Off-piste Guiding. Marmalade’s Approach To Staying safe (Part 2 of 3)
Marmalade’s approach to Meribel off-piste guiding and staying safe.
Part 2 of 3.
Off-piste guiding is something we take seriously. We’re massive fans of skiing off-piste and simply want to take our clients as safely as possible. If you haven’t read part 1 then take a step back here and have a quick glance. This is the next chapter!
The Red Flags
So we know what the red flags are and what to look out for both before we go out on the hill plus when we are actually on the hill.
What comes next? A clever little acronym that’s what….
If the red flags can be seen as elements that are out of our control then the next area to look at is the things we do have control over. It’s our physical actions and our emotions that have the ability to land us in trouble. The red flags are there clear as day but for some reason we chose not to act with respect to the potential risks.
Hopefully FAECES is something that might stick in our minds but it’s the s**t above which can really land us in trouble.
Familiarity – just because you’ve skied this pitch a thousand times and it’s always been good doesn’t mean it won’t avalanche today. It could.
Acceptance and Affirmation – peer pressure, bravado, being the top dawg! All hazards of the skiing world. Choosing to push the boundaries that little bit more to be accepted by your peers or to be recognised as king of the hill might just be a step too far. This might just put you on a part of the mountain you maybe shouldn’t have gone too.
Expert Halo – just because somebody appears to be more experienced, knowledgeable and confident than you doesn’t mean you are safe. Don’t ignore obvious signs simply because the person you are with claims to know what he/she is doing. You are the one in charge of your safety so gain some knowledge and act on it.
Commitment – you’ve just hiked for 30mins or more to get to your spot. Doesn’t mean you have to ski it if it doesn’t look right. Takes a lot of courage and reserve to turn back but it might be the right thing to do.
Equipment – transceiver, shovel, probe, helmet, fat skis, airbag. None of these will prevent you getting caught in an avalanche. They may help you survive it if it does go but they won’t prevent it happening in the first place.
Scarcity – those days when you haven’t skied any decent powder in ages and it dumps!! Everybody is rushing out for fresh lines. Try not to let that huge overriding desire to ski the fresh stuff cloud your judgement of what could be the best/safer option.
These are all difficult emotions to overcome and it’s never going to be easy to resist the lure of the powder. But try to keep these ideas in the back of your mind and don’t let them cloud your judgment of the logical factors that may be telling you to modify your plans and chose another route/line/area of the hill.
Stay safe and always look forward to skiing tomorrow (and the next day and so on….)
Staying safe whilst skiing, ski touring, teaching off-piste or off-piste guiding part 3 – the final chapter is on it’s way…….
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