“Backcountry travel – skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing is booming. People are waking up to the fact that only 1% of the Alps is pisted and there is so much more to enjoy if you're prepared to venture away from the marked runs.
The key word here is ‘prepared'. Nature, especially in the backcountry, deserves our respect and too many people venture out unaware of the environmental hazards and risks that abound in the backcountry. This lack of knowledge can be deadly. Every year over 150 people die in avalanches and countless more suffer injury or illness.
Our backcountry safety code is a set of guidelines for staying safe when travelling in the backcountry. From knowledge of the risks and hazards to the mental attitude and equipment and gear you should be using we hope it will encourage you to be properly prepared. We also encourage you to attend one of our Mountain Awareness or Avalanche Training courses - a great first step in staying safe this winter.
As mountain professionals we have a passion for the mountains and love being out there. We want everyone to share in this enjoyment not just today but for a lifetime.”
Nick Parks, IFMGA Mountain Guide & Founder Director of Mountain Tracks, September 2004
Mountain Tracks are running two courses in Chamonix this year:
Mountain Awareness Training – Mountaincraft
This course is aimed at keen, competent skiers who want to learn some essential skills and tips to improve their confidence when skiing off-piste. The focus is on trip planning, navigation and understanding the risks and hazards associated with backcountry skiing. It is particularly recommended for skiers/boarders who are planning to spend the season in the Alps and are looking forward to enjoying as much time as possible riding off-piste.
Chamonix: 14th & 16th December 2004
Price: £50 + VAT per person
Duration: 1 full day, the majority of which will be spent out on the mountain
Avalanche Awareness Training Level 1 Avalanche Course - The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE)
This 2½-day course is ideal for adventurous off-piste skiers who want to develop and improve their understanding of the avalanche hazard and to stay safe in the backcountry.
The training is provided by fully-qualified British IFMGA Mountain Guides.
For anyone planning to ski, snowboard or tour off-piste next season, this courses is essential for recognizing and avoiding avalanche danger and minimizing the risk of accidents.
Chamonix: 20th – 22nd December 2004
Chamonix: 28th – 30th January 2005
Price: £149 per person (course fees, materials and hire of safety equipment)
Duration: 2½ days, the majority of which will be spent out on the mountain