Sunday, 1 January 2017

Avalanche Training

Pre Season Deal on Ortovox Zoom+ and 3+ Transceiver - email, call or message me

Good to see on the Backcountry social media lots of posts from folk who are wanting to know about staying safe in the snowy mountains. What's good to me is that there are now many good folks out there providing structured training based on North American programmes to give folk that knowledge.

I started running some courses five years ago when there was no one else doing them in Scotland. At that time I had just left MR after another avy rescue with multiple victims that for me I didn't think went well and left me feeling let down by some folk who wouldn't confront the issues involved. I was getting back into skiing off piste and felt I needed to wise up as well. I was becoming complacent and had let my awareness slacken.  That's the trouble with MR, at times its easy to be deluded that you are an expert in something. In fact even the gnarliest of Scottish MR person is not infrequently just a first aider, labourer/undertaker with a shovel and the task at hand is a job of work. These stalwarts are the backbone and get the job done, but my point is, it doesn't make folk experts but perhaps more a witness, and I include myself.

Getting back into it at a time when folk were venturing off the pistes and seeing some of the near misses while ski patrolling it seemed like whatever I new could be shared. With the support of many folk we got the Glencoe Transceiver park up and running and some courses underway. Sadly over the coming two seasons some more folk I new also got taken out by the big white wave. One perhaps because of lack of awareness or bad luck, one by sheer hubris, and one by familiarity - perhaps. These courses were never meant to make money, just to wake things up. With the advent of these other providers my job is largely done.  I will run an odd course on request and continue to work with Recco Sweden as a trainer, Ortovox Safety Academy and Back Country Access as an educator as well as staying an AAA pro member to keep in touch, as this knowledge is vital for advising customers who want avalanche equipment.

Get the knowledge and get the training folks. Anyone that follows the AAA type of programme will see you right.  If you want an airbag, transceiver or any of the essentials then give me a call for a competitive price, and if your up Glencoe I will give you an hour of free training if you buy from me.

Long before the SAIS formation and when "The Avalanche Enigma" was the New Testament, some of us were lucky enough to be made avalanche aware each season by the proffessionals from Switzerland, or as above from Chekoslovakia. 40 years to make the wheel come back full circle.  We had the first "pieps" as well. There really isn't much thats new, but like then you still need to learn it. Willie Elliot,Wull Thompson, Alastair MacDonald and Milos Sverba in the picture while I am buried 3 feet down while and a SARDA dog of Cecil MacFarlanes is trying to eat me. Picture courtesy of legend Hamish MacInnes who saw us right and kept us safe by getting us trained by folk from out of our own wee Glen so we learned in breadth and depth.

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