AVALANCHE QUICK TIPS: 4 advices for a safer skiing with Marco Tamponi
It’s been a winter characterized by the strong instability and unpredictability of the snow pack. This has caused countless episodes of detachements throughout the alps and beyond: it is for this reason that with the help of our friend and U.I.A.G.M Mountain Guide Marco Tamponi we have decided to offer you a useful column to learn more about our favourite playground.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER BEFORE A SKIALP RIDE?
First of all the avalanche bulletin: reading the numbers is not enough but it si very important knowing how to read them in detail.
This provides us with fundamental information to help us find good snow and, above all, to avoid the slopes that are most risky.
It is also useful to check the winds, temperatures and the date of the last snowfall.
It is essential to regularly check the weather and the avalanche bulletin, even if you have stayed at home all week: in this way you will have a broader view on the conditions that you will find.
If possible it would be useful to acquire information from friends, or rather by professionals in the sector, who live in the location concerned.
WHICH ELEMENTS DO YOU RECOMMEND TO ASSESS WHEN LOOKING AT THE SNOW COVER?
Be careful to places with numerous recent natural avalanches (strong sign of instability), if bumps and hills are eroded by the wind while other areas are significantly more snow laden.
Then observe the recent amount of fresh snow and how temperatures have changed the conditions (dry, humid or wet).
Take advantage of the climb to get a broader and more correct view of the conditions. In this way you will have time to look around and a simple pole test will give us an idea of the structure of the upper part of the snowpack.
WHICH ELEMENTS SHOULD SUGGEST TO NOT CONTINUE OUR TRIP?
Numerous recent natural avalanches and settlements of the snowpack as we pass by, recognizable by the classic “Whoom”, are all elements that indicate the presence of a potentially dangerous weak layer.
ARE TREES REALLY A SAFE ALTERNATIVE ON DAYS OF HIGH AVALANCHE RISK?
Trees are often an alternative on high-risk days but can sometimes give a false sense of security. A sparse forest does not guarantee safety and if it steep it still represent a problem in case of instability as it can cause small and medium-sized avalanches with the possible risk of burial or collision with trees.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid slopes over 25-27 degrees.
We want to add a video about the Rutschblock Test: really interesting but not quick to execute.
You can notice a high instability at the level of the sand: without knowing the history or without digging it would be impossible to make such a detailed analysis.