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Technique / Safety

Tree wells

Whoever heard of tree wells? Everyone knows about avalanches, but isolated ski fatalities from tree wells don’t attract the same hysterical coverage. Some figures claim tree wells are responsible for a whopping 20% of ski deaths, and in recent experiments carried out in N. America where volunteers were placed in tree wells, 90% were unable to free themselves. Yet they can be avoided. First, check out this very illustrative video below then read on... A tree well is where snow fails to compact around the bottom of the tree trunk, prevented by the lower branches. Extremely common after heavy snowfall, coniferous trees with big lower branches weighed down by snow leave a bowl shaped mini-crater around the trunk. Loose powder,

How to stay safe off-piste and avoid avalanches

[The following post has been adapted from an article Henry's Avalanche Talk] It is safe to say that there are two types of skier or snowboarder. There are those who are happy to stick with the popular slopes and those that crave more excitement. For some of us the lure to adventure ‘off-piste’ will be inevitable. The call to find fresh, untouched powder to carve through in the back country is all to appealing. You are keen to challenge yourself whilst taking in beautiful scenery and avoiding the hustle and bustle of the kept pistes. If the latter is you, it is important to understand the risks of doing so and to prepare accordingly. One false move or lapse in

Snowboarder rescued from a crevasse

This guy was extremely lucky to fall 50 feet into a crevasse in Chamonix and live to tell the tail, via footage recorded while he awaited rescue. The important message from this is to be prepared for the dangers when you're out in the mountains and take the necessary precautions. An extended article on this survival story can be read here. Featured image credit, original author (Brendan K)