On top of the world: 6 tips which will keep you safe from avalanches

While the valley is still waiting for winter to arrive, the mountain peaks are showing their majestic side. Even a glimpse gets your pulse racing, your breathing rate up and your leg muscles burning. You can hardly wait to follow a narrow track up to the top and then make your way back into the valley over untouched slopes.

With the right functional clothing and the perfect equipment, winter in the mountains can be a real joy. But it’s important to never lose sight of the dangers!

The following 6 tips from Skinfit Racing SKIMO Team athlete Elias Hagspiel will help you keep safe from avalanches.

#1

Batteries often run out in the cold. That’s why your avalanche alarm should always be at least 60% charged when you set off on a ski tour. If your battery charge is any lower, you must charge it or change the battery.
 

#2

Even when conditions on the mountain seem safe, it is mandatory to take avalanche equipment.

This includes:

  • Alarm (at least 60% charged)
  • Probe
  • Shovel
  • Survival blanket

While your probe, shovel and survival blanket can be stored in a rucksack, the alarm should always be kept on your body under at least one layer of clothing.
 

#3

To make sure you can properly use the equipment you’ve brought with you, a comprehensive avalanche course is absolutely essential. Even experienced ski mountaineers can benefit from a refresher.

Avalanche courses are run by the Österreichischen Alpenverein (ÖAV), Deutschen Alpenverein (DAV) and the Schweizer Alpen-Club (SAC).
 

#4

All ski mountaineers must read the latest avalanche report. Always look up the latest avalanche warning level.
 

#5

An LVS check should be carried out before each and every ski tour. This explains how it works.
 

#6

As well as equipment, the right functional clothing offers protection in the mountains.

Elias recommends taking

  • a second headband or hat that can be worn under your helmet
  • a second pair of gloves
  • a shell jacket and shell gloves for the descent
  • supplies, energy bars for emergencies
  • and a first aid kit

with you. As well as the avalanche equipment recommended in tip #2.