I have doubt that if this book is widely read and referred to it will save lives. Dave Wynne-Jones Eagle Ski Club The off-piste is a wild and wonderful world where skiers, boarders and climbers come to practice their sport and enjoy the beauty and thrills of the mountains. But that beauty comes tinged with danger. Most people you meet off-piste have an intuitive understanding that they are entering a dangerous environment very different from the groomed, controlled and patrolled pistes of a ski resort. But few people appear to have a good sense of either the nature or of the extent of the different classes of risk. The sad fact is that three hundred people die every year pursuing the sport they love in the high mountains. Many die in avalanches, others from falls in steep places, still others from getting lost, suffering cold injury or crevasse falls. Some of these accidents are down to sheer bad luck but rescue professionals will argue that many of them could have been prevented through better awareness, preparation and decision making. That is where this guide comes in - a guide dedicated to helping skiers, swboarders and mountaineers develop the kwledge and skills needed to avoid accidents in the off-piste mountain environment. We are t mountain professionals but hopefully a bit like you - keen amateur enthusiasts with day jobs who have slowly but surely built up a body of kwledge and experience to allow us to stay safe while pursuing our dreams of adventure and exploration. We have tried therefore to write this from your - and our - perspective: how can I best use my available time and money to make a difference without having to throw everything up and become a full time professional - paid or unpaid! The core part of this guide is structured into five sections covering each of the main categories of risk: avalanche, falling on steep group, cold injury, getting lost, and crevasse fall. Each section explains the nature of the risk, tells you what gear you need, and shows you all the tricks for avoiding trouble and getting out of it. We also cover the essentials of first aid, mountain fitness, useful stuff like check-lists and sources of further information, and the overall principles that underpin a safe and enjoyable day out in the mountains. Stay safe, have fun, and we hope you enjoy our guide!
Barry Baz Roberts has an expedition medicine and business consultancy background. A former North Face sponsored athlete, he is an active all round adventure sports man - climber, diver, skydiver, parapent pilot. He trained as a ski patroller in Canada and has ski toured Greenland, Pakistan, Nepal and to over 7000m in Tibet. Baz climbed Mount Everest via the North Ridge in 2004. He is co-owner of Wilderness Medical Training and has set up dozens of events, expeditions, programmes, courses and conferences around the world, training medical professionals and amateur adventurers how to stay safe in hostile mountain and expedition environments. Doug Gurr is very much the enthusiastic amateur. His day job is Vice President at Amazon but he has toured extensively in Europe, Greenland, North Africa and New Zealand. His trips include over 20 first ascents and ski descents in Greenland including the first winter ascent of Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic, as part of the 2006 Tangent-North Face Roof of the Arctic expedition. In his spare time Doug is Chairman of the Science Museums Group of UK National Museums.