If you're looking for an adventurous winter activity this year, a ski trip to the Alps is a fun way to achieve that. But while skiing can be a great adventure, it can also be dangerous if you don't know how to keep yourself safe on the slopes. Take a look at one specific danger skiers may face – the possibility of an avalanche – and learn how to keep yourself safe while you enjoy your ski vacation.
Understand the International Avalanche Danger Scale
Before you get out on the slopes, it's important for you to be aware of and familiar with the international avalanche danger scale. It's a 1-5 scale, with 1 representing the lowest chance of an avalanche and 5 representing the highest chance of an avalanche.
Keep in mind that even in places with an avalanche danger rating of 1 where only small-scale avalanches are possible, you still need to keep an eye out for unstable snow in some areas. Even a small avalanche could result in an injury if you're caught unaware. When avalanche danger conditions are at a 2 or 3, you'll need to take extra precautions to ensure safety, and at 4 or 5, it's recommended that you avoid the terrain.
Stay with a Group
Not only is it more fun to explore the slopes with company, but you'll also be safer if you stick with a small group. If one of you is caught in an avalanche and incapacitated, you'll want someone else around to help.
It's better to travel in a small group than as one of a pair. If there are only two of you and one of you is trapped or injured, the remaining person won't be able to both go for help and stay with the injured person at the same time. If there are three or more of you, one person can go for help while the others move the injured person to safety.
Make Sure That You Know How to Use Your Safety Equipment
If you're going to go off-piste – away from prepared ski slopes – it's important to bring the proper safety equipment with you. For example, you'll need a shovel, a probe, and an avalanche transceiver.
It's also important that you make sure that you know how to use all of your equipment. Many ski instructors offer practical courses in preparing yourself for an avalanche situation. Remember that it's not just you who needs this information – the people that you'll be skiing with should also take a course. After all, you'll be depending on them if you get trapped in an avalanche.
It's possible that you'll never encounter an avalanche, but it's best to be prepared just in case. Knowing what to do to protect yourself from an avalanche could save your life. Contact a company like SwisSkiSafari for more information and assistance.