Ready to hit that fresh powder? Please get educated first. There has been extreme high numbers of avalanches in Europe in the last month.
“My friends know what they are doing.” In other words: In a country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Each year in the Alps between 90 and 110 people are killed by avalanches. Most of these accidents occur in France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Suffocation is the number one cause of death. Trauma, or injuries suffered in the avalanche, is the second leading cause of death.
So a good good place to start is the Salomon Mountain Academy. The Mountain Academy is an online avalanche safety course designed to be a supplement to traditional, in-the-field courses that cost a lot more money. Designed in collaboration with Atomic and wePowder, Mountain Academy draws from a vast knowledge base of mountain experts, official national authorities, regional avalanche centers, mountain guides, and pro athletes.
The courses consist of a series of high-quality videos, pictures, animations and self-tests where students will gain fundamental information introducing them to variance in the snow pack, identifying different types of avalanches, and gaining the basic information about rescue tools and techniques.
The curriculum was developed through partnerships with the top experts in avalanche education including:AIARE, the foremost avalanche curriculum organization running programs in South America, Europe and the US, UAC, NWAC and CAIC. Users are self-tested as they go, reinforcing the information they have learned. Curriculum is accessible via direct payment (less than the cost of a lift ticket) or by vouchers obtained through purchasing qualified Atomic and Salomon products.
The Mountain Academy is built around two online courses. The first is called “Snow Safety Essentials,” and it helps skiers and snowboarders ride safely out of bounds. It explains the essentials about snow safety, equipment, the different dangers and how to avoid them.
At the end of the first chapter you will know:
- Where off-piste starts
- What can go wrong off-piste
- The difference between objective and subjective dangers
- How many accidents actually happen off-piste
- The most important misunderstandings concerning avalanches.
- Why, up to now, everything went well for you
The Mountain Academy’s second module, titled, “Deeper into the Backcountry,” gives skiers and snowboarders information they need to ride further off-piste in remote, mountain terrain. It’s a continuation of module one and provides more in-depth information on types of snow, avalanche situations, different terrains and the gear you need when going in the backcountry.
After finishing this second course:
- You understand the complete avalanche forecast
- You can work with different aspects and altitudes
- You can work with the terrain elements of the avalanche forecast
- You will know what fronts are and how to anticipate
- You will know the 10 typical dangers and be able to anticipate on them
- You can easily identify the safe and unsafe (parts of) backcountry slopes
- You can plan routes up and down
- You will know which safety tactics you must use to get there
The goal of Mountain Academy is to make backcountry education accessible and affordable to everyone. Mountain Academy is not meant to replace avalanche, safety and gear training, but rather supplement it and direct participants to sign up for an in-person course in their area.
If you think you will be ready to ride backcountry slopes out of sight of the ski runs and lifts after finishing this module, you are mistaken. You need the experience that comes with living in the mountains and being in the backcountry often to develop a ‘mountain sense’. Even when you visit the Alps more than once or twice a year, we recommend hiring a certified guide!
Get your TOURING EQUIPMENT right HERE and stay safe!