An essential part of the Austrian Ski Instructor Education is the Alpine Safety training, mandatory for everybody who wants to finish his or her certification (Landesschilehrer). And to be honest, I would actually consider doing the whole Ski Instructor education just for this one course. During the seven days we spent on Krippenstein (an off piste ski area) and Dachstein (the nearby glacier, both located at the southern tip of Upper Austria) we learnt how to guide guests in off piste terrain, where to find the best snow, orientation in unknown terrain but most importantly: loads about alpine safety factors such as weather and natural hazards.
The week was intense but at the same time incredibly instructive & rewarding. One highlight was definitely the simulated avalanche exercise we had to complete as a group of sixteen people – from receiving the emergency call up to finding several avalanche victims – with and without transceivers, and finally digging out and transporting an injured avalanche victim to the helicopter. Even when you think you know a lot about it, there’s always something new to learn…. or have you ever built a sledge out of a bivouac bag? Be safe out there!