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Tag: avalanche

Trying Transceivers


Nine avalanche beacons were put to the test by novices and pros to determine their effectiveness in the backcountry.  BY F.M. SWANGARD, MD AND BOB SAYER, CSGA in Winter 2015 issue Not all avalanche tragedies can be spared by electronics but to venture into the backcountry without a transceiver is nothing short of foolish. Your… More »

Science vs. Avalanches

Science vs

The International Snow Science Workshop brought the world to Banff to help make us safer in the backcountry. by KEVIN HJERTAAS from December 2014 issue You’re standing atop an impressive mountain face blanketed in sparkling powder. It’s the kind of run that keeps you awake autumn nights visualizing each and every turn. It’s also the type… More »

Forced Air


Within two seconds I knew I couldn’t ski out of it.” What started as a small avalanche below Martin Lefebrve’s skis had propagated 20m above and all around him. It quickly took him off his feet and sent him downhill. In desperation he pulled the handle of his avalanche airbag. The pop and hiss told… More »

Get Smart


Knowledge is power when it comes to safety in the backcountry, so continue your higher education at a different kind of ski school. by Kevin Hjertaas in Fall 2012 issue “Let’s just go one at a time here and stay off that slope, eh?” I can’t really see what Marty is talking about from my… More »

Our First 40


A nostalgic flip through the back issues of Ski Canada turned up the silly as well as the serious side of skiing. We’ve come a long way, baby! BY LORI KNOWLES from December 2011 issue   The very first edition of Ski Canada Journal hits the stands with 21-year-old ski racer Judy Crawford on the cover. Inside the author asks the “very attractive” National Ski Team member telling questions… More »

Transceiver Test 2010

The Canadian Ski Patrol System and Canadian Ski Guide Association compare the new three-antenna avalanche beacons with existing technology By F.M.Swangard MD, Bob Sayer, Steve Gunderson ABSTRACT AND INTRODUCTION The minimal safety equipment a person must have in the backcountry in winter is a ?transceiver, probe and shovel. Clearly, nothing replaces the transceiver when a… More »

Getting the message across

This winter the usual early-season snows largely bypassed Whistler- Blackcomb even as Victoria and Vancouver suffered havoc. Extended cold, a rain crust, a dangerous layer of faceted crystals and lastly heavy wind-loaded snowfalls created what avalanche expert Chris Stethem later described as a once-in-30-years “continental snowpack”—shallow and dangerous, akin to the Alberta Rockies. “We found… More »

Avalanche School

Avalanche school

The carnage is everywhere. A mass of snow and debris cover the runout zone of an avalanche path on Observation Mountain in Banff National Park. Martin Papillon, a ski patroller from Sunshine Village on backcountry skis, is the first on the scene. Within seconds, his seven partners are busily unpacking shovels, probes and tuning their… More »

Mother knows best

Photo by Colin Mahoney

Start learning your backcountry ABCs by recognizing these five signs The following avalanche tips are dedicated to your mother. If she caught you even so much as thinking about going into avalanche terrain with warning signs like these, she’d smack you repeatedly with her fuzzy slipper and call you all kinds of names she usually… More »