Archive | avalanche safety

avalanche safety articles from Off-Piste Magazine. Making wise terrain choices, understanding the avalanche forecast, latest avalanche safety gear reviews. Advice from professional mountain guides about route planning, communication and on-the-fly snow stability evaluation

weak layers - identifying avalanche culprits

Avy 101 – Weak Layers – A low tech approach to identifying common avalanche culprits

Weak Layers A low-tech approach to identifying common avalanche culprits – by Larry Goldie Believe it or not, regardless of what triggers an avalanche, every avalanche has one thing in common: they all fail on a weak layer of snow. Personally, I would much rather be out skiing than standing around in snowpits looking at snow crystals and analyzing weak layers…. Read More

Read More
Avalanche Safety - Keep it Simple

Avalanche Safety – Keep it Simple

Avalanche Safety – Keep it Simple NSAW, the Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop, was held in late October. As usual, the event was excellent and is a great way to jump start your avalanche safety brain for the season. NWAC recorded all of the presentations this year and recently posted them on their YouTube channel. All of the presentations are high… Read More

Read More
snow and avalanche workshops

2016 Snow and Avalanche Workshop Schedule

Snow and Avalanche Workshop Schedule Fall is securely upon us and ski season is on the horizon! Fall snow and avalanche workshops have become a pre-season staple in most regions around the country. These large-group workshops represent a gathering of the dedicated backcountry community and offer an excellent opportunity to experience presentations from seasoned snow and avalanche pros. Here’s a… Read More

Read More
spring avalanceh hazard

Spring Avalanche Hazard

As winter transitions to spring, changes in the snowpack can take place at an alarming rate, catching even the most experienced skiers off guard. Spring avalanche hazard is every bit as important as winter. By the time March rolls around, the sun is significantly higher in the sky than it has been all winter. This increased sun angle can add… Read More

Read More
knowing when to dig avalanche basics

Knowing When to Dig – going beyond avalanche safety basics

I like to start a day of touring with an innocent sounding question; “Anyone know what the hazard is rated today?” This question is a very effective way to begin a conversation with your touring partners about the current avalanche conditions. I like to follow it up with something like; “Considerable, eh? What’s our main concern?” Now, with a discussion… Read More

Read More
common snowpack tests

Common Snowpack Tests

With the growing complexity of snowpacks around the country, it’s a great time to brush up on your avalanche safety knowledge, specifically common snowpack tests. The following video presentation of snowpack tests from Bruce Jamieson and Mike Conlan from the Applied Snow and Avalanche Research Center at the University of Calgary in Alberta offers a lot of information, including tests ranging from simple… Read More

Read More
avalanche safety systems

Avalanche Systems – Managing Your Human Factor

What’s Your System? Managing Your Human Factor – Joe Stock I’ve never been caught in avalanche. Maybe it’s because I’m good at mountain travel. Maybe it’s because I maintain a healthy margin for error. Maybe it’s luck. In any case, I work hard to avoid avalanches. I’m in the snowy mountains most of winter. The odds are against me. One of the… Read More

Read More
avalanche accident

Avalanche Accident – A Perfect Storm

A Perfect Storm – Reflecting on an Avalanche Accident by Larry Goldie and David Waag Never have I fought so 
hard to suppress the 
overwhelming urge to panic. Before I realized what I was doing, I 
heard my own muffled screaming. I told 
myself to calm down. Again, I realized I was
 screaming. A few deep breaths later, I gained… Read More

Read More
avalanche hazard rating

What’s The Problem?

The classic backcountry ski checklist – shovel, probe, beacon, brain – has also come to include the avalanche forecast, and most of us make the effort to check the forecast before we head into the mountains. But an important question that’s often overlooked is; “Are really absorbing the most important information contained in the forecast?” Sure, the avalanche hazard rating… Read More

Read More
backcountry ski packs

Avalanche Safety – Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting The importance of a clear plan and conditions dialogue – Larry Goldie, IFMGA Mountain Guide, North Cascades Mountain Guides When asked why they are taking an avalanche safety class, the number one response I hear from students is, “to be safer in the backcountry.” While you can argue that this is a difficult task in a three-day course,… Read More

Read More
Northwest Avalanche Center

Fall Avalanche Safety Workshops

Regional snow and avalanche safety workshops have grown in popularity the past few years. Directed at professional and recreational backcountry users, these workshop offer valuable perspectives on a variety of subjects including risk, snow science, human factors, terrain selection, weather, stability evaluation and technological innovations. They are also a great time to connect with the local backcountry scene and expand… Read More

Read More
backcountry ski packs

Avalanche Safety

Avalanche Safety – The Morning Meeting The importance of a clear plan and conditions dialogue The number one response I hear from students when asked why they are taking an avalanche class is, “to be safer in the backcountry.” Avalanche instructors work hard to send folks away with many of the tools they need to be safer skiers. Some of… Read More

Read More
avalanche beacon reviews

Avalanche Beacon Reviews

If you’re in the market for a new avalanche beacon (also known as avalanche transceivers), today’s units are incredibly proficient search tools. Three-antenna construction, digital processing of the signal and directional guidance are all standard fare. We handed a collection of newest avalanche beacons to rank novices with no tips or explanation for use beyond how to switch to search… Read More

Read More
IMG_5205

Avalanche Beacon Testing

We’ve been practicing with an assortment of current model avalanche beacons for an upcoming article in the print magazine. The bulk of our testing has focused on mid-level beacons aimed at solid recreational users like the BCA Tracker 3, Barryvox Element, Ortovox 3+ and Pieps DSP Sport. All of these avalanche beacons feature three-antenna technology and a signal marking function (suppression… Read More

Read More