10 good habits on your mountain ski trips
When planning an outing in cross-country skiing, there are many aspects that must be analyzed and planned, in this post, we will talk about one of the factors that only depend on you: “good safety habits”.
Remember that this is only one of the factors, have you ever been told about the cheese model of the holes?, by Bruce Tremper (in another post we will discuss this issue). In a very simplified way, this model includes the evaluation of weather and snow; land management; Good habits and safety and rescue. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, in this post we will only talk about “good security habits”.
1. Prepare the departure.
Study the avalanche danger bulletin (ADB) and mark on the map (or identify in your head) what the critical places maybe, where you will have to decide. All members of the group should know what avalanches, what size and with what location are described in the ADB. In this statement it is convenient to highlight the word “all” … it is not enough that only one member of the group knows. You must all be responsible for the departure.
2. Safety material is essential.
Perform a Beacom control always and be clear that if someone fails, you will not be able to leave; the shovel and the probe must be large and robust (take them well guarded, since in many cases, those involved in an avalanche lose them); value buying an Avalung and/or an Airbag.
3. Use safe material.
Do not use the straps of the poles and do not wear straps on skis.
4. Always trace the safest itinerary.
Always choose the safest climb itinerary; do not follow an open footprint, if you consider the terrain to be more dangerous; Open your own footprint, if necessary… That’s what cross-country skiing is, right?
5. Ski slopes of more than 30º one by one.
This is recommended so as not to expose the whole group, in case an avalanche occurs. You have to maintain eye contact.
6. Always choose safe places to gather the group.
Choose safe places outside the descent line away from the possible path of the avalanche or places where you cannot reach…
7. Always think about the consequences.
It is necessary to be an expert to assess the stability of the snow, but not to assess the consequences. Always think about what would happen if an avalanche or avalanche occurred.
8. Constantly rethink your decisions.
You have to evaluate how the snow is changing, the terrain you are going through and think about the group. It is important to know how to adapt to each new situation.
9. Good communication is essential.
Everyone must have the confidence to expose what they think: from the most novice to the most expert.
10. Be conservative.
The mountains will not move. There will be many other days when the snow will be better than today. Remember that mountaineers who reach old age are those who know how to “give up.”
If you do not see yourself doing all these steps, it is best to hire an expert avalanche guide. Of course, make sure you really are an expert in avalanches …