Its been a busy start to the season here at Offpisteskiing - off piste coaching in Chamonix and Val D'Isere last week with some fantastic early season snow conditions, but also high avalanche risk needing careful and considered management - more on this later.
I am currently enjoying a few days downtime before work kicks off again after Christmas - though sadly rain to a high level put paid to a lot of powdery plans for today...
Here are a couple of videos from Bjarne Sahlen of Endlessflow featuring Andreas Fransson - I had the pleisure of introducing these guys along with Mike Douglas at the Kendal Mountain Festival Snowsports Session this November when they were presenting the film 'Tempting Fear'. These 2 videos are from Andreas and Bjarne's adventures this summer in Patagonia, and feature one of the most exposed steep lines I have ever seen - respect!
But back to avalanches - there have been an awful lot of incidents this winter so far - despite the snowpack being quite clearly unstable on many aspects skiers have been venturing onto steep slopes regardless. It is always easy to look back with hindsight and say "Yes, of course you wouldn't have caught me going in there today" but it does seem like a lot of 'red flag' warning signs are being ignored. There has been a lot of research done on 'Heuristic Traps' - the social factors which can influence our decision making and make us ignore obvious warning signs - I am a firm believer that this plays a huge part in the creation of avalanche incidents and will try to summarise the main points in the next week or so... stay tuned.