Everyone has eaten far too much during the festive period, now it’s time to get your skis on and work off those extra pounds. Starting the New Year skiing or snowboarding makes for an exciting beginning to 2018 and the ski slopes are in good shape wherever you choose to travel too especially the French Alps, Austria, the Swiss Alps, Italian Alps and Scandinavia all have good snowfall and it’s wonderful to partake in this exhilarating sport.
I’m sure you all have your ski insurance which is imperative for any problems with your ski luggage at the airport and any accidents you may have on the slopes.
However, let’s not forget that safety comes first and as much fun as you are having you need to be aware of the guidelines around safety concerning Avalanches. There is risk of avalanches and it’s crucial to know exactly where you are and what you should do in the event of an avalanche, if you are an experienced skier you must be prepared when you head off-piste and yes you do need to take into consideration the risk assessment of the area you plan to ski.
Avalanches are rated in danger levels from 1-5 with 1 being the lowest risk and 5 being the highest risk. At the moment in the North Alps region, the risk of an avalanche is rated between 3 and 4. The avalanche risk is accessed by the snowfall, the quality of snow the altitude and in particular north-facing slopes. This, in turn, means the temperatures expected over the following days and any sunshine due are taken into consideration, the wind will also factor into the scale as exposed surfaces of snow become hardened it could mean that skiing off-piste can become tricky and dangerous.
You can happily ski on a level 3 for example as long as you are aware of your surroundings and remain vigilant. Skiing off-piste is always more dangerous especially if the snow has become compacted it’s advisable to stay at slopes of less than 30 degrees to decrease any danger to yourself. As they always say knowledge is power and once you are aware of any conditions in the area you are skiing in you can make the right decisions and be aware of any risks that day.
You don’t need to worry you won’t have to personally look at snow and wind reports on a daily basis and access it for yourself. Every ski resort will issue a notice showing the level of risk for each day and you will never see a “zero” risk issued, there is always a risk where there is snow and the levels are quoted on a scale from 1-5 as previously stated. It’s important to remember to know the risks especially if you ski or snowboard off-piste; look at the bulletin board if in doubt ask for advice at your resort and above all enjoy your day’s skiing.