with considerable help from ORTOVOX our main sponsor and essential support from Ellis Brigham and the Ski Club of Great Britain. .
Practical tools to help you apply what you learn
Everyone who attends a training session will receive an ACCIDENT REDUCTION card. It is increasingly clear that the vast majority of accidents are caused by individuals not applying decision making and risk reduction measures; and this is because of human factors and flaws that are magnified within a mountain environment.
The ACCIDENT REDUCTION card is tool you can use to make sure you can control these human factors and flaws and avoid an accident.
Founder of HAT, Henry Schniewind, said:
“We’re going to discuss the latest lessons from recent research on Human Factors and how it applies to decision making and risk reduction in the backcountry and off-piste skiing. Why it is that when there are clear clues indicating danger, people who ‘should have known better’ (have the basic training needed in order to recognise these clues) , still get caught out in avalanches?
“In The Essentials talk, we go into the fundamental aspects of how to make decisions and reduce risks in the backcountry: Where you go and when, how you go down or up and how well prepared you are for a crisis. These skills are crucial to risk management and helping to make off-piste skiing and touring as safe as driving to the resort itself … IF applied”
Henry also describes In-depth talks.
“For the ‘Triggering’ talk we look at how, why and where avalanches are triggered. We follow a 4 step model first introduced by physicist François Louchet and Engineer/Mountain Guide Alain Duclos. We look at how the triggering process evolves, and perhaps more importantly, we look at why avalanches do not release most of the time even though the conditions suggest they should. All in view of better understanding the phenomena to help manage risk. But since success and enjoyment on the mountain in winter conditions is about the consistent application of the key points emphasised in the Essentials / the Framework, we continue to work with that context… how to avoid the impulsive action ‘traps’, that lead us astray i.e. not applying our experience and knowledge that leads to most accidents. So we continue to build on the key points outlined in the Framework and Essentials talks for all the in-depth talks courses and events, but just in a more ‘zoomed -in way’”.