This course is suited for people who are relatively new to backcountry skiing, but also for those who have done their fair share of tours in the mountains. If you already did an avalanche course, but this was a while ago – this course can also serve as a refresher. You don’t have to ski like a pro, but we prefer that you are confident skiing in and outside of ski slopes. As instructor you will have a NF certified avalanche instructor, who has been living in the area for over five years and worked the last three winters with avalanche courses and workshops.
The course will be hold in Tromsø, Northern Norway. We will try to spend one day on the mainland and one on Kvaløya. Choice of tours will be made based on weather, snow stability and group skills. Snow stability and avalanche hazard will also play a major role in how far we can get ourselves into avalanche terrain or if we have to stay out of it and work from distance.
Topics for the course
- Identification of avalanche terrain, both on the map and in the field. We will measure slope angles under our feet but also far away. We will learn what is avalanche terrain and what not – and how to avoid when the snow pack is unstable.
- Terrain management: A major focus of the course will be how to make our tracks both up and down in avalanche terrain with as little risk as possible. We will be able to identify potential avalanche trigger points and paths and we will identify terrain traps, in which the consequences of an avalanche are largest. We will spend both tour days constantly evaluating terrain around us and become familiar to base our decisions based on the terrain around us.
- Snow (in)stability: We will have a look into the snow pack, look at different layers and identify potential unstable layers. We will do some stability tests and relate them to the avalanche problem in the avalanche forecast. We will also get to know several quick tests we can do constantly while being on tour without digging a whole pit and observe the snow pack below us while walking, to gather as much information as possible.
- Rescue – what to do when shit hits the fan: We will learn how to plan a search and the different phases and to use our equipment properly during each phase. We will organize a group search and spend time on scenarios, trying to get as much training as possible and give you an idea, how you can train with your skiing buddies after the course.
- Group dynamics and human factor in avalanche terrain: Research has shown that very often it is not a lack of education, which leads to avalanche accidents, but human nature. We will have a look at group dynamics and dangerous behavior that tricks us taking higher risks than we are aware off. Our aim is to make you aware of your own decisions in the mountains and how they can be effected by others.
- Planning a safe tour: We will spend on evening inside and plan a tour together. We will provide you with tools pick a safe way up and down the mountain and have a look at the weather and avalanche forecast together. When using the forecast, we will have a major focus in understanding the avalanche problem and link it to the observations we make in the field.
Tentative Schedule (can be changed according to weather, unforeseen events etc.)
- Friday afternoon: Introduction; Getting familiar with our gear; Rescue training
- Saturday: Tour planned by the instructor with focus on terrain and snow; tour planning in the afternoon/evening
- Sunday: Tour planned by the group; using all the terrain and snow skills we learned the days before.
Where: Tromsø and Kvaløya
Number of participants: 4-6 persons
Required experience: Be able to ski in and outside of ski slopes without excessive falling
- Ski Touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard, skins and poles. If needed, you can rent these from Tromso Outdoor
- Avalanche safety equipment (shovel, probe, transceiver). If needed, you can rent these from Tromso Outdoor
- Helmet and googles
- Ski touring backpack (around 25-35l, where you can fit your avalanche safety equipment, first aid kit, extra clothes, skins, food and drink for the whole day)
- Warm extra clothes (for example a down jacket)
- First aid kit
Price: 2500 nok/person. Price includes guiding and special equipment used during the course
Price does not include: Insurance or transportation to the ski tour destinations
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Information and booking: info (at) karuarctic.com