The Off Piste Awareness Tour 2020

Henry’s Avalanche Talk is reinventing our training for the modern COVID world. You will still be able to come and learn more about how to stay safe and have fun in the off piste. It will just be a different way.

We will be showing you how the HAT checklist works and how to apply it. This is all about making going off piste as safe as driving to the resort. 

Thank you to Ortovox for their support for this year and previous years in bring this programme to UK skiers

There are four 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.

We will be delivering this in a new live online format with Zoom webinar. So it will be online, but it will be live and you can ask questions.


The In-depth Talk

For those who have seen an Essentials Talk at least once and have experience of off-piste skiing, with a guide or on their own. This talk is not a comprehensive tour of avalanche awareness. It is an in-depth look at one subject: Henry will explore how and why avalanches are triggered.

We will be delivering this with Zoom webinar


Avalanche Transceiver Training

A practical session in the UK where you learn how to use a transceiver, shovel and probe to locate a victim in 5 minutes and dig them out in 15 minutes

This will be face to face, live and outdoors. We will be in Wimbledon, Sandbanks Poole, and Manchester.


HAT Academy

This is a new programme to give you a comprehensive and in depth understanding of how to stay safe, manage your risk and have more fun off piste.

This programme will be on Zoom but will be in small groups with a lot more interaction with Henry and the chance to discuss your thoughts with other course participants



This series of off piste awareness training programmes is brought to you with considerable help from Ortovox our main sponsor and essential help from Ellis Brigham. We hope to be back in their stores next year.

The theme is all about applying what you know

A particular focus for 2019 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.

The main theme for this year’s talks, above and beyond learning and refreshing ‘the essentials’, is ‘application’, as it becomes 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 solution is a risk reduction framework that Henry and his team will be introducing and building on in all events.


Founder of HAT, Henry Schniewind, said:

“We’re going to discuss the latest lessons from recent research on the Human Factor and how it applies to decision making and risk taking in the backcountry and off-piste skiing. Why it is that when there are clear clues indicating danger, people who ‘should know 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 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 as safe as driving to the resort itself … IF applied”


Henry also described the In-depth talks.

“Here we look at how, why and where avalanches are triggered and how you can use that understanding to help manage risk. But it’s the reinforcement of applying these strategies and how to deal with the impulsive action ‘traps’, i.e. not applying our experience and knowledge that then leads to accidents, that we explore in both talks”.