Ortovox Off Piste Awareness Tour 2023

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What is the risk of riding in avalanche terrain?

We posted a blog that seeks to answers this question. Henry will also cover this in some new webinars this October. Then he will go into more detail during a new series of talks this Autumn.

See the blog post.

To get a better idea of what we will cover and to get some practical accident reduction points you can apply right now, see this introduction to our ‘Essentials Talk’ 2023.

If you’re interested in off-piste and ski touring, this video shows a simple short set of points that can help you significantly reduce the chance of an accident. It also briefly shows you a more complete set of accident reduction points that, if applied, can help you to stay as safe around avalanche terrain as the risks we encounter in our everyday activities, like driving a car . The goal is our mission, 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 great memory aid. It helps you apply the key accident reduction points. This year’s talks are focused on the HAT Accident Reduction Framework and everyone who attends will get a special accident reduction framework card that acts as a reminder on how to manage risk and stay safe.

There are four types of events this year.

Thank you to ORTOVOX, Ellis Brigham and the Ski Club of Great Britain for their support in bringing this programme to off piste skiers and ski tourers.

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, former Director, French Avalanche Association (ANENA)

Essentils talk off piste skiing

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

 

Off piste ski tourers In depth talk

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.

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.

Safety is Freedom webinar, Henry's Avalanche Talk

Webinar events

Henry will broadcast a series of webinars examining the question “What is the risk of riding in avalanche terrain? These are free events and will give you an idea of what to expect from the talksas well as giving you some valuable insight

Partners

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. .

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Ski Club of Great Britain logo

The theme is about applying what you know

A particular focus for 2023 will be to show how off-piste skiing and ski touring can no more dangerous than driving to the resort. But this is only true when ‘the essentials’ are applied. 

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 a tool that can help you to manage the human factors and flaws in order to avoid an accident.

 

HAT off piste skier pocket guide

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”

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 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’”.