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Heavy snowfalls late on, highlight the need to be prepared.

This season saw periods of high levels of snow falls, (which is what we all want!!) but due to some adverse weather conditions and the fact the snow came particularly late in the season it also brought with it the highest avalanche rate in the Alps for decades. All the avalanches occurred off piste and in unmarked areas. And because there were dangerous off piste conditions throughout all resorts in the Alps for a large percentage of the season there was unfortunately an extremely high death rate.

Take time to read the article in our In Depth section about Avalanche Awareness which outlines a few important things to do if you intend to ride off piste.

This year the avalanche risk has been very high and yet it is amazing the amount of people who still ride off piste without the right equipment and training. If you are intent on going off piste to push your abilities and find fresh snow in untracked terrain it is essential you respect the risks you are taking and equip yourselves with the necessary equipment and take the correct training. While at the same time taking time to research the areas you are heading into to. Even if it’s not your first time in the resort always ask those who have more experience of the area.

If you follow the basics, it maximises your safety. In an avalanche people have a 90% survival rate if found within the first 15 minutes, then the chance of living falls sharply. In Tignes this year four people were avalanched but managed to dig themselves out, while nearby a father and son were buried under 1m of snow for 10 minutes but other skiers who saw the incident and were properly equipped were able to rescue them in time.

It is advisable that everyone who goes off piste has an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe as well as a mobile phone and supplies. The transceiver sends out a signal that helps the victim to be found underneath the snow by members of the party with a receiver. The SPOT (shown on the piste map) is a good area where you can practice your avalanche skills together and under the supervision of professionals. Transceivers can be rented at a number of shops throughout the resort. Courses and training can be attended at Henry's Avalanche Talk which we can arrange or contact them directly at Take time to remember where you are, don’t get carried away and Stay Safe!!