Beef Up Your Avalanche Skills

Tip from Kristoffer Erickson

Glen Poulsen and clients begin the descent off a crevassed peak     Photo: Jim Harris

Those that decide to pursue objectives in ski mountaineering, or Glisse Alpinism, are sure to find great rewards. Before getting involved in the sport, be sure to dial in your backcountry avalanche skills. You are more than likely entering a realm where avalanche forecasting doesn't exist and you will be playing in terrain where avalanches occur. Make sure to carefully assess the difficulties and hazards. Determine what technical skills will be needed to safely execute your chosen goal. Lastly, if you don't have much of a climbing or mountaineering background, and are unfamiliar with crevasse rescue techniques, you should hire an experienced guide that can teach you the proper movement, decision-making, and rope skills necessary to enjoy a lifetime of ski mountaineering.

Find an avalanche class that caters to your skill level on one of these sites:
The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
The American Avalanche Institute
The American Avalanche Association
Avalanche.org
Forest Service National Avalanche Service

A true pioneer within the sport of ski mountaineering, Kris Erickson has made expeditions around the globe for the last 15 years in search of glisse alpinism. He has made first descents on every continent except Australia. He was the first American male to ski off the summit of an 8000m peak with his descent of Cho Oyu (8201m) in 2002, and has made over a dozen ski descents off of summits higher than 6000m.

Website: 
Kristoffer Erickson

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