Avalanche Awareness Essentials

Snow+Rock and the Ski Club of Great Britain hold Winter Safety Talks

When it comes to snow, safety should be a sixth sense for any serious climber, mountaineer or off piste adventurer. As new kit makes off piste riding easier and more accessible, it’s essential that riders venturing off piste are clued up on mountain safety.

Last season Snow+Rock and the Ski Club of Great Britain joined forces to help more skiers and anowboarders learn some essential mountain safety facts with expert talks that sold out in record time! The talks are making a return this November and December with five expert lectures guaranteed to inspire and inform in Snow+Rock shops nationwide.

The speakers are all mountain guides with pretty impressive qualifications. They include Kenton Cool, the only European to summit Everest five times. Kenton has several first ascents to his name including 8,000 metre peaks and has been nominated for the prestigious Piolet D’Or Award given to the best alpine-style ascent of the year. His colleague and fellow guide at Dream Guides, Guy Willet, has made a number of rare telemark descents in Alaska’s Chugach range and in Arctic Svalbard. Based in Chamonix, Guy has many firsts to his name, he has telemarked from 7100 m on Tibet’s Cho Oyu and earlier this year made seven first descents in the Watkins mountains of east Greenland. Guy who will speak at the Monument, Birmingham and Chill Factor E (Manchester) stores is also a qualified doctor with a diploma in high altitude medicine and physiology.

The talks aim to educate skiers and snowboarders on the risks of skiing off piste terrain, how to recognise danger signs and how to use avalanche transceivers.

There will be one higher level, Advanced Avalanche Awareness Talk given by Nigel Shepherd, who is Alpine Safety Advisor for the Ski Club of Great Britain. Nigel is one of the UK’s foremost and most respected mountain experts and the author of several technical manuals including The Complete Manual of Modern Rope Techniques.

The dates and venues for the talks are:

Weds 7th Nov: Advanced Avalanche Awareness with Nigel Shepherd, Kensington

Tues 13th Nov: Avalanche Awareness Essentials with Guy Willet, Birmingham

Weds 21st Nov: Avalanche Awareness and Steep Skiing with Guy Willet and Kenton Cool, Monument

Tues 27th Nov: Avalanche Awareness Essentials with Nigel Shepherd, Hemel Hempstead

Weds 5th Dec: Avalanche Awareness Essentials with Guy Willet and Kenton Cool, Chill Factor e (Manchester)

Tickets cost £2 with the proceeds going to Mountain Rescue which is carried out on a voluntary basis throughout the UK. All talks start at 7pm. For tickets phone: 0845 100 1000. For more information check out or

There will be prizes at each event and a 10% discount on the night. Switzerland Tourism will provide wine and cheese.

Ski Freshtracks are also offering two Avalanche Awareness Weekends in Argentière, France this winter:

Thur 17th Jan – Sun 20th Jan 2008

Thur 13th March – Sun 16th March 2008

The weekends include three full days on the mountain with an IFMGA mountain guide and offer those venturing off-piste training in choosing a safe route, recognising the avalanche hazard and evaluating snow stability. There is also a focus on transceiver use and multiple search techniques. They are suited to intermediate and advanced off-piste skiers or snowboarders.

Cost – £325 (B&B, twin share, travel not included)

For more information and booking visit or call 0845 45 807 82.

The Ski Club and Snow+Rock are taking avalanche education to the next level by offering a practical Avalanche Transceiver Hunt at the Metro Ski+Snowboard Show in Olympia, from 24th-28th October 2007. During the show there will be the chance for skiers and snowboarders to practice using transceivers and searching in a purpose built area. There will be prizes for the quickest searches and Swiss ski instructors on hand to offer avalanche safety advice and transceiver training.


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