BASI British International Ski Teacher L4 ISTD // Mountain Leader MTA EnglishFrench
TEL: +33 (0)630 111109   //   SIRET NO: 803 597 210 00035

Avalanche Safety: 3 Terrain Selection Mistakes To Avoid

On the 12th of December 2020, 40cm of fresh snow fell over two days in the northern French Alps in the Tarentaise Valley. The snowfall fell on top of a weak fragile layer and nine avalanches were reported the next day. These avalanches caused many injuries and luckily no casualties.

In this blog I am going to share with you three terrain selection mistakes that riders made after a 40cm snowfall and how to avoid them. 

MISTAKE 1: SLOPE ANGLE 

The riders choose a slope after a heavy snowfall above 30 degrees. Avalanche danger significantly increases with slope angle as you rise above 30-degrees, but beyond 50-degrees (Tremper) or 60-degrees, (Fredston and Fesler) the likelihood of dangerous slab avalanches decreases.  

HOW TO AVOID: After a heavy snowfall consider a slope less than degrees angle.

MISTAKE 2: ASPECT OF SLOPE 

The majority avalanches on that day happened on northerly aspects. Depending on what direction the slope faces at what time of the year is vital information to how the snowpack bonds. It’s so important to check the forecast, the avalanche bulletin and get local information before making your route decisions. To understand which aspects are more dangerous than others. 

HOW TO AVOID: Find out which aspects of the slope in the area that you would like to ride in are more dangerous and avoid them.

MISTAKE 3: SHAPE OF THE SLOPE

The riders choose a slope with a convexity. Convex slopes statistically produce more avalanches and more avalanche accidents than other kinds of slopes, because they are inherently less stable.

HOW TO AVOID: Avoid slopes with a convexity all together. 

It’s so important to get the right training and education so you can make better and safer decisions when riding off-piste. If you hire an experienced guide and instructor its such an investment as they can teach you to make the right decisions in avalanche terrain and pass their experience. For more details or if you have any questions please drop me an email to: [email protected] or visit my website www.freefloski.com

TOP TIP: LET IT SETTLE

Don’t hike right after a heavy snowfall storm. Most avalanches occur during or just after a heavy snowfall when added weight and weak bonds between fresh and existing snow make slides more likely. Experts recommend waiting at least 48 hours but local variables can extend that time. Always check the avalanche forecast (go to avalanche.org to find a report for your area).

Check out the video on the Freefloski You Tube channel.

On this tutorial channel I share my passion for skiing and the love for the mountains. With 24years of teaching and leading experience I will share with you my secrets, tips and advice to make skiing easier and the mountains safer. Follow and subscribe 👍 .

Stay safe and enjoy the mountains.

Floss 

HOW TO AVOID MAKING SKIN TOURING MISTAKES

THREE MOST COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PUTTING YOUR TOURING SKINS ON

In this blog, I am going to talk about the three most common mistakes Skiers and Snowboarders make when putting on touring skins in the backcountry. Malfunctioning of skins in the backcountry is one of your worst nightmares and is best avoided. Learn how you can avoid making these mistakes.

THREE COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PUTTING SKINS ON?
1) Transition Area: Choosing an unsafe area for transition and in the shade. The Skis or Snowboard facing down in the snow for a long time
2) Snow, Ice, Wet base: If you have snow, ice or a wet base the skins will stick for a short while but after a certain time they will come off and be unusable.
3) Skins over the edge: When skins are placed over the edge of the ski or snowboard you won’t be able to grip uphill and snow will get between the base and the skins. This will make the skins unusable.

HOW TO CORRECT THEM?
1) Transition area: When transitioning your equipment to uphill make sure you choose a safe area away from any avalanche dangers and ideally in the sun. Lie your skis or snowboard up facing the sky on the ground. This will allow the bases to warm up. Therefore the skins will stick on easily.
2) Snow, Ice, Wet Base: Make sure that the bases are dry and aware of snow, ice and moisture. Use a cloth, buff to dry the base and make sure that they are dirt-free and clean.
3) Skins over the edge: When putting touring skins on make sure that you can see the edges of the skis or snowboard.

To see exactly how to avoid these mistakes click on the video below. At the end of this video, I have also shared with you a top-secret of mine.

Don’t make these mistakes

FREEFLO specializes in progressive on and off-piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women-specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities. Our primary objective is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off-piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.

Freeflo Ski Courses