With many backcountry skiers and snowboarders getting better equipped for going off-piste the question is: how can you get trained to use all this fancy equipment and learn something about the dangers of skiing in the high mountains?
A number of resorts have understood this problem and are organising regular or weekend training sessions during the 2003-2004 winter ski season.
La Grave, the mecca of freeride skiing, has a weekend camp on the 17/18th of January, run conjunction with the French National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches (ANENA). The aim is to make freeriders aware of the risks posed by avalanches. Participants will learn about how snow changes over time, how the weather affects the snow pack, precautions to take in the mountains and how to use rescue equipment including an Avalanche Transceiver.
Free Respect 2004 are weekly sessions held during the season at Les Deux Alpes between Monday 5th January and Tuesday the 20th of April. The events are open to everyone and free. On Mondays the meeting point is the Maison de la Montage at 8:30pm. There is a film presentation and a chance to check out the latest safety gear. You can also sign-up for the morning freeride sessions.
On Tuesdays it is an early start, between 8-8.30 am at the Tourist Office (near the cable car station) where participants can compete to find an avalanche transceiver and win prizes. Afterwards there are freeride sessions accompanied by guides and pro-riders.
For more info call: 04 76 79 22 00.
The Piste Patrol at Tignes offer training in the use of avalanche transceivers and an appreciation of the snow pack and the risks posed off-piste. The courses are held every Sunday and Wednesday during the season between 10am and midday. The meeting point is the Grattalu piste patrol hut. A minimum of 5 people are required for each course. Private groups can also be accommodated. Telephone Service des Pistes / Tel: 04 79 06 32 00 for more information.
Over in Val d’Isère the well established Henry’s Avalanche Talks are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Dick’s Tea Bar in the town centre. The Thursday talk is more in-depth and features a guest speaker. There are also transceiver training sessions. See the website: for more information.
Ben’s Days – Serre Chevalier
Ben’s Days are a security session held in Serre Chevalier. We don’t have any information on a 2004 event at present.
Rip Curl Security Session - Val Thorens
Unfortunately Val Thorens is not organising another RipCurl Security Session this year.