Cours avalanche SMT1 – 13th of February 2021 – ENG version


Date: 13th of February 2021

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Terry Ralphs (Mountain guide UIAGM and instructor SMT)



Our avalanche courses follow the Swiss Mountain Training syllabus. Swiss Mountain training are an organisation supported by SLF (Swiss Avalanche forecasting association) Swiss Mountain Guides and Swiss Health and Safety department.





If you are planning to ski off piste then these weekend courses are a great way to start your holiday or winter season.

Our Level 1 Swiss Mountain Training Course is a one day course dealing with basic avalanche awareness and avalanche rescue techniques. This is ideal for skiers who would like to understand the avalanche phenomena and how to plan to avoid being avalanched. We also cover avalanche search and rescue techniques.
No prior avalanche knowledge is needed to join although you will need to be able to ski or snowboard off-piste.

Certification is given by Swiss Mountain Training.

Swiss Mountain Training Level 1
Course 1.1: Sunday 3rd January 2021
Course 1.2: Sunday 24th January 2021
Course 1.3: Sunday 14th February 2021
Price SFr 150, accommodation and ski pass not included.

  • The avalanche phenomenon
  • How the weather and conditions both past and present influences the snowpack
  • Analysing and documenting the snowpack by digging snow pits
  • Assessing the snowpack for stability
  • How to create an overview of the current avalanche risk and be able to make an avalanche forecast
  • Route finding in avalanche terrain and managing the risk.
  • Develop a greater situational awareness in the field so that you better informed decisions on safe snow, travel and route finding.
  • Use of Avalanche transceivers for search and retrieval
  • Use of avalanche probes and shovels
  • Self-rescue systems and the survival aspect of being in an avalanche situation

Course Outline
Day 1 Saturday
The emphasis of the morning is to understand the avalanche phenomena. We start with a classroom session covering snow science and the mechanisms that trigger avalanches.
We then venture outdoors to use a snow pit (profile) as a tool to enhance our understanding of snow science so that we can further develop our understanding of snow science. We will use these findings in conjunction with the current weather and avalanche information to review the current avalanche risk.

A training session on avalanche rescue protocol and the use of transceivers, probes and shovels is done at the end of the day.

During the final theory session, we will make an avalanche forecast using the data from the snow pit analysis and weather forecast. We will also consider potential itineraries for the next day and discuss the merits of these in terms of safety and quality of snow for skiing. Being in the right place is incredibly important in avalanche terrain and a defensive approach is encouraged.
The course debrief will be at 5pm.
Course closes 6pm